Mark Stanziano - We Have Lost a Warrior

"Mark Stanziano has been shot and killed outside his office."  Ed Monahan, Kentucky Public Advocate, called me and told me the news about 9:40 today, the 27th of June.  I was intending to write an article about NAPD's strategic planning.  That doesn't seem right now.  
"Mark Stanziano has been shot and killed outside his office."  Ed Monahan, Kentucky Public Advocate, called me and told me the news about 9:40 today, the 27th of June.  I was intending to write an article about NAPD's strategic planning.  That doesn't seem right now. 

Who was Mark?  He was a "prominent criminal defense lawyer" in Somerset, Kentucky.  That's what the "breaking news" from the Lexington Herald Leader says.  And that he was.  He was also a former public defender in Minnesota, a capital conflict public defender in Kentucky, and a man with a fierce hatred of injustice.  He was past-President of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense lawyers and life-long board member.

Public defender work didn't really suit Mark.  He was far too independent and out-spoken for that.  He didn't take to supervising people.  He didn't mince his words.  He didn't collaborate much with others when setting policy.  He mainly said his piece with a refreshing bluntness. 

Mark was at his best when his client's back was against the wall.  When a child drank poison from  table, left there during the meth making process, police and prosecutors screamed for blood against the dad.  Mark was there.  When a man was charged with shooting a local sheriff,  seemingly everyone called for the death penalty against the defendant.  Mark was there too.  Judges tried to hold Mark in contempt.  Prosecutors loathed (and respected) him.  Mark never walked away from a fight, and usually when he did walk away, his client was victorious. 

I think back to the last time I saw Mark, a few weeks ago.  I was at the Dayton trial practice institute run by Ira Mickenberg and co-sponsored by NAPD.  Mark regularly gave up a week each year to teach mostly Ohio public defenders in the art of trial practice.  I had taught with Mark many times at Faubush, Kentucky DPA's trial practice institute located not 50 miles from where he was shot down.  Mark was never stingy about sharing his skill, his art, his passion, with public defenders.    

We don't talk much anymore about public defenders being warriors.  Many would say the "warrior" criminal defense lawyer is a disappearing breed.  But today, I know, that we have indeed lost a warrior.



December 15, 2018: Registration is now open for NAPD's Spring Events:
  • Executive Leadership Insitute (Frankfort, KY)
  • Train the Trainer (Frankfort, KY)
  • "We the Defenders" Investigators Conference (Biloxi, MS)
  • "We the Defenders" Social Workers/Sentencing AdvocatesConference (Biloxi, MS)
  • Team Mitigation Institute (Atlanta, GA)
Click on Events Tab for more info and to register.

October 30, 2018: NAPD releases a video about its achievements over the 5 years since forming in November in 2013. This films was coordinated by NAPD Steering Committee Member and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and debuted at the Racial Justice Training and 5 Year Celebration in Baltimore, Maryland. You can watch the video HERE

July 1, 2018: General Registration opens for the “WE THE DEFENDERS” TRAINING CONFERENCE,  November 26-29, 2018, Indianapolis, IN

You can watch a video about the event HERE 

Due to overwhelming demand, NAPD will again offer this comprehensive Investigator and Social Worker/Sentencing Advocate training experience! The program will include one track for Investigators and a separate track for Social Worker/Sentencing Advocates.  Hear from nationally recognized experts who will share their knowledge on a wide range of topics relevant to the work you do each and every day.  Network with other criminal defense practitioners from around the country and find your tribe. 

January 23, 2018: In response to US Attorney General Jeff Session's reversal of prior policy on the imposition of fines and fees for criminal defendants, NAPD submitted the following letter on behalf of the public defender community. You can read the letter HERE