NAPD Executive Leadership Institute Los Angeles 2019 has ended
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Heather Cessna

Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services
Executive Director
Topeka, Kansas
Heather Cessna is the new Executive Director of the Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (SBIDS). In that position she oversees 16 public defender offices and facilitates the representation of over 400 appointed private counsel in 105 different counties across the state of Kansas on behalf of indigent adult clients charged with felonies. Prior to becoming Executive Director in 2019, Ms. Cessna spent 16 years as a Kansas Appellate Defender, briefing and arguing appeals before the Kansas Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court. During her time as an appellate public defender, Ms. Cessna served for three years as a Deputy Appellate Defender, supervising an office of 18 attorneys and 5 support staff. Ms. Cessna came to the Kansas public defender system directly after law school in 2003, after being inspired to a career in public defense by her experiences working on appellate briefs and habeas cases in the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project at the University of Kansas School of Law as a 2L and 3L. Ms. Cessna has a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Baker University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law.