Profile: sarah.turberville

Sarah E. Turberville is Senior Counsel of the Criminal Justice Program at The Constitution Project in Washington, D.C. In this position, Sarah coordinates the organizationís public education and advocacy efforts with respect to a variety of matters relating to the criminal justice system - such as indigent defense, the death penalty, habeas corpus in state criminal cases, wrongful convictions, and sentencing. Previously, Sarah worked for over five years as the Director of the American Bar Associationís Death Penalty Due Process Review Project and has also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, teaching a course on the death penalty. She previously worked as an assistant public defender for the State of Maryland, representing indigent defendants at trial and on special dockets for clients raising issues of competency to stand trial and lack of criminal responsibility. Sarah represented individuals wrongfully incarcerated during and after Hurricane Katrina and she also served as a law clerk to the defense bar in the Hague, assisting in the representation of members of the Kosova Liberation Army before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Sarah is a graduate of Tulane Law School and is a member of the Maryland Bar.




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.