Elected Black Prosecutors
Currently serving his sixth term as Fulton County District Attorney, Paul L. Howard, Jr. is a visionary and trailblazer whose innovative ideas have left an indelible mark on the local justice system and the community at large.
Mr. Howard first assumed the Office of Fulton County District Attorney in January 1997—becoming the first African-American to be elected District Attorney in the State of Georgia. He succeeded Lewis Slaton, who held this position for 31 years. Prior to being elected District Attorney, Mr. Howard had served as Fulton County’s Solicitor General for four years.
During his tenure as District Attorney, Mr. Howard has achieved a wide range of ambitious goals, transforming the DA’s Office and revolutionizing the county criminal justice system in the process. Some highlights include the top-to-bottom administrative restructuring of an antiquated office, featuring the installation of Deputy District Attorneys who provide day-to-day supervision of the Office’s divisions; the creation of specialized prosecution units, including Major Felony, Crimes Against Women & Children, White Collar Crime, the Multi-Agency Cold Case Squad, Public Integrity and the Trial Division. Additionally, Mr. Howard has established the Fulton County “Complaint Room” and, with it, has implemented a front-end case screening operation that has streamlined and expedited the felony charging process- a change that is saving the county millions of dollars in jail housing costs annually.
Mr. Howard’s innovative ideas extended beyond the courthouse to the community with the advent of “Community Prosecution,” a concept that strategically places Assistant District Attorneys in satellite offices throughout the County. Under the Community Prosecution umbrella, Mr. Howard has implemented several successful initiatives over the years, including the widely popular Citizens’ CourtWatch program. Implemented in 2004, the grass-roots program serves as a vehicle for community engagement in the criminal justice system. As Community Prosecutors track repeat offenders and cases of interest in their respective communities, citizens are kept abreast of pending cases and are invited to observe and participate (at the Court’s discretion) in judicial proceedings. Neighborhood Fresh Start and the Multi-Jurisdictional Burglary Task Force are other notable Community Prosecution efforts.
District Attorney Howard also has a passion for youth and creating programs that address their needs in unique and positive ways. Among his collection of youth initiatives are the Junior District Attorney and Project Legal Livesprograms. Each offers elementary and middle school students hands-on lessons in civics and law. The Perkerson Reading Program, Partnership for Perfect Attendance, Project Turn Around and Teen Court round out the list of other key youth programs implemented during Mr. Howard’s tenure.
Mr. Howard’s law career began in 1976 with the City of Atlanta as an Assistant Solicitor. A year later, he became the City’s Deputy Solicitor. He remained in this position until 1980 when he joined Fulton County as an Assistant District Attorney in Mr. Slaton’s office where he served eight years. Upon leaving the District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Howard worked for three years as an attorney for the Atlanta law firm of Thomas, Kennedy, Sampson, Edward & Patterson, before becoming Fulton County’s Solicitor General.
Active in professional and community activities, Mr. Howard is a Director-at-Large of the National Association of District Attorneys (NDAA). He is also a member of the National Black Prosecutors Association, the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials and 100 Black Men of Atlanta. Mr. Howard has also served as chairperson of the Gate City Bar Association’s Government Law Section and the Atlanta University Criminal Justice Public Service Institute Courts Committee. During his administration, former Governor Roy Barnes appointed District Attorney Howard to his Commission on Certainty in Sentencing, a perfect complement to Howard’s previous service as co-chair of the Senate Structured Sentencing Commission.
Mr. Howard has received numerous awards and recognition for his service to the citizens of Fulton County. Among his recent accolades is the “Zenith Award for Service to the Community” given by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA). Mr. Howard has also been recognized by Atlanta Victim Assistance, Inc. with the Paula Bevington “Helping Hand Award” and by the renowned Butler Street YMCA with its “Legacy of Firsts” award. In 2008, Mr. Howard was inducted into the Gate City Bar Association’s Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of other legal notables such as former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, former Governor Roy Barnes and famed attorney Donald Lee Hollowell. Mr. Howard is also a past recipient of the prestigious “Trumpet Award” and has received other national acknowledgements including the “Humane Law Enforcement Award” given by The Humane Society of the United States. He was also honored with the “Good Guy” award from the Georgia Womens’ Political Caucus, the Atlanta Community Prevention Coalition’s “Outstanding Effort to Stop the Violence” award and the Gammon Theological Seminary’s “Outstanding Community Service” award. The Atlanta Business Chronicle has also recognized Mr. Howard numerous times by in its annual “Who’s Who in Law & Accounting” issue. He was also named one of the “50 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Informer magazine.
A cum laude graduate of Morehouse College in political science, Mr. Howard received the school’s Marvin C. Magnum Legal Achievement Award. His exemplary undergraduate performance also earned him an academic scholarship to Emory University’s School of Law. While completing his graduate work at Emory, Mr. Howard was elected president of the Black American Law Students’ Association and later vice president of the Student Bar Association.
Paul Howard is a native of Midville, Georgia. He is married to the former Petrina Moody and has three children.
As District Attorney for the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit, Sherry Boston oversees the prosecution of felony offenses filed in the Superior Court of DeKalb County, including murder, drug and sex offenses, child and elder abuse, theft, and corruption. Prior to this role, District Attorney Boston served as DeKalb County Solicitor-General, the elected prosecutor overseeing misdemeanor crimes.
In addition to her elected positions, District Attorney Boston has also received several notable appointments. She was the first woman appointed as Municipal Court Judge for the City of Dunwoody and also served as Associate Magistrate Judge for DeKalb County. In addition to her judicial service, Ms. Boston has also worked in private practice handling thousands of misdemeanor and felony criminal cases in metro Atlanta.
Among other community and legal organizations in which she is involved, District Attorney Boston is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia. She currently chairs the Investigative Panel of the State Disciplinary Board, which has the power to investigate and discipline members of the State Bar for violations of Standards of Conduct. District Attorney Boston also serves on the Board of Governors, the State Bar’s policy making arm.
In addition to her varied State Bar roles, District Attorney Boston is an instructor for Basic Litigation for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia and is regularly called upon to speak to local and national audiences on a number of issues related to law enforcement, trial preparation and cross-examination strategies.
Throughout her career, Ms. Boston has received numerous awards and recognition for her work and commitment to important causes such as domestic violence awareness and prevention/intervention initiatives.
District Attorney Boston is a graduate of Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Emory University School of Law.
Kimberly M. Foxx
Kimberly M. Foxx is the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country. Kim took office on December 1, 2016 with a vision for transforming the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office into a fairer, more forward-thinking agency focused on rebuilding the public trust, promoting transparency, and being proactive in making all communities safe.
More than two years into her term, Kim has undertaken substantial reform. She has revamped the office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, resulting in overturned convictions in over 60 cases, including the first-ever mass exoneration in Cook County for 15 men whose convictions stemmed from misconduct by a Chicago Police Officer. She has been a leader in bond reform, instructing prosecutors to agree to recognizance bonds where appropriate, and reviewing bond decisions in cases where people are detained because they are unable to pay bonds of $1,000 or less. Kim has taken the lead on prioritizing resources away from low-level offenses to focus on violent crime, including raising the threshold for approving felony charges for retail theft to $1,000, and declining to prosecute misdemeanor traffic offenses for failure to pay tickets and fines.
Kim is the first and only prosecutor in the country to make felony case-level data available to the public. The open data portal provides unprecedented access and transparency into the work of a prosecutor’s office. Her goal is to make the Cook County the most transparent prosecutor’s office in the country.
Kim served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for 12 years, and was also a guardian ad litem, where she worked as an attorney advocating for children navigating the child welfare system. Prior to being elected State’s Attorney, Kim served as Chief of Staff for the Cook County Board President, where she was the lead architect of the county’s criminal justice reform agenda to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
Born and raised on Chicago’s Near North Side, Kim is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. from the SIU School of Law.
Wesley was raised in North St. Louis County, the son of a Police Officer father and a County civil servant mother. His childhood instilled a deep appreciation for law enforcement and public service.
