The Defender Initiative 8th Annual Conference on Public Defense: Defenders—Effecting Change, for Clients and for the Courts

March 09, 2018 | 7.0 Law and Legal CLE Credits

Public Defense in Washington has made enormous strides over the past decades but many challenges remain as well as new challenges emerging. The Defender Initiative Conference on Public Defense is an important opportunity for defenders and public defense advocates to share ideas, review and discuss cutting edge proposals, and come together in camaraderie of companions; and gain inspiration from the keynote speaker, who this year will be Jeff Robinson, former defender.


The 8th Annual Conference on Public Defense will address some of the most current developments and ideas for reform, including change in bail and pre-trial release practices,  ending implicit racial bias in jury selection, and development of alternatives to traditional prosecution and sentencing. The agenda will include a session on tools for making a strong record for appeal, and a discussion of national events relating to caseload and effective representation. This conference will be of interest to defenders in Washington and around the nation. 

A small number of partial scholarships will be available to defenders. Thank you to the scholarship sponsor Aoki Law for their generous contribution.


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 - 9:45 a.m.

Big Lawsuits and "Small" Crimes: National and State Developments

Robert C. Boruchowitz, Professor from Practice and Director of the Defender Initiative, Seattle University School of Law

9:45 - 10:45 a.m.

How Defenders Can Challenge Money Bail and Detaining Poor People Pre-Trial

Justin Bingham, Spokane City Prosecutor 
Jaime Hawk, ACLU-Washington

10:45 - 11:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m. - 12 Noon

Trying Cases and Making Motions with an Eye Toward Appeal

Amy Parker, ACA Division of King County DPD

Travis Stearns, Washington Appellate Project

Sara Taboada, Washington Appellate Project

12 Noon

Lunch (2nd Floor Gallery)


Lori Bannai, Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

12:20 - 1:20 p.m.

Keynote Address

Jeff Robinson, Deputy Legal Director National ACLU and Director, Trone Center for Justice

1:20 - 1:45 p.m.


1:45 - 2:45 p.m.

Juror Implicit Bias: The Race-Conscious, Not Color-Blind Approach

Judge Theresa Doyle, King County Superior Court

Kyana Givens, Assistant Federal Defender

2:45 - 3:00 p.m.


3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Alternative sentencing, diversion and restorative justice

Anita Khandelwal, Policy Director, King County Department of Public Defense 
Martina Kartman, Soros Justice Fellow, Public Defender Association

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Being Creative and Effective with Expert Witnesses-How to Find, Pay, Prepare, and Get Them Admitted

Lauren McLane, DNA Staff Attorney, Innocence Project Northwest

5:00 p.m.

Evaluations and Adjourn


Program Chair

Robert C. Boruchowitz, Professor from Practice and Director of the Defender Initiative, Seattle University School of Law

Professor Robert C. Boruchowitz is Director of The Defender Initiative at Seattle University School of Law. He was Director of King County's Defender Association for 28 years. He founded the Defender's Racial Disparity Project. He has appeared at every level of state and federal court. He has been an expert witness in systemic denial of counsel litigation and in excessive defender caseload cases. He was co-investigator on a study of the costs of seeking the death penalty. He was lead researcher and co-author of "Minor Crimes, Massive Waste--The Terrible Toll of America's Broken Misdemeanor Courts." He is working on a Justice Department funded project with the Sixth Amendment Center to improve public defense in several states. He developed a seminar and a clinic on Right to Counsel and taught in the Youth Advocacy Clinic and criminal procedure courses. He developed a seminar on Law and the Holocaust and the Abuse of Executive Power. He wrote a paper for the American Constitution Society on diverting and reclassifying misdemeanors. He wrote an article for Seattle Journal for Social Justice on the right to counsel in misdemeanors. As founding president of Washington Defender Association and a founding member of the American Council of Chief Defenders, he has been instrumental in developing defender standards. As a Soros Senior Fellow and with a grant from the Foundation to Promote Open Society, he worked on right to counsel in four states. He has received numerous awards including the NACDL Champion of Indigent Defense Award.


General Registration - $215.00

Seattle University School of Law Alumni - $190.00

Government and Non-profit Organization Employees - $180.00

A small number of partial scholarships will be available to defenders. To be eligible, applicants must work in a defender office or have a contract with local government or state OPD to do public defense and public defense is more than 50% of their work. We will select the recipients by a lottery if more than 10 recipients apply who meet the criteria and who have applied by close of business January 31, 2018.

To apply, please e-mail Professor Boruchowitz at, with the words "Public Defense Scholarship Application 2018" in the subject line.