Inside NACDL: NACDL's Annual Renewal

Inside NACDL

Access to The Champion archive is one of many exclusive member benefits. It’s normally restricted to just NACDL members. However, this content, and others like it, is available to everyone in order to educate the public on why criminal justice reform is a necessity.

NACDL convened its 51st Annual Meeting in Boston on August 8, 2009, a yearly rite of renewal that infuses new energy and renewed dedication into the Association’s pursuit of its mission. The hallmark of a great institution is its capacity to nurture the growth of its existing leaders while opening doors of opportunity so that new ones can emerge. This year’s annual installation of officers and directors fulfilled this goal beyond expectation. In addition to installing the 2009-2010 officers, NACDL’s Board of Directors was enriched by an extraordinary class of 11 new directors, seven of whom are serving as a director for the first time. On the administrative side, these events coincided with two key staff appointments.
This month Inside NACDL introduces this new talent. The profiles of these remarkable individuals reveal an array of experience and commitment that should be a source of pride for every NACDL member.

New Staff

Following an exhaustive national search, Shana-Tara Regon was appointed NACDL’s director of White Collar Crime Policy. Shana will guide NACDL’s reform efforts across a broad range of issues, including overcriminalization, overfederalization, prosecutorial abuse, and protection of the attorney-client privilege.

Shana Regon comes to NACDL after a distinguished career at the Hartford, Conn., firm Shipman & Goodwin LLP, where she practiced white collar defense for both corporate and individual clients. Prior to that, Shana served as law clerk to Justice Joette Katz of the Connecticut Supreme Court. She obtained her J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Western New England College School of Law, where she served as a note editor of the law review and earned numerous academic honors. Shana also holds an M.F.A in fiction writing from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. in English Literature and Government from Sweet Briar College. Shana is also a former president of the District of Connecticut Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and a member of NACDL, the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section, and the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, NACDL’s Connecticut affiliate.
Discussing the reasons she sought the NACDL position, Shana said, “I became increasingly frustrated with what I felt was inherent injustice. I realized that in this position I would actually be able to address those injustices on a systemic basis.” While in practice Shana found that her clients were often people who were surprised to see themselves on the other side of the law. “Many of those clients,” she noted, “were the victims of government overreaching. A business practice that had been perfectly acceptable one day suddenly becomes the subject of scrutiny … and instead of seeking appropriate business reforms, the government decides to start indicting.” She sees an inextricable nexus between the erosion of fundamental protections in the corporate context and the inevitable erosion of the rights of all defendants in all contexts.

With this perspective, and her practical experience on the front lines of white collar criminal defense, Shana Regon is the ideal person to lead NACDL’s white collar reform initiatives. What’s more, her philosophical commitment to NACDL’s mission transcends concerns in the white collar realm. Shana believes that standing with the accused to help them through the worst moment in life is an extraordinary privilege. Her overarching mission is nothing more or less than “to help repair this world, by ensuring due process and justice for all accused persons.”

Patrick Veasy recently joined NACDL as national affairs assistant. This all-important position provides critical support to managers and directors of NACDL policy and communications departments. Patrick was selected from among a virtual tidal wave of more than 300 applicants to fill the coveted position.

Patrick obtained his B.A. from the University of Michigan, earning many academic honors while majoring in Political Science and Sociology. He has a passion for criminal justice issues, which was evident in his undergraduate course selection (criminology, creative writing for prisoners, law and society), but truly blossomed when he served a summer internship with the National Criminal Justice Association in Washington, D.C. While there, he researched, wrote, and published articles on criminal justice issues. Indeed, it was while serving that internship that Patrick observed that “NACDL is an extremely professional, recognized, and highly regarded organization that has accomplished a great deal over the last 50 years.”

Now that he has the opportunity to work at NACDL, Patrick says that he “hopes to gain valuable experience on specific legal issues dealing with the criminal justice system.” For him, “the great thing about NACDL is that it is involved with so many important issues on a daily basis and I know that it will help advance my future plans.” And what are those plans? Like John Cutler, his predecessor as national affairs assistant, Patrick hopes eventually to attend law school and build on his NACDL experience to pursue justice and equality in the criminal justice system.

New Directors

Brian Bieber is one of two new directors elected in a special Board election to fill the remaining year of an unexpired term. Brian is in private practice in Coral Gables, Fla., as a member of Hirschhorn & Bieber, P.A. His practice currently concentrates on white collar defense in investigations, regulatory matters, and prosecutions, and includes complex litigation in federal and state courts on both the trial and appellate levels. Brian is a frequent attendee at NACDL seminars and an active member of NACDL’s Membership Committee. He recently became a Life Member of NACDL.

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Ray Carter is one of two new affiliate representatives designated to serve on NACDL’s Board of Directors by the Council of Affiliates. Ray, who is admitted in both Mississippi and Texas, is a death penalty lawyer with the Office of Capital Defense Counsel in Jackson, Miss. Prior to that, he spent a number of years in private practice, with extensive criminal defense and civil litigation experience. Ray has served as president and vice president of the Mississippi Public Defenders Association.