After attending Hazelwood East public schools, Wesley earned degrees from Lindenwood University and the University of Missouri-Columbia law school with the help of student loans and scholarships.
While at Mizzou Law, Wesley chose to focus his studies on the representation of the poor and disenfranchised. After graduating, he turned down several job offers to come back to St Louis to work as a Public Defender.
As a Special Public Defender, Wesley represented hundreds of disenfranchised clients throughout the St. Louis region. It was immediately apparent to him that St. Louis County’s criminal justice system was sorely broken and wasn’t working for anyone from any background, but especially the marginalized.
After his time as a Public Defender, Wesley started his own criminal defense practice where he maintained a robust pro bono (free of charge) case load, continuing to dedicate himself to public service. From his time as a Public Defender, Wesley determined that one of the shortcomings of our criminal justice system is that most people simply don’t understand how it works. In order to address this problem, Wesley became a criminal justice professor at St. Louis Community College (Florissant Valley) where he currently is head of the department.
In the wake of the Ferguson Uprising, Wesley answered the call for new leadership in the City of Ferguson where he was elected City Councilman in 2015. During his time on the Council he worked with Obama’s DOJ to implement the consent decree to reform the City’s criminal justice system through both police and court reform. This included more thorough training for police, the purchase and use of body cams, a pay raise for police, reforming police use-of-force policy, and an overhaul of the municipal court system.
Wesley also became prosecutor and Judge in a handful of St. Louis County municipalities where he has been a vocal leader in criminal justice and court reform, including being the first prosecutor to advocate for the recall of thousands of non-violent municipal warrants. He also worked to establish the North County Police Cooperative, a consolidation of several North County Police Departments into one department that is more efficient and accountable and simultaneously makes community policing one of its highest priorities.
Wesley advocates that every person should have equal rights and opportunities within the criminal justice system. There is a real need in St. Louis County to have well qualified individuals giving back to their community serving as public servants. The current Prosecuting Attorney’s office has been unsuccessfully using the same outdated arrest-and-incarcerate, win-at-any-cost methods for far too long.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins is the chief law enforcement official for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Massachusetts, and oversees an office of approximately 300 people handling approximately 35,000 new cases each year. She took office on Jan. 2, 2019, as Suffolk County’s 16th district attorney, the first woman to be elected to that position in Suffolk County history, and the first woman of color ever to serve as a Massachusetts district attorney.
In 2018, the people of Suffolk County chose District Attorney Rollins to represent them as their district attorney – and to effect meaningful, substantive reform to the criminal justice system. She pledged to pursue that mission tirelessly by reducing incarceration, correcting racial and ethnic disparities, adopting alternatives to traditional prosecution, focusing the offices limited resources on serious and violent crimes, and improving relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
Among her first and most impactful initiatives, District Attorney Rollins implemented a policy of presumptively dismissing and/or diverting certain low-level misdemeanor charges. These offenses are often symptomatic not of criminal intent but of mental illness, substance use disorder, and poverty. Instead of using her limited resources to prosecute and incarcerate these offenders, District Attorney Rollins seeks to hold them accountable while providing access to services and treatment to address the underlying issues that likely led the individual to offend. This progressive approach is designed to reduce the likelihood that an individual will reoffend and improve the safety and wellbeing of impacted communities.
Upon taking office, District Attorney Rollins recognized that immigrant victims, witnesses, and offenders were often afraid to appear in court due to federal authorities’ use of state courts to conduct civil immigration arrests. As a result, prosecutors have been unable to prove criminal cases where witnesses and victims did not appear for trial and vulnerable immigrants lacked access to the vital protections of the court, such as restraining orders, and services of the probate and housing courts. Additionally, violent offenders charged but not yet prosecuted in Suffolk County were being removed by ICE. This was done with no communication with the District Attorney’s Office or the victims of the crime. In response, District Attorney Rollins helped lead the charge in filing an injunction in federal court to end civil arrests in state courthouses and ensure that all community members have equal access to justice through the courts.
District Attorney Rollins has also undertaken a long term project to ensure that each of Suffolk County’s more than 1,000 unsolved homicides receives a comprehensive administrative and legal review. This represents one of the most ambitious efforts thus far in her commitment to better serve homicide survivors as well as victims of all crime in Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop.
In addition, District Attorney Rollins revolutionized the way that police-involved fatalities are reviewed when she appointed an outside panel of investigators. By committing to an external review of every police-involved fatal shooting, District Attorney Rollins aims to reassure the public of the integrity and independence of each investigation. The practice brings an unparalleled level of transparency to these investigations with the hope of increasing the public’s trust in the District Attorney’s Office and the police.
Prior to seeking elected office, District Attorney Rollins served as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Boston, safeguarding employees’ rights; as an attorney with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, handling first amendment, labor and employment, complex civil litigation, and criminal defense matters; and participated in an assistant district attorney rotation in Brockton District Court.
Beginning in 2007, District Attorney Rollins served as an assistant United States attorney with the US Attorney’s office in Boston, handling cases that included fraud, employment discrimination, sexual violence, child abuse, gun trafficking, narcotics, and public integrity matters. In 2011, she was selected by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration as the first person of color to serve as the General Counsel of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and was soon named the first female general counsel of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. In 2013, she was recruited to become the Chief Legal Counsel of the Massachusetts Port Authority.
An attorney for 20 years with degrees from Northeastern University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center, District Attorney Rollins is also a former Governor Deval Patrick appointee to the Judicial Nominating Commission, a past president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and was elected and served a three year term on the Boston Bar Association Council. She is a recipient of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association’s Trailblazer of the Year Award, was selected as Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly Attorney of the Year in 2018, and received the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Award from the Boston Branch of the NAACP.
Marilyn J. Mosby
On January 8, 2015, Marilyn J. Mosby was sworn in as the 25th State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, making her the youngest chief prosecutor of any major American city.
Mosby, an inner-city Boston native, witnessed first-hand the impact of trauma associated with crime when her honor-roll cousin was gunned down in broad daylight outside of Mosby’s home due to mistaken identity. That horrific experience propelled Mosby to turn her pain into passion by becoming a first-generation college graduate, and pursuing her dreams of becoming an attorney and reforming the criminal justice system. Mosby received a Presidential Scholarship from Tuskegee University where she earned magna cum laude recognition and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. After leaving Tuskegee, Mosby was awarded the Council on Legal Educational Opportunity, Thurgood Marshall Scholarship, and subsequently earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Boston College Law School. While in law school, Marilyn proved to be an avid public servant, clerking at several highly-esteemed governmental agencies including the U.S. Attorney’s Office in both Boston, MA and Washington D.C., and the Homicide Unit of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston.
After law school, Mosby joined the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City (SAO), where she quickly advanced from District Court to General Felony. Mosby successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases and some of the most heinous felonies in the State of Maryland with an overall conviction rate of 80 percent. Driven by her love for courtroom litigation and the desire to diversify her legal experience, Mosby left the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office in 2011 and began working as a civil litigator for a Fortune 100 company. In just five months, Mosby was promoted to the Special Investigation Unit of the company, where she investigated and defended against fraudulent insurance claims throughout the State of Maryland.
From her formative years, Mosby’s passion was always to effectuate change by driving a more just, efficient, and fair criminal justice system. On June 24 2013, Mosby decided to take a leap of faith and run for Baltimore City State’s Attorney against the incumbent. After successfully completing one of the largest upsets in Baltimore City election history, Mosby assumed office and her leadership immediately transformed the State’s Attorney’s office into a national model for progressive holistic prosecution, exemplifying the mantra of not just being “tough on crime” but more importantly “smart on crime.”
