Sweet Briar College graduate and board member CeCelia E. Valentine ’95 was elected to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL) board of directors at the association’s 59th annual meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 13, according to an NACDL news release.
Valentine is a deputy legal defender at the Maricopa County Office of the Legal Defender in her hometown of Phoenix.
“When I first began attending CLE events sponsored by NACDL, I was in awe of the people who were presenting and active in the organization because they were nationally and internationally recognized,” Valentine says.
“It could be intimidating to dare to join a board of such a large and active organization that boasts the likes of Barry Scheck, but I found my voice at Sweet Briar. Sweet Briar gave me the confidence and education to know that I not only belonged and deserved a seat at the table, but could add my voice to the dialogue.”
Prior to beginning her public defender career, she worked as a law clerk at the Defender Association of Philadelphia for two years, and then as a federal law clerk in Tucson, Ariz., for the Honorable Raner C. Collins at the United States District Court of Arizona. From 2005 to 2011, Valentine served as an assistant public defender at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office in Tucson. Her work there included representing clients at all court appearances and police interviews, engaging in plea negotiations with prosecutors, and handling more than 40 felony jury trials. While there, she received the 2008 Rising Star Award by the Arizona Public Defender Association. She went on to be an assistant public defender at the Harris County Public Defender’s Office in Houston.
Valentine moved back to Arizona to work at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office in 2013, transferring to the Legal Defender’s Office in August 2015.
Valentine received her J.D. from The Houston College of Law (formerly the South Texas College of Law) in 2001.