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Profile: travis.stearns

Travis Stearns is an advocate for the right to counsel for all disenfranchised persons. He has worked in public defense most of his career, currently with the Washington Appellate Project. A graduate of George Washington University Law School, he has worked as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society in New York City and for the Whatcom County Public Defender in Bellingham, Washington before working at the Washington Defender Association. He has also focused on training and substantive policy reform, having seen success in the appellate courts and with the legislature. He is a nationally recognized speaker on issues relating to leadership, trial advocacy, the right to counsel and the impact of criminal convictions. He has published articles in law school journals, primarily on issues relating to the impact of criminal convictions on reentry. He is an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law and a member of the Washington State Supreme Court's Minority and Justice Commission. He has been recognized by Seattle University School of Law for his work as a mentor and supervisor and by the Northwest Immigration Rights Project for his work redefining gross misdemeanor in Washington to 364 days.

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NAPD News

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.