During Mosby’s first year in office, the SAO reached an 80 percent homicide conviction rate despite a 20 percent increase in the homicide caseload. The following year, Mosby created the Gun Violence Enforcement Division and the felony conviction rate reached 93 percent. During that same time period, Mosby’s administration secured a number of high profile convictions for various violent offenders designated Public Enemy #1 by the Baltimore Police Department, including BGF Executioners, Capone Chase who shot a man in his head in broad daylight in the presence of his pregnant girlfriend and Darryl Anderson who heinously opened fire and killed two women and critically injured another. Additionally, under her leadership: the SAO convicted former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook who fatally struck a father of two with her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and texting; all of the shooters responsible for the death of a one-year-old who was killed by a bullet meant for his father; and serial rapist Nelson Bernard Clifford.
While the primary focus of her administration has been and continues to be successfully targeting and convicting violent offenders, Mosby understands that the community has an integral role in realizing a safer city. Therefore, repairing the fractured relationship between law enforcement and communities remains a hallmark of her tenure. Since the start of her administration, Mosby has worked tirelessly to reinstate the community engagement division; hired and assigned 10 new community liaisons to each region of the city; personally attended more than 500 community events, churches, and schools; and has increased SAO grant funding by more than 27 percent.
In 2016, the SAO was awarded a $2.4 million grant—the largest grant it has ever received—to provide the necessary services to support victims and witnesses of crime. Under Mosby’s leadership, the SAO has nearly doubled the size of the Victims/Witnesses Services Unit.
In an effort to be “smart on crime” and address crime holistically, Mosby created the Crime Control and Prevention division to tackle recidivism and deter youth violence through the implementation of innovative criminal justice initiatives such as Aim to B’More, the Junior State’s Attorney program and Great Expectations.
Aim to B’More provides first-time, non-violent felony drug offenders with a second opportunity to get it right by offering life skills and educational training which ultimately leads to full-time employment and the expungement of the associated felony conviction, while the Junior State’s Attorney and Great Expectations programs expose young people to the positive aspects of the criminal justice system.
Recognizing that prosecutors must not only aggressively advocate on behalf of the victims of crime, but in the pursuit of “justice,”—when the evidence exists—to exonerate those that have been falsely accused or convicted, in her first year in office, Mosby created the Conviction Integrity Unit to bolster the Office’s efforts to review and investigate claims of actual innocence. In 2016, the unit successfully exonerated Malcolm Bryant, who had been incarcerated for nearly 18 years after being falsely convicted of second degree murder.
Finally, Mosby’s creation of the Policy and Legislative Affairs division within the SAO has made significant legislative strides under her leadership. In 2016, the Office successfully lobbied for and played an integral role in the passage of legislation that increased penalties for repeat drunk drivers and second degree murder. In 2017, the SAO helped enact major sexual assault reforms which include the classification and definition of rape; the increased retention of and notification of rape kits; and, for the 4th year in a row, made record progress in the fight against serial rapist and child molesters by championing the Serial Sexual Predator Prevention Act.
As an active member in her profession and community, Mosby has served in a number of leadership positions on several committees and boards. She is a member of the Links Incorporated; the Peer Review Committee of the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission; and has served on the Judicial Nomination Committee for the Monumental Bar Association, as well as the Criminal Justice Committee for the Baltimore City Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Mosby is a member of the Association for Prosecuting Attorney’s (APA), and was an integral contributor to the APA’s reform proposals provided in the 21st Century Principles of Prosecution of Peace Officers. In 2016, Mosby revealed her own police accountability reform proposals with the APA’s support.
Mosby has received numerous professional and community awards, accolades and recognition, some of which include receiving the prestigious 2016 Newsmaker of the Year Award by The National Newspaper Publishers Association; being named the 2015 Junius W. Williams Young Lawyer of the Year by the National Bar Association; and receiving the Woman of Courage Award by the National Women’s Political Caucus. Additionally, Mosby was among the 2015 class of both The Root 100 and Ebony Magazine’s Power 100. She was named as one of the Baltimore Sun’s 50 Women to Watch twice, in 2013 and 2014; Baltimore Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 in 2014; and one of the Daily Record’s Leading Women in 2013.
Marilyn J. Mosby is married to Maryland State Delegate Nick J. Mosby, who represents the 40th Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates. They reside in West Baltimore and are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters. As a family, they worship at New Psalmist Baptist Church.
Aramis Donell Ayala receive a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, a Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law, and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.
Aramis was sworn in as the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida on January 3, 2017. Prior to her election as State Attorney, she served as an Assistant State Attorney, an Assistant Public Defender, a Civil Litigator, Adjunct Professor of Law, and Legal Analyst. She now manages 4 offices an administrative team, nearly 150 attorneys, sworn police investigators, victim advocates and hundreds of support staff.
Aramis has prosecuted and defended a range of criminal cases from Misdemeanors to Capital Felonies, including Sex Crimes, crimes against children, and Homicides. She has always recognized the dangers of Domestic Violence and other violent crime and has been devoted to ensuring safe and healthy communities.
Aramis’ commitment to safety is supported by her unwavering commitment to criminal justice reform, integrity and accountability. While often being recognized as the first Black State Attorney in Florida’s history, she is most focused on the impact her unique vision and perspective have for the citizens of Orange and Osceola Counties.
Since taking office, Aramis has been recognized by many local and national organizations, including the Central Florida Victim Services Network and Florida Parents of Murdered Children. She received the NAACP’s 2017 Civil Rights Champion of Justice Award and Equal Justice USA’s Leadership Award.
Aramis Ayala is the member of multiple local, State, and National Bar Associations and has served in various leadership positions within. She has been a member of The Florida Bar since 2003 (Board of Governors Ex-Officio (2012-2013), a member of the National Bar Association since (President- Florida Chapter (2012-2013), Regional Director (2012-2013), Chair- Pro Bono and Public Service Committee (2013-2014). She is a member of the Orange County Bar Association (Executive Council Ex Officio (2007-2008). She is also a Past President of two local Bar Associations.
As a cancer survivor who was less than 24 hours from death, while committed to justice, she always holds true to her core values- her faith, her health and her family. She looks forward to enjoying free time with her loving and most supportive husband, David and their 2 precious daughters.
Brian Middleton was born in Houston, Texas. He is married to Coretta Middleton and has three children. He is a 1990 graduate of Lamar High School in Houston, Texas. Mr. Middleton received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Houston in 1994. Mr. Middleton graduated from Thurgood Marshall School of Law with honors in 1997 and was licensed to practice law the same year.
Brian Middleton is the son of Bernard and Carolyn Middleton of Houston, Texas. His father is also an attorney. His father has practiced labor law for over 47 years. Brian M. Middleton has two siblings, Joseph Middleton and Tracy Middleton. Tracy Middleton is a lawyer and practices with Brian.
While in law school, Mr. Middleton was employed as a legal intern at the First Court of Appeals, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas under the supervision of Judge Calvin Botley.
Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Middleton began his legal career at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Habeas Corpus Division where he represented the Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Federal Court regarding lawsuits filed by Texas inmates. Thereafter, Mr. Middleton was employed as a briefing attorney for Judge Morris Overstreet at the Texas Court of Criminal of Appeals, as an assistant district attorney at the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, and as an associate attorney for the Barrett, Burke, Wilson, Castle, Daffin, & Frappier Law Firm.
Mr. Middleton established the Middleton Law Firm in 2003 and practiced in the areas of criminal law, civil litigation, bankruptcy, and appeals.
Mr. Middleton was also employed as a municipal prosecutor for the City of Meadows Place, City of Wallis, and the City of Jersey Village. Mr. Middleton was also employed as a judge for the City of Jacinto City and an adjunct professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey has spent most of her professional life as a prosecutor, manager and executive in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. On Dec. 3, 2012, she was sworn in as the 42nd District Attorney. She was re-elected four years later without opposition.
Her top priority is keeping the streets of Los Angeles County safe from violent and dangerous criminals. She is committed to safeguarding our children from human sex traffickers, our seniors from financial elder abuse and our communities from environmental crimes that threaten our health and our livelihood.
District Attorney Lacey has worked with business leaders on how best to protect consumers from computer network intrusions that jeopardize our bank accounts and credit ratings. She also remains committed to prosecuting government officials who violate the public’s trust.
