Keisha Hudson Named Chief Defender

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]PHILADELPHIA--The Board of Directors of the Defender Association of Philadelphia is proud to announce the selection of Keisha Hudson as the new Chief Defender. 

“The Board’s decision to select Ms. Hudson followed an extensive national search,” said Defender Board President Paul Hetznecker, “With a proven record of collaborative leadership, public defender experience, and an extraordinary commitment to racial justice and criminal justice reform, Ms. Hudson is uniquely positioned to lead the Defender Association into the future.”  

Keisha Hudson spent nearly eighteen years as a public defender, first with the Defender Association of Philadelphia and then as a capital appellate defender with the Federal Defender-Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Capital Habeas Unit) representing people on death row in their state post-conviction and federal habeas appeals. As a seasoned trial and appellate defender, Ms. Hudson has an in-depth understanding of what it means to be a public defender. At the Capital Habeas Unit, Ms. Hudson was the Director of Training.  

In 2016, Ms. Hudson left the Federal Defender and joined the Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender Officer to become the Deputy Chief Defender. Ms. Hudson joined the Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender with the goal of building and strengthening advocacy in the courtroom. Along with former Chief Defender Dean Beer, Ms. Hudson addressed systemic issues regarding policing, pretrial detention, sentencing, and probation in the county. In four years, Chief Defender Dean Beer and Ms. Hudson built one of the best public defender offices in the state.

Last year, Ms. Hudson worked with The Justice Collaborative and The Appeal, developing and leading advocacy and media campaigns on criminal justice issues- specifically campaigns aimed at looking at creative and successful community alternatives that truly create public safety. From 2020 to the present Ms. Hudson has been a visiting professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. 

“The Defender Association is where my public defense career began,” said Ms. Hudson, “I am honored to have this opportunity to work with an incredible staff and the larger Philadelphia community in continuing the organization’s excellence in zealous advocacy and in pushing for much-needed changes to our criminal justice system.”

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