Profile: jon.rapping

Jonathan Rapping is the President and Founder of Gideonís Promise, an organization that has partnerships with public defender offices across 16 states in a collective effort to transform public defense in those jurisdictions. In 2014, Gideonís Promise began a partnership with Maryland, where Jon serves as the Director of Strategic Planning and Organizational Development with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. Jon is the Director of the Honors Program in Criminal Justice at Atlantaís John Marshall Law School, where he also teaches criminal law and criminal procedure. He is also a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School where he helps to run its prestigious Trial Advocacy Workshop. He is the former Training Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), an office nationally known for its training program. Following his tenure at PDS, in 2004 Jon became the first Training Director of Georgiaís new state-wide public defender system. In that capacity he was responsible for designing training programs for both legal and non-legal staff statewide. Jon then became the Director of Training and Recruitment for the Orleans Public Defenders, where he was integral in the efforts to rebuild the public defender system in post-Katrina New Orleans. In recognition of his work in New Orleans, he was a co-recipient of the prestigious Lincoln Leadership Award, given by Kentuckyís Department of Public Advocacy to honor leadership in national efforts to improve indigent defense. Jon has trained public defenders all over the country, and was awarded a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship to develop Gideonís Promise. In 2009, Jon was named a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow by the Harvard Law School Office of Public Interest in recognition of his contribution to the public interest through his work with the Gideonís Promise. In 2013 Jon and Gideonís Promise were awarded the Sentencing Project Award from the National Association of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists and the Gideonís Promise Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights. Also that year he was invited to serve as the Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School in recognition of his work with Gideonís Promise. In 2014, Gideonís Promise was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award by Emory University. Jon was named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow for his work with Gideonís Promise.




On December 28, 2016, NAPD published its Open Letter to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro for his prosecution of Orleans Public Defender investigator Taryn Blume. A bedrock principle of our criminal justice system is that every citizen accused by the government of a crime starts with the benefit of the doubt – with a presumption that they are in fact innocent.  That right becomes meaningless if we do not uphold the equally important right of every citizen-accused defense team who fights for her cause; who digs for evidence of her innocence; who exposes the government when it hides that evidence.  The legitimacy of our criminal justice system depends upon defense lawyers and defense investigators doing their jobs, and doing them well, without fear of reprisal from a prosecutor acting more like a bully than the champion of truth and justice he is supposed to be.


Last Chance to Register! The NAPD Executive Leadership Institute (ELI-2017) is almost full will will be held from 3:00 pm on April 2 through 11:45 am on April 5, 2017 at the Department of Public Advocacy training facility in Frankfort, KY. You can see more information and registration details HERE