A Los Angeles native and graduate of the University of Southern California Law School, District Attorney Lacey leads the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation, with a workforce of approximately 1,000 lawyers, 300 investigators and 800 support staff employees.
She is the first woman and first African-American to serve as Los Angeles County District Attorney since the office was established in 1850.
Driven by a spirit of public service, Keith E. Gammage is the Solicitor General for Fulton County, Georgia’s largest and most populous county. The Solicitor General’s Office prosecutes misdemeanor cases and violations of the county code in both the State and Magistrate Court. These include crimes such as simple battery, cruelty to children, driving under the influence, stalking, elder abuse, criminal trespass, and animal cruelty. Solicitor General Gammage believes the most important role of a prosecutor is to truly seek justice, which often means finding alternatives to incarceration such as using the law to encourage education and job skills. Mr. Gammage has been recognized for his work in reducing the school to prison pipeline, and has been a trail blazer in working to reduce domestic violence, elder abuse, and high school drop-out rates.
Prior to taking office, Mr. Gammage served for several years as Chief Assistant Solicitor General, first in command under the elected Solicitor General, in a major metropolitan Atlanta county. Solicitor General Gammage is a proven leader who has maintained an active caseload and has achieved greater than a ninety percent conviction rate over the course of his career as a prosecutor. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Mr. Gammage served as an Assistant Public Defender in Fulton County where he zealously protected the constitutional rights of thousands of Georgians. Excelling as both a defense attorney and prosecutor has afforded Mr. Gammage a unique perspective into criminal justice reform and forged his approach to “Smart, Fair and Restorative Justice,” a rallying call in his 2016 victory at the polls.
Solicitor General Gammage is a native of Atlanta and graduated from Woodland High School (now known as Tri-Cities High School). Mr. Gammage earned both his undergraduate and law degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is happily married and is an active member of his church.
As the Solicitor-General of DeKalb County, Donna Coleman-Stribling is proud to be your partner in crime prevention. Solicitor-General Coleman-Stribling’s office is responsible for the prosecution of the more than 13,000 misdemeanor crimes in DeKalb County. These cases include domestic violence, elder abuse, cruelty to children, vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, harassment and stalking, trespassing and animal cruelty. Under the leadership of Solicitor-General Coleman-Stribling, the office focuses on pursuing justice by being victim-centered and community oriented.
In addition to prosecuting misdemeanors, her office is responsible for all county ordinance violations in our community. After working closely with DeKalb County’s Code Enforcement, she immediately recognized the need to focus on blight and abatement affecting DeKalb County citizens. She addressed these issues by creating the Quality of Life Unit in 2017. The new unit has been tasked to work closely with Code Enforcement and Magistrate Court to remedy residential blight.
Prior to serving as the Solicitor-General, she served the citizens of DeKalb County as the Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney over the Crimes Against Children Unit, where she managed more than 400 cases annually. She has also practiced in the civil arena. She was a partner at Johnson, Coleman and Stephenson, LLC., and a principal in the Coleman-Stribling Law Group, where she represented clients in a variety of civil and criminal matters. In addition to her extensive trial and management experience, Solicitor-General Coleman-Stribling has substantial training experience. This veteran prosecutor has participated in a variety of seminars ranging from the prosecution of child abuse cases to effective trial techniques where she has presented to lawyers, law enforcement and other professionals. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law and Southern Polytechnic State University, where she taught litigation techniques and business law courses.
Solicitor-General Coleman-Stribling has a longstanding commitment to DeKalb County and the legal community. She is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Committee to Promote Inclusion in the Profession, the Gate City Bar Association, the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), the DeKalb Lawyers Association, the Lamar Inn of Court, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Columbia Drive United Methodist Church where she serves as Young Adult Ministry Chair.
She is an alumnus of Leadership DeKalb. When Leadership DeKalb recognized our community needed a program to cultivate the next generation of leaders in DeKalb County, they created a program called Emerging Leaders of DeKalb. The organization recognized Solicitor-General Coleman-Stribling’s commitment to our community and appointed her as co-chair of the new program.
While in office she began Dancing with the DeKalb Stars, A Domestic Violence Awareness Fundraiser and Resource Expo, which invites notable members of the DeKalb County community to compete for a chance at becoming dancing champion while raising money for local domestic violence non-profit organizations. Her team also started the Stop Teen Dating Violence Public Service Announcement Contest, an annual competition that allows DeKalb County high school juniors and seniors to submit a 1-minute PSA for a chance to win a prom prize package and an opportunity to have their work air on a local television station.
Solicitor-General Coleman-Stribling received her undergraduate degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Emory University School of Law and was distinguished as Order of the Advocate. This daughter of DeKalb has deep roots in the county. She is proud to have matriculated through the DeKalb County School System, ultimately graduating from Southwest DeKalb High School. She is committed to building a better, safer DeKalb.
Darius Pattillo was elected to serve as Henry County’s District Attorney in November 2016. He was sworn in and took office on Jan. 3, 2017.
Pattillo has more than 14 years of experience as a prosecutor with the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. He spent the latter part of his career serving as Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney of DeKalb’s juvenile division, where he supervised a team of lawyers, investigators, and other staff, as well as prosecuted major felony cases.
In addition to working to keep the region safe, Pattillo has remained committed to mentoring youth as a high school mock trial coach, college criminal justice instructor and volunteer at his alma mater Therrell High School in Atlanta.
In 2009, he received DeKalb County’s Assistant District Attorney of the Year Award, recognizing his success in the courtroom, as well as his level of professionalism and ethics. Georgia Trend Magazine named Pattillo one of Georgia’s “Best and Brightest under the age of 40” in 2010.
Holmes received two B.A. degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia. She earned her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
After law school, Holmes worked as a public defender in Maryland. She moved to Cobb County and practiced under the Law Office of Joyette Holmes. She ran for election to the Cobb County Traffic Court in 2012 with four other candidates but did not win the position. She then served as a prosecutor for District Attorney D. Victor Reynolds and Solicitor Barry Morgan, and was appointed to the Cobb County Magistrate Court in 2015.
Letita “Tish” James
Letitia “Tish” James is the 67th Attorney General for the State of New York. With decades of work, she is an experienced attorney and public servant with a long record of accomplishments. She is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected Attorney General.
In 2013, Ms. James was elected Public Advocate for the City of New York and became the first woman of color to hold citywide office. As Public Advocate, Ms. James served as a watchdog over New York City government agencies and as an advocate for the City’s most vulnerable communities. She transformed the Public Advocate’s office to be a formidable engine for change.
Her office handled over 32,000 constituent complaints and passed more legislation than all previous Public Advocates combined, including a groundbreaking law that banned questions about salary history from the employment process to address the pervasive gender wage gap. Ms. James successfully took on the gun industry by pushing New York City’s largest pension fund to divest from gun and ammunition retailers. She fought in court on behalf of children and families on issues including children in foster care, children with disabilities, and tenant protection. New Yorkers overwhelmingly elected Tish James to a second term as Public Advocate in November 2017.
Prior to serving as Public Advocate, Tish James represented the 35th Council District in Brooklyn in the New York City Council for ten years. As a Council Member, she passed the Safe Housing Act, legislation that forced landlords to improve living conditions for tenants in New York City’s worst buildings. She helped uncover the corruption behind the Office of Payroll Administration’s CityTime contract, a scheme that cost New York City over $600 million. She also pushed through a revolutionary recycling package that included expanding plastic recycling, a new clothing and textile recycling program, and increased access to recycling in public spaces.
Before her election to the City Council, Tish James served as head of the Brooklyn Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. She resolved hundreds of consumer complaints and investigated predatory lenders who preyed on first-time homebuyers. She assisted the Civil Rights Bureau in its investigation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy and cracked down on firms engaged in deceptive business practices including violations of human rights, environmental laws, and scams targeting immigrants.
Tish James began her career as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society. A proud Brooklynite, she is a graduate of Lehman College and Howard University School of Law.
