'Spit and Paint' Guided Art Class
Wed, September 27, 2023

On September 27, 2023, Mitigation Specialists Maria Diaz Sommer and Marisela Perez along with some participants of New Haven and Bridgeport Support Court participated in a ‘Spit and Paint’ guided art class with a special guest poet at NXT HVN in New Haven.  The art class was sponsored by New Haven’s Department of Arts and Culture in collaboration with Next Level EMPOWERMENT Program, founded by Ray Boyd. 

West Hartford's Pride Fest
Sat, June 17, 2023

Ann Marie Hager participated in West Hartford's Pride Fest on June 17, 2023. With celebration and resources, the Federal Defender Office attended this event to promote diversity and inclusion in recruitment efforts, efforts made by our office to promote fair, impartial, and equal administration of justice, and to promote community outreach, including upcoming summer 2023 outreach opportunities.

Future Law Enforcement Youth Academy (FLEYA)

Mon, July 17, 2023 & Wed, July 19, 2023

On July 17, 2023, Assistant Federal Defender Will Madden attended a “Q&A” session at Yale Law School with 30 high school students participating in a week-long law enforcement and legal training overnight camp organized by the FBI’s New Haven office and the Yale University Police Department.  The purpose of the discussion was to help the students prepare for a mock sentencing exercise.  On July 19, 2023, the students delivered their sentencing arguments in a live courtroom setting before a federal judge, with Will and a federal prosecutor participating as coaches.

Warren W. Eginton Justice Institute

Mon. July 17, 2023 & Wed. July 19, 2023

First Assistant Federal Defender Kelly Barrett, Assistant Federal Defender Lillian Odongo, Assistant Federal Defender Allison Kahl, and Mitigation Specialist Marisela Perez attended panel discussions with about 25 high school students from across Connecticut as part of the week‑long WWE Summer Justice Institute organized by the Connecticut District Court. Lillian Odongo and Marisela Perez were on a panel, along with another member of the criminal defense community, moderated by Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector, that discussed criminal defense strategies. Kelly Barrett and Allison Kahl were part of a panel, along with a prosecutor in the district, moderated by Chief Judge Michael P. Shea, that discussed suppression hearings and strategies. The students were preparing for a mock trial competition at the conclusion of the week.

At the mock trial competition, the participants were divided into four teams. The finalist presented their case in front of Second Circuits Judges Joseph F. Bianco, Christopher F. Droney, and Maria Araújo Kahn. One of the winning participants was rising 12th grader Alina Sawwan of Newington High School. Alina is the daughter of Administrative Assistant Sandy Sawwan. Alina’s experience at the WWE Summer Justice camp has made her more dedicated to pursuing her career goals with-in the criminal justice field. She is grateful to all the encouragement received from all the panelist who spoke at the WWE Summer Justice and thanks them for taking the time out to speak to all 25 students.

U.S. District Court Peter C. Dorsey Intern Speaker Series
Fri, June 23, 2023

On June 22, 2023, First Assistant Federal Defender Kelly Barrett and Assistant Federal Defender Charles Willson spoke to the Court-wide internship program about working as a federal public defender.  On June 1, 2023 and July 20, 2023, First Assistant Federal Defender joined a panel with Magistrate Judge Thomas Farrish and representatives of the United States Attorney’s Office to discuss legal research and writing and on-campus recruiting with the interns.

Horace Mann School
Wed, May 24, 2023

First Assistant Federal Defender Kelly Barrett attended a panel discussion with a prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York with 50 students from the “Voices of Protest” class from the Horace Mann School in the Bronx, New York.  The panel discussed the federal criminal process system, including topics related to jury trials, sentencing, bail, mandatory minimums, mitigation, and the impact of mass incarceration.  

Saint Martin de Porres Academy
Wed, January 25, 2023

On January 25, 2023, members of the DEIJ Outreach Subcommittee, including Kelly Barrett, Daniel Erwin, Allison Kahl, Aissa Lugo, and Kathi Torres, visited the St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, previous school to one of the Office’s clients. Saint Martin de Porres Academy is a faith-based, NativityMiguel middle school that provides a tuition-free, extended day education for underserved girls and boys from low-income families in the New Haven area.  The FDO delegation attended a morning meeting, attended a tour of the school, and met with the director and principal.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Saint Martin de Porres Academy. 

"Gateway to Practice” Seminar at Quinnipiac Law School
Tue, January 10, 2023

First Assistant Federal Defender Kelly Barrett attended the fifth annual “Gateway to Practice” seminar at Quinnipiac Law School on January 10, 2023.  She served as a practice advisor to a group of five students, teaching skills related to client interviewing, oral advocacy, and legal research.   The FDO is pleased to collaborate with Quinnipiac Law School to mentor students and serve as a host for student internships.

Habitat for Humanity
Wed, October 26, 2022

On October 26, 2022, Kelly Barrett, Maria Sommer, Carly Levenson and a delegation from the Bridgeport Support Court, including a federal judge, federal prosecutor, federal probation officer, and treatment provider, attending a Support Court participant’s community service project at Habitat for Humanity in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The delegation participated in a community build day at a home in Bridgeport.

Wed, November 23, 2022

On November 23, 2022, Kelly Barrett, Maria Sommer, Carly Levenson and a delegation from the Bridgeport Support Court, including a federal judge, federal prosecutor, federal probation officer, and treatment provider, attending a Support Court participant’s community service project at CCAR, which featured a giving tree event in honor of Le’chard Santos, a community meeting, and a community Thanksgiving meal.

Giving Tree Event
Thu, December 14, 2023

On December 15, 2022 and December 14, 2023, the Federal Defender Office hosted its “Giving Tree” event, a time for community, fellowship, and celebration among staff and clients alike. Featuring festive refreshments and a toy drive, the Office was thrilled to host off what has become a yearly tradition.

Quinnipiac University
Wed, November 30, 2022

On November 30, 2022, Mitigation Specialist Maria Diaz Sommer and First Assistant Federal Defender Kelly Barrett spoke to Professor Jim Buccini’s “College to Career” class at Quinnipiac University.  A yearly event, Maria and Kelly, spoke to students about the diversity of career opportunities availability within a federal public defender office.  They also spoke to students about the important work of federal pubic defenders, including with respect to DEIJ, zealous advocacy, the right to mitigation, and restorative justice.  

Danbury Federal Correctional Institution
Mon, November 28, 2022

On November 28, 2022, Assistant Federal Defender Carly Levenson traveled to Danbury Federal Correctional Institution with a delegation from the New Haven Reentry Court, including a federal judge, prosecutor, probation officer, and reentry coordinator.  Carly and the delegation toured the prison and presented information about Reentry Court to the men of Danbury.  Carly also had the opportunity to answer questions about a variety of topics, including the mission and work of the Federal Defender Office.

Walsh Middle School
Wed, December 20, 2023

On November 21, 2022 and December 20, 2023, in collaboration with the U.S. District Court, First Assistant Federal Defender Kelly Barrett participated in an educational outreach program at Walsh Middle School in Branford, Connecticut. Kelly, as well as a federal prosecutor and federal judge presented on a panel regarding the Adnan Syed case from the “Serial” Podcast. Students had the opportunity to ask questions about the operation of the federal criminal justice system, including on important topics like Brady violations, sentencing, and the right to a fair and impartial jury.