Lisa Monet Wayne has been appointed to serve as executive director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). (Courtesy Photo)

By Deborah Bailey
Special to the AFRO

Veteran State and Federal Trial Lawyer, Lisa Monet Wayne has been appointed to serve as executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) headquartered in Washington, D.C. 

Wayne, who served as past president of NACDL, a network television legal analyst and former Colorado State Public Defenders, is an attorney in private practice who has successfully litigated serious felonies, violent crime and complex white collar cases involving mortgage and medical fraud. 

Wayne is the recipient of the organization’s most prestigious honor, the Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award, Wayne has already supported the organization in numerous service capacities and will also serve as the Director of the organization’s related foundation, The National Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ). 

“After many years in the courtroom, I am committed to redressing the injustices of the criminal legal system including the legacy of systemic racism and discrimination against the poor,” Wayne stated. 

“I have fought in the courts and taught in the classroom and am ready to translate these experiences into service of our colleagues and clients. I look forward to joining forces with all those who appreciate the need for profound reform including the many excellent reform-oriented organizations in the trenches,” Wayne added. 

Wayne’s peers have been quick to acknowledge that representation matters with respect to advocacy for criminal defendants.  “In addition to an outstanding career of fighting for justice as a criminal defense lawyer, bar leader, reform advocate and educator, Lisa brings her lived experience as a Black woman to this important post,” said Rick Jones, NACDL past president and executive director and CEO of the Neighborhood Defender Service, Inc. (NDS). 


 “Lisa’s long and successful history of engagement, commitment, and leadership in the nation’s criminal defense bar and criminal legal system reform movement speaks for itself,” said. I am confident that NACDL under Lisa’s leadership as Executive Director will thrive.” said Barry Scheck, NACDL past president and co-Founder and director of the Innocence Project. 

The NACDL was founded in 1958 to identify inequities within the criminal justice system and address systemic racism within the system so that all criminal defense attorneys are “equipped to serve all accused persons at the highest level,” according to the organization’s website. The organization’s 10,000 members represent 28 countries, and an additional 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations.  NACDL attorneys include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges

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