Darcel Denise Clark
Darcel Denise Clark became the 13th District Attorney for Bronx County on January 1, 2016. She is the first woman in that position and the first African-American woman to be elected a District Attorney in New York State.
District Attorney Clark’s mission is “Pursuing Justice with Integrity,” and in fulfilling that mission she has restructured the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to reflect 21stCentury prosecution, focusing on fairness to defendants, assistance for victims, crime prevention and community outreach. She enacted the Vertical Prosecution model, created a Conviction Integrity Unit, a Professional Responsibility Bureau, a Public Integrity Unit, and established a Rikers Island Prosecution Bureau to decrease violence and corruption in the jails.
District Attorney Clark pioneered initiatives such as the Overdose Avoidance and Recovery Program that diverts low-level offenders at risk of opioid overdose directly into treatment, and Bronx Community Justice, which involves “circles” of community volunteers who resolve petty crimes with offenders outside of the criminal justice system.
Prior to her election, District Attorney Clark served as an Associate Justice for the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department; a NYS Supreme Court Justice in Bronx County; and
a Criminal Court Judge in Bronx and New York Counties. She spent more than 16 years on the bench.
District Attorney Clark is a lifelong Bronx, New York resident, raised in public housing and educated in public schools. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Boston College, where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, and earned her law degree at the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
District Attorney Clark returned home in 1986 to begin her legal career at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. She prosecuted drug felonies, violent crimes and homicides. District Attorney Clark served as a Supervising ADA in the Narcotics Bureau and the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Court Bureau. In 1999, she left the Office for her first judicial post.
District Attorney Clark is a Vice President of the National District Attorneys Association and a Board member of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York. She is also a member of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence. She frequently addresses national and local legal organizations, including the American Bar Association, the National Black Prosecutors Association and the New York State and New York City Bar Associations, on a range of criminal justice topics.
Marilyn Hite Ross
Marilyn Hite Ross was appointed the 18th State’s Attorney of Winnebago County, Illinois on November 20, 2018. She is the first woman and first African American to hold this position. Prior to her appointment Marilyn Hite Ross served as Chief of the Criminal Bureau for Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joseph P. Bruscato in Rockford, Illinois. In 2009, shortly after her appointment, she established a unit within the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office that is dedicated to prosecuting child death cases and child sexual assault cases. She has served for the past 15 years as an adjunct Professor at Concordia University in Beloit Wisconsin where she teaches Constitutional Law, Business Law, Administrative Law, Criminal Justice Liability Law, and Criminal Law and Procedure She previously served as an assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County where she prosecuted major cases including capital murder cases. She is a member of the National Black Prosecutor’s Bar Association. She is also a member of the Illinois Prosecutor’s Bar Association and served as past Vice President for the Second Appellate Judicial District. She currently serves as the President of the Carrie Lynn Center Board, Winnebago County’s Child Advocacy Center.
Spencer B. Merriweather III
Spencer B. Merriweather III was sworn into office as District Attorney in 2017 after Governor Cooper appointed him to serve in the previous DA’s vacated seat. He won the 2018 primary election and ran unopposed in the 2018 general election. Prior to becoming DA, he served for more than a decade as an Assistant District Attorney. He sought justice for homicide victims, supervised the Habitual Felon Team, prosecuted sexual assaults and worked in Drug Treatment Courts to help offenders confront addictions. Since taking office, DA Merriweather has removed financial barriers that prevented some defendants from participating in deferred prosecution, created prosecution teams to target violent crimes and support domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, and helped lead the charge for a family justice center in Mecklenburg County. DA Merriweather is a champion for boosting recruitment of attorneys from underrepresented communities, and for years has been engaged in Charlotte’s Community Building Initiative. He is a Board Member for Safe Alliance, which serves survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and a member of the National Association of Black Prosecutors. DA Merriweather earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. He and his wife live in Charlotte.
John Creuzot is a retired Judge and an award-winning lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the criminal justice system, including more than 21 years as a Felony District Court Judge. His background also includes seven years of service as a Dallas County Assistant District Attorney and Chief Felony Prosecutor as well as a criminal defense lawyer while in private practice. In addition to his trusted service on both sides of the bench, Creuzot has earned a national reputation for his innovative work on drug courts, criminal justice reform and evidence-based sentencing. He regularly appears in the news and on television as an expert on these and other criminal justice topics. He has lectured and taught courses at
the National Drug Court Institute, the National Judicial College, and the National Center for State Courts. He has also presented at several national training conferences for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, and has taught drug court teams from across the country. Creuzot has lectured and directed seminars for the Texas Center for the Judiciary, the Texas Bar Association, and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
After his retirement from the judiciary, Dallas County honored Creuzot by renaming its drug treatment facility the Judge John C. Creuzot Judicial Treatment Center in May of 2013. The center provides an intensive residential program as an alternative to incarceration for Dallas County probationers. The facility is coordinated with the Dallas Community Supervision and Corrections Department and the Dallas County Courts. The center works to ensure successful substance abuse treatment and reintegration into the community. It also offers education and skills training and job search assistance to probationers, and education and counseling for family members.
David’s commitment to labor and community justice were developed at a young age. On October 26, 1969, P. David Soares was born in Brava, Cape Verde, an island off the coast of West Africa. He is the youngest of five children born to Lucas and Lidia Soares. When David was six years old, his family moved to the United States and settled in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where his father found a vocation as a carpenter, and his mother worked at the local mill.
David witnessed the struggles of his parents as they did their best to provide for their family. His fathers union – Local 1196 IBEW – was instrumental in ensuring their family received a fair wage for the labor Lucas Soares provided as a mill worker. David has continued to support and honor the work of union labor by unionizing the investigators in his office to ensure they were being fairly compensated for their hard work and by prosecuting individuals who attempt to cheat workers out of payments they rightfully deserve.
The work ethic instilled in David by his parents became the foundation of his career. David worked his way through Cornell University, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. After Cornell, David attended Albany Law School and received his law degree in 1999. As he had at Cornell University, David worked his way through Albany Law School working at the Albany Airport Authority, Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, AIDS Law Clinic and the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. He also interned at the District Attorney’s Office, where he eventually became an Assistant District Attorney and Albany County’s first Community Prosecutor.
Since taking office, David has been the proud recipient of several recognition awards, including the Whitney M. Young Community Partner Awardand being recognized as a Top Ten Animal Defender of 2015 from the National Animal Legal Defense Fund.
David is a proud father and remains active in his community as a mentor by teaching students throughout Albany County about Acts of Kindness through the office’s WORDS Program, Clean Slate initiative, and also through his service as a board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany.
District Attorney Diana Becton has spent most of her professional career as a judge, lawyer, and manager. On September 17, 2017, she was sworn in as the 25th District Attorney for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Becton leads a prosecutorial office of approximately 200 lawyers, investigators, and staff. She is the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Contra Costa District Attorney since the office was established in 1850.
Before holding office, District Attorney Becton served for 22 years as a judge in Contra Costa County, where she was elected as Presiding Judge. She is the Immediate Past President of the National Association of Women Judges, the nation’s leading voice for women in the judiciary. She currently serves as the Chair of the State Bar Council on Access and Fairness.
A native of California she is a product of Oakland public schools and a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law. Most recently, District Attorney Becton earned a Masters of Theological Studies at Pacific School of Religion (2015).
District Attorney Becton serves as a frequent lecturer and panelist, and she continues to participate in many community outreach activities. She convened “Clean Slate Day” helping individuals to clean up their criminal records. In 2015, the Judge served as Co-Chair of the “Know Your Rights” Youth Symposium for West Contra Costa County, as part of a national dialogue to educate youth in our communities, and to open the lines of communication between youth and law enforcement. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Law Academy at De Anza High School in Richmond, CA, and she convenes “Get Your House in Order”, a program that assists elders and seniors. She serves on the Board of Directors for Castlemont High School Alumni Association, and also frequently mentored students who visited her courtroom. District Attorney Becton has two adult sons.
