Thomas Giovanni

Former Counsel and Director, COD Network

Thomas Giovanni was Counsel to the Justice Program at the Brennan Center. As a former public defender, Giovanni works with defenders to implement holistic practices and secure the right to counsel, which can reduce mass incarceration. He has expertise in criminal justice, criminal procedure and trial practice, public defense, and pretrial proceedings. His work focuses on eliminating unnecessary incarceration, reducing racial disparities in the justice system, and improving public defense services. He is also Director of the Community-Oriented Defender Network, a network housed in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, composed of defender offices from across the country, dedicated to using their skills to improve the lives of clients and the communities in which they live.

Before the Brennan Center, Thomas was a public defender for a decade at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Thomas has collaborated extensively with clinical law programs at Cardozo and Fordham, and served as a guest lecturer and field placement supervisor for the NYU School of Law’s Criminal and Community Defense clinic. Each year, he also serves as a Coach at the New York State Defender's Association Basic Trial Skills Program, an intensive trial advocacy training for criminal defense attorneys. Thomas has been featured on The Rachel Maddow Show, PBS’s Need to Know, and NY1’s Inside City Hall. He holds a B.A. (1994) from Morehouse College, a Historically Black College, and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center (1998).


Community-Oriented Defense: Start Now, 7/2012


Oversight Could Restore Faith Between Communities and Law Enforcement, New American Media, 6/14/2012

SCOTUS Ruling Won’t Fix Appalling Michigan Indigent Defense System, 10/28/11

Media Appearances

Need to Know, PBS, 3/30/12

The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, 7/4/12

Inside City Hall with Errol Lewis, NY1, 8/2/12