BPDA LEADERSHIP

These are the important people that proposed, organized, carried out events for the Black Public Defender Association Community. They are the pioneers of the Racial Justice movement.

BPDA BOARD MEMBERS

Chair

April Frazier-Camara

April Frazier-Camara is the Chief of Lifelong Learning at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (“NLADA”).  She is a nationally recognized trainer in the area of leadership, racial equity, diversity and inclusion, and criminal justice reform.  Prior to joining NLADA, April worked as a public defender at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and the Law Office of the Shelby County Public Defender.  She is a visionary leader within the American Bar Association currently serving as chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section and member of the ABA Women in Criminal Justice Taskforce.

Vice-chair

Patrice James

Patrice James has spent her career tackling the inequities of the criminal legal system. Currently, she is the director of Community Justice at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law where she leads a team of advocates that focus on systemic reform of the criminal legal system and the foster system.  Prior to that she was a founding attorney of Still She Rises, Tulsa, where she provided holistic legal representation primarily to low-income women of color, engaged in community building, and advocated for shifting the narrative of women involved in the criminal justice system “from broken women to broken systems” as the Director of External Relations. 

Parliamentarian

Byron Conway

Byron L. Conway Jr. is a criminal defense attorney with a passion for advocating for the most marginalized in our society – those who are often unheard, disregarded, and disrespected by a system that every day fails to see their basic humanity. Byron’s passion for the work he does comes from the environment he grew up in.

National Secretary

Brittany Mobley

Brittany Mobley is the Juvenile Services Program Deputy Chief within the Community Defender Division of the Public Defender Service (PDS). She first joined the Juvenile Services Program for PDS in July 2015 as a staff attorney. Prior to PDS, Brittany was a senior attorney at the Children’s Law Center within their Guardian ad Litem Program representing children in the abuse and neglect system for about four years. Brittany joined the Children’s Law Center immediately after graduating from Howard University School of Law.

Director(s) of Leadership & Professional Development

Keir Bradford-Grey

Keir Bradford-Grey was named chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia in 2015. Prior to that, she was a trial lawyer at the Defender Association and the Delaware Federal Public Defender’s Office before she was named chief defender for the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office in 2012. She also worked as an assistant public defender in Philadelphia between 1999 and 2007. Ms. Bradford-Grey was not only the first African-American and second woman to hold the chief public defender job in Montgomery County, she was also the first African-American woman to head a department in county government.

 

Director of Skills-Based Training

Heather Pinckney

Heather Pinckney is currently a partner at Harden & Pinckney, PLLC, a boutique law firm located in downtown Washington, DC. Harden & Pinckney, PLLC specializes in criminal defense litigation, contract, divorce and family law. Before entering into private practice, Ms. Pinckney served as a deputy chief of the Trial Division for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (hereinafter PDS). As a deputy trial chief, Heather Pinckney assisted in the management and day to day operations of the trial division and supervised over 60 attorneys litigating criminal cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court.

Director(s) of Membership and Outreach

Sylvia Smith

 Sylvia Smith graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2015.  Since graduating, Ms. Smith has been a Staff Attorney in the Trial Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS).  At PDS, Ms. Smith represents individuals charged with serious felony crimes and juveniles charges as adults. Ms. Smith spends any spare time she has teaching and mentoring in the fight against racial and social injustice on behalf of, and with, poor and marginalized communities.

Director of Social Policy and Advocacy

Chiquisha Robinson

Ms. Robinson serves as the Deputy Chief for the Prisoner & Reentry Legal Services program in the D.C. Public Defender Services’ Community Defender Division. The Community Defender Division (CDD) provides legal advice, social services, and community education and outreach to adults and children who are in the post-adjudication stage of a criminal or juvenile delinquency case arising out of the D.C. Superior Court. Ms. Robinson responds to the legal and social services needs of newly released individuals and others with D.C. criminal records, assisting them in making a successful transition back into the community.

Director(s) of Leadership & Professional Development

Lori James-Townes

James-Townes joined Towson (Family Studies and Community Development) in 2017. Professor James-Townes’ has over 25 years of clinical practice, leadership and management experience. Prior to joining the Towson family, her most recent position, was Director Social Work, Leadership and Program Development @ Maryland Office of Public Defender which as more than 800 employees. While in this position, she demonstrated her ability to help others grow in the areas of teamwork, leadership and management. She also led the agency’s social work staff, consultants, and interns.



Director(s) of Membership and Outreach

Porsha-Shaf'on Venable

Porsha-Shaf’on Venable (She, Her, Hers) born, raised and still residing in the Bronx; Porsha-Shaf’on received her J.D. from California Western School of Law and her MSW from New York University School of Social Work. She now returns to the Bronx Defenders for the fourth time in her career. She initially worked at Bronx Defenders as a Forensic Social Worker.  During Law school, She then returned to Bronx Defenders as a Law Clerk and after law school, she was a Staff Attorney in the criminal defense practice, the Adolescent Defense Project and a Team Leader.

BPDA FOUNDING MEMBERS

Keir Bradford-Grey 

Shannon Cumberbatch 

Byron Conway 

Courtney Dixon 

April Frazier-Camara 

Kevann Gardner 

Patrice James 

Lori James-Townes 

Lauren Johnson 

James King

Dinah Manning 

Erin Miles Cloud 

Brittany Mobley 

Ieshaah Murphy 

Adeola Ogunkeyede

Heather Pinckney 

Chiquisha Robinson 

Sylvia Smith 

Jo-Ann Wallace