Greg Edwards is the District Attorney for the Dougherty Judicial Circuit after being elected in 2008. He was re-elected without opposition in 2012 and 2016. He is the first African-American to serve as the District Attorney for Albany. Edwards has practiced law since 1983. His legal career began with the Georgia Legal Services Program in 1984. In 1989 he entered private practice and in 1990 he was appointed as an Assistant District Attorney; he served as the Chief Assistant District Attorney beginning in 1995 and he has also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. A 1979 graduate of Albany State University, Edwards received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Political Science. He earned his law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in 1983. He is a 1989 graduate of Leadership Albany and a 2003 graduate of Leadership Georgia. He serves presently on the Board of Governors of the Georgia Bar Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Albany Civil Rights Institute, he serves as the Co-chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Hines Memorial CME Church of Albany. He is a member of the Albany Rotary Club and the Criterion Club of Albany. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Georgia District of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He has served with the Albany-Dougherty affiliate of Communities in Schools and the Albany Advocacy Resource Center (ARC) and among many distinguished honors, he is the recipient of the Dedicated Board Member Service award for the ARC. Greg Edwards is a member of the Lawyer’s Foundation of Georgia. He is a past president of the Dougherty Circuit Bar Association. He is a past president of the C.B. King Bar Association and has been a member of the Georgia Alliance of African American Attorneys. He is a member of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, and he has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Legal Services Program. He has also served as an instructor for the National College of District Attorneys at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, SC. In July 2006 he was named the Georgia State Prosecuting Attorney Council’s “Assistant District Attorney of the Year”. He was selected from among over 1200 prosecutors in the state who were eligible to receive this annual recognition and was its first African-American recipient. As a result of high peer recognition and professional achievement, he was also named a Georgia “Super Lawyer” for 2006-2007 by Atlanta Magazine. He also received the 2007 Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Community Service Award. In May 2008 he received the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee’s “Eagle Award” as an advocate for the rights of victims within the judicial system. In January 2010 he received the Albany Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration “Dream Award for Community Service” and in March 2011 he was presented with the “Ruth T. Kimbrough Distinguished Service Award” for community service by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. In 2012 he was presented with the “Edward A. Freeman” award as an outstanding alumnus of Leadership Albany. He served as the President of the District Attorney’s Association of Georgia for 2014-2015. In March 2016, he was as its first recipient, presented with the “Mattie S. Hill Service Award” as a continuing partner in community service by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. He is married to Regina, formerly Regina Boyd of Macon, who is a self-employed cosmetologist, and they have one son, Gregory W. Edwards, Jr.
Aisha N. Braveboy
Aisha N. Braveboy is the State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County. Aisha, daughter of an immigrant from Grenada, is an accomplished lawyer with nearly two decades of legal and legislative experience. Prior to being elected as State’s Attorney, she served as the Manager of Government Affairs for Children’s National Health System. Aisha was also Of Counsel with Gabriel J. Christian and Associates, where she represented clients in criminal and civil matters. In addition, Aisha, for over 15 years, served as General Counsel for the Community Public Awareness Council (C-PAC), a community-based juvenile diversionary program that has successfully diverted over 4,000 students from the criminal justice system.
In 2006, Braveboy was elected to represent the 25th Legislative District in the Maryland General Assembly. As a Delegate, Aisha was appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve as Chair of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee. She was elected by her peers to serve as Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, where she guided the 44-member organization on a wide range of policy issues including parity for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, reducing mass incarceration, enhancing tools to prosecute rapists, increasing opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses, and reducing health disparities in our State.
As a lawyer, Aisha was recognized as a rising star by SuperLawyers Magazine and received both the Legal Excellence and Community Service awards from the J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association and the President’s Award from the National Bar Association.
Aisha has provided substantial pro bono legal representation to members of the Prince George’s County community. In 2015, Aisha represented Teamsters facing the closure of a major supermarket distribution center in the County. Through her efforts, more than 700 jobs were saved.
Additionally, Braveboy has also fought for homeowners who were victimized by their lenders and facing foreclosure, seniors subject to financial abuse from their housing cooperative, and a same-sex couple who faced discrimination from their neighborhood association. In another case, she saved a historic African-American home that was moments away from being demolished.
A proud product of Prince George’s County Public Schools, Aisha graduated from Largo High School. She went to the University of Maryland in College Park, where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government and Politics. She also received her Juris Decorate from Howard University Law School.
Aisha is a member of the Sanctuary at Kingdom Square and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Kym L. Worthy
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy received her undergraduate degree in economics and political science from the University of Michigan, and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law. In 1984, she began her legal career at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and in 1989, she became the first African-American selected by the office as a Special Assignment Prosecutor. She specialized in high profile murder cases, including the prosecution of Toni Cato Riggs (convicted of the murder of her husband, a returning Gulf War Veteran) and of two Detroit Police Officers convicted in the beating death of motorist Malice Green.
In 1994, Worthy was elected to the Detroit Recorder’s Court (now the Wayne County Circuit Court). During the next nine years, she presided over hundreds of serious felony cases and was re-elected to the court twice by overwhelming margins. As a judge, she served on numerous court committees and sat on the Board of Directors for the Wayne County Criminal Advocacy Program, which provides training and continuing legal education for felony trial attorneys. She was on the faculty of the Michigan Judicial Institute, which trains new judges, and was President of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan from 2001-2002. Worthy was also a Master of the Bench for the American Inns of Court, a member of the Wolverine Bar Association, and a member of the Michigan Judges Association. In the fall of 2007, the State Bar of Michigan conferred the prestigious Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award upon Worthy, recognizing her many career achievements, including the many innovative programs and new units that she has created in her role as the Wayne County Prosecutor.
On January 6, 2004, Worthy came full circle in her career and returned to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, this time as the Wayne County Prosecutor, the first African American and the first female to hold the position. She had declared her candidacy for the office for the November 2004 election. These plans were accelerated when the incumbent resigned and she was appointed by a majority of the Wayne County Circuit Court Judges.
In 2008, Worthy charged and successfully prosecuted ex-Mayor of Detroit Kwame M. Kilpatrick and his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty. The case garnered national and international press coverage. She has been widely acknowledged for her courage and integrity in charging a case that could have negatively impacted her political career. As a result of this case, Worthy has received the following awards and honors: Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Award; Southfield-Lathrup Optimist Club Public Servant of the Year; Detroit Free Press Renaissance Hero; Radio One Newsmaker of the Year; Channel 7 Spotlight on the News Newsmaker of the Year; Spirit of Detroit Award; Crain’s Most Powerful Attorneys; MADD Outstanding Service Award; CLEO Legacy Public Service Award and Crain’s Women to Watch Award.
Worthy has been a persistent advocate for witnesses who risk their lives to come to court and testify. Due to her tireless advocacy, the Wayne County Commission awarded funds solely to be used to protect witnesses. This important allotment continues today.
Worthy has used her prosecutorial experience to greatly enhance the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. She created the first Elder Abuse Unit in the history of the office. This unit handles all cases involving elderly and vulnerable adults, and focuses on the unique needs of senior citizens when they are victims of crime.
Appalled by the degree of gun violence in Detroit, Worthy conceived and implemented a “Change the Culture” initiative that focuses on educational training and community policing in an effort to reduce gun violence. The first public forum, held on January 25, 2004 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, drew over 3,000 citizens, church and civic leaders.
Worthy has been an adjunct professor of criminal law at the University of Detroit/Mercy and has lectured at Harvard Law School, the University of Notre Dame Law School, Wayne State University Law School and the Universite des Sciences Sociales in Toulouse, France. She has lectured for the National College of District Attorneys, the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, and the Detroit Police Department.
Worthy is working on resolving a massive backlog of unprocessed rape kits in Detroit. In 2009, one of her assistants discovered a large number of rape kits sitting in a warehouse that the Detroit Police Department used as an overflow storage facility for evidence. It was determined that 11,341 rape kits had been sitting in the warehouse, unprocessed, for a decade or more. She is currently featured in the HBO documentary I AM EVIDENCE, produced by Mariska Hargitay, that examines the rape kit crisis around the country.
