Southwest Project

Artifact image of southwest ristra, or hanging dried chili peppers. The Access to Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest project was a grant program funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) designed to study juvenile defense representation in rural, remote, tribal, and underserved areas in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico (Southwest region).

This 3-year project began in October of 2015 and ran through September of 2018.  In cooperation with the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) and the Southwest Juvenile Defender Center (SWJDC), the Access to Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest project sought to celebrate the exemplary juvenile justice programs in the region, offer training where necessary, and determine the level of access to and quality of representation for children facing charges in the Southwest.

Focus on the Rural Southwest

Artifact image of southwest style adobe building in New Mexico. In collaboration with NJDC, the grant’s Rural/Training Subcommittee conducted a statewide gaps analysis of juvenile indigent defense in Arizona.  We sent a team of site investigators to meet with stakeholders across rural Arizona, drafted a report making recommendations for the state based on the site visits, and provided needed training and other resources as identified by the gaps analysis.

Want to learn more about the state assessment process?  Visit NJDC’s website for more information!



Focus on the Tribal Southwest

Defenders representing Native American youth face unique issues, including navigating the interplay between the services available on tribal land and state-offered services.  A Voice for Our Youth, the tribal collaboration initiative under the Access to Justice: Rural and Tribal Southwest sought to identify the individualized needs of tribal courts and defenders representing tribal youth across the Southwest through partnerships.  The grant’s Tribal Subcommittee worked with tribal court partners to develop training and resources that responded to the unique needs of defenders representing youth on tribal lands.

Training and Technical Assistance

As a Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) provider for the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), CJDC was one of two locations in the nation acting as a regional resource center for juvenile defenders.  Our project was committed to identifying and addressing training needs across the Southwest.


Access to Justice: Rural & Tribal Southwest Advisory Board

Cynthia (Cindy) Aragon
Director, Native American Program
New Mexico Legal Aid
Advisory Board, Tribal Subcommittee

Vincent (Vince) Barraza
Director/Defense Advocate Office
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Advisory Board, Tribal Subcommittee

Hon. Michelle Brown-Yazzie
Chief Judge
Pueblo of Isleta Tribal Court
Advisory Board, Tribal Subcommittee

Amanda Butler
Access to Justice Program Manager
Colorado Juvenile Defender Center
Advisory Board, Rural/Training & Tribal Subcommittees

Marsha Chojnacki
Team Captain
Tulsa Public Defenders Office
Advisory Board, Tribal Subcommittee

Stacie Colling
Juvenile Defense Coordinator
Colorado Office of Alternate Defense Counsel
Advisory Board, Rural/Training Subcommittee

Neomi Gilmore
Navajo Nation Department of Justice,
Economic, and Community Development
Advisory Board, Tribal Subcommittee

Mandee Johnson
Access to Justice Contract Administrative Assistant
Colorado Juvenile Defender Center

Ellen Marrus
Southwest Juvenile Defender Center
Advisory Board, Rural/Training Subcommittee

Mary Ann Scali
Executive Director
National Juvenile Defender Center
NJDC Liaison to the SW Grant

James Simermeyer
Assistant Director of Diversity & Public Interest
University of New Mexico Law School
Advisory Board, Tribal Subcommittee

Christina (Chris) Phillis
Southwest Juvenile Defender Center
Advisory Board, Rural/Training Subcommittee

Deborah (Debbie) Varol
Children’s Court Attorney
New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department
Advisory Board, Rural/Training Subcommittee

Pamela (Pam) Vickrey
Executive Director
Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys
Advisory Board, Rural/Training Subcommittee

This project was supported by Grant No. 2015-ZE-BX-K001 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.