Diann Rust-Tierney became the Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in 2004. She is an experienced non-profit manager with thirty years of public policy and litigation advocacy. She manages the operations of the organization and directs programs for the organization and its 100 affiliate organizations seeking to change public policy on the death penalty.
Previously, Rust-Tierney served as the Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Capital Punishment Project. Before that, she served as the Chief Legislative Counsel, and Associate Director of the Washington Office of the American Civil Liberties Union. There she supervised six senior legislative counsel and lobbyists and managed the civil rights and civil liberties legislative program. During her tenure at the ACLU, she was the lead advocate on capital punishment on Capitol Hill, coordinating a coalition of national organizations on the issue. She was also the lead lobbyist on a broad portfolio of issues ranging from criminal justice policy, women’s rights, civil rights and legislation to enhance and protect individual rights regardless of sexual orientation.
Prior to joining the staff at the ACLU, she engaged in litigation and public policy advocacy to advance the rights of women and girls at the National Women’s Law Center. Rust-Tierney received her undergraduate degree in political science from the College of Wooster in Ohio and her law degree from the University Of Maryland School Of Law.
Jeffrey D. Robinson
Jeffrey Robinson is Senior Counsel at Lewis Baach PLLC. During his career, Mr. Robinson has worked in areas where traditional law and litigation intersect with public policy and politics. Clients have called on him to litigate and try complex commercial and civil rights matters, respond to governmental and congressional investigations, develop legislative strategies, and address media inquiries. He has the expertise and experience of a litigator as well as those of a government affairs practitioner. An example of Mr. Robinson’s work at the intersection of law and politics is his work on behalf of Vice President Al Gore during the 2000 election Florida vote-count challenge. In addition to serving as trial counsel, he served as a media spokesman, making numerous appearances on behalf of the effort. While he was at LDF, Mr. Robinson continued his work at the intersection of law and policy. He was a leader in the successful effort to reform California’s Three Strikes law through a ballot initiative and played an important role in multiple legislative efforts including the inclusion of civil rights protections in the Affordable Care Act and criminal justice reform measures before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. In more traditional litigation areas, during his previous time at the firm, Mr. Robinson played a leading role, with his partner Eric Lewis, in obtaining a $1 billion judgment on behalf of the liquidators of the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) in a RICO action against a BCCI front man. He is an experienced civil rights litigator, trying and settling numerous cases, and was lead counsel in the case establishing that racially targeted predatory lending is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. A former Principal Deputy in the District of Columbia Office of Corporation Counsel (now Attorney General), Mr. Robinson has been active in litigation and other matters involving the District of Columbia government. He achieved a favorable settlement for a national health care services provider in the then largest health care fraud investigation conducted by the District of Columbia Inspector General and has represented senior District of Columbia officials in various investigations. Utilizing his experiences as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs and a Subcommittee Chief Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Robinson has represented numerous individuals in responding to inquiries from congressional investigating committees and played a major role in successful state and federal legislative effort on asbestos litigation reform.
Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, is internationally renowned for contributions on critical justice issues including the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1991. A graduate of Scripps College and Duke University School of Law, she continues to champion civil rights issues nationally and internationally in the areas of housing, fair lending, community development, employment voting, education and environmental justice. A prominent leader in the civil rights community, Ms. Arnwine also continues to fight for the preservation of affirmative action and diversity programs.
Ed Fichter is currently Vice President of Development with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. He was formerly the VP for Development and Communications with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Mr. Fichter has been credentialed as a Certified Fundraising Executive.
Chris Rutledge is the Program Manager of Income Impact Area at AARP Foundation and a former Development Director at the NCADP. He is a non-profit professional with over a decade of experience in all aspects of fundraising and more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Mr. Rutledge has institutional fundraising experience, including six- and seven-figure grants and gifts from foundations, the Federal Government, corporations, international bodies and labor unions. He also has had major gift success including five- and six-figure gifts. He has extensive program and volunteer managerial experience, including supervision of over 100 grantees and program sites around the nation.
Cecilia Garcia is a Senior Advisor at the Benton Foundation. Ms. Garcia first joined the Benton Foundation in 1997. She most recently served as executive director of Connect for Kids. Her broad range of experience includes work as a press secretary for a Member of the U.S House of Representatives. As communications director for a national Latino nonprofit organization, she worked to create greater avenues of access for the Latino community into the political process through leadership development programs, legislative conferences, a seven-site electronic town meeting and the creation of the organization's web site. Cecilia coordinated state outreach activities, developed teacher training models for classroom use, and worked on the CD-ROM version of "Chicano: History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement," a four-part PBS documentary produced by the National Latino Communication Center. She began her extensive career in communications producing and directing public and community affairs programming at WTVS, Detroit's public television station. Cecilia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayne State University in 1988. Affiliations: Media & Democracy Coalition Board of Directors, Foundation Center Advisory Committee, and Council on Foundations Film & Video Festival Task Force.
Steve Hall is the founding director of the StandDown Texas Project. He was chief of staff to the Attorney General of Texas from 1983-1991, and an administrator of the Texas Resource Center from 1993-1995. Mr. Hall has worked for the U.S. Congress and several Texas legislators. He has worked as a public affairs/public relations counselor for private industry, nonprofits, and political clients. Mr. Hall has served as communications director for two statewide political campaigns in Texas. He is a former journalist and a recipient of a Texas AP Broadcasters award for investigative reporting.
Veronica Jarrett is a financial operations specialist and sees her mission in the community as building financially strong organizations. She previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Food Bank for New York City where she was responsible for the organization’s fiscal oversight and financial administration. Prior to joining the Food Bank, Ms. Jarrett was the Chief Financial Officer of Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc. in Florida where she had oversight of risk management matters as well as the financial administration. She has more than twenty-six years of accounting and audit experience in the public accounting, government, private and non-profit industries and has served within the non-profit arena since 1999. Ms. Jarrett teaches budgeting, cash management and small business accounting through local community organizations and churches in New York, New Jersey and Florida.
Norman L. Reimer
Norman Reimer is the Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). NACDL is the preeminent organization in the United States advancing the mission of the nation’s criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for all and to advocate for rational and humane criminal justice policies. As executive director, Mr. Reimer leads a professional staff based in Washington, D.C. serving NACDL’s approximately 10,000 direct members and 90 local, state and international affiliate organizations with up to 40,000 members. Prior to assuming this position, Norman practiced law for 28 years, most recently at Gould Reimer Walsh Goffin Cohn LLP. A criminal defense lawyer throughout his career, with expertise in trial and appellate advocacy in both state and federal jurisdictions, Mr. Reimer is also a recognized leader of the organized bar, and a spokesperson in behalf of reform of the legal system.