Recognizing that “service is the rent we pay for living”, Worthy is active in The United Way, The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, The Lead Poisoning Task Force of Michigan, the Optimist Club, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She created the Alexandra Simone Fund for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Henry Ford Hospital in memory of her deceased daughter. The fund provides services to the parents of prematurely born infants. An advocate for all children, she frequently speaks out about the need for fostering and adoption of children who do not have a permanent home. Worthy was named one of “America’s Best and Brightest” by two nationally-circulated magazines, and has received over 100 other awards and honors for her public service and community leadership. She is a sought-after motivational speaker for youth, civic, and church organizations.
Brenda F. Mitchell
Brenda F. Mitchell is a native of the Mississippi Delta and a graduate of Gentry High School in Indianola, Mississippi. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Public Administration Degree from The University of Mississippi and she received a Juris Doctorate Degree from Mississippi College School of Law. Brenda was elected District Attorney for the Eleventh Circuit Court District in 2011 after being appointed and serving as Interim District Attorney in 2010. She is the first African American and first female to serve as District Attorney in the Eleventh Circuit Court District.
Before serving as District Attorney, Brenda served as an Assistant District Attorney for 15 years in the district. She has handled all aspects of criminal prosecutions, including presentation of cases to the Grand Jury, pleas, trials, sentencing and post-conviction hearings. Brenda has tried and won numerous cases ranging from capital murder, aggravated assault, felony DUI and burglary of a dwelling to name a few. With the assistance of her exceptional staff and prosecution team, Brenda strives for justice for the victims of felony crimes in the district.
Brenda has received numerous hours of training in Capital Murder Litigation and other felony criminal prosecutions. She worked as Staff Attorney in the Cleveland and Clarksdale offices of North Mississippi Rural Legal Services and as Legal Consultant for the Center for Constitutional Rights (presently called the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights) in Greenville, Mississippi.
Brenda has received countless awards for her service in the community. She is a member of the Mississippi Prosecutors Association, where she serves on the Legislative Committee. Additionally, she is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association and the Bolivar County Bar Association.
Robert Shuler Smith
District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and graduated from Forrest Hill High School and Tougaloo College. District Attorney Smith attended Saint Louis University School of Law in St Louis, Missouri graduating in 1996 with a Juris Doctor degree and was admitted to the Mississippi State Bar in September 1996. District Attorney Smith is licensed to practice law in all Courts in the State of Mississippi, including the Supreme Court of Mississippi as well as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
District Attorney Smith is a member of numerous professional and community organizations including the Mississippi Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Central Mississippi Health Services, INC. He consistently gives back to his community as a member of the West Jackson Community Development Corporation and as a volunteer mentor for Jackson Public Schools.
On January 7, 2008, Robert Shuler Smith was Sworn in as the District Attorney for Hinds County, Mississippi and re-elected in 2012.
W. Dewayne Richardson
W. Dewayne Richardson is the District Attorney for the Fourth Circuit Court District of Mississippi. He was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta in Indianola, Mississippi by two lifelong educators and community leaders John and Annie Richardson. He holds a bachelors degree in Political Science from Tougaloo College and a Juris Doctorate degree from Mississippi College School of Law both in Jackson, MS. As Richardson’s track record attests, he has always believed in the administration of justice, seeking strict punishments for those who violate the law. Richardson’s office continuously supports the rights of Victims in the Fourth District and the entire State of Mississippi. Dewayne Richardson joined the District Attorney’s office in 2003 as an Assistant District Attorney for the Fourth District. Dewayne immediately jumped into the prosecution of crimes ranging from drug offenses to capital murder. In 2005 Richardson began and has represented law enforcement agencies in the seizing and collection of property and currency that were the products of illegal drug trafficking.
Since joining the office he has prosecuted thousands of cases including trying many of those to verdict. Of the thousands prosecuted, Dewayne has been responsible for prosecuting hundreds of homicide cases including crimes of manslaughter, murder, and capital murder. A couple of the more memorable cases include State vs. King Young Brown, Jr. and State vs. Benjamin Roberson. The Brown case was one where the then 15 year-old Brown was convicted of attempting to rape and in the process killing his 6 year-old victim to whom was also his neighbor. The victim’s body was found days after her family reported her missing wrapped in trash bags in Brown’s family garbage can. Brown is serving a 50-year sentence. The Roberson trial stemmed from the report of a 15 year-old girl of her violent rape by a veteran of the local police department. In that trial the details were brought to light how Roberson detained the victim for truancy violations but instead of booking her into jail violently raped her on the hood of his patrol unit in the freezing rain. Roberson received the maximum sentence upon his conviction.
In 2007, at 30 years of age, Richardson became the District Attorney elect for the Fourth Circuit Court District. He was one of the youngest district attorneys ever in the State of Mississippi. Dewayne is one of twenty-two District Attorneys in Mississippi and his district includes Washington, Sunflower and LeFlore counties. Along with the help of a stellar prosecution team and support staff the Fourth Circuit Court District Attorney’s Office has constantly fought for and carried the torch for victims and their rights in the Mississippi Delta.
He is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Bar Association, Washington and Sunflower County Bar Associations. Dewayne was a member of the Attorney General’s Crime Lab Task Force Board and he formerly served as President for 2012-2013 for the Mississippi Prosecutors Association. Dewayne was the first black president for the Mississippi Prosecutors Association which is an organization that advocates and lobbies on behalf of all city, county, and state prosecutors in Mississippi. He has been a member of the board of directors for the Mississippi Prosecutors Association since 2007. Dewayne is also a member of the Raspberry Men’s Club and the 100 Black Men of the Mississippi Delta where he currently serves as Vice-President.
Dewayne is a lifelong member of St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church in Indianola, Mississippi. He is married to Dr. Lakeisha Richardson and together they have three beautiful children: one son Damion, and two daughters Alexis and Kennedy.
La Bravia J. Jenkins
Ms. Jenkins has been a resident of the Fredericksburg area for 30 years, and has served as the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Fredericksburg since 2008.
As a constitutional officer, Ms. Jenkins leads seven staff attorneys, eight support staff members, and oversees the Victim Witness Program, together prosecuting more than 2500 felony and misdemeanor cases annually. She is also responsible for policy making, budgeting, outreach, and advocacy both locally and statewide.
The Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s Attorney is not merely a figurehead, but also an active lawyer, prosecuting felonies, misdemeanors, and limited civil matters in the name of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Ms. Jenkins has personally prosecuted over 100 jury trials during her career. Her work has netted life sentences for convicted murderers in numerous cases.
Recipient of the Robert F. Horan award for her leadership in the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, recognition as one of Virginia’s Leaders in the Law, and President Elect of the Fredericksburg Area Bar Association, Jenkins is respected by peers and opponents as a serious, ethical, and fair prosecutor.
Jenkins is a graduate of the George Mason University School of Law, and Columbia College, Chicago. She lives with her husband and two dogs in the Village of Idlewild. Her adult children live and work in Richmond and Northern Virginia.
Howard E. Gwynn
Howard was born and raised in the city of Newport News. With the help and guidance of many people, most notably Flora Crittenden, he graduated as the Valedictorian in the 1970 class of George W. Carver High School.
Howard continued his education at Dartmouth where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1974. In 1977, he received his law degree from the University of Michigan.
As an attorney, Howard has worked for the Department of the Interior, the U. S. Customs Service, and in private practice. However, in 1982, he found his true calling when he began work as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Newport News. Howard was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney in 1990.
Howard is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the Newport News Bar, as well as the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula and the Achievable Dream School.
Throughout his life, Howard’s mother always said, “The rent that you pay for the blessing of life is service”. He spends every day trying to live by those words.
