NACDL’s Annual Rejuvenation (Inside NACDL)

Isaac Kramer introduces NACDL members to the organization's new leaders and the students who worked at NACDL during summer 2013.

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.

Editor’s Note: “Inside NACDL” is Norman Reimer’s periodic column on a topical issue. This month he asked NACDL’s Public Affairs & Communications Assistant Isaac Kramer to introduce readers of The Champion to the association’s new leaders and the students who spent their summer immersed in issues important to the criminal defense bar.

Each summer, NACDL’s capacity to advocate for the criminal defense function receives a boost from an infusion of fresh talent. This rejuvenation is evident both in the induction of new officers and directors who will lead the organization, as well as on the foundational level, where new talent with a passion for justice is drawn to NACDL’s special place as Liberty’s Last Championtm. In what has now become an annual tradition, it is my pleasure to introduce the membership to the newest leaders and the youngest adherents, who will help shape the future of the criminal defense function for years to come.

This year, NACDL welcomes one new officer and six new directors, four of whom will be serving for the first time. In addition, this summer NACDL was fortunate to have been joined by six interns and one Minority Law Fellow. Each of these individuals comes to NACDL with a background of extraordinary depth, diversity, and dedication to the cause of justice.


Rick Jones is the executive director and a founding member of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Rick is also a lecturer at Columbia Law School and on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Ga. He has been a tireless contributor to NACDL for many years. Rick served two terms on the board of directors, including one year as parliamentarian, and co-chaired the Indigent Defense Committee and the Task Force on Problem-Solving Courts. He currently co-chairs the Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction. Rick sits on the boards of the New York State Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Executive Committee, the New York State Defenders Association, and the Sirius Foundation. Rick also serves on the Editorial Board of the Amsterdam News. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and his law degree at Rutgers University School of Law.


Maureen Cain currently practices criminal defense in Denver, Colo. In recent years, Maureen’s work has focused primarily on criminal justice reform legislation in Colorado. As a part of her involvement in the reform process, Maureen serves on the Executive Council of the Criminal Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association. She also served as policy director and lobbyist for the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Colorado Criminal Defense Institute. Maureen has been active with NACDL for many years through the association’s State Criminal Justice Network and served as a panelist at the annual NACDL State Criminal Justice Network Conference on several occasions. Maureen received her bachelor’s degree from Manhattanville College and her law degree from the University of Denver College of Law.

Elizabeth Kelley, who previously served two terms on NACDL’s board from 2006 to 2012, practices criminal defense law and resides in Spokane, Wash. Elizabeth’s practice is exclusively criminal defense, and she specializes in representing defendants who have mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities. Elizabeth has been a devoted member of NACDL for more than a decade and has served on a number of committees and task forces, including the Task Force on Problem-Solving Courts, the Judicial Independence Committee, and the Long-Range Planning Committee. She has chaired the Mental Health and Corrections Committees, and currently chairs the Membership Committee. In 2009, Elizabeth was a member of the UN-NACDL delegation that traveled to Africa to train Liberia’s indigent defense lawyers. Elizabeth is also the host of CelebrityCourt Radio, where she peels back the top celebrity legal stories each week, and AuthorChats, where she conducts in-depth interviews with writers about their recent works. Elizabeth obtained her law degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, completed a Master’s of Arts in English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, and studied English and French as an undergraduate at Mills College. She is a life member of NACDL.

Stephen Ross Johnson practices criminal defense at Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson, P.C. in Knoxville, Tenn. Stephen is the immediate past president of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and serves as associate general counsel for the Tennessee Bar Association and chaired its Criminal Justice Section for three years. Stephen is also an adjunct professor with the University of Tennessee College of Law. In recent years, he has been actively involved with NACDL as a member of the White Collar Crime and Federal Sentencing Committees. Stephen earned his bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman University, his master’s at the University of Glasgow, his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, and is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Ga.

Kristina Supler practices criminal defense at Friedman & Frey, L.L.C. in Cleveland, Ohio. While Kristina works on a wide variety of criminal cases in state and federal venues, her practice often focuses on the defense of computer and technology-based offenses. She also works extensively on white collar cases. Kristina has served on The Champion Advisory Board and NACDL’s Indigent Defense Committee. Outside of her involvement with NACDL, Kristina is a member of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association Board of Trustees and volunteers with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 3Rs (Rights, Responsibilities and Realities) Program. Kristina completed her bachelor’s degree at Boston University and attended Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

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Paula Henderson is an attorney at the Law Offices of James A.H. Bell, P.C. in Knoxville, Tenn., where she specializes in criminal defense. She joins NACDL’s Board of Directors as one of two affiliate representatives. Prior to joining the Law Offices of James A.H. Bell, P.C., Paula spent 12 years as an assistant district attorney for the Knox County (Tennessee) District Attorney’s Office and an additional six years working as a sole practitioner focused on criminal defense and family law. Paula is also a member of the Loudon County Bar Association, Knoxville Bar Association, and the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She earned both her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

CeCelia E. Valentine is an assistant public defender at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office in Phoenix, Ariz. She joins NACDL’s Board of Directors as one of two affiliate representatives. CeCelia has been an active member of NACDL for six years, regularly attending meetings and conferences. Last year, she was appointed to NACDL’s Indigent Defense and Membership Committees and was also appointed to serve as chair of the Public Defender Membership Subcommittee. CeCelia has dedicated herself to indigent defense for nearly 10 years, and prior to joining the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office she worked as an assistant public defender in Houston, Texas, and Tucson, Ariz. CeCelia is also a member of the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the Arizona Bar Association, and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. She is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and South Texas College of Law.

