CPCS MANAGEMENT TEAM
75 Federal Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
Anthony J. Benedetti, Chief Counsel
Anthony J. Benedetti is Chief Counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts agency responsible for providing legal services to those who are unable to afford it in cases where there is a constitutional or statutory right to an attorney. After graduating from Boston College and Suffolk University Law School, he worked as a public defender trial lawyer in the CPCS Brockton office representing clients in the Plymouth County District and Superior Courts. In 1998, Attorney Benedetti became the CPCS General Counsel, responsible for providing legal counsel and support to the Chief Counsel, and maintaining a leadership role in carrying out of the agency’s fiscal, human resources, and operational responsibilities, internally and externally. In addition, he was the agency representative before the executive, legislative and judicial branches on budget and legislative issues. He was selected as Chief Counsel in 2010.
Attorney Benedetti is an active long-time member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association, as well as the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. On the national level, Anthony is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) and the National Association for Public Defense.
Jon E. Bartelson, Chief Information Officer
Jon E. Bartelson is Chief Information Officer for the Committee for Public Counsel Services and oversees the Information Technology Division by providing leadership and vision in developing, implementing, and maintaining IT initiatives for the agency. He is responsible for directing the planning and implementation of enterprise IT systems in support of legal strategy and business operations to improve service quality, cost effectiveness, and efficient delivery of applications for the agency’s staff and private counsel partners providing high quality legal representation to our clients.
Before joining CPCS, Jon was most recently Chief Information Officer at Rhode Island College in Providence, RI. He is a member of the Massachusetts bar and has worked as a pro bono attorney with Community Legal Aid in Worcester, MA. Jon is also a member of the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations, and a former member of the Worcester County Bar Association. He holds a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School, a Master of Business Administration from Bentley University, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Mark Conlon is serving as the Interim Chief Human Resources Officer.
Mark directs a team of ten Human Resources professionals who are responsible for recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits administration, payroll, and employee relations activities for the Agency. HR’s key focus is customer service and support of the legal and operations staff to ensure CPCS is a top employer in the State, attracts and retains a top-notch and diverse staff, and meets its core mission.
Before joining CPCS, Mark worked for the Massachusetts Trial Court for over 30 years and retired in February 2020. During his career with the Trial Court, Mark served as the Trial Court’s Personnel Administrator for over seventeen years and was their Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations for over thirteen years. As Director, he was designated as a Special Assistant Attorney General to oversee labor and employment litigation involving the Trial Court.
Mark earned a B.A. Degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island, a M.P.A. Degree from UMass Amherst, and a J.D. Degree from Suffolk. Mark was a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association until his retirement.
Michael Dsida has overseen CPCS’s Children and Family Law Division since 2006. His career has focused primarily on advocacy on behalf of clients in state intervention/child welfare matters.
Beginning in 1988, Mike worked for the Cook County Public Guardian, representing children in Chicago’s Juvenile Court. His work included class litigation seeking to address systemic problems relating to sibling visits and placement, permanency planning, and caseworker assignment policies and practices. One of his cases was Suter v. Artist M., 503 U.S. 347 (1992), in which Mike sought to have the Supreme Court uphold the enforceability of federal requirements regarding family preservation and reunification. In 1995, Mike established the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, one of the country’s first law school clinics to focus on state intervention/child welfare matters. Mike also worked as a Senior Legislative Attorney at the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau.
Mike is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School.
Duci is the Director of the Youth Advocacy Division (YAD), the juvenile defender branch of the agency. Prior to becoming Director, Duci was the Attorney in Charge of the YAD Quincy Office for over ten years where she supervised attorneys and social workers while maintaining her own caseload. Duci started her career as a public defender with the YAD Roxbury Office in 2005 where she represented juveniles in delinquency and youthful offender matters in the Dorchester, West Roxbury, and Boston Juvenile Courts. From 2010-2011,while on a leave of absence from YAD, Duci worked as a staff attorney at Suffolk University School of Law’s Juvenile Justice Center supervising law students representing juveniles in the Boston Juvenile Court and assisting in the teaching of the Juvenile Defender Clinical Class.
In 2008, Duci was selected as one of fifteen lawyers by the Boston Bar Association to participate in its 2008-2009 Public Interest Leadership Program, a program designed for lawyers who have demonstrated leadership in public service, pro bono and organized bar activities. Duci is a recipient of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2012 Access to Justice Defender Award. In 2019 she was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Duci has participated in numerous CPCS and MCLE trainings as a panelist lecturing in various criminal and juvenile law topics. In addition to lecturing at trainings, Duci taught a seminar entitled “Racial Justice and Prosecutorial Metrics” at Northeastern University School of Law from 2020-2021. She earned her B.S. in Rehabilitation and Human Services from Boston University and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.
Lisa Hewitt is the General Counsel for the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). Lisa also worked for CPCS as General Counsel and Legislative Counsel from 1986 to 1998.
Before joining CPCS in 1986, Lisa worked as the Chief of Staff for the Massachusetts House Committee on the Judiciary, as a research analyst for the Committee on Criminal Justice, and as a staff member of the Special Commission on Uniform Sentencing and Revision of the Criminal Code.
Lisa left CPCS in 1998 to serve as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA), and maintained a leadership role on behalf of MATA in coalitions with other consumer and civil justice bar associations. She also maintained a general law practice while representing clients in government affairs before state and municipal adjudicatory boards, and as a registered lobbyist, she has lobbied for community organizations and citizens’ groups initiatives and funding. She has drafted and advocated for amendments to town ordinances, secured state and local funding for community projects, and managed the press in support of key community initiatives.
Lisa earned her B.A. from Stonehill College and her J.D. degree from Suffolk University Law School.
John Lozada, Equity and Inclusion Director
John Lozada is the Equity and Inclusion Director for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, and leads CPCS’ efforts to build fairness and respect within our offices and in our work to represent indigent individuals, across the broad range of cases we address. John brings to this work as strong ability to assess and respond to bias risks in both the work place and public settings, along with experience as counsel on discrimination matters and as a manager overseeing compliance activities across the range of civil rights issues in government and private settings.
As Director of Civil Rights and Manager of Federal Programs for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), John focused on issues relating to affirmative action//equal employment opportunities, nondiscrimination obligations toward the public, MWDBE contractor programs, and accessibility under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Much of this work involved innovative efforts to bring technology solutions to build equity in efforts to prioritize issues of concern and remediation strategies.
As an attorney, Mr. Lozada has served in government and private capacities, focusing on civil rights in employment, education and transportation, as well as general civil law. He has blended his work focus with extensive volunteering across diverse organizations focused on civil rights, Bar diversity, community empowerment, education and health.
John is a graduate of the Northfield Mount Hermon School. Amherst