Abbe Smith
Director of the Clinic, Co-Director of the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program, and Professor of Law.  She joined the Georgetown faculty in 1996.  Prior to coming to Georgetown, Professor Smith was the Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, where she was also a Clinical Instructor, and Lecturer on Law.  In addition to Georgetown and Harvard, Professor Smith has also taught at City University New York Law School, Temple University School of Law, American University Washington College of Law, and the University of Melbourne Law School (Ausralia), where she was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in 2005-06.  Professor Smith teaches and writes on  in the areas of criminal and juvenile defense, legal ethics, juvenile justice, and clinical legal education.  In addition to law journal articles, she is the author of Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Story (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), co-author with Monroe Freedman of Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics (4th ed., Lexis-Nexis, 2010), and co-editor with Monroe Freedman of How Can You Represent Those People (forthcoming, 2013).  a contributing author of We Dissent (Michael Avery, ed., NYU Press, 2008) and Law Stories (Gary Bellow & Martha Minow, eds., University of Michigan Press, 1996).  Professor Smith began her legal career at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where she was an Assistant Defender, a member of the Special Defense Unit, and a Senior Trial Attorney from 1982 to 1990.  She continues to be actively engaged in indigent defense practice and frequently presents at public defender and legal aid training programs in the United States and abroad.  Professor Smith is on the Board of Directors of The Bronx Defenders and the National Juvenile Defender Center, and is a longtime .  She is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Lawyers Guild.  In 2010, she was elected to the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, an exclusive national society for outstanding criminal trial lawyers.  She is also a published cartoonist.  A collection of her cartoons, Carried Away: The Chronicles of a Feminist Cartoonist, was published in 1984.

Vida Johnson
Professor Johnson, prior to joining Georgetown University Law Center, was a supervising attorney in the Trial Division at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), where she worked for eight years. At PDS Ms. Johnson was assigned to the most serious cases at the “Felony One” level, and her experience included numerous trials in D.C. Superior Court representing indigent clients facing charges including homicide, sexual assault, and armed offenses. Ms. Johnson’s responsibilities at PDS also included supervising other trial attorneys and serving as one of the agency’s two representatives to the D.C. Superior Court Sentencing Guidelines Commission. In 2009, Ms. Johnson was a Visiting Associate Professor in the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center. Before joining PDS, Professor Johnson was an E. Barrett Prettyman fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. As a fellow she represented indigent adults in the D.C. Superior Court and supervised students in the Criminal Justice Clinic. Ms. Johnson earned her law degree from New York University Law School in 2000 and she earned her B.A. in American History from the University of California, Berkeley in 1995.

Lauren VonWiegen
Lauren is the Investigations Supervisor and Director of the Investigative Internship Program. She received a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lauren went on to spend nearly seven years working as an Investigative Specialist at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she investigated both pre-trial serious felony cases and worked as a Defense Victim Outreach Specialist on IRAA cases.

Edwin Rodas
Edwin Rodas is the Office Manager for the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic. He handles all administrative matters necessary to ensure an efficient work flow.

E. Barrett Prettyman Fellows

Frankie Hedgepeth

Frankie Hedgepeth is the second year E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow. Frankie grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. He received a B.A. in Africana studies and political science from the University of Miami in 2019, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 2022. During his time in law school, Frankie worked as a student attorney in the Challenging Mass Incarceration Clinic and served as the Political Action Chair of the Black Law Students Association. He spent his law school summers at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and the Bronx Defenders.

Claudia Benz

Claudia Benz is the First Year E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2018. Before law school, Claudia taught fifth grade in Chicago for two years as a member of Teach for America. She received her J.D. from Duke Law School in 2023, where she was the president of the National Lawyers Guild, the co-director of the Clemency Project, and a student attorney in the Criminal Defense Clinic. Claudia spent her law school summers with the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission in Fairfax County and the Law Offices of the Public Defender in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and also externed with the Public Defender’s Office in Durham, North Carolina.