'Cultural Mindfulness Storytelling' explored by SADO on June 2

The State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) will present "Cultural Mindfulness Storytelling: Capturing the Lived Experiences of our Clients" with Lori James-Townes online Wednesday, June 2, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Familiarity and sensitivity to culture is relevant to many questions regarding effective public defense representation, including:

•  How do clients' cultural backgrounds affect what they are willing to tell their defense teams, how they communicate, or what kind of defenses can be raised in court?

• How are certain practices or actions that are criminal offenses in the state and country handled or perceived in immigrants' home countries?

• How do different communities or neighborhoods perceive the criminal justice system and public defense team?

• How do defense teams build a trusting relationship with their clients or witnesses who may have information critical to effective defense representation?

Those who don't consider the above factors in representation may find themselves in the middle of an ethical dilemma.

This session will lead attendees in discussions that will increase knowledge and awareness of the importance of sharing a client's unique story. Participants will learn ways to gather the story in a culturally informed way. From small group discussions, attendees will learn from others' experiences and challenges when addressing cultural barriers.

James-Townes is president & CEO of Expand-Now LLC. She also serves as an assistant training director for National Association of Public Defense. She has more than 25 years of teaching, clinical social work, leadership, and management experience in juvenile justice, mental health, and public defender settings. Her most recent public defender position was director of Social Work, Leadership and Program Development with the Maryland Office of Public Defender. James-Townes is an adjunct clinical instructor at Towson University, Department of Family Studies and Community Development. She is a certified John Maxwell Trainer, Coach and Speaker.

To register, visit: www.sado.org/go/culture.

Any questions, email mdavid@sado.org.