The Defender Initiative 10th Annual Conference on Public Defense - Applying American Racial History to Improve Client Representation Information and Skills to help you make a difference in combating Racial Bias

1.0 Ethics CLE Credits; 1.0 Law and Legal CLE Credits; 4.75 Other CLE Credits: Total CLE Credits 6.75 | WSBA Activity ID #1137458

In the past two years, there has been a great deal of mainstream discussion of the repressed history of racial oppression in the United States. Jeff Robinson’s “Who We Are”, Bryan Stevenson’s “Equal Justice Initiative Museum and Memorial, and the New York Times “1619 Project” are among the key examples. This conference aims to help defenders understand and incorporate that history into more effective representation of their clients. The discussion sessions will cover the spectrum of representation, from bail to trial to sentencing, with an emphasis on what defenders can do immediately to make a difference for their clients.


The conference will feature both experienced practitioners and former clients to share experiences and ideas and participate in discussion with attendees. We will address innovative ideas on how to improve jury selection as well as how to improve client communication with a goal of achieving client objectives. We also will discuss how national developments can affect Washington practice, and how changes in Washington can influence the rest of the country.

Co-sponsored by the Washington Defender Association
A limited number of tuition-free scholarships will be available to Washington Defender Association members. Please email for further information.

Co-sponsors: The Defender Initiative

Robert C. Boruchowitz and Floye Nui Sumida

Jim Lobsenz and Liz Choy


Applying American Racial History to Improve Client Representation: Information and Skills to help you make a difference in combating Racial Bias

8: 00-8:30 a.m.

Registration and Coffee Service

8:30-8:45 a.m.



Annette Clark, Dean, Seattle University School of Law

8:45-9:30 a.m.

Session 1 - The Year in Review -- Gains, Systemic Challenges, National Developments


Professor Bob Boruchowitz, Director, The Defender Initiative

9:30-10:45 a.m.

Session 2 - Building to a Better Practice


Twlya Carter, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Criminal Law Project

Twyla Carter will engage in a discussion on how defenders can practice effectively, addressing the repressed history of race bias in the United States.

10:45-11:00 a.m.


11:00-12:00 p.m.

Session 3 - Addressing Racial Disparity in Bail and Pre-trial Release Arguments

Panel Discussion:

Francis Adewale, Attorney, Spokane City Defender

Andrea Altheimer, Community Passageways

Judge Theresa Doyle, King County Superior Court

Jimmy Hung, Juvenile Supervisor, King county Prosecutor

12:00-1:15 p.m.

LUNCH (Campion Hall, time provided to talk with colleagues)

Making a Difference in Washington and Beyond

Professor Robert Chang, Executive Director, Korematsu Center, Seattle University School of Law

1:15-2:15 p.m.

Session 4 - Panel for Building on Gregory: Creating More Effective Jury Selection


Professor Mike Russo, Seattle University School of Law

Henderson Hill, Director, REDRESS

Paige Kolbrick, J.D. Candidate 2021, Seattle University School of Law

2:15-3:15 p.m.

Session 5 - Interviewing and Maintaining Communication with Client


Natalie Tarantino, Staff Attorney, Snohomish County Public Defender

Lyndon Boyd, Paralegal, Snohomish County Public Defender

3:15-3:30 p.m.


3:30-4:30 p.m.

Session 6 - Clients' Histories and Goals and their Role in Negotiation, Sentencing and Trial


Valarie Mitchell, Mitigation Specialist/Forensic Social Worker at King County Department of Public Defense

Ashwin Kumar, Staff Attorney, King County DPD

4:30-5:15 p.m.

Session 7 - Strategies for "Taking On" Systemic Problems: Drawing from Examples of Successful Defender Efforts for Change


LaRond Baker, Special Counsel for Affirmative Litigation and Policy, King County Department of Public Defense

David Montes, Special Counsel for Criminal Policy and Practice, King County Department of Public Defense

Professor Bob Boruchowitz, Director, The Defender Initiative

5:15 p.m.

