Sara Mayeux is the author of Free Justice: A History of the Public Defender in Twentieth-Century America, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2020. Free Justice explores the rise, both in the idea and practice, of the public defender throughout the 20th Century. More than just a strict legal history of the profession, Dr. Mayeux’s work looks beyond the confines of the courtroom or law firm to explore how the public defender was representative of changing ideas of not just law, but American identity. Free Justice expands our knowledge of how and why public defenders became as ubiquitous as they are today.
Dr. Mayeux is an Associate Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University.
Derek Litvak is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland—College Park. His dissertation, "The Specter of Black Citizens: Race, Slavery, and Citizenship in the Early United States," examines how citizenship was used to both bolster the institution of slavery and exclude Black Americans from the body politic.