Gregory D. Underwood
The Honorable Gregory D. Underwood is a Norfolk citizen and leader dedicated to the work of the City and the Commonwealth. Greg is the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney, a position he’s held since March 2009, when he was elected in a Special Election to complete the term of the previous Commonwealth’s Attorney who accepted a judgeship. Greg was then re-elected in the November 2009 General Election to a full, 4-year term. The Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney is one of the largest and busiest prosecutors’ offices in the state and it’s an Office Greg knows quite well. He first joined the Office in August 1990 as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney and worked for 4 years before leaving for the private practice of law and work as a criminal defense attorney for 3 years. In March 1997, Greg returned to criminal prosecution as a Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in the Office of the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney. He stayed there until June 2001 when he returned to Norfolk as a Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney. Greg grew up in North Carolina – graduating Magna Cum Laude from Fayetteville State University in 1980 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. It was following high school and during and after his college years that Greg proudly served in the United States Air Force as an Aircraft Electrician, Reserve Officer Training Corps, and Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander. Greg graduated from law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1987. As a result of his time at U-N-C Chapel Hill, Greg is a big fan of the Tar Heels, especially the men’s basketball team. He and his wife, Gracie, are members of Second Calvary Baptist Church. He also enjoys fishing and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
On February 10, 2015, Stephanie Morales was the first woman to be elected Commonwealth’s Attorney in Portsmouth, VA after which, she immediately created sustainable programming aimed at reforming the criminal justice system that has been embraced by the community. She was re-elected in November of 2017 and will have served for four years as of February 2019. She has committed her office to a community prosecution model focused on ensuring the community is safe and procedurally just.
A month after taking office in 2015, Stephanie formed her “Ctrl+Alt+Del Program” under which she has held dialogue and taught effective re-entry strategies in seminars held in the community and inside state prisons and has helped reduce recidivism by working with incarcerated citizens and citizens who have re-entered into the community to restore their voting rights and help them become productive community members. It is uncommon for prosecutors to work with the incarcerated population who will soon re-enter into our communities but Commonwealth’s Attorney Morales firmly believes that if the prosecutor’s office supports those working to stay on the right track there is no reason others in the community will not do the same, leading to more effective re-entry and to the overall success of all citizens in our communities.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Morales has mentored over 150 students under her program called the “Future Leaders Initiative” which was established in March of 2015. Under this program young people from elementary school all the way through law school are afforded the opportunity to shadow, intern or fellow in the office after which they earn the title of “Junior Commonwealth’s Attorney.” This program was formed to ensure a positive relationship is formed with the city’s youth in hopes that they will consider careers in its criminal justice system. Commonwealth’s Attorney Morales is a firm believer that the system functions best when people of it and who respect and love its people are at its helm and her efforts are for the purpose of creating a better criminal justice system by developing its future leaders early. To further extend youth engagement and to keep students on the right track, Commonwealth’s Attorney Morales and her team formed the “Social Media by the Statutes” program where her team enters the public schools and engages students with scenarios that teach them how their behaviors online and through technology can affect them legally and permanently.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Morales strives to advocate daily for those who can’t fight for themselves including working to address our mental health crisis in the criminal justice system and also to disrupt implicit bias in prosecution. She works daily to ensure the community is engaged with her office and constantly informed on what is happening in the justice system.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Links, Inc., an appointee to the Virginia State Child Fatality Review Team and is a national board member of the Local Progress Organization. Most importantly she is a fierce advocate for justice and a wife and mother of four children. She is proud to work for the community where she was born and raised as a true public servant.
Ismael R. Ozanne
Ismael Ozanne is a lifelong resident of Madison, Wisconsin. He attended St. James elementary and middle school and graduated from Madison West High School in 1989. He earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Political Science and graduated from UW Madison in 1994. While an undergrad, he played varsity soccer for the Badgers men’s soccer team, worked as an Assembly Page for the Wisconsin State Legislature, and staffed the Joint Committee on Finance. During summers, he was a tutor at Madison East High School for the Madison Metropolitan School District’s summer school program.
Ozanne received his Juris Doctorate from the UW Madison Law School in 1998. While in law school, he interned with the Legal Assistance for Institutionalized Persons (LAIP) at the Oxford Federal Prison, the Appellate Project (the start of the Innocence Project of today), and the Prosecution Project, which placed him in the Dane County District Attorney’s Office.
In the summer of 1998, Ozanne was hired as an Assistant District Attorney by DA Diane Nicks. Ozanne has prosecuted cases ranging from civil traffic OWI 1st to First Degree Intentional Homicides. He handled felony and misdemeanor domestic violence cases for almost eight years before moving to a felony drug caseload. He was an executive board member for the Assistant State Prosecutor’s union (ASP), a member of the bargaining committee, and a union representative for the DA’s Office.
In February of 2008, Governor Doyle appointed Ozanne to be the Executive Assistant for the Department of Corrections (DOC), the largest cabinet agency in the state, with a budget of $1.2 billion, 10,000 employees, 20,000 adult inmates, 70,000 adults on community supervision, and wards of the juvenile system. Ozanne worked on the DOC’s budget, the DOC’s response to racial disparities, and Act 28 sentencing reforms. In July 2009, Governor Doyle appointed Ozanne to be the Deputy Secretary of the DOC, where he was in charge of daily operations.
On August 1, 2010, Governor Doyle appointed Ozanne to be the Dane County District Attorney, due to DA Blanchard being elected as a Court of Appeals judge. Notably, Ozanne is the first African American District Attorney in Wisconsin’s history.
Alisha Adams Johnson
Johnson has worked with the Rockdale County District Attorney’s Office for more than 12 years, beginning as an intern during her third year of law school at Georgia State University. Johnson received her undergraduate degree from Spelman College.
Johnson was named an assistant district attorney in Rockdale following graduation from law school, initially working on misdemeanor crimes in State Court. She was later promoted to prosecute felony cases, ranging from theft to murder, in Superior Court.
In his resignation letter to Gov. Deal in October, Read recommended that Johnson be appointed to fill the remaining year of his term of office. Read stated that he was confident of the abilities of his staff.
“I believe that the judicial structure of Rockdale County, as a whole, is as strong as it has ever been and that the current employees of the Rockdale County District Attorney’s Office are exceptional, experienced and more than capable, in my absence, of continuing to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Rockdale County,” Read said in his resignation letter.
Johnson is a member of the 2018 class of Leadership Rockdale. She is married to Ashanti Johnson and the mother of three young children.
Omeeka P. Loggins
Omeeka P. Loggins has lived in Augusta, Georgia for over 10 years, with her husband and son. She is a member of New Life Church in Augusta. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2000 and obtained her Master’s degree from Troy University in 2002. In 2009, she received her Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She then joined the Fulcher Hagler Law Firm where she concentrated on litigation matters, including professional liability, insurance defense, and family law. In 2012, she became an Assistant Public Defender for the Augusta Judicial Circuit, where she continued to practice until going back into private practice in 2014 with the Law Offices of Tanya D. Jeffords.
She began her solo practice as the Law Office of Omeeka P. Loggins in 2015 where she practiced criminal defense, family law, juvenile law and probate law. She has tried both civil and criminal cases and practiced in State Court, Superior Court and Federal Court.
Prior to practicing law, Omeeka worked for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice as a Training Coordinator and counselor. She also served as a Juvenile Arbitrator for the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, a program designed to divert first-time non-violent offenders from the formal justice system. In 2008, she received the Lawyers Selected Profession Fellowship from the American Association of University Women.
In January of 2016, Omeeka was installed as the first African-American President of the Augusta Bar Association. She has also held several other offices of the Augusta Bar Association, including Law Day Chair. She is a member of the National Bar Association and the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. Outside of her professional career, Omeeka has been actively involved in the community. She serves on several boards, including Dream Builders of America’s Youth, Inc., Golden Harvest Food Bank, and Kiwanis Club of Augusta. She is also an active member of the Junior League of Augusta, Georgia, Inc. and the Zeta Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
She is currently serving as the Solicitor General for Richmond County.
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