Defenders United

“Defenders United” is a new podcast centered on the lives and work of public defense attorneys across the United States, from the perspective of a current law student at Georgetown Law. Each episode seeks to explore the role of public defense in our society, bringing a diverse array of voices and lived experiences from all parts of the country. Now available on iTunes!

Episode 3: Cheryl Sobeski-Reedy, Luzerne County Office of the Public Defender (Wilkes-Barre)

“I would go into courtrooms and there wouldn’t be women lawyers there, and I would say, ‘I’m going to keep coming in here so that they get used to seeing a woman.’ I remember thinking that at the time — ‘I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to keep coming.'” In Episode 3, Cheryl Sobeski-Reedy discusses her experience as a young female attorney at a time when the profession was comprised mainly of male attorneys. Cheryl also discusses her work during the aftermath of the “Kids for Cash” scandal in 2009, the opioid epidemic, and how to sustain a career in public defense for over twenty years.

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Cheryl at her desk at the Luzerne County Office of the Public Defender in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She’s been a public defender for over 20 years.

Episode 2: Will Snowden, Orleans Public Defenders

In Episode 2, attorney William Snowden​ from Orleans Public Defenders​ discusses diversity in law school, Louisiana’s habitual offender statute, his non-profit The Juror Project​, and Professor Paul Butler​’s radical 1995 law review article “Racially Based Jury Nullification: Black Power in the Criminal Justice System.”

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“That sound of the links rubbing up against each other and that shuffle of the feet, is something that I will never forget. I don’t know what slavery sounds like, but I’m sure it’s similar to that.”
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A street view from outside 2601 Tulane Avenue, the office complex that houses Orleans Public Defenders. The stone monolith in the distance is Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.
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From the “Murder Beats Not People” second line in March. #longlivekharen

Episode 1: Bahar Ansari, The Legal Aid Society (Brooklyn)

In our first episode, Bahar discusses the relationship between her work and her identity as an Iranian-American woman, the singular challenges of representing indigent clients in New York City, sexism in court, and advice for both future defenders and prosecutors. Download the transcript here

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Bahar, protesting in Lower Manhattan on January 29, 2017, just two days after Trump signed Executive Order 13769, a.k.a. “The Travel Ban”, into effect.
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Bahar sitting at her uncharacteristically empty desk at 111 Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn — she’ll be moving temporarily to CUNY School of Law as a visiting clinical professor in the Criminal Defense Clinic.