Directory of Chiefs
Chief, Trial Division
Email Arthur Ago
Arthur Ago joined PDS in 1998 as a staff attorney in the Trial Division. From 2002 to 2004, Arthur worked as a Supervising Attorney and Adjunct Professor of Law at the D.C. Law Students in Court clinical program, where he supervised and taught law students during their representation of misdemeanor and delinquency cases in D.C. Superior Court.
Returning to PDS in 1994, Arthur served as a Supervising Trial Attorney, Deputy Trial Chief, and was promoted to Trial Chief in 2013. He graduated from The George Washington University Law School, received a Master of Arts from University of California Los Angeles, and earned his Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College.
PDS trial attorneys are fiercely determined to protect the freedoms and rights of their clients. Arthur is proud to manage them, and is dedicated to ensuring that each of them has the training, resources, and supervision that they need to continue to fight for their clients.
Chief, Office of Rehabilitation and Development
Email Betsy Biben
A Forensic and Clinical Social Worker, Betsy Biben is the Chief of the Office of Rehabilitation and Development (ORD) where she has served her clients and PDS since 1982. Betsy has dedicated her life to empowering people arrested in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Throughout her career, she has prepared sentencing reports and/or testimony before courts in Washington, D.C. (local and federal), Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama and has trained judges, attorneys, and law and social work students on a national and local basis since 1976. Betsy is a member of the Defender Counsel and the Client Policy Group and a founding member of the National Alliance for Sentencing Alternatives & Mitigation Specialists for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA). She also serves as a board member for the Southern Center for Human Rights and Voices for a Second Chance in D.C. Betsy is also a former consultant for The Sentencing Project and the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA). She has worked in the criminal justice system since 1974.
Betsy received her Master in Social Work from the University of Connecticut and a postgraduate certificate from the Washington School of Psychiatry. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) and is a licensed social worker in D.C. (LICSW).
Chief, Mental Health Division
Email Kimberly Clark
Kimberly Clark is motivated by and derives satisfaction from protecting the liberties of indigent individuals who have a mental illness.
Kimberly began her career as a trial attorney, handling general and serious felony cases. Always the defender who welcomes a challenge, Kimberly transitioned to the Mental Health Division in 2000 and there developed a life-long passion to serve this often maligned and stigmatized population. Appointed Chief in 2011, Kimberly is committed to developing attorneys who provide the best representation money can’t buy. Kimberly has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Art from North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Chief, Appellate Division
Email Samia Fam
Samia Fam is the Chief of the Appellate Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She joined PDS in 1985 as a trial lawyer and practiced for seven years in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia representing clients from juvenile court through trials of homicides and other serious felonies. She joined the Appellate Division in 1992. As Chief, Samia directs the appellate and post-conviction litigation of a staff of eighteen lawyers, including cases in which PDS participates as amicus curiae in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. The Appellate Division also regularly advises PDS trial lawyers, lawyers from other agency divisions and CJA lawyers. Samia has argued cases in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and successfully litigated post-conviction claims in the Superior Court exposing governmental suppression of exculpatory evidence. She graduated from Stanford University in 1981 and New York University School of Law in 1985.
Chief, Budget and Finance
Email Leslie Gerald
Leslie Gerald is committed to public service. She has served over 27 years in the United States Army as a Finance Officer and continues her legacy of service as the PDS Chief Financial Officer.
In the Army, Leslie served at all levels culminating as Deputy Director for the Plans and Resources Directorate on the Army staff at the Pentagon. Her passion for service and experience leading diverse and complex organizations at the executive levels in financial management, program management, and human resources make her a right fit to lead the financial operations of the PDS. Leslie and the Budget and Finance Division strive to deliver quality and timely financial support to the PDS staff allowing the staff to focus on the best legal representation for clients.
Leslie’s education includes a Master of Accountancy and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy.
Chief, Information Technology
Email Eric Hirst
Eric Hirst is PDS’s Chief Information Officer with over 15 years experience working in legal and litigation technology. He oversees the Information Technology division which supports enterprise applications, enterprise data, user support, infrastructure, communications, and information security. Eric is also responsible for setting IT direction and coordinating infrastructure and service delivery.
