Profile: xavier.amador

Dr. Xavier Amador is an internationally renowned clinical psychologist and leader in his field. As a forensic psychologist, Dr. Amador has worked on many infamous cases, including that of Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Jared Loughner , Wanda Barzee (the Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping), Zacarias Moussaoui (the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker), PFC Lynndie England (Abu Ghraib prison scandal) and the 9/11 conspirator cases at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has worked on over 50 death penalty cases in the US, most of which never reached the international headlines. His expertise has been called upon by government, industry and the broadcast and print media where he has appeared as a frequent expert for CNN, ABC News, NBC News, NBC Today Show Fox News Channel, CBS 60 Minutes, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Cosmo, Wall Street Journal and many other national and international news outlets. His work as a leading individual, family, child and couplesí therapist has been featured on PBS NOVA, ABC Prime Time Live, and NBC Bravo where he has been filmed doing psychotherapy with couples and individuals. He is the author of many popular books including I am Right, Youíre Wrong, Now What?; I am Not Sick, I Donít Need Help!; When Someone You Love is Depressed: How to help without losing yourself; and Being Single in a Couplesí World: How to be happily Single and Open to Love. Dr. Amador draws on thirty years of experience as a therapist, his personal story, and solid research when giving advice. Dr. Amador is currently a Visiting Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York. For over two decades he also served as Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University and Professor of Psychology at New York University. Previously he was also the Director of Research, Education and Practice for the National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI), member of the Board of Directors, NAMI; member of the American Bar Associationís Task Force on Serious Mental Illness and the Death Penalty; and, Chair of the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Press, 2000). Dr. Amador is the founder of the LEAP Institute, which was originally developed to teach families, health professionals and responders how to better help people with mental illness. Today LEAP is also taught to defense attorneys, judges, and even couples, families and businesses to heal strained relationships and build strong partnerships. You can learn more about the LEAP Institute at




On March 18, 2017 - the 54th anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainright decision - NAPD published its Foundational Principleswhich are recommended to NAPD members and other persons and organizations interested in advancing the cause of equal justice for accused persons.  


On March 2, 2017, NAPD released its Statement on Reducing Demand For Public Defense: Alternatives to Traditional Prosecution Can Reduce Defender Workload, Save Money, and Reduce RecidivismThere are more than 2 million people in jail and prison in the United States. This is a four-fold increase since 1980. This increase and the racial disproportionality among incarcerated people has led to alliances across the political spectrum to address the impact on people and on budgets.  As the new Coalition for Public Safety has put it, “Our country has an ‘overcriminalization’ problem and an ‘overincarceration’ problem — and it’s getting worse." NAPD authored this statement because there is a great opportunity to make transformative changes that can improve justice and save money.  A variety of organizations representing a wide spectrum of political views have joined together to end the systematic problem of overcriminalization and narrow the net of incarceration by reforming criminal codes.