2019 Defender Highlights



It was a truly great year for the Defender Association of Philadelphia! In 2019, the hard work of our practice units, community partnerships, and other departments led to some major achievements and accomplishments! 
Here are some highlights:  


We welcomed a diverse and talented class of new attorneys…


Our work sparked a major dialogue on police accountability and “stop and frisk”  in the City of Philadelphia…
Marijuana smell from cars is the least of the Philadelphia Police Department’s problems | Editorial
They know this is a black guy here’: Police stops of black drivers are skyrocketing in Philadelphia
What happens when Philly police get body cameras — but don’t turn them on?


We launched our Pre-Entry Coalition with a successful event
at CCP…
READ MORE: Coalition aims to support people who are arrested


Our entire team won major victories for our clients–and for criminal justice reform!
READ MORE: Michael White Not Guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter in Rittenhouse Stabbing Trial
READ MORE: Pa. Supreme Court cites ‘egregious error,’ frees Philly man jailed by Meek Mill’s judge for probation violations


Our Adult Social Services team had their work included in two University of Pennsylvania textbooks!


Working with our community partners, we successfully crowdfunded a campaign to win a $100k Melinda R. Farrow Fund (of the Philadelphia Foundation) grant for Participatory Defense Hubs!
Philly Defenders on the way to a Phillies game, casting their votes for the Participatory Defense Hubs!



Nearly 50 Defender clients received assistance from the Hubs this year!


Defenders were all over the city, conducting expungement clinics and sharing information and resources with the community!


Our IT department made news for their outstanding work and leadership in digital forensics…
READ MORE: Imagine Being on Trial. With Exonerating Evidence Trapped on Your Phone.
READ MORE: Still scarce, Digital-Forensics Crawls into Public Defenders Offices


The Alternative Sentencing Unit had another busy and productive 2019, filing over 1,350 Early Termination Petitions and working to get early parole for eligible clients!
Alternative Sentencing Unit Director Byron Cotter with the latest New Leash on Life USA graduating class! These clients were paroled early into internships.


Our Children and Youth Justice (formerly Juvenile) Unit made a real difference this year, from establishing community office hours, joining a citywide task force dedicated to reducing placements in favor of supportive services, launching Project success, and so much more!


The Appeals Division continued its tradition of winning relief for clients who received unjust trials or sentences. Defender attorneys also won changes to the law in the PA Supreme Court! 
OPINION: JUSTICE DONOHUE. The issue presented in this case asks for a determination of what constitutes a permissible basis for a court to find an individual in violation of probation…
OPINION: JUSTICE TODD. The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine prohibits the admission of evidence at trial that was tainted byby unconstitutional actions by law enforcement officials…
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