TaShun Bowden-Lewis makes history as Connecticut’s new top public defender

For the first time, a Black woman has been appointed to oversee the Division of Public Defender Services for the state.

Loading the player...


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — For the first time, a Black woman has been appointed as Connecticut’s chief public defender.

TaShun Bowden-Lewis, who officially began her job on Friday overseeing the Division of Public Defender Services, said she hopes to provide minority clients with a greater sense of trust in the state’s criminal justice system.

“I do want our clients and our families to understand that we’re in the trenches with them. We support them,” she told The Hartford Courant.

courtroom thegrio.com
Bowden-Lewis said she understands the importance of being the first Black woman to hold the job, noting that “representation matters” given the racial makeup of the division’s clients. (Adobe file photo)

Bowden-Lewis was appointed in late May by the Public Defender Services Commission. The division represents clients in more than 100,000 criminal, child protection, delinquency defense, and family support cases annually.

Bowden-Lewis said she understands the importance of being the first Black woman to hold the job, noting that “representation matters” given the racial makeup of the division’s clients.

Bowden-Lewis grew up in Norwalk and earned her law degree from Quinnipiac University. She began her career working as a temporary assistant law clerk in New Haven before joining the Connecticut Division of Public Defender Services.

Bowden-Lewis has worked in the New Haven and Waterbury courts, most recently serving as supervisor of the public defender’s office for the Waterbury Judicial District.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!

Loading the player...