Prior to joining PDS, Eric was Director of Practice Technology at Bredhoff and Kaiser PLLC where he had a similar role. In addition to overseeing the Firm’s technology, he oversaw all of the litigation support functions to include the processes of e-Discovery, computer forensics, document review and other case related activities.
A native of Ohio, Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical College Josephinum and pursued graduate studies at The Catholic University of America.
Chief, Civil Legal Services Division
Email Robert Hornstein
Robert Hornstein is the Chief of Civil Legal Services at PDS. He is committed to working with CLS’s experienced attorneys to further develop PDS’s civil litigation practice to address the collateral consequences of arrest and conviction for PDS clients, to further integrate PDS’s civil litigation capabilities into PDS’s criminal defenses practice areas, and to address structural barriers that burden and affect PDS clients’ ability to successfully reenter the community.
Rob spent 20 years in private practice and with federally funded poverty law programs in Mississippi, Delaware, and Florida. As a public interest attorney, Rob handled a wide array of poverty law litigation in both state and federal court as well as in administrative forums. That litigation included public housing issues, fair housing cases, school expulsions, special education advocacy, and consumer matters. In Delaware, he litigated the rights of homeless families to extended emergency assistance benefits. In Florida, he litigated and wrote about the use of jury trials and defenses to protect against the loss of housing for families facing eviction under One Strike drug and criminal activity housing authority policies. Prior to joining PDS, Rob taught at Florida Coastal School of Law. While at Florida Coastal, he taught and wrote on poverty law issues.
Chief, Investigations Division
Email Karen Jackson
Karen Jackson is Chief of Investigations at PDS, and she manages a staff of thirty-four staff investigators in addition to interns and support staff. During her tenure, Karen has developed and implemented the criminal defense training curriculum for PDS and performs case analysis for senior staff attorneys working on high profile cases.
A native New Yorker, Karen has over 32 years of experience in investigations on behalf of indigent clients. She first started out as a pretrial release interviewer in which she gained the knowledge of the criminal justice system. During her tenure with Pre-Trial Services in Rochester, NY, she held the position of a pre-trial diversion counselor. Karen then went on to work as a staff investigator for the Monroe County Public Defender Service in Rochester, and was promoted to acting Chief of Investigations. Karen relocated to the D.C. Metropolitan area and took a position as the internship coordinator at PDS where she trained interns and law students on basic principles of criminal defense investigations and administered the Criminal Law Internship program. She went on to become a staff investigator for the Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia where she conducted investigations in accordance with 18 § U.S.C and 21§ U. S. C.
Karen is a long-standing member of the National Association of Defense Investigators and now serves on the conference committee that develops biannual training for investigators across the country.
Director, Human Resources
Email Eugene Mayo
As the Chief of Human Resources at PDS, Eugene Mayo is responsible for the organization’s human capital program, including talent acquisition, position classification, payroll, benefits and compensation administration, employee development, human resources information management, and regulatory compliance all for the purposes of inspiring excellence in people so that PDS is successful in its mission.
With over 20 years of experience in a range of human resources leadership positions and in environments including the non-profit, education, federal and municipal governments, healthcare, and transportation sectors, Eugene has delivered business results by driving operational efficiencies and supporting business objectives through oversight of talent acquisition programs, navigating and resolving employee/labor relations issues, and successfully delivering best in class human resources programs and policies with technology and automation integration. Eugene understands the importance of aligning human capital programs with PDS’s mission, vision, and objectives, in order to create synergies that achieve short and long-term goals to help leverage the organization as an 'employer of choice.'
