Anna Adler, Executive Director
Prior to moving to Colorado, Anna Adler was the political director at the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. She worked to build the organization’s activist and donor base and coordinated legislative campaigns there for over six years before packing up and moving to the mountains. CCDI is a perfect fit for Anna’s determination to promote justice and equality and it allows her to do what she does best: putting good ideas into action. Anna grew up in rural Ohio but spent her early adult years in New York, where she started her career knocking on doors and asking strangers to support progressive causes.
Janna Butler-Hebel, Manager of Operations and Member Services
“Do what you love and love what you do.”
Janna Butler-Hebel is the manager of operations and member services for both CCDI and CCDB. Janna moved from Indiana to Colorado with her two very young boys in August of 1993 to start a new life and to be closer to family.
She came to work with the defenders in the spring of 2009 after spending several years in her own real estate photography business and as the marketing/event coordinator for a local real estate broker. Prior to that she was the administrator for Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.
Janna has always worked at one level or another with people of many diverse social backgrounds and thoroughly enjoys those interactions, which is what makes her good at what she does: helping others.
Maureen Cain, Policy Director
“Live with passion and compassion.”
Maureen Cain brings 15 years of experience at the state capitol working on criminal and juvenile justice reform. Cain’s work on the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice has resulted in sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice system, including bond reform, drug sentencing reform, decreased penalties for property crimes, more public defenders in courtrooms and many other bills designed to implement evidence-based practices and benefit defendants. She was instrumental in obtaining funding to assess Colorado sex offender treatments.
Cain began her career as a Colorado state public defender, where she tried dozens of felony cases and a death penalty case. From 1989 to 1995, she was an associate at the nationally recognized firm Haddon Morgan and Foreman PC in Denver, representing several large corporations accused of economic and environmental crimes. In private practice, she has represented witnesses in high profile cases such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the JonBenet Ramsey case. Cain, a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, received the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar 2004 Gideon Award.
She currently serves as a Colorado Supreme Court appointee to the board for attorney discipline. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and was recently awarded the Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award 2014 by NACDL for her diligent efforts in promoting criminal and juvenile justice reform in Colorado and through her advocacy for the rights of the accused.
CCDI Board Members:
Darren Cantor, Vice Chair and Treasurer
In his more than 15 years of private practice in Denver and seven years as a state public defender, Darren Cantor has earned a reputation as a tough, skilled, and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Cantor has defended the accused in countless felony, misdemeanor and juvenile justice cases against charges ranging from DUI to murder.
Cantor has never shied away from tough or highly publicized cases—he’s represented a 15-year old charged with murder during an attempted carjacking, a legal guardian charged with first-degree murder in the alleged starvation death of a seven-year old child and the individual charged in the 2007 shooting death of the Denver Broncos’ Darrent Williams. In addition to his criminal defense work, Cantor regularly represents fellow Colorado attorneys in disciplinary proceedings and other aspects of the attorney regulation process.
Chris Decker, Past Chair
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
-To Kill a Mockingbird
During nearly 20 years in the legal profession, Chris Decker has never worked as a judge or prosecutor, preferring to devote himself exclusively to the defense of clients in more than 175 jury trials and at every other stage of the legal process. Decker has often worked successfully during the “pre-filing investigation stage” to avoid the filing of criminal charges for his clients. He has had cases dismissed or dropped at virtually all stages of criminal proceedings.
Decker has been qualified as an expert in the area of criminal defense by several Colorado District Court judges for purposes of post-conviction litigation. He has taught trial practice classes to his attorney peers, lectured on sexual assault defense techniques and conducted continuing legal education seminars for attorneys in Colorado. He is also a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon Georgia, which is taught and attended by America’s top defense lawyers. Decker’s appellate work has twice been published, in People v. Lewis, 975 P.2d 160 (Colo. 1999); and in People v. Borland Robertson, 56 P.3d 121 (Colo. App. 2002).
Chris Decker is the 2015-2016 President of the Colorado Criminal Bar.
David Beller, Past Chair
“You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.”
David Beller, the 2014-15 president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, is a seasoned criminal defense attorney who has defended clients in more than 100 jury trials involving everything from white-collar crime to first-degree murder to traffic violations. Beller, a shareholder at the Denver law firm Recht Kornfeld PC, has also represented clients before the University of Colorado Student Disciplinary Board, the Colorado Real Estate Commission, the Office of Attorney Regulation, the Department of Human & Social Services and the Colorado State Board of Nursing. Prior to joining his current firm, Beller was a Colorado state public defender.
As a defense attorney, Beller relishes being on the side of the courtroom that finds the good in every person. “I enjoy knowing that regardless of what a client is accused of, I always get to advocate for the benefit of the doubt,” Beller says. “Condemnation and judgment is a flag left for someone else to fly.”
Beller joined the CCDI board to advocate for criminal defendants across Colorado in a forum unconstrained by the emotion of individual cases. “There is no other legal organization with the diversity, intellectual depth, professional knowledge and individual compassion that CCDB and CCDI have,” he says.
Since launching his legal career in 2004, Beller has consistently been recognized as one of Denver’s premiere trial attorneys. In 2007, Law Week Magazine named him one of Denver’s Top 20 Up and Coming Lawyers, and he earned a Rising Star rating from Super Lawyers rating service every year between 2009 and 2014. In 2012, David was named by The National Trial Lawyers as one of Colorado’s top 40 trial lawyers under 40. In 2014, they named him as one of the best 100 trial lawyers in the nation.
