The cause of “justice for all” is neither liberal nor conservative. The non-partisan nature of our work is reflected in our board’s composition. The Sixth Amendment Center’s board represents a cross-section of stakeholder groups, including the judiciary, the prosecution, the defense, the legislature, the business community, and academia — all groups with which our staff interacts with frequency at the state and local levels. Our board’s diversity of expertise and thought is matched by its diversity of geography and background, with board members representing all regions of the country.
Sixth Amendment Center Board of Directors
Nick Chiarkas began his professional career as a New York City police officer, before attaining his law degree and multiple masters and doctorate-level degrees in criminal justice and sociology. He was a professor of law at Sanford University for eight years and a professor of criminology at Trenton State College for six. During the Reagan Administration, Chiarkas served as deputy chief counsel to the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; deputy chief counsel and research director to the President’s Commission on Organized Crime; and chief counsel to the United States Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. In 1988, Chiarkas relocated to Wisconsin where he was appointed as the state public defender — a position he held for the next 22 years. As the head of the statewide defender agency, Chiarkas helped develop drug, alcohol, and mental-health treatment courts throughout the state, and was the primary facilitator of the Wisconsin Veterans Intervention Program. Chiarkas served as a consultant to Israel in establishing and enriching Israel’s first National Public Defender and to Japan as it introduced a public defender system.
Michael F. Crowley
Michael Crowley is a former Senior Justice Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Management & Budget and has worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations. In that capacity, he managed the policy, budget, and legislative oversight of over $3 billion in justice assistance, research and evaluation, and statistics programs. In recent years, he organized a White House/Department of Justice review of state and local justice assistance programs and led efforts to instigate reforms in state and local practice through development of incentives and new forms of Federal grant assistance. He began his career as an economist for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics before moving to the U.S. Department of Treasury , and then to the Office of Management & Budget.
Silas Horst is a program officer at Stand Together, where he manages a policy portfolio focused on poverty issues. Before joining Stand Together, Silas was Public Policy Director at Koch Industries, where he worked on criminal and civil justice reform.
Erik Luna is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, where he teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law and procedure. He is an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute. Luna began his career as a prosecutor in the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. He has served as the senior Fulbright Scholar to New Zealand, where he taught at Victoria University Law School (Wellington, NZ) and conducted research on sentencing alternatives. Luna has also been a visiting scholar with the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg, DE), a visiting professor with the Cuban Society of Penal Sciences (Havana, CU), and a visiting professional in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (The Hague, NL). Prior to coming to Washington and Lee University, Luna was the Hugh B. Brown Professor of Law at the University of Utah and co-director of the Utah Criminal Justice Center. His scholarship includes, most recently, The Prosecutor in Transnational Perspective (Oxford University Press 2012) and The Law of Terrorism (3rd ed., forthcoming 2013).
Dave Meyer is a clinical professor at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine’s Institute of Psychiatry, Law, and Behavioral Science. Meyer is the former Chief Deputy Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and a nationally recognized expert on health law and medical-legal issues. Meyer began his legal career as an attorney with the Office of the Public Defender of Los Angeles County, where he served for 23 years at all levels from trial attorney to interim chief public defender. Additionally, he served for three years as a member of the Board of Examiners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and holds leadership positions with numerous professional associations and commissions, including the Forensic Mental Health Association of California and the California Judicial Council’s Committee on Collaborative Justice Courts. Meyer is the Chair of the Sixth Amendment Center Board of Directors.
Lynn Overmann is the Vice-President of Data-Driven Justice at the Arnold Foundation. Lynn was a Senior Advisor to the U.S. chief technology officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Obama and was the Director of the U.S. Department of Justice, Access to Justice Initiative. Lynn previously worked as a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer.
Walter M. Sanchez
Walt Sanchez is a highly-respected criminal defense attorney successfully representing people in criminal cases, both state and federal, and in complex and highly contested family law cases. He is a frequent lecturer on criminal and family law issues at both the national and state level and is a member of the Louisiana State University Law School Trial Advocacy Training Program faculty. He has testified before the Louisiana legislature on criminal justice issues annually for more than 20 years. In 1998, Sanchez was elected President of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and, in 2007, received the association’s highest honor, the Justice Albert Tate Award. Since 1999, the Louisiana Supreme Court has appointed him, on an as-needed basis, to serve as Judge Pro Tempore for Sulphur City Court. The Court has also appointed him to numerous board and committees seeking to improve the criminal and civil justice system of the state. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he helped draft legislation that provided a system for the relocation and continued operation of the state’s civil and criminal justice system in the case of future catastrophes. In 2007, he helped craft legislation that resulted in the complete restructuring of the Louisiana indigent defense system.