Profile: sunwolf

Dr. SunWolf was Training Director for Colorado's Public Defender Office when she left to get her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, studying juries and persuasion. Two decades of trial work as a criminal defense attorney included a three-year stint in the appellate division. Her research has won numerous national awards, including her book, Practical Jury Dynamics2: From One Juror's Trial Perception to the Group's Decision-Making Processes, translating academic concepts of perception, group decision-making, and persuasion into practical trial tools. Now a social scientist and full professor at Santa Clara University, she teaches persuasion, group dynamics, interpersonal relationships, and jury law (as Visiting Professor the law school). Dr. SunWolf published the first communication theory based on jury deliberations (Decisional Regret Theory), which explains how deliberating jurors use counterfactual thinking to avoid anxiety about unwanted verdict outcomes. Her new book describes neuroscience and religious thinking of jurors: God-Thinking: Every Juror's Moral Brain (LexisNexis). As a public defender, she survived angry judges, misguided prosecutors, weird juries, and the most creative of clients.




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.