Eugene earned a Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude) from Chapman University and a Master of Human Resources Development from Villanova University. As a consummate human resources practitioner, Eugene possesses dual certifications as a senior professional in human resources (SPHR) and global professional in human resources (GPHR). Eugene is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Chief, Parole Division
Email Olinda Moyd
In 1990, Olinda Moyd joined PDS as a staff attorney with the then Prisoners’ Rights Program (now the Institutional Services Program) and, since 1998, has represented thousands of clients for the Parole Division. In August 2003, Olinda was appointed Chief of the Parole Division where she supervises a team of ten attorneys, who provide quality legal representation to District residents facing imprisonment through revocation of their parole or supervised release by the U.S. Parole Commission. For 25 years, she has represented clients at administrative hearings and in litigation before local and federal courts.
During her experience in representing prisoners and parolees, Olinda has become keenly aware of the overwhelming number of poor people and people of color who are part of the criminal justice system: either in prison or jail, on probation or parole, or released with restrictive supervision conditions. Her goal is to challenge paroling authorities to create a system that is fair and just and affords people due process protections as they face the loss of their freedom.
After graduating from The Ohio State University School of Law, Olinda began her legal career with the Legal Department of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and then at the American Civil Liberty Union’s National Prison Project. Olinda has dedicated her legal career to representing the most underrepresented groups of people in our society: those who are incarcerated and those facing a loss of liberty. Olinda has served as a visiting and adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, where she taught the Prisoners’ Rights and Advocacy Clinic. Olinda has also served as Director of Legal Services and as a board member at Our Place, D.C., and is now an active member of its Scholarship Committee.
Chief, Defender Services Office
Email Tia Richardson
Tia Richardson, Chief of the Defenders Services Office at PDS, is grateful to have been given the opportunity to focus her career on helping the most vulnerable citizens of the District of Columbia. Tia began her 14-year PDS career with the Defender Service Office as the Quality Assurance Specialist and was promoted within a year to Deputy Chief of the division. In this capacity, she has become very knowledgeable of the D.C. Superior Court process and is able to use this knowledge to assist clients in accessing all available services. In February of 2014, Tia was again promoted to Chief of the Defender Service Office and has taken on this new role with enthusiasm. Tia’s professional drive is rooted in a strong desire to see that those most hopeless and helpless individuals are afforded quality legal representation. She is proud to be able to carry out this mission with the Public Defender Service.
Tia has over twenty years of experience in the Criminal Justice Field, and has an extensive education including a Masters degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters degree in Legal and Ethical Studies.
Chief, Community Defender Division
Email Jamie Rodriguez
Jamie Rodriguez, chief of the Community Defender Division, has committed her career to representing persons in the District of Columbia whose lives have been derailed by the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Jamie began her career at PDS representing juvenile and adult clients in special education cases to ensure that these vulnerable students are afforded an opportunity to benefit from appropriate schools and services. In addition, Jamie spent more than six years as the Coordinator of PDS’s Juvenile Services Program, advocating for the unique needs of children who are incarcerated and committed.
Having recently been appointed as Chief of CDD, Jamie is determined to build her team of dedicated community defenders so CDD can provide comprehensive representation for clients regarding the myriad needs they face at the deepest end of the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
Jamie graduated from George Mason University in 1996 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 1999.
Chief, Administrative Services
Email Sheila Willis
Sheila Willis, Chief of Administrative Services, leads a division that provides outstanding support to the PDS staff in the areas of reception, facilities, security, copy and supply, and library services.
Sheila’s career at PDS began in 1991 as the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Assistant to the Director. A lot has changed since then. At that time, PDS was located at what is now the D.C. Court of Appeals building, but was then fondly referred to as “451.” Administrative Services included the financial responsibilities for PDS. Sheila handled, among other things, processing purchase orders and invoices. The more things change the more they stay the same as Sheila was also processing what little travel PDS employees had to do as well. Sheila assisted the Executive Assistant with the Criminal Practice Institute conference which was, at that time, a three day conference. After the death of Deborah T. Creek, Sheila became the lead administrator for the conference. She learned a lot from Deborah and with the assistance of some other key employees, the conference continued to be a success. Sheila was promoted to Administrative Specialist in 2007, Acting Chief of Administrative Services in 2009, and Chief of Administrative Services in 2014.