Profile: matt.foley

Matt Foley has been the Chief Public Defender for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church since 2010. He joined the Office of the Public Defender in 2005 as a Deputy Public Defender, after thirteen years of private practice in Arlington County. He received his J.D. from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law in 1992. In 1989, he received a B.A. with academic distinction from Binghamton University, having majored in philosophy and minored in religious studies. He co-founded the Debate team while at Binghamton. Matt currently serves on the board of directors for the Arlington County Community foundation, Friends of Argus and Aurora House, the Virginia Criminal Justice Committee and the Arlington Mental Health Criminal Justice Review Committee. He periodically teaches a criminal law clinic for Catholic University, Columbus School of Law and frequently lectures and participates in panel discussions about the criminal justice system.




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.