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Profile: derwyn.bunton

Derwyn Bunton is the Chief District Defender for Orleans Parish (New Orleans) Louisiana leading the Orleans Public Defenders Office (OPD). Prior to becoming Chief Defender, Derwyn was the Executive Director of Juvenile Regional Services (JRS). JRS is the first stand-alone juvenile defender office in the nation and the first non-profit law office devoted to juvenile justice reform and front-line juvenile representation. Derwyn is also the former Associate Director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), a nonprofit juvenile justice reform and advocacy organization. Derwyn graduated from New York University School of Law in 1998. From 2000 to 2005, Derwyn aided in monitoring the settlement agreement between the United States Department of Justice, the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, private plaintiffs and the State of Louisiana regarding Louisiana’s juvenile prisons. Derwyn was part of the litigation team that sued Louisiana over the conditions of its juvenile prisons. During Hurricane Katrina, Derwyn was part of a team of advocates and lawyers assisting the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections locate and reunite youth and adults evacuated to multiple DOC facilities across the state after being trapped by floodwaters in the Orleans Parish Prison in the wake of Katrina. In 2007, Derwyn was part of a team of lawyers representing the so-called Jena 6 in Jena, Louisiana. Originally charged with attempted murder, Derwyn’s client pled guilty to a misdemeanor and received 7 days probation. His conviction has since been expunged.

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NAPD News

April 16, 2017: 60 Minutes' Anderson Cooper features the Orleans Public Defenders and NAPD General Counsel in a substantive segment about public defenders' excessive workloads, pervasive injustice, and the obligation of defenders to resist the "conveyer belt" of mass-incarceration. You can watch the compelling segment HERE 
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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.  

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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.