I have 32 years of experience representing indigent persons convicted of felonies in every stage of litigation, from the first appeal, to state post conviction, federal habeas corpus and clemency.
From 1985 to 1996, as an assistant appellate defender with the Office of the State Appellate Defender in Chicago, I represented indigent defendants in appeals from their convictions and denial of post-conviction relief. After only three years as an attorney, I was given the responsibility of supervising other attorneys, including those with many more years of experience.
In 1996, I became a Staff Attorney with the Capital Litigation Division of the State Appellate Defender, which represented men and women sentenced to death in counties throughout Illinois in litigation under the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act. I was named the director of the office in 2003. In that capacity, I spearheaded and oversaw the transformation of the office from a consulting office to a direct litigation practice.
In 2002, I was privileged to participate in the mass clemency project that led to the commutation of all death sentences in Illinois by Governor George Ryan. This was a tremendous team effort that spanned many months, and together, we presented successful cases for clemency for every prisoner on Illinois' death row. I personally presented the clemency petitions on behalf of several inmates, and was one of a handful of attorneys who guided the less experienced attorneys through the process.
In 2008, I took on the new challenge of representing death-sentenced prisoners in federal habeas corpus proceedings. I became the supervising attorney at the Capital Habeas Unit for the Federal Public Defender in Western Pennsylvania and served in that position until September 2017. I represented capital habeas petitioners in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio and Missouri.
I will always retain my tremendous respect for and devotion to the public defender system. However, as a private attorney, I am free to offer my experience at all levels of post-conviction litigation without the restraint of a narrowly-defined court appointment. I will advocate for my client in whatever forum offers the best chance of success.