NATIONAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE COLLEGE FACULTY
Training Director, Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy
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
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Fernando became a lawyer in January of 1983 because he lacked the size, speed and talent to be an NFL quarterback. In order to satisfy his insatiable desire to overcome unending adversity he became a criminal defense lawyer.
He was born in Havana, Cuba in 1955, raised in Louisiana and Wyoming. He graduated from Louisiana State University-Geaux Tigers- and later from the University of Denver College of Law in 1982. He started as a trial lawyer in the Denver trial office of the Colorado State Public Defender’s office in 1983 and spent a total of 25 years with them. He is now in private practice and teaches trial tactics around the US, Mexico, Chile, Cuba and Argentina. He has tried over 130 jury trials and more than 25 homicide trials. He is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College and is a member of the American College of trial lawyers.
Director of Training; Maryland Office of the Public Defender
Patrice Fulcher is the Director of Training for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD). She joined OPD in 2015, and is responsible for heading the Agency’s Gideon’s Promise Certified New Hire Attorney Training Program, and developing/managing all other public defender training curriculum for OPD’s attorneys and core staff throughout the state. Prior to becoming OPD’s Director of Training, Patrice was a tenured Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Her scholarship and other publications focus on issues surrounding the Prison Industrial Complex; private prisons, forced prison labor, and jail/prison video visitation. She has lectured extensively on these issues as well as the erosion of the 4th Amendment, client-centered representation, and effective storytelling techniques for defense attorneys throughout the U.S.
From 1995-2007, Patrice successfully represented indigent clients as a public defender in Georgia. She handled capital cases, major felonies, and fought against unconditional jail conditions. She did so while serving as a Senior Staff Attorney for the Georgia Capital Defender and the Fulton County Public Defender offices; as Senior Staff Attorney for the Fulton County Conflict Defender; and while working with the Southern Center for Human Rights.
Patrice has served as a Core Instructor for Gideon’s Promise, Inc. since its inception, and is a faculty member for the National Criminal Defense College. She has also been a litigation instructor for The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, The Kentucky Death Penalty Institute, The Mississippi Office of the State Public Defender Training Division, The National Association for Public Defense, The American Bar Association NACDL National Defender Training Program, The National Legal Aid & Defender Association, and is a faculty member of the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop. She received her J.D. from Emory University School of Law, and her B.A. from Howard University. Patrice is admitted to practice law in Georgia and Maryland.
Isaiah “Skip” Gant is a 1969 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and a 1974 graduate of its law school. He is currently an assistant Federal Public Defenders for the Middle District of TN, Nashville, TN. He previously worked as a staff attorney with the New York State Defender Association and as the director of the office’s Innocence Project. He spent over fifteen years in private practice on the Southside of Chicago, did a stint as the Chief of the Chicago Bureau of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, and an adjunct Professor at DePaul University Law School, thereafter, coming to Nashville as a staff attorney with the Capital Case Resource Center of Tennessee, specializing in capital litigation. He spent four years in Cambodia working for the International Human Rights Law Group’s Cambodian Defender Project (one year as its director), and as a United Nations consultant/mentor to the judges and prosecutors at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Cambodia. He is a past president of the Napier-Looby Bar Association and, is a Fellow of both the Napier-Looby and Nashville Bar Foundations
Director of Engagement; Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel
Shawna Mackey Geiger is the Director of Engagement for the Colorado Office of the Respondent Parents’ Counsel. Her focus is on supporting and improving family defenders in Colorado. Before moving to ORPC she was the Director of Training for the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Denver and was previously the Training Director for the Colorado Office of Alternate Defense Counsel. Prior to her role as a trainer, Ms. Geiger represented clients as a public defender as well as in private practice where she focused on indigent criminal and juvenile defense.
Ms. Geiger teaches trial advocacy, storytelling, persuasion, leadership and client communication skills across the country. Recently, she spends far less time in courtrooms with clients, but loves the time she spends in classrooms and conference rooms teaching lawyers to bring their clients’ stories to life in an effort to dismantle white supremacy, work toward systemic equity and justice, and uplift our defender communities to continue their valiant fight.
Recent Teaching History
Executive Director, Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington & Idaho
Andrea K. George is the Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho. She has held this position since 2012.
Ms. George began her legal career in 1989 as an Appellate Attorney with the Federal Defenders of Minnesota. In 1992 she became a trial attorney with that office and was eventually promoted to Senior Litigator. This year marks her thirtieth with the Federal Defender system. She is currently the President of the National Association of Federal Defenders and is a member of the Board of Regents for the National Criminal Defense College. Ms. George is on the faculty of NCDC and speaks regularly for the Federal Judicial Center and other Defender programs.
EDNC Federal Public Defender
Kyana Givens became a Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District of North Carolina in 2020 after being a Visiting Attorney Advisor, Defender Services Office, Training Division, from August 2018-December 2019. She previously served as a trial attorney at The Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington since 2009 and a state public defender with the King County Public Defender (TDA) in 2005. Ms. Givens has been committed to mentoring and teaching other defenders throughout her practice. As the Albert M. Sacks Fellow at Harvard Law School, Ms. Givens worked closely with Clinical Professors teaching and training in trial advocacy.