Summer Interns

Each summer, NACDL invites undergraduates and law students to spend their school break with the NACDL team. Joining NACDL for the summer provides these students with a chance to test and augment the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom with invaluable hands-on experience. Working at NACDL also exposes these talented students to the world of criminal defense law, inspiring and preparing them for future endeavors. NACDL’s interns and law clerks work closely with NACDL’s office staff, attend events in and around D.C., and partake in a series of informational lunches organized by NACDL’s policy staff. These lunches are described in the NACDL News section on page 12. This year, under the leadership of National Security and Privacy Counsel Mason Clutter and Indigent Defense Counsel John Gross, NACDL is hosting six outstanding students drawn to the Association’s mission.

Please meet the 2013 NACDL law clerks and interns.

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Michelle Lim serves as law clerk with NACDL’s Indigent Defense and White Collar Crime Departments. During her time at NACDL, Michelle has worked on the second report in NACDL’s three-part series commemorating the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright. This report analyzes how each U.S. state or territory defines and determines indigence. Michelle has also assisted the White Collar Crime Department’s effort to update various online resources by researching relevant case law. Michelle is a rising third-year student at George Washington University Law School. She studied English as an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Bindiya Patel is an intern with NACDL’s Public Affairs and Communications Department. Since her arrival, Bindiya has become a valuable part of NACDL’s wide-ranging communications efforts. She has helped write press releases and NACDL’s monthly E-News. Bindiya has also honed her research skills while working on projects related to NACDL’s overcriminalization campaign and the publication of NACDL’s report on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. Bindiya graduated from the University of California, Irvine in June 2013. She majored in Criminology, Law and Society while also interning with a nonprofit that provided legal support to the area’s immigrant population.

Cynthia Rodriguez is interning with NACDL’s State and Legislative Affairs Department. Much of Cynthia’s work has been focused on preparations for July’s State Criminal Justice Network Conference in San Francisco. While at NACDL, Cynthia has also had the opportunity to attend several seminars and information sessions, an experience she has particularly enjoyed. Cynthia says that going to such events has helped her gain perspective on how the criminal justice system actually works. Cynthia will begin her third year at American University in the fall, where she is studying Psychology. She is also a member of American University’s dance team.

Natalie Salvaggio is a law clerk for NACDL’s National Security and Privacy Counsel Mason Clutter. During her time at NACDL, Natalie has conducted in-depth research on proposed national security legislation and its potential effects on criminal defense in both the civilian and military justice systems. Natalie has also had the opportunity to attend meetings with congressional staff and NACDL’s coalition partners. In June, she went to Fort Hood to watch the live military commission hearings of a Guantánamo detainee, an experience she found particularly rewarding and educational. Natalie is currently enrolled at the University of Texas, Austin, where she expects to complete her law degree and a master’s in global policy studies in the spring of 2014. She studied political science and anthropology as an undergraduate at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Scott Tolliver is a law clerk with NACDL’s White Collar Crime Policy Department, where he has been working closely with NACDL’s White Collar Crime Counsel Tiffany Joslyn. Scott has been helping update the Honest Services Fraud Filings and Decisions Bank. To do this, he has been researching case developments that have been influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Skilling. Scott is a rising second-year student at Stetson University College of Law. He also completed a bachelor’s degree in Political Science as an undergraduate at Stetson.

Jennifer Renae Waters is a graphic artist intern with the art department under the direction of NACDL’s Art Director Cathy Zlomek. Throughout the summer, Jennifer has been preparing an annual archive of the association’s achievements during the preceding year. Jennifer has enjoyed the challenge of designing the layout of the archive, compiling news releases, news articles, photos and other materials for it. Jennifer working closely with the art director, designed the 2013 SCJN Conference brochure as well as assisted in text formatting of The Champion andthe Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System report. Jennifer is currently enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia, where she is completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design.

Minority Law Fellow

NACDL sponsors a Minority Law Fellows Program, now in its fourth year, which gives diverse law students considering a career in criminal law the chance to intern with experienced lawyers. The program’s objective is to increase diversity within the criminal defense bar, giving populations traditionally underrepresented in the field of criminal defense exposure to criminal defense practice and the opportunity to gain experience in criminal defense. This year, NACDL funded Garynn M. Noel to serve a fellowship at the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem. The program operates under the auspices of NACDL’s Diversity Task Force, chaired by NACDL Board Member Geneva Vanderhorst of Washington, D.C. Garynn has spent multiple days each week in New York City’s criminal courts, working with defense attorneys and meeting with clients. She has also gained experience assisting in the preparation of critical motions and memoranda. As was the hope when this program was established, Garynn has indicated that her experience this summer has raised her interest in criminal justice issues, spawning interest in a possible career in criminal defense. Garynn is a rising second-year student at Brooklyn Law School. She studied English as an undergraduate at Rutgers.