Alice Fontier, NDS Harlem’s Managing Director, appeared on NY1’s Inside City Hall. She spoke about recently confirmed New York Chief Judge, Rowan D. Wilson. Rowan served on NDS Harlem’s Board for 23 years, as the Chair for 21 of them.

“He joined the board of NDS when we were really a nascent public defender and trying to do something differently in New York, we were really a pilot project in Harlem to pilot holistic defense and see what kind of difference we could make for the community. And he joined our board very early on in the mid-90s, and he saw what support can do for an organization like ours, and what a lack of support can do and how that impacts a community.

Because NDS was on the chopping block along with the Legal Aid Society under then Mayor Rudy Giuliani and we had to go back year over year to City council basically begging for the year to get through, keep the lights on, and keep trying to make the difference. And he saw that. He worked closely with our organization through those very difficult times and helped grow us to where we are now which is which is one of the major indigent defense providers. Here in New York City and… now in Detroit and Texas and growing, because the model works.

And Rowan Wilson, through 21 years of working very closely with our organization knows exactly what public defense means to a community and to the people that he cares about.”

See the full interview here.