American Council of Chief Defenders

The American Council of Chief Defenders is a national community of public defense leaders dedicated to securing a fair justice system and ensuring high quality legal representation for people facing loss of life, freedom, or family. Its mission is to:

  • Train and support chief defenders
  • Speak as a national voice for public defense
  • Promote best practices in the leadership, management, and administration of justice
  • Support development and reform of public defense systems

ACCD is a practice section of NLADA. It draws from NLADA’s network of defenders to bring together chief and deputy chiefs of diverse indigent defense programs, including public defender offices, assigned counsel systems, and contract systems. ACCD members collaborate through a listserv and annual conferences.

ACCD makes its voice heard to public defense systems, policymakers, and the public through advocacy, position papers, and resolutions. Its most recent publications include:

ACCD Leadership

Steve Lipson
Public Defender
Ventura County Public Defender Office

Keir Bradford Grey
Vice Chair 
Chief Defender 
Defender Association of Philadelphia 

Avis Buchanan
Immediate Past Chair
Washington DC


Brendon Woods
Chair, National Voice
Public Defender
Alameda County Public Defender 

Michael Tobin
Director, Trial Division
Deputy State Public Defender
Wisconsin State Public Defender

Jim Bethke
Chair, Sys. Development
Executive Director
Texas Indigent Defense Commission

Rosalie Joy
City of Atlanta: Office of the Public Defender

Gary Pearlmutter
Coconino County Legal Defender's Office

Kira Fonteneau
Public Defender
Jefferson County Public Defender 

Hugh Ryan
General Counsel
South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense

Patton Adams
South Carolina


Please contact Defender Legal Services if you have any questions or are interested in becoming a member.