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Connecticut’s first Black female chief public defender sworn in

TaShun Bowden-Lewis
Connecticut Chief Public Defender TaShun Bowden-Lewis

TaShun Bowden-Lewis, Connecticut’s first Black female chief public defender, was sworn into office at the state Supreme Court in Hartford on Thursday.

Superior Court Judge Eric Coleman, the first Black person to chair the state legislature’s judiciary committee, administered the oath.

Bowden-Lewis, a litigator for the past 25 years, was overwhelmed with emotion.

“This moment is beautiful at so many levels for me as an individual, for my family, for those whom I love, for my entire division of Connecticut public defenders,” she said.

Friends, family and top state officials, including Connecticut’s Chief Justice Richard Robinson, witnessed the ceremony. He welcomed Bowden-Lewis as another trailblazer, “cutting a path for the next generation of attorneys, judges, clerks, probation officers, prosecutors, public defenders, chief public defenders and yes, even chief justices.”

Robinson commended Bowden-Lewis for being the face of some of the best attorneys in the state, who defend those in need regardless of how they look.

Bowden-Lewis will lead the Division of Public Defender Services. It’s an independent state agency that represents more than 100,000 cases a year involving criminal defense, child protection, delinquency, and family support.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.