Anne M. Chapman is an associate at Osborn Maledon LLC in Phoenix, Ariz. Anne’s criminal defense practice spans the gamut from corporate investigations to capital murder defense. She is a consultant to NACDL/ACLU’s John Adams Project, providing support to the lawyers representing high value detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, facing capital charges under the Military Commissions Act. Previously, Anne served as an assistant public defender in the Office of the Federal Defender in Alexandria, Va. While in that office, she served as a key member of the trial team for Zacarias Moussaoui.

Drew Findling, a criminal defense attorney for nearly 25 years, returns to the Board after a long absence. Based in Atlanta, Ga., Drew has represented clients in many state and federal jurisdictions, including Georgia, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. He is a former chair of NACDL’s Forensic Evidence and Membership Committees, a lecturer at numerous academic institutions, and a legal commentator on national news broadcasts. Drew serves on the DOJ/ABA Board of Advisors for the National Clearing House on Science and Technology and the Law, where he consistently advocates on behalf of the criminal defense bar. Drew is a Life Member of NACDL.

Richard K. Gilbert, a D.C.-based private practitioner for more than 25 years, joins the Board after having already served as chair of NACDL’s Audit Committee. His practice includes trial, appellate, and post-conviction work in both federal and local courts. Rich also serves as an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington College of Law and serves on a committee that writes and edits the criminal jury instructions for the District of Columbia. Rich is a past president of NACDL’s D.C. affiliate, the District of Columbia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

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Bonnie H. Hoffman is the deputy public defender for the 20th Judicial Circuit in Leesburg, Va. Her responsibilities include training, supervising, and mentoring 13 assistant public defenders and seven staff members. Bonnie is a frequent lecturer on criminal defense issues and is active in many bar groups. She serves on the Defender Policy Group of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), which is charged with formulating indigent defense policy recommendations for NLADA. Bonnie also participates in a Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, which is dedicated to reforming juvenile justice by reducing juveniles in detention, improving conditions in detention facilities, decreasing juvenile recidivism, and addressing racial disparity.

George Newman, long-time co-chair of NACDL’s Long Range Planning Committee, was selected in a special Board election to fill the remaining year of an unexpired term. George returns to the Board after having previously served two terms. He has also served as chair of the Indigent Defense Committee and the Council of Affiliates, and was the Board representative on the Executive Committee for one year. George is in private practice in Philadelphia, where he has practiced criminal defense in the federal and state courts throughout his career. He participates in many bar activities in Philadelphia and in 1988 helped found NACDL’s Pennsylvania affiliate, the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. George is a Life Member of NACDL.

Kirk B. Obear is a sole practitioner specializing in criminal defense and military law in Sheboygan, Wis. Kirk, who frequently lectures on a wide range of criminal defense topics, is a past president of NACDL’s Wisconsin affiliate, the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, where he currently serves as director of Legislative Affairs. He served for many years in the U.S. Air Force where, after earning his law degree, he fulfilled assignments first as a prosecutor and later as a defense attorney. Captain Obear served as area defense counsel at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, where he was responsible for representing military defendants stationed in Greenland, Australia, and military installations throughout Colorado.

Marvin Schechter returns to the NACDL Board after a one-year absence, having served two previous terms. Marvin has served NACDL in countless capacities, most recently as chair of the Bylaws Committee and co-chair of the Task Force on Problem-Solving Courts. In that role he has overseen NACDL’s national study, conducting hearings in seven cities and guiding the preparation of a major report. Marvin has also served on the Budget and Audit Committees and as chair of the Indigent Defense Committee. Marvin has been a defense attorney throughout his career. He is currently in private practice in New York, after having served as a defense attorney with the Legal Aid Society for 14 years. Marvin is a Life Member of NACDL.

Jeffrey E. Thoma, who is the second of two affiliate representatives designated this year, is the Solano County Public Defender in Fairfield, Calif. Prior to that, Jeff served as Mendocino County Public Defender in Ukiah, Calif., and has held numerous senior public defender positions in Nevada and California. Jeff has also worked in private practice at various points in his career and is an accomplished lecturer. He is a faculty member at the National Drug Court Institute, president of the National Community Sentencing Association, and a member of the Board of Governors of NACDL’s California affiliate, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ). In recent years, Jeff has performed outstanding service to NACDL as the chair of the highly acclaimed Forensic Seminar that is held in partnership with CACJ.

Solomon L. Wisenberg is a partner and co-chair of the White Collar Crime Defense Group at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Washington, D.C. Sol has extensive white collar criminal defense experience going back more than a dozen years. Before joining the law firm, he was first associate and then deputy independent counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel with major responsibilities in the investigation into the Whitewater and Lewinsky matters. Before that, Sol was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Western District of Texas. Early in his career, Sol, who has written on many white collar crime topics, served as a law clerk to the Hon. Tom G. Davis of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and to Hon. J. Daniel Mahoney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.