Claude Heffron serves as a fellow of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden. As the Center’s inaugural fellow, a substantial portion of Claude’s work is devoted to pro bono amicus curiae work on criminal justice cases pending in the New Jersey Supreme Court, as well as fee-shifting and pro bono work relating to police transparency, open government, and civil rights.
Claude previously served for six years as an assistant deputy public defender in the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, representing clients facing felony charges as they moved through every stage of the criminal legal process, from detention motions through plea negotiations, at contested evidentiary hearings, jury and bench trials, and in high-stakes sentencing hearings.
Claude also served as a founding member of the Parole Advocacy Working Group which produced a report documenting statewide needs of clients in parole hearings and advocates for individuals at parole hearings. She also volunteered with the State Prison Crisis Team to file applications for the release of vulnerable clients during the pandemic.
Prior to joining the Office of the Public Defender, Claude served as a summer law clerk for both the Mecklenburg County Public Defender in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has interned with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem’s Family Defense practice, The Door Legal Services, the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice, the Community Service Society of New York, the Federal Defenders of New York, and Samaritan Village Women’s Shelter, Men’s Shelter, and Treatment Admissions. Claude also volunteered for the National Lawyers Guild Mass Incarceration Committee’s Parole Prep Project. In addition to her law degree, Claude has a Master of Social Work.
Honors & Recognitions
- New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, Attorney of the Month, February 2020
Community & Professional
- Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, 2023 - Present
- Represented client in resentencing hearing pursuant to State v. Comer, resulting in his immediate release after 31 years in prison
- Obtained the release of a client from a psychiatric hospital where he had been committed for 34 years. State v. C.M., 2019 WL 1870868 (App. Div. 2019)
- Won numerous motions to suppress evidence and confessions, resulting in dismissal of charges and favorable resolutions for clients
- First chair in several jury trials, including two murder trials
- New Jersey
- New York
B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 2009
M.S., Columbia University School of Social Work, 2014
J.D., New York University School of Law, 2017
- Proficient in Spanish and French