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Maryland’s 1st assistant federal public defender elected to national defense lawyers board

Katherine Tang Newberger.

Katherine Tang Newberger, the first assistant federal public defender for the District of Maryland, has been elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

She was elected at the association’s annual meeting on Aug. 13.

Newberger started as an assistant federal public defender in Baltimore in 2005 and worked her way up to first assistant. During her time in the federal public defender’s office, Newberger has overseen the effort to win relief for defendants through the Fair Sentencing Act and compassionate release programs, the NACDL said in a news release.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that the District of Maryland has seen more compassionate release approvals than any other district in the federal court system.

Newberger said it is important to have the perspective of public defenders on the NACDL’s board of directors. She will also represent the perspective of a defense lawyer handling issues unique to Maryland.

“The way the criminal legal system works varies tremendously from state to state, even when you’re in federal practice, so I do hope to bring the perspective of someone who practices in Maryland to the board,” Newberger said.

Newberger said she is likely to work on an NACDL task force examining the intersection of mental health and the criminal legal system because of her experience with those issues.

Newberger won The Daily Record’s 2020 Leadership in Law award. She received her law degree from Yale Law School.

The NACDL is a professional bar association dedicated to ensuring due process for people accused of crimes. It includes up to 40,000 attorneys, including private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, academics and judges.