My ResumeProjects and Volunteer ExperienceAbout "Making a Record"My Professional BioContact Me
From 2020 to 2023, under contract with the Deason Center for Criminal Justice Reform at Southern Methodist University, I was the project coordinator for a research project studying changes to indigent-defense services in the wake of funding increases in New York State. My role was a hybrid between project manager, subject matter expert, and technology consultant. This included directly managing a team of Research Assistants, drafting memoranda of understanding, designing and documenting research methods, structuring datasets, configuring our tech tools, and much more. I also managed relationships with local justice system actors in the counties we are studying. Finally, I designed and convened an advisory board made up of industry experts and people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
From 2021 to 2023, I served as an elected Steward for the Columbus DSA chapter's priority campaign on housing justice. New Stewards have taken over, but I continue to be involved and to help lead our chapter's housing work. We're focusing on the city of Columbus's approach to development using tax abatements and how we as activists and organizers might be able to make this process more just. I have led public education events on tax abatements, conducted research, and worked with organizers (both within DSA and around the city) to strategize for our campaign.
The Indigent Defense Research Association is a community of people passionate about research into indigent defense, including academics, practitioners, national advocates, funders, and more. Since 2017, I have been on IDRA's leadership team, running weekly meetings and helping to manage day-to-day operations of our community. This includes helping to plan and run IDRA's annual meeting as part of the American Society of Criminology conference. I manage tasks between meetings, assist with calls for proposals, help organize the event schedule, and help run and MC the event both in-person and virtually. I also sometimes present my own work; in the past, I have presented on case-management-system development and performance reviews at holistic-defense offices. I was the elected Secretary of the IDRA Board in 2021 and now serve as the President.
See an example of a previous conference I helped run here.
In 2020 and 2021, through my work at JustTech, I helped nearly a dozen different legal aid offices around the country with deploying or improving their own iterations of the case-management system LegalServer. I helped with every phase of the deployment process, from requirements gathering to testing to onboarding users and troubleshooting first-week issues. I also created complex custom reports and custom workflows designed to seamlessly connect the work that advocates do for clients directly to data collection and reporting. Finally, I helped offices transition to using formal document management in Office 365, including auditing all document-management processes and providing training for staff. These projects required working closely with office leadership, tech staff, lawyers, administrative staff, support staff, and data analysts.
While working as an Organizational Systems Analyst at the Bronx Defenders in 2018 and 2019, I worked closely with the head of the civil action practice and other key stakeholders to devise a process for staffing housing-court intake and collecting case data. The right to counsel in housing court expanded while I was working at this office, and as a result I was able to help the civil practice revamp the way they provided housing representation. I helped create paper intake instruments, wrote guides on process and data collection, and advised on things like staffing and team structure. This new data-collection process also required new fields in our custom-built case-management system. I gathered requirements for these changes, documented them in detail, and ran the development and testing process for the deployment of the changes.
From 2016 to 2018, as part of my work as a Public Information Attorney at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, I worked on a state-wide case-management and data-collection system. My role in the project was to manage requirements for the system, both for the application itself and for the underlying data structure. I worked directly with prospective users (support staff, attorneys, etc.) to gather user stories and turn those into feature requests and documentation. I also worked extensively on the written training materials. I periodically ran analyses from the data we were collecting and helped with data cleanup. Finally, I helped with actual on-site deployment, which included not only training of new users, but also helping offices streamline their data-collection methods and their processes as they began using our new system. I also helped with interpreting various offices' data and processes in order to migrate large and complex datasets into our new system.
In 2015, as part of my work as a public defender in the Appeals and Postconviction Section of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, I successfully litigated State v. Hand, a case involving adult sentencing enhancements for prior juvenile delinquency. I represented Mr. Hand throughout his case in the Ohio Supreme Court, from filing the jurisdictional memorandum all the way through oral argument and, eventually, the decision in our favor. The United States Supreme Court later declined to hear the State's appeal of the result. My brief in that case won the Ohio State Bar Association's "Best Brief" award in 2015.
Below is a list of programs I have presented, in a wide range of subjets and to a wide range of audiences.
In a courtroom, "making a record" is the process by which attorneys introduce evidence to support the story they're telling in order to achieve a legal result.
My personal understanding of "making a record" changes over time, but right now, it's about building relationships and learning peoples' real-life experiences so that I can tell a story to make material change in an often indifferent, and sometimes outright oppressive, system. It's the way I create convincing arguments for systemic change, but it's also the way I make sure that the work I'm doing on someone's behalf is grounded in their actual needs and material reality. It's about slowly but persistently turning real experiences into real change. It's a long-term process of building trust and community that I try to approach with humility and careful communication.
Stephen Goldmeier is a public defender and analyst currently working as the Justice Systems Manager at the Gault Center. In this role, he works on implementing and improving tehcnology and systems to serve a national network of youth defenders. He is also an independent consultant focused on indigent-defense research and technology. He is the Board President of the Indigent Defense Research Association and the Membership and Campaigns Chair for the Columbus Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Stephen received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education, with minors in chemistry and physics, from Otterbein University, and graduated from DePaul University’s College of Law with a certificate in intellectual property law. He began his career as an Assistant Public Defender in the appeals and postconviction section of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, where he litigated cases in every phase of a criminal proceeding, including successfully arguing two cases in the Ohio Supreme Court. He then worked in the Policy and Outreach department of that office, co-leading the design and deployment of a unified state-wide data-collection and case-management system. Then, he was the Organizational Systems Analyst at the Bronx Defenders, where he was project lead for a number of process-improvement and technology-deployment projects. As a consultant, he was the Project Coordinator for the GIDEON Project at Southern Methodist University's Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, examining changes to public defense as a result of funding increases in New York state. Stephen has taught nationally about a wide variety of subjects, including legal writing, storytelling, systems design, data collection, and forensic science.
If my work sounds interesting to you, please get in touch. You can find me on most social networks under the username "makingarecord," including the federated social network Mastodon, using the links below. Or you can email me at email@example.com.
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"Nobody is obliged to be a genius,
but everyone is obliged to participate."
- Philippe Starck