Candidates for Election to the 2022-2024 VACDL Board of Directors
David M. Good
I am a solo practitioner in Virginia Beach, practicing criminal defense in Virginia state and federal courts for the past 22 years. I have tried numerous jury trials in both state and federal courts, including RICO, VICAR, murder, piracy under the law of nations, etc., and I spent about 18 weeks in federal jury trials between 2018 and 2019 (between 3 trials). In 2017, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith (then-chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia) selected me to serve as a member of an Advisory Panel of 5 attorneys and two lay persons to consider the reappointment of an incumbent U.S. magistrate judge.
In my prior life I was a Virginia state trooper, Lynchburg (Virginia) police officer, and U.S. Army ranger (3rd Ranger Battalion). I also served as an officer in the Virginia Army National Guard for a few years after returning to civilian life. After attending Elon College and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, I graduated from Longwood College in 1991, and I received my J.D. from Regent University School of Law in 1999. I began my legal career as an associate at Heilig, McKenry, Fraim and Lollar, P.C., in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1999, and I have been a solo practitioner for 19 years (with the exception of 3 years as a partner in a small firm). I have two children, Michael, who graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 2019, and Matthew, who is a senior at Ole Miss.
Shawn StoutI have been on the VACDL board since time immemorial, but that's mostly because my memory is not always very good. I hope to continue serving this organization and helping it to grow and thrive. I was a private defense attorney for the first 8 years of my career, mostly representing the indigent as court-appointed counsel in several counties in the great state of Northern Virginia. Last August, I came to work for the newly formed and greatly needed Prince William Public Defender, and this is exactly where I am meant to be. I take pride in zealously and vociferously advocating for my clients and against the carceral punishment system.
In July of 2020, I started my own criminal defense practice. Before that, I spent over 15 years as a prosecutor in Staunton, Fredericksburg, Shenandoah, and Frederick. I have tried over 30 juries; my experience has ranged from truancy all the way up to capital murder.
As with all prosecutors, when I started I was hard-charging with the mindset that every defendant has to be warehoused. Anything short of that and you've lost. As CA offices are very competitive by nature, you don't want to be considered soft or known as giving out "sweet deals." A CA office may present itself as a united front to the defense bar and the court, but it is one of the most competitive and cutthroat places to work at. Everyone wants to be the hard-ass that wins every case by conviction and a long sentence. Rehabilitation and second chances are dirty words and are to be only given out when you have a weak case.
Over the years, I had come to realize that I wasn't making a difference; I was doing the opposite of what the criminal justice system is in theory designed for. In my last few years, I tried to make a difference with my cases, and at least try to be fair and just. When I did that, however, I got backlash from my boss. Mostly because of what the cops, the newspaper articles, and the comments online said about the disposition of my cases.
I realized I had to get out of there.
It has only been a year, but I can honestly say every stereotype that prosecutors thought was devised in the defense counsel's mind about us, is mostly true. I'm astonished every day at how these prosecutors act; it's so obvious when they want to nail your client because that is the only possible outcome. However, in the last few years, the reforms that have been put in place have put a major dent in their armor. I hear it all the time from them, "Richmond has tied my hands, wait till crime rates go back up, then it will change back."
Therefore, I believe my experience with over 15 years of being on the other side will bring a unique perspective to the VACDL Board of Directors. As I no longer have that mindset, however, I was immersed in that culture long enough to understand it.
Bruce R. Williamson, Jr.
I have been a member since the VCCDA days and previously served on the VACDL Board, including a stint as VACDL's President in the early 2000’s. I have also served as Past President of the Charlottesville-Albermarle Bar Association, Past President of the Charlottesville Albemarle Criminal Bar Association, and I am a Life Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. I have been in private practice since 1978, after receiving my J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law that same year. My practice has been concentrated in criminal defense since 1996 and I served as a substitute Judge for Virginia's 16th District from 1988 to 2000. I continue to practice criminal defense with the firm Lepold & Freed, PLLC in Charlottesville. I would like to serve as a Board member from Region B, and think that I can contribute to VACDL’s ongoing efforts to improve the law and the state of criminal defense in Virginia.
Allen F. Bareford
I am currently serving the VACDL Board of Directors as the representative for Region C, and I also serve on the VACDL Executive Committee as Treasurer. I am seeking a new three-year term for these positions. My career history is as follows:
I was the Public Defender with overall responsibility for criminal defense services for indigent defendants in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George for 31 years. I oversaw the growth of that office from three full time attorneys to twenty two attorneys and numerous support staff. I retired from state service in 2021 to join the office of Spencer, Meyer & Koch, PLC. in Stafford County.
Over the years, I have represented numerous high-profile clients for every type of crime in the Commonwealth. I was lead-counsel qualified in capital litigation and successfully defended clients in five capital murder cases when Virginia still had the death penalty.
I am a past President of the Fredericksburg Area Bar Association and a former chair of the Rappahannock Regional Community Criminal Justice Board. I am also a member of various criminal defense related organizations, including the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. I am currently serving in the elected position of representative on the Virginia State Bar Council. I am active in my community through participation on the boards of Be Well Rappahannock and the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank. I am also the chair of my church Outreach commission which operates a food pantry serving one hundred families.
Following law school, I served on active duty as a Judge Advocate with the Army for five years. I retired from the Army Reserve at the rank of Colonel after 29 years of service in 2011.
David M. Lee
David M. Lee earned his B.A. from Colgate University in 1987, his JD from William and Mary in 1994, and went into practice as a criminal defense attorney shortly thereafter. Following his term as president of the Williamsburg Bar Association, he developed his teaching skills coaching the Jamestown High School Mock Trial Team, turning a group of (predominantly) young women into fearsome warriors. Over the course of four years his teams won the state championship on two occasions and his students earned Best Attorney awards on two others. He served on the VACDL Board from 2007-2013 and served as President in 2012. He joined the Indigent Defense Commission in 2013 and presently manages the JDR team in Newport News, where he specializes in mandatory life cases. He has previously taught MCLE-approved classes on Brady and exculpatory evidence as well as legal tools for pretrial investigations.
VACDL President-Elect 2022/President 2023
Lauren Whitley is currently the Chief Public Defender for the City of Fredericksburg, and the Counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, and King George. Lauren has worked as a public defender for almost 14 years and has presented at both IDC sponsored appellate conferences and local and state bar appellate CLEs on topics ranging from defending against Commonwealth’s appeals, mitigation, and best practices in writing petitions for appeals.
Lauren previously served as a faculty member for the Public Defender Shark Advanced Trial Advocacy College, and is on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers where she currently serves as Vice President. Lauren is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
I joined VACDL a few years ago as a public defender, and joined the board shortly after. I have enjoyed my time on the board, getting to know criminal defense advocates around the state, and working together as colleagues to advocate for the best outcomes for our clients on an individual, and systemic level. During my time on the Board, I served as Emergency Response Committee Chair during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was a representative for VACDL on the COVID-19 Coalition which worked to secure early release for incarcerated persons around the state during the pandemic. I also represented VACDL, along with others, as part of the Virginia Redemption Project-a NACDL founded campaign to advocate pardons for Virginia prisoners during the pandemic. I was excited to see VACDL’s legislative advocacy continue to grow under Elliot and Eugene’s leadership, something I would build on as President. I was also thrilled to see us become involved in interviewing and evaluating potential judges, and being requested as resources in the selection of judges by the Virginia General Assembly. I would like to see VACDL continue to strengthen and grow as a movement for our clients and their rights in Virginia. I would also like to see us as an organization focus on increasing the depth of diversity in our membership, as well as in leadership roles.