Chantá Parker is the Special Counsel for New Initiatives at the Innocence Project in New York, NY. In this position, she directs the development of strategies by using the unique lens of innocence to address three main problems: the growing crisis in indigent defense, racial bias in the criminal justice system, and how this massive system forces many people, including the innocent, to plead guilty to misdemeanors. Chantá brings over ten years of criminal defense experience to the Innocence Project: she has worked as a supervising attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice of the Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn office, as a felony trial attorney with the Orleans Public Defenders, and as a staff attorney with Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. As a public defender, Chantá has seen up close the impact of mass incarceration on clients, their families, and their communities and has experienced the harms of mass incarceration both in her professional and personal life.

Chantá is a leader in Gideon’s Promise, a national training program for public defenders that was featured in the award-winning documentary “Gideon’s Army” in 2013. Chantá was named a 2015 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow. Chantá also serves as the board secretary of the Essie Justice Group, a sisterhood of women with incarcerated loved ones, where she has shepherded the growth of Essie from its inception and shares its commitment to justice, Black liberation, and women's leadership.

Sub specialities: Criminal Defense, Mass Incarceration, Bail and Pretrial Detention



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