Christie Hedman, Executive 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 eight grandchildren.
Cindy Arends Elsberry, Felony Resource Attorney (she/her)
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 has a special interest in the issues involved when representing clients with mental illness, fair treatment and sentencing of youth/young adults and defender well-being. She received her J.D. from the University of Washington.
Magda Baker, Misdemeanor Resource Attorney
Magda graduated from the University of Washington School of Law and started her legal career at the Snohomish County Public Defender Association representing people accused of misdemeanors. Following a short stint writing appeals, she joined WDA in 2005. Some of Magda’s accomplishments while at WDA include authoring a comprehensive motion to suppress evidence due to illegal searches and seizures, leading the effort to amend CrR/LJ 3.4 and limit how often people must attend court before trial, and answering countless requests for assistance from public defenders. In addition to practicing law, Magda is a printmaker and has shown her art both locally in Seattle and nationally.
Ann Benson, Senior Directing Attorney
A transplant from rural Ohio, Annie’s 30 years of West Coast living, from Guatemala to Alaska, long ago transformed her from a Catholic Young Republican into a queer social justice lawyer. Annie participates in the immigrant rights and criminal legal system movements for change. She devotes her work to defending and expanding the civil rights of immigrants and people accused of crimes. She has worked throughout Washington State, first as Legal Director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, then as the Founding Director of the Washington Defender Association’s (WDA’s) Immigration Project. Currently she is a Senior Directing Attorney at WDA. Annie has been a board member of the National Immigration Project, the Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women and OneAmerica. She taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Washington’s School of Law and is a long-standing member of Washington State’s Minority and Justice Commission. In recognition of her work, Annie has been honored to receive the Lexis Nexis Daniel Levy Memorial Award; the National Lawyers Guild Carol King Award; the NW Immigrant Rights Project’s Golden Door award; and the Washington Women Lawyers Association’s Friend of the Judiciary award. The wonders of the earth, Marcel Proust and a fascination with big history help Annie think in geologic time…a useful skill when doing movement work! Annie lives in Port Townsend Washington, traditional lands of the S’Klallam People, and regularly comes to Seattle.
D’Adre Cunningham, Incarcerated Parents Project Resource Attorney
D’Adre Cunningham, J.D., is currently the Incarcerated Parents Project attorney at Washington Defender Association in Seattle, Washington. She has recently collaborated with the University of Washington Court Improvement Training Academy & the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid Children’s Representation Program to build a community of practice among attorneys representing legally free and other dependent children in Western Washington. She formerly served indigent clients for 15 years as a public defender at The Defender Association, now a division of the King County Department of Public Defense. She spent five of those years as an Attorney Supervisor in the Dependency Unit. Her other legal experience includes representing children and parents in child welfare proceedings; defending indigent adults in Seattle Municipal misdemeanor proceedings & in King County Superior Court felony proceedings; and advocating for systemic reforms at The Racial Disparity Project. D’Adre is an alumna of the University Of Washington School Of Law. She also serves in a volunteer capacity as a Board member at Solid Ground.
Rosario Daza, Immigration Project Resource Attorney
Rosario Daza was a founding member of the Washington Immigration Defense Group and rejoined the group in 2017, where she handled a variety of cases and litigated before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Before law school, Rosario was a newspaper journalist for eight years, during which she covered a variety of social justice issues and contributed to a series that was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. Rosario served as a judicial clerk for the Hon. Richard B. Sanders (Ret.) of the Washington Supreme Court, and the Hon. Mary Kay Becker (Ret.) of the Washington Court of Appeals, Division One. Altogether, Rosario worked on nearly 100 Washington appellate opinions, most of them criminal. Rosario also served as a bilingual staff attorney at the Northwest Justice Project (NJP). At NJP, she represented and provided legal aid to low-income, Spanish-speaking survivors of sexual abuse, in immigration and family law matters. At Disability Rights Washington, Rosario provided technical assistance to clients and attorneys on disability issues intersecting with criminal justice matters, family law, housing, and civil rights. Rosario received her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, with a Public Service Law concentration. A native of Colombia, Rosario enjoys camping and hiking with her family. She is fluent in Spanish.
Sarah Hudson, Immigration Project Resource Attorney
Sarah graduated from law school in San Diego and continued to explore her interest in immigration law by working with a non-profit focusing on defensive asylum cases. As a military spouse, she has lived in many places and explored different areas of law. Most recently, Sarah was a public defender and uses that experience to assist other defense attorneys with issues related to the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.
Ali Hohman, Director of Legal Services
Alexandria “Ali” Hohman joined WDA in the spring of 2020 as Director of Legal Services. Previously, she worked in criminal law and family defense throughout Washington State. She is a 2011 graduate of Seattle University School of Law and a 2006 graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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.
Scott Shoemaker, Office and Programs Manager
Scott joined WDA in January of 2014 and is proud to be a member of this important organization. In his role at WDA, Scott oversees the logistics of its training program, manages the office operations, and supports the needs of its members. 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 18 years, currently residing in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Stacy Taeuber, Immigration Project Resource Attorney
Stacy has over 20 years of experience as an immigrant rights advocate and public defender. In addition to practicing in New York, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Stacy founded and directed the Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School and was a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota Law School’s immigration clinics. Stacy is passionate about advancing the rights of noncitizens and all those impacted by the criminal justice system. At WDA she works with defense lawyers, immigration lawyers, and others on issues related to the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.
Lori Walls, Immigration Project Resource Attorney
Lori completed her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. As a law student, she was an editor of the Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal and received the Charles Z. Smith Public Service Student of the Year Award. In 2011, she and three other women started the Washington Immigration Defense Group, a law firm that specializes in deportation defense. Her appellate practice before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals includes two published cases. Lori is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She has been a volunteer at the King County Bar Association’s Neighborhood Legal Clinic Program for 16 years. Before attending law school, she worked as an editor and writer for 15 years and as a furniture builder for five years.