Kathleen McGuire, Vice-Chair and Treasurer
Andres Guevara, Secretary
“If you’re looking for justice, that’s just what you’ll find – just us.”
Andres Guevara is a skilled and knowledgeable attorney with deep experience on both sides of the courtroom — and across the country —that today helps him mount vigorous defenses on behalf of Coloradans charged with crimes. Before founding his own firm in Denver, Guevara worked as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He also worked as an enforcement attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Denver. As a prosecutor, he handled hundreds of cases, including serious felonies. This experience gives him important insight into how law enforcement and prosecutors build cases—insight that he uses today to help defend his Colorado clients. Guevara is bilingual and committed to helping clients of all ethnic and economic backgrounds.
Guevara’s favorite part of being a criminal defense attorney is standing at the side of a client who faces the full force of a government intent on taking their liberty. He joined CCDI in order to work on policies that impact not only his clients, but all Coloradans. He is a staunch opponent of the death penalty and believes that our country incarcerates too many people out of fear and ignorance (in the case of citizens) and out of power and greed (in the case of private interests).
Guevara writes frequently about legal issues, from marijuana legalization to privacy rights, on his website, guevaracoloradolaw.com. Guevara received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from George Washington University. In law school, he was a notes editor of the law review and president of the Hispanic Law Students Association. He is a member in good standing with the Colorado State Bar, the Denver Bar Association, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, the Hispanic Bar Association and the Arapahoe County Bar Association.
Harry Budisidharta, a founding partner at the Denver law firm of Balaban Claeson & Budisidharta, has extensive experience defending clients against felony, misdemeanor and municipal charges throughout Colorado. Before co-founding his own firm, Budisidharta was a Colorado state public defender, where he won dismissals or not guilty verdicts in a wide variety of criminal cases.
Budisidharta is dedicated to using his legal expertise to give back to his community: In 2006, he was awarded the Legal Aid Award for his outstanding commitment and service to the University of Colorado Legal Aid and Defender Program. In 2012, he won the Governor Ralph Carr Service Award from the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado and the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award from the Arapahoe County Bar Association. He regularly volunteers as a mock trial judge for both law school and high school mock trial competitions.
“The essence of a free country is preserved first with the limitation of power upon those who choose to prosecute people under the cloak of authority provided by the law.”
Defense attorney Greg Greer worked as a public defender for 25 years, first in Fort Collins and then as head of the Glenwood Springs Regional Public Defender’s Office. Greer guided thousands of defendants through the criminal justice system and helped clients prevail against accusations including homicide, kidnapping and sexual assault.
Greer, who now runs his own private defense practice in Glenwood Springs, won widespread acclaim in 2003 when he discovered and pursued the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office for its failure to disclose the suspicious history of a police officer involved with DA prosecutions. As a result of Greer’s pursuit of post-conviction motions, many people who had been arrested by this particular officer received some relief from those past prosecutions.
Greer teaches continuing legal education courses to other lawyers on trial tactics, plea negotiations and improved client representation. While most of Mr. Greer’s teaching has taken place in Colorado, he has also taught in Texas, Indiana and Virginia. In 2006, Greer won the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Gideon Award.
“Without exceptions, there is no justice.”
As the director of sexual litigation for the Colorado Office of the State Public Defender, Laurie Kepros trains and advises more than 400 lawyers across the state on their representation of defendants accused of sexual crimes. Before taking that position in 2010, Kepros worked for more than 10 years as a public defender in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Pueblo counties, earning a reputation as a tireless advocate for those accused of sexual assault. She says the best part of being a defense attorney is the “sweet, funny, diamonds in the rough,” she meets and represents through her work.
Kepros served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar from 2003 to 2013 and continues to serve on the Board’s Executive Committee. As a member of the CCDI board, she plans to put the same energy into changing statewide policy that individual defense attorneys dedicate to their clients every day. “Defense lawyers pour their hearts and souls into representing individual clients, and CCDI is committed to making that fight a little more fair for all our clients,” Kepros says.
Since 2007, Kepros has served on dozens of subcommittees of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board, the body charged with devising rules and policies for the evaluation, treatment and monitoring of sex offenders in Colorado. She has also been a member of both the Sex Offense Task Force and Sex Offense Working Group of the Sentencing Task Force of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice since 2010. She has repeatedly testified before the Colorado legislature on matters of defense and sexual crime law.
“I am pleading for the future; I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men. When we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding that all life is worth saving and that mercy is the highest attribute of man.”
Carrie Thompson is the managing deputy state public defender for the Colorado Springs Office. She has dedicated a 27-year career to serving the legal needs of Colorado’s poor and indigent defendants. Previously she spent 10 years in the Denver County office leading a team of felony defense attorneys, and she began her career with a seven-year stint in the state public defender’s office in Arapahoe County.
Thompson has always loved working one-on-one with even the most difficult clients. When she retires at the end of 2014, she is looking forward to dedicating herself to criminal justice reform as a CCDI board member. After accumulating nearly 30 years of hard-won wisdom in the trenches of Colorado’s criminal justice system, Thompson describes herself as a “realistic believer,” in the possibility of that system’s improvement. “I want to do my part to make that happen,” she says.
Thompson was named the Colorado State Public Defender Attorney of the Year in 2002, and she received the David F. Vela Award in 1997 for her extraordinary dedication to the ideals of the Colorado public defender system. She has served on the Colorado Judicial Advisory Council, a body charged with devising ways to improve the state’s judicial system, and on the Jury System Standing Committee, which recommends reforms to Colorado’s jury system. She served as president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar in 2003-2004.