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  • IPDC
  • Current: Board Election

2021 IPDC Board Election Candidates

Jennifer Sturges

Office Address: 132 E Washington St, Greensburg IN 47240

Number of years as PD: 7

County where candidate primarily provides public defense services:  Decatur

Candidate’s statement:

I have been practicing criminal defense work since October 2013, with my practice focused in Southeastern Indiana counties of Decatur, Franklin, Rush, and Ripley. I served as a felony PD for my first 4 years and now also serve as the juvenile defense attorney for Decatur County. This will be my third term on IPDC board, if elected. My commitment to access to justice also includes serving on the Board of Directors for Pro Bono Indiana, Inc. (civil indigent legal aid), and co-founder of Speranza, Inc. (Level III INARR certified women's recovery residence).

Sturges Photo

Denise L. Turner

Office Address: 333 N. Alabama Street, Suite 350, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Number of years as PD: 10

County where candidate primarily provides public defense services:  Lawrence

Candidate’s statement:

I appreciate the opportunity to be considered as a candidate for the Indiana Public Defender Council Board of Directors.  Now in my eleventh year of practice, I feel the call to public service just as much today as I did when I first graduated law school.  As an attorney and a woman of color, I feel it is my civic and moral responsibility to ensure that those in my community receive superior representation when faced with criminal charges.

I graduated from the George Washington University Law School in 2010 and began my law career as a public defender in Marion County.  For six years, I worked tirelessly fighting for the indigent and their rights.  Now in private practice, I work just as tirelessly, but as a part-time public defender in Lawrence County, and also as indigent appellate counsel in Shelby County. In addition to my service in state court, I am also a member of the federal CJA panel, accepting indigent appointments to those charged with federal crimes.

Because of my diverse practice and background, I would be a valuable asset to the Board. For the past 11 years, I have worked hard for my clients and feel that it is now time to also support my fellow public servants as well.  I am a firm believer in collaborative environments; learning from others; and utilizing the strengths of those around me, as well as my own, to achieve the best outcome for my clients.

Denise Turner

Jennifer Wilson Reagan

Office Address: P.O. Box 531, Greenwood, Indiana 46142

Number of years as PD: 10

County where candidate primarily provides public defense services:  Johnson

Candidate’s statement:

My name is Jennifer D. Wilson Reagan, and I would respectfully request consideration for the Indiana Public Defender Council Board of Directors. I have been a licensed attorney since 2011. All of my public defense work has been in Johnson County, which is a contract public defense county. I have worked in public defense since law school when I did almost two (2) years of certified internship under a public defender. Early in my law practice, I handled several CHINS public defense cases. I have also handled dozens of indigent appeals, and various domestic relations contempt appointments. I was awarded my first public defense contract in January 2015 in Greenwood City Court, which is a misdemeanor contract. I was awarded my second public defense contract in June 2019, which is a felony contract, in the Johnson Circuit Court.  I have been appointed on two (2) murder cases that went to jury trial and I was appointed on the subsequent appeals.

I have approximately ten (10) years of experience in public defense.  I understand the struggles and the benefits of being a contract public defender. I believe the biggest personal issue facing public defenders right now is the lack of benefits offered to public defenders. My kids and I have no health insurance because of my choice to serve as a contract public defender. I think that is an incredible injustice to public defenders.  I think the biggest professional issue facing public defenders right now is a lack of resources.  I know most contract public defenders must maintain private practices in order to make enough money to maintain their business overhead to keep their offices open, their technology operating, their staff paid, and make enough money at the end of the day to take care of their families. These are just a couple of examples of the problems I think are important to contract public defenders in Indiana today. I feel that I have the experience to represent contract public defenders on the IPDC Board.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent Indiana public defenders and try to help make things better for public defenders across the state.

Jennifer Wilson

Shaunda Colleen Lynch

Office Address: 3820 Oak Hill Road, Evansville, In 47711

Number of years as PD: 10

County where candidate primarily provides public defense services:  Knox

Candidate’s statement:

I have been a criminal practitioner for twenty (2) years, both as a Deputy Prosecutor, Chief Deputy Prosecutor and as Special Public Defender all over the State, and have had a part-time contract for Knox County, Indiana Superior Court No. 2 for two years now.  I am usually asked to take on high-level felony matters in counties where their existing Public Defender Bar does not have the requisite experience to 1st chair such matters, so I agree to be appointed as 1st chair and they appoint a 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) chair to train them and to get them qualified to accept such cases in the future. In this regard, I have the opportunity not only to help young lawyers to become better lawyers, but I have to opportunity to meet and connect with Prosecutors, Law Enforcement, and Judges from all over the State and help to build healthy working relationships with all. I teach for, or have taught for ICLEF; NBI; Evansville Bar Association; US Lawshield on a variety of criminal topics and am also a member of the Federal CJI panel of Public Defenders. I love being a leader in my industry, but more than that I love working with people and helping them to become better versions of themselves, most particularly my clients.

Shaunda Lynch

Ashley Spolarich

Office Address: 111 N. 4th Street, Lafayette, Indiana

Number of years as PD: 10

County where candidate primarily provides public defense services:  Tippecanoe

Candidate’s statement:

I have dedicated my legal career to indigent defense.  I obtained my law degree from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2011, where I was the leader of the Public Interest Law Foundation.  After graduation, I accepted a job at the Marion County Public Defender Agency.  There, I worked my way from misdemeanor court to major felony.  In 2014, I won the Emery Award, an award given to one attorney per year for their commitment to indigent defense at the Agency.

I transitioned my practice to the Tippecanoe County Public Defender’s Office in 2016. This experience in two jurisdictions, plus my residence in Montgomery County, provides me with an understanding of the challenges facing areas with different populations and varying methods of providing indigent defense.

I desire to be a continued part of the team that works through our current challenges in order to best serve our clients.

First, I will work to engage public defenders all over Indiana with the legislative process.  I had the honor of testifying in favor of HB 1006 regarding the changes in drug laws in 2014’s comprehensive criminal code revision.  Statewide involvement in the legislative process is essential, as each jurisdiction has unique needs that must be met in order for their clients to receive the best possible representation.

Second, COVID-19 exposed multiple problems with the criminal justice system in Indiana. Though often unrecognized for our efforts, we still met with clients, worked with them to have them released from custody, and attended in-person hearings. We must keep the positive lessons that we learned from the past year and apply them to future challenges.

My goal in running for the Board of Directors is to listen to the needs of our public defenders all over the State of Indiana and be responsive to your issues. Thank you for your time.

Ashley Spolarich

Mario Massillamany

Office Address: 11650 Lantern Road, Suite 204, Fishers IN 46038

Number of years as PD: 7-8 years

County where candidate primarily provides public defense services:  Hamilton

Candidate’s statement:

The Indiana Public Defender Council is a great asset for public defenders around the State of Indiana.  Many public defenders do not know all of the tools and resources that are provided by the Council when helping indigent clients have competent and effective representation.  Indigent clients have vast challenges as they navigation through the criminal justice system. While the Indiana Public Defender Council has done a great job to help public defenders, there is more work to be done.

My unique set of skills and experience, would allow me to be an effective IPDC Board of Director.  As a former major felony prosecutor, I have tried a variation of cases from traffic infractions to murder trials.  Additionally, as a former Statehouse lobbyist, I crafted bills and have testified for and against them.  My law partner, Chris Jeter, and a number of my colleges and friends are state legislators. Often, they will contact me to discuss criminal code and criminal justice reform issues that are presented at the Statehouse.  Lastly, upon opening my law firm, I have spent years as a defense attorney that has handled cases in over 50 counties throughout the state. I have seen the wide range of punishment for the same crime and the vast range of tools and resources available to public defenders in those counties.

I believe these skills would assist the Board as we look to revise the criminal code, obtaining more funding and help train our public defenders thought out the state.  I would appreciate your support for IPDC Board of Directors.

Mario