President / Founder
Jonathan Rapping is the President/Founder of the Southern Public Defender Training Center (SPDTC). Jon is the Director of the Honors Criminal Justice Program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where he also teaches criminal law and criminal procedure. He is the former Training Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), an office nationally known for its training program.
Following his tenure at PDS, in 2004 Jon became the first Training Director of Georgia’s new state-wide public defender system. In that capacity he was responsible for designing training programs for both legal and non-legal staff statewide. Jon then became the Director of Training and Recruitment for the Orleans Public Defenders, where he was integral in the efforts to rebuild the public defender system in post-Katrina New Orleans.
In recognition of his work in New Orleans, he was a co-recipient of the prestigious Lincoln Leadership Award, given by Kentucky’s Department of Public Advocacy to honor leadership in national efforts to improve indigent defense. Jon has trained public defenders all over the country, and was awarded a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship to develop the SPDTC.
In 2009, Jon was named a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow by the Harvard Law School Office of Public Interest in recognition of his contribution to the public interest through his work with the SPDTC.
Read the Harvard Law School Press Release for its 2009-2010 Wasserstein Fellows
Jon has published articles on the importance of changing organizational culture in order to effectuate indigent defense reform and on the need to focus on recruitment, training, and mentoring in an effort to impact cultural transformation.
You Can’t Build on Shaky Ground: Laying the Foundation For Indigent Defense Reform Through Values-Based Recruitment, Training, and Mentoring
Street Crimes, Stress, And Suggestion: Helping The Jury See What The Witness Did Not
In the Press