While at Harvard, she represented adult and juvenile clients being served by CJI and provided litigation support to Prof. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. on criminal and Civil Rights matters. Ms. Givens’ dedication to teaching and mentoring extends beyond the legal community. She has also taught Constitutional Law to undergraduate students at Seattle University. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law (Boston, MA), Ms. Givens earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Seattle Pacific University (Seattle, WA).
Ms. Givens is a faculty member at The National Criminal Defense College (NCDC) in Macon, Georgia, she is also on the Faculty for the Trial Skills Academy for Federal Defenders and she regularly speaks at CLEs about trials skills, emerging digital technology in criminal cases and unconscious bias.
She is the proud mother of two boys, her weakness is ice cream, and enjoys travel, camping, county fairs, and any sandy beach.
Recent Teaching History
Law Office of Andres R. Guevara
Andres R. Guevara has been a trial attorney since graduating from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1995. After stints with both the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Andres started his own law firm in 2007 specializing in criminal defense and trial cases. Out of his Denver office, Andres handles both private and court-appointed criminal work in various Colorado state courts (through the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (“ADC”)) and in federal courts (through the CJA Panel). Since starting his own law firm in 2007, Andres has handled and tried every type of criminal case, from misdemeanors to homicides, sex assaults, human trafficking, federal drug and gun cases, and large conspiracy cases. He has also handled post-conviction cases (including a current State death penalty case) and has presented oral arguments before both the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court.
Andres is a long-time instructor with ADC and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and has been on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College for the past four years. He has presented on different topics including closing arguments, direct examinations, cross-examinations, federal criminal law, trial practice, jury selection, and COCCA/RICO cases. Andres is also an author having published in the areas of federal law enforcement and marijuana laws. In his spare time, Andres teaches mock trial at a local high school.
Recent Teaching History
Partner, Harden & Pinckney
Executive Director, Federal Defenders of the Middle District of Georgia
Christina L. Hunt is the Executive Director for the Federal Defenders of the Middle District of Georgia, Inc. She has been with that office since 2010, and before joining that office, was Senior Litigator with the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho where she had worked for 14 years. This year, she also began teaching again at Mercer Law School where she teaches the Public Defender Extern Clinic.…Read More
Christina L. Hunt is the Executive Director for the Federal Defenders of the Middle District of Georgia, Inc. She has been with that office since 2010, and before joining that office, was Senior Litigator with the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho where she had worked for 14 years. This year, she also began teaching again at Mercer Law School where she teaches the Public Defender Extern Clinic.
A graduate of Furman University and Mercer University Law School, since 1985 Tina has devoted her career to representing indigent people accused of crimes and training those who represent them. She began her practice in Macon, GA as a private practitioner who specialized in criminal defense after she did one, just one, divorce case. She learned she far preferred the stories of those accused of crimes. After eleven years in Macon, she picked up everything and moved to the Eastern District of Washington to become a career federal defender. Before moving to Washington, Tina taught Trial Practice and Georgia Criminal Practice and Procedure at Mercer Law School and was the Associate Dean of the National Criminal Defense College. She served as a member of the National Criminal Defense College Board of Regents and Faculty, is on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Federal Defenders and is a member of the Training Expert Panel for the Federal Defender Offices. She has a wealth of training experience and has taught at the Western Trial Advocacy Institute, the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, the Georgia Institute of Trial Advocacy, the Federal Trial Skills Academy, the Colorado Alternate Defense Counsel Trial Skills program the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy Litigation Persuasion Institute, fondly known as Faubush, as well as at the New York State Defender’s Association. She taught trial advocacy at Gonzaga Law School in Spokane, WA and has spoken at numerous seminars around the country on trial skills, persuasive sentencing stories and storytelling.
Beyond learning from other lawyers, which is the real reason she agrees to speak at seminars, her true passions are her new husband, Steve, their blended family of two dogs, Winston and MaddieDog, who were both clients in their former lives. (Those who have met them agree). She and her husband also have a well-behaved cat, MaddieCat, who was obviously a public defender in a former life as she has managed to put up with two dogs who think she may be an appetizer.
Recent Teaching History
Attorney, Recht Kornfeld PC
Abe Hutt has been a criminal defense lawyer and NACDL member in Denver, Colorado since 1984. He is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College and since 2000 has taught at all of NCDC’s programs, including Advanced Cross-Examination, Theories, Themes and Storytelling, and each summer’s Trial Practice Institute. He has lectured around the country on trial tactics subjects, especially cross-examination and jury selection, as well as teaching courses on trial practice at the Law Schools of the University of Denver and the University of Colorado.
Abe has defended clients including sitting judges, elected district attorneys, and public defenders as well as the writer Hunter S. Thompson and innumerable lower profile people accused of serious crimes, from traffic offenses to capital murder. He has also represented attorneys, teachers, physicians, nurses, pilots, veterinarians, and dentists in disciplinary proceedings concerning their professional licenses.
Abe is a graduate of Harvard University (A.B. 1980) and the University of Southern California Law Center (J.D. 1984). He currently serves on the Colorado Supreme Court Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure and on the Colorado Legislature’s Interagency Task Force on Drunk and Impaired Driving. He is probably best known for his work in the area of DUI defense. He has authored numerous articles on the subject and served as an expert witness in the area as well. He is the only non-judge who is a contributing author to the Colorado County Court Judge’s DUI Benchbook and has written the DUI and Motor Vehicle Law section of The Colorado Bar Association’s Annual Update of Colorado Law since 1991.
Recent Teaching History