John Albanes

NACDL Staff, Legal Director, Return to Freedom Project

John Albanes Photo

Mr. Albanes began his time with NACDL as a volunteer attorney for Clemency Project 2014, through which he obtained the release of a nonviolent drug lifer under President Obama's historic clemency initiative. He then became an NACDL staff attorney and screened and filed additional clemency petitions until the Project's closure. John joined ranks with NACDL again upon the creation of the State Clemency Project as an advisory attorney, representing a man convicted of murder in his clemency bid before New York Governor Cuomo and advising volunteers on their own cases. He participated in several webinars and trainings in both projects. He served on the D.C. Court of Appeals' Criminal Justice Act Panel from 2017 to 2021, including on several compassionate release appeals. In April 2020, he represented a former Clemency Project 2014 client pro bono in his compassionate release bid before U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt of the Southern District of Iowa, who granted his freedom 28 years before he was schedule to be released. Mr. Albanes then served as resource counsel for the D.C. Compassionate Release Project, which helped secure the release of over 30 individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to Mr. Albanes' collaboration with NACDL, he served as a post-graduate legal fellow for both the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

He is a 2009 graduate of Cornell University (History) and received his J.D. in 2013 from American University Washington College of Law, where he served as a note and comment editor on the Administrative Law Review, a student attorney in the Immigrant Justice Clinic, and as Vice President of the Society for Dispute Resolution. He has published two law review articles, one as a law student on the Second Chance Act and another as a practitioner on the District of Columbia's felony assault statute. He also has been published in the Washington Post.

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