NATIONAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE COLLEGE FACULTY
Melanie Foote is the Education & Strategic Planning Branch Manager for the Department of Public Advocacy. Melanie joined the Education and Strategic Planning Branch of the Department of Public Advocacy in 2015. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego and her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. She is a member of New York and Kentucky State Bars, and has been practicing in Kentucky since she joined the Adult Post Conviction Branch of the Department of Public Advocacy in 2007. While in the Post-Conviction,
Melanie represented adult clients on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, mistake in the proceedings, and claims of actual innocence. In that role, she secured the release and exoneration of Mr. Jason Girts, who had been wrongfully convicted based on false statements made by the child complaining witness.
In 2009, she joined the Kentucky Innocence Project to work exclusively on DNA based claims of actual innocence, and assisted several clients to prove their innocence through DNA testing. At the completion of the DNA Grant in 2010, she began representing clients in district, circuit, juvenile and family court in the Elizabethtown and LaGrange Trial Offices. While at the Elizabethtown Trial Office, Melanie had the pleasure of representing Mr. Jose Padilla after his case was vacated and remanded by the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Padilla’s charges were ultimately dismissed after a period of deferred prosecution, allowing him to remain in the United States. In 2017, Melanie secured a new trial for and the release of Mr. Norman Graham, who was wrongfully convicted of a 1980 rape and murder. All charges were dropped and Mr. Graham was fully exonerated in December of 2019.
Melanie regularly trains public defender litigators in Kentucky and nationwide. She also assists with community education on issues related to public defense.
Recent Teaching History