Placed Leaders

Keisha Hudson

Chief Defender

Defender Association of Philadelphia

Keisha Hudson headshot

Koya partnered with the Board of Directors of the Defender Association of Philadelphia on the appointment of Keisha Hudson as the new Chief Defender.

The Defender Association of Philadelphia provides high-quality, client-centered legal representation, courtroom advocacy, and a connection to social services. The organization’s practice strives to protect the Constitution, ensure a fair and equitable criminal justice system, and improve outcomes.

Keisha Hudson spent nearly eighteen years as a public defender, first with the Defender Association of Philadelphia and then as a capital appellate defender with the Federal Defender-Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Capital Habeas Unit) representing people on death row in their state post-conviction and federal habeas appeals. As a seasoned trial and appellate defender, Hudson has an in-depth understanding of what it means to be a public defender. At the Capital Habeas Unit, Hudson was the Director of Training.

In 2016, Hudson left the Federal Defender and joined the Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender Officer to become the Deputy Chief Defender — with the goal of building and strengthening advocacy in the courtroom. Along with former Chief Defender Dean Beer, Hudson addressed systemic issues regarding policing, pretrial detention, sentencing, and probation in the county. In four years, Chief Defender Dean Beer and Ms. Hudson built one of the best public defender offices in the state.

Hudson worked with The Justice Collaborative and The Appeal, developing and leading advocacy and media campaigns on criminal justice issues- specifically campaigns aimed at looking at creative and successful community alternatives that truly create public safety.

From 2020 to the present, Hudson has been a visiting professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.


Read the press release: Keisha Hudson Named Chief Defender.