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Race and Investigation

Race, ethnicity, culture, and one’s understanding of them impact all aspects of an investigation. During this webinar, panelists will examine this impact and discuss ways to navigate mitigation work with respect to team dynamics, safety while interviewing, and professional growth.

Please note: This webinar will not be recorded.

  • November 21, 2023
  • 1:00 pm EST
  • Kristina Leslie, Vivian Hernandez, and Kasandra Washington

  • Free Admission

Presenters' Bios

Kasandra Washington has dedicated nearly a decade to a career in public defense. She began her journey after graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2013 when she joined the 15th Judicial Public Defenders Office as a Data Entry Clerk. In 2017, Kasandra took on a  role as a client advocate at the Orleans Public Defenders Office. In 2019, she joined the East  Baton Rouge Public Defenders Office under the leadership of Michael Mitchell and Lindsey  Blouin, serving as a Mitigation Specialist/Investigator. During her tenure with EBROPD,  Kasandra diligently carried out mitigation and investigative work for cases involving juveniles charged as adults, and she even obtained her private investigator’s license. In March 2023, she established her own private practice, FFO Investigations, based in southern Louisiana. In this new venture, Kasandra serves as the Owner/CEO and specializes in handling mitigation and investigations for capital cases. 

Previously, Kasandra held the position of co-chair for Community Outreach within the Baton Rouge NAACP Branch and a member of VOTE Louisiana Baton Rouge chapter Presently, she maintains her active membership in the Black Public Defender Association and has recently been honored with selection to and completion of the BPDA 2022 Leadership 1.0 Cohort.

Kristina Leslie is a Capital Resource Counsel (CRC) where she directly represents persons charged in federal capital cases around the country, and provides advice and training to trial teams. Prior to joining the CRC Project, she was an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland and represented clients at all stages of proceedings in federal district court. Prior to joining the Federal Public Defender in 2018, Kristina served as an assistant capital defender in Northern Virginia, which exclusively represented individuals charged with capital murder at the trial level. She began her career as a state public defender in Baltimore City.

Vivian Hernandez is an attorney at the Military Commissions Defense Organization where she represents a client held at Guantanamo Bay. She previously served as a trial attorney with the Capital Defender Office in Northern Virginia, which exclusively represented those charged with capital murder. Prior to that, she worked as a state public defender in Baltimore City. Vivian is a graduate of Cornell Law School where she participated in Cornell’s Capital Punishment Clinic.

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