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WDA Staff

About WDA

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Christie Hedman Christie HedmanExecutive Director
Christie Hedman has been Executive Director of WDA since 1989 when she was the sole part-time employee and WDA’s membership was about 650 members. Since that time WDA has more than doubled its membership and the staff has increased ten-fold. Over the years, she has represented public defender interests on numerous committees and workgroups, including the Washington State Law and Justice Advisory Council, the Washington State Byrne Grant Committee, and is a standing member of the Washington State Bar Association’s Council on Public Defense. She is a recipient of the Mothers for Police Accountability Paul Robeson Peace and Justice Award and recently stepped down from the TeamChild Board of which she was a founding member. Nationally, she has served on the Executive Committee of the American Council of Chief Defenders and is active in the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National Association of Public Defenders, and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Her sons were refugee foster children from South Sudan and she enjoys spending time with her seven grandchildren.  

Scott Shoemaker Scott ShoemakerAdministrative Coordinator
Scott joined WDA in January of 2014 and is excited to be a part of this important organization. Currently, Scott is pursuing a degree in Cinema Studies, taking classes at Seattle Central College and then transferring to the University of Washington. Scott is also an actor, musician and all around performer who can be regularly seen in venues throughout Seattle. In his previous professional life, he has worked as a project manager and a staffing manager in the recruiting industry. A northwest native, Scott grew up in Tacoma, Washington and has been living in Seattle for the last 15 years, currently residing in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. 

Annie Benson Ann Benson, Senior Directing Attorney
Annie has collaborated with a wide array of colleagues, clients, communities, pubic officials, friends and mentors to win individual justice, bring about systemic legal and policy reforms, and build movements for social change. She has litigated cases at all levels of state and federal court; taught at the University of Washington’s School of Law; and served on the board of numerous local, regional and national organizations, including OneAmerica, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women.  She currently serves on Washington State’s Minority and Justice Commission.  Annie has been honored for her leadership as the recipient of the Lexus/Nexus Danial Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law, the Friend of the Judiciary Award from the Washington Women Lawyers, a Distinguished Service Award from the Washington State Bar Association and the Golden Door Award from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. In this dynamic time, Annie is inspired to work with WDA staff, public defenders and other criminal justice leaders, and the communities we serve to bring about justice for all.  
Cindy Arends Elsberry Cindy Arends ElsberryFelony Resource Attorney
Cindy has worked in public defense for over 20 years and has a varied background, having worked with all types of cases, from low-level crimes to aggravated murder. She has experience with collaborative courts and mental competency hearings, and is death penalty certified. She worked at the Associated Counsel for the Accused in Seattle for more than 14 years before joining the Washington Defender Association in 2009 as the Felony Resource Attorney, where she spends the majority of her time providing technical assistance to attorneys and developing resources for public defenders across the state. Cindy is a frequent speaker at CLE presentations and takes a special interest in the issues involved when representing clients with mental illness. She received her J.D. from the University of Washington.
Magda Baker Magda BakerMisdemeanor Resource Attorney
Magda graduated from UW Law School and has been a public defender her entire career.  She has worked in both trial and appellate offices.  She specializes in practice issues relating to DWLS, DUI and the exclusionary rule.  She is available to help you with all of your questions relating to misdemeanor cases.
Jonathan Moore Jonathan Moore, Immigration Resource Specialist
Jonathan Moore has worked with people in immigration proceedings since 1983.  He worked as a paralegal at Proyecto Libertad, in Harlingen, Texas, with mostly detained Central-American asylum-seekers, from 1983 until 1990. From 1985-1987, he also  worked for the Rio Grande Defense Committee, on legal defense of South Texas sanctuary workers.  He worked in Seattle, at the Joint Legal Task Force – Hispanic Immigration Program and its successor, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, mainly on deportation defense,  from 1990- 2005.  Jonathan Moore was accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals through NWIRP from 1993 until 2005. He currently works at the Washington Defender Association Immigration Project, supporting public defenders and defense lawyers on issues related to the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. He is a currently a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative through the WDA.
Sara headshot
Sara Sluszka, Immigration Resource Attorney

(bio forthcoming)




















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