Over the last two decades, from coast to coast, the death penalty has become less and less popular. Although 30 states, the federal government, and the military still authorize capital punishment, increasingly they are reluctant to use it. Pro bono defense lawyers, advocating both for their own clients and for death row inmates broadly, can take credit for many of these gains. However, there remain many indigent defendants on death row who need lawyers with the skills, training, and resources to effectively represent them.
During this summer’s annual Summer Pro Bono and Public Interest Forum, the Criminal Law and Death Penalty panel will introduce public-interest careers and pro bono opportunities in this often gut-wrenching field of law, as well as in criminal defense more broadly.
The panel will be moderated by Brandi Harden, the managing partner of Harden & Pinckney, a boutique D.C. law firm. Brandi is an experienced criminal defense attorney. Before going into private practice, she served as a trial attorney and supervising attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, as well as a trial attorney at several federal government agencies. She has taught criminal defense and trial advocacy at many institutions, including Harvard Law School, American University Washington College of Law, and Howard University School of Law.
Brandi will moderate the following panelists:
Bridgette Stumpf (Network for Victim Recovery of D.C.)
A nationally recognized expert on victims’ rights, Bridgette Stumpf is Executive Director of Network for Victim Recovery of D.C., which helps victims of all types of crimes, including sexual assault, intimate-partner violence, and stalking. In addition to representing clients in courts and administrative agencies, Bridgette frequently advocates for victims’ rights in national and local policy fora and in news media. She has developed NVRDC’s Pro Bono Program, through which trained volunteers represent local crime victims.
Andrew Wise (Miller & Chevalier)
Andrew Wise is the Chair of the Litigation Department at Miller & Chevalier. An acclaimed white-collar defense attorney, Andy represents clients in a wide range of civil and criminal proceedings, including fraud and corruption investigations. Before joining Miller & Cavalier, he served at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, representing indigent criminal defendants.
Callie Heller (American Bar Association)
Callie Heller is a Staff Attorney with the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project. Before joining the Project, Callie litigated Texas death row inmates’ state and federal proceedings, including as a federally-appointed second chair. She co-authored the certiorari petition in Ayestas v. Davis, from which the Supreme Court granted review. She has further experience in trial and appellate criminal defense in Virginia, Michigan, and California.
Liz Weiser (D.C. Office of the Attorney General)
Liz Weiser is the Deputy Attorney General for Public Safety at Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia. Previously, she headed that division’s Juvenile Section, leading a team of prosecutors who handle the District’s juvenile crime cases. Prior to joining OAG, Liz’s career included stints as an attorney in private practice and as a clerk for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She holds bachelor’s and law degrees from Georgetown University.
We hope you will attend the Summer Forum on Thursday, June 20, from noon to 2:30 at Georgetown Law. The event includes lunch, a keynote presentation by Washington Lawyers’ Committee Executive Director Jonathan Smith, and the opportunity to attend one of six breakout panels, including the criminal law panel. Register now.