Derwyn Bunton is the Chief District Defender for Orleans Parish (New Orleans) Louisiana leading the Orleans Public Defenders Office (OPD).
Prior to becoming Chief Defender, Derwyn was the Executive Director of Juvenile Regional Services (JRS). JRS was the first stand-alone juvenile defender office in the nation and the first non-profit law office devoted to juvenile justice reform and front-line juvenile representation. Derwyn is also the former Associate Director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), a nonprofit juvenile justice reform and advocacy organization. Derwyn graduated from New York University School of Law in 1998.
From 2000 to 2005, Derwyn aided in monitoring the settlement agreement between the United States Department of Justice, the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, private plaintiffs and the State of Louisiana regarding Louisiana’s juvenile prisons. Derwyn was part of the litigation team that sued Louisiana over the conditions of its juvenile prisons.
During Hurricane Katrina, Derwyn was part of a team of advocates and lawyers assisting the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections locate and reunite youth and adults evacuated to multiple DOC facilities across the state after being trapped by floodwaters in the Orleans Parish Prison in the wake of Katrina.
Appointed in 2009, Derwyn has led OPD to be among the most highly-regarded public defense programs in the country and a leading voice for public defense and criminal justice reform. He is the 2015 recipient of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ prestigious Justice Albert Tate Award.