Evaluations and Adjourn


Program Chair

Robert C. Boruchowitz

Robert C. Boruchowitz is Professor from Practice and Director of The Defender Initiative at Seattle University School of Law. Before joining the faculty in January 2007, for 28 years he was Director of The Defender Association, where he founded the Racial Disparity Project. He has appeared at every level of state and federal court. He supervises the Calhoun Family Fellowship in which students work on equal justice issues. The Defender Initiative works to improve public defense and works with the Sixth Amendment Center on a U.S. Justice Department grant. They published reports about public defense in Utah and Mississippi. One of the Initiative's first projects resulted in the report "Minor Crimes, Massive Waste: The Terrible Toll of America's Broken Misdemeanor Courts", published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In separate work, The 6AC and The Defender Initiative published a report on the Wayne County, Michigan, Public Defender office.

Professor Boruchowitz developed a Right to Counsel Clinic, which won a writ of mandamus on right to counsel in Department of Corrections revocation hearings. He has taught in the Youth Advocacy Clinic where he pursued due process rights for children in truancy proceedings. He attended a training session for law teachers at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and he developed a seminar on Law and the Holocaust that he taught for four years. He has taught criminal procedure and a seminar on Right to Counsel. Founding president of the Washington Defender Association and a former member of the Executive Committee of the American Council of Chief Defenders, he has been instrumental in developing defender standards in Washington and nationally.

He has been working to persuade misdemeanor courts to provide counsel at arraignment. He was a Soros Senior Fellow working on access to counsel. He worked in four states on a similar project on a grant from the Foundation to Promote Open Society. He wrote an article for the Hofstra Law Review, "Judges Need to Exercise Their Responsibility to Require That Eligible Defendants Have Lawyers." He has been an expert witness in systemic litigation on effective counsel, including Best v. Grant County, Allen v. Edwards in Louisiana, and Hurrell-Harring, et al. v. State of New York. He was a co-chair for an American Bar Association project to provide public defender training in four regions of the country and is a member of the ABA Indigent Defense Advisory Group. He is an emeritus member of the WSBA Council on Public Defense, for which he chairs the Standards Committee. Awards include the NACDL Champion of Indigent Defense Award, the Washington Defender Association Gideon Award, and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers William O. Douglas Award.


Professor Robert S. Chang

Robert S. Chang is a Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. He has also previously served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. He joined the School of Law from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he was Professor of Law and J. Rex Dibble Fellow. A graduate of Princeton and Duke Universities, he writes primarily in the area of race and interethnic relations. He is the author of "Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law and the Nation-State" (NYU Press 1999), co-editor of "Minority Relations: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation" (University Press of Mississippi 2017), and more than 50 articles, essays, and chapters published in leading law reviews and books on Critical Race Theory, LatCrit Theory, and Asian American Legal Studies. He is currently working on two books, one on the political and legal struggle over Mexican American Studies in Arizona (with Nolan Cabrera), the other, The United States Supreme Court and White Social Dominance (with Carlton Waterhouse, Michalyn Steele, and Tanya Hernandez, under contract with Cambridge University Press).

Michael Russo

Michael Russo is a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Seattle University School of Law and teaches courses in Evidence, Criminal Law and Forensics. Before joining the faculty at S.U. Law in 2011, he was for 23 years a Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles County, California. From 1995 to 2010, as a senior trial attorney, he was primarily focused on defending individuals charged in capital and non-capital murder cases. Professor Russo holds a B.A. degree from UCLA and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. He is admitted to the Bar in California, Washington and the District of Columbia

Jimmy Hung

Jimmy Hung is the Chief Deputy Prosecutor of the Juvenile Division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in Washington State. He graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 1999 and joined the office that year. During his time as a prosecutor he has worked on all levels of felony and misdemeanor trial practice including homicide, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Jimmy has led efforts in King County to reduce the use of secure detention and formal court processing of youthful offenders, while increasing the use of restorative justice options. In December of 2018, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Jimmy to the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice where he serves as Co-Chair of the Race and Ethnic Disparities Committee. Jimmy has previously served on the boards of the Asian Bar Association of Washington and the Washington State Bar Association's Criminal Law Section Executive Committee where he was once President. Jimmy also serves as a board member of Choose 180, Mentoring Urban Students and Teens (MUST) and Sound Discipline, three local non-profits that aim to support young people and seek an end to the school-to-prison-pipeline.

Henderson Hill

Henderson Hill, Senior Counsel at the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. Former positions include: director of the 8th Amendment Project, executive director, Federal Defenders of Western NC, and partner at the nationally-renowned civil rights law firm, Ferguson Stein Chambers, Charlotte, NC. In 2007, Henderson was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Henderson Hill graduated with a B.A. degree from Lehman College at the City University of New York, J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and is admitted to the bar in North Carolina and the District of Columbia. Henderson began his career as a staff attorney with the DC Public Defender Service, ending his 10-year tenure as training director. Henderson Hill, Senior Counsel at the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. Former positions include: director of the 8th Amendment Project, executive director, Federal Defenders of Western NC, and partner at the nationally-renowned civil rights law firm, Ferguson Stein Chambers, Charlotte, NC. In 2007, Henderson was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Andrea Altheimer

Washington native Andrea Altheimer is a passionate community servant with an ongoing quest to give. She has lived and worked through a restorative justice lens for over 20 years. Fueled by a lack of justice in her own case and recognizing the systemic inequities surrounding her fellow inmates, Andrea began organizing and mentoring within prison where she witnessed the school-to-prison pipeline firsthand, often sharing a cell with girls as young as 18. Now on the outside, Andrea uses her own experiences to connect with young people to provide guidance and mentorship. To date, Andrea's community-based advocacy has already returned investments, as nine juveniles have received reduced sentences; while many others have found gainful employment and/or complete their education through her efforts.

Even with a case load of more than 13 youth, Andrea frequently meets with elected officials and community leaders and business owners to strategize alternatives to incarceration and helping youth and young adults with job placement, housing and educational opportunity as her very passion is to serve others.

Ashwin Kumar

Ashwin Kumar is a staff attorney at the TDA division of the King County Department of Public Defense, currently representing clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges in juvenile court. In 2017, he was awarded the Washington Defender Association Certificate of Recognition for exceptional hard work and commitment to his clients. He earned his JD in 2015 from Seattle University School of Law, where he served in multiple student organizations focused on social justice, worked as a research assistant for Professor Bob Boruchowitz and Professor Lorraine Bannai, and also volunteered in several different legal areas to serve underprivileged clients. Before attending law school, Ashwin completed an AmeriCorps service term primarily focused on expanding the availability of critical services, mentorship, and extracurricular programming for low-income, at-risk youth.

Judge Theresa Doyle

Judge Theresa Doyle has been a trial judge for 21 years. In 1998, she was appointed to Seattle Municipal Court and in 2004, was elected to King County Superior Court.

She was named 2016 Judge of the Year by the Washington State Attorneys for Justice (WSAJ).
Judge Doyle is a member of the Minority and Justice Commission, where she serves on the education committee. She has written and given presentations to judges and lawyers on issues such as pretrial reform, racial impact of risk assessments, legal financial obligations (LFO) reform, jury pool diversity, and educating jurors about implicit bias.
Judge Doyle was instrumental in creating a video about implicit bias for use in juror orientation in King County Superior Court. She also incorporated jury instructions regarding implicit bias into pattern jury instructions.

Judge Doyle has been working on pretrial reform since 2016. She has written articles and spoken widely on pretrial reform, locally and nationally.
Over the course of her career, Judge Doyle has presided over mental health court, drug court, all the various criminal calendars, family law and dependency/termination matters, and served as assistant chief criminal judge. She is currently assigned to the juvenile offender department.

David Montes

David Montes is the Special Counsel for Criminal Practice and Policy for the King County Department of Public Defense. He was a staff attorney in the department for seven years before starting this position, in Seattle and Kent felonies and Seattle Municipal Court.

Twyla Carter

Twyla Carter is a senior staff attorney at the ACLU national office. She works on pretrial justice reform in the Criminal Law Reform Project. Prior to joining the ACLU, Twyla was the Misdemeanor Practice Director and a staff attorney for the King County Department of Public Defense. As the Misdemeanor Practice Director, she oversaw all misdemeanor casework across the four divisions of the department. As a staff attorney, she handled felony and misdemeanor trial caseloads, represented juveniles, and appealed misdemeanor convictions. Twyla received her Associate's degree from Seattle Central Community College, Bachelor's degree from Seattle University, and J.D. from the Seattle University School of Law.


General Registration - $195.00

Seattle University School of Law Alumni and Non-profit/Government Attorneys - $165.00

Cancellations and Refunds:
On Demand Programs are not available after purchase for refunds or cancellations.