Leadership

 

Board of Directors 

David Lein, President, Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody

Jennifer Brevorka, Rusty Hardin & Associates LLP

Erich Fritz, Lower Colorado River Authority

Allison Hartry, The Morales Firm

Karima Maloney, Smyser Kaplan & Veselka LLP

Andrea Marsh, University of Texas School of Law

Affiliations listed for identification only

 

Rebecca Bernhardt

Executive Director

Rebecca Bernhardt is a criminal justice reform leader with a wealth of experience in legislative policy-making, litigation, and local advocacy. Before joining TFDP, she spent four years with Texas Defender Service, working to ensure that individuals facing a death sentence received effective legal counsel and a fair trial. She helped draft and pass Texas’s 2013 criminal discovery reforms known as the Michael Morton Act, and advocated for successful reforms of Texas prosecutorial accountability system. While serving as Policy Director for ACLU of Texas, she helped defeat legislation that would have expanded DNA testing of pre-trial arrestees and increased local law enforcement arrest powers and wiretap authority.

As a litigator, Rebecca has represented defendants targeted in racially motivated drug stings and farm workers fighting to receive fair pay and decent working conditions. She has also published advocacy reports on the need for policing to focus on community safety rather than on generating arrest numbers by targeting low-level drug offenders.

Rebecca is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Yale Law School. After graduating from law school, she clerked for the Honorable William Wayne Justice, Senior U.S. District Judge of the Eastern District of Texas.

Susanne Pringle

Legal Director

Susanne Pringle represents TFDP clients in civil rights litigation, leads TFDP’s amicus practice, and is a lead author on TFDP advocacy materials and reports. She also heads TFDP’s pro bono program. Susanne has a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, an M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Texas, and a B.A. from Rice University. She came to TFDP in 2012 from the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, where she worked on issues including home ownership preservation and bankruptcy. Prior to law school, she worked on juvenile justice issues at the Youth Advocacy Foundation in Massachusetts. She represented juveniles in criminal justice and special education proceedings in clinics while in law school. Susanne has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for juveniles in child protection proceedings.

Emily Gerrick

Staff Attorney

Emily GerrickEmily Gerrick focuses on TFDP’s Criminal Justice Debt Initiative. Through litigation and legislative advocacy, she works to reduce court costs and stop jurisdictions from incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay fees and fines. Emily joined TFDP as a Liman Fellow in 2014. Her past experiences include providing direct legal assistance to prisoners in long-term solitary confinement, drafting motions and writs in federal criminal cases, and investigating inhumane conditions in Alabama, Connecticut, and Texas prisons.

Emily is a graduate of Yale Law School and the University of California at Los Angeles. In law school, she was a member of the Capital Punishment Clinic, the student-director of the Detention and Human Rights Clinic, and a convener of the Criminal Justice Theory and Practice Workshop.

Karly Jo Dixon

Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by the Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern

Karly head shotKarly Jo Dixon is a 2016-2018 Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by the Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern.  Her project focuses on TFDP’s Criminal Justice Debt Initiative. Through direct representation, community education and advocacy, she works to stop jurisdictions from incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay their Class C tickets and related fees.  Her past experiences include providing direct legal assistance to individuals facing criminal misdemeanor charges in Travis County, drafting federal and state habeas corpus claims for individuals on death row in Texas, and giving “Know Your Rights” trainings to community groups as a member and co-founder of the Austin People’s Legal Collective.

Karly is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas School of Law.  In law school, she was a member of the Capital Punishment Clinic, the Criminal Defense Clinic, served as the Executive Editor and Submissions Manager for the American Journal of Criminal Law, was the Treasurer for the Public Interest Law Association, and co-founded Getting Radical in the South (GRITS) a student-run conference on progressive lawyering in the South.

Tricia Forbes

Deputy Director of Planning and Partnerships

Tricia head shot

Tricia Forbes is TFDP’s Deputy Director of Planning and Partnerships. She oversees resource development, communications, and strategic planning. Tricia has worked in the nonprofit sector for 25 years as an executive director, board member, and organizational development consultant. She cofounded the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and served as the director of the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable and has held leadership positions as the executive director of the SIMS Foundation, development director of Communities In Schools of Central Texas, and Director of Grassroots Advocacy of the American Heart Association’s Texas chapter. Tricia has an MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration on management, planning, and community practice, as well as a BA from Salem College.

Annette Price

Intake Specialist

Annette Price manages TFDP’s intake program. She conducts telephone interviews with individuals who contact TFDP by phone or through the website. She reviews correspondence from individuals in jail or prison and ensures that they receive prompt responses. She assists in analyzing each individual’s legal needs and provides brief advice and referrals, under the supervision of an attorney. Annette has an MS in Professional Counseling and an MS in Substance Counseling, both from Grand Canyon University. Before joining TFDP, she managed care for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

 

Andrea Marsh

Founder

Andrea Marsh is an experienced civil rights lawyer and expert on the right to counsel. She founded TFDP in 2004, while working on a fellowship project to improve Texas counties compliance with federal and state law guaranteeing low-income individuals’ right to counsel in criminal cases. She has successfully challenged unconstitutional indigent defense practices before the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas Supreme Court, and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Andrea also has led advocacy campaigns that resulted in legislation that protects the rights of defendants who appear without counsel, facilitates the development of independent defender programs in Texas counties, and mandates defense attorney caseload reporting and a statewide caseload study. She is a member of the Oversight Board for the West Texas Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases, and helped develop the proposal that led to the creation of the Harris County Public Defender Office. She also served on the State Bar of Texas’s indigent defense committee from 2006 to 2012, and chaired the subcommittee that drafted the Bars Performance Guidelines for Non-Capital Criminal Defense Representation.

Texas Lawyer magazine recognized Andrea as one of 2008’s Impact Players, and she was the youngest individual honored in the magazine’s 2008 Extraordinary Women in Texas Law issue. She received the Texas Law Fellowships’ Excellence in Public Interest Award from the University of Texas Law School in 2009. She has been awarded several prestigious national public interest fellowships, including the Liman Public Interest Fellowship (2002-2003, Yale Law School), the Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship (2004-2006, Open Society Institute), and the Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship (2005-2006, Harvard Law School). Andrea is a graduate of Tulane University and Yale Law School. After graduating from law school, she clerked for the Honorable Keith P. Ellison of the United States District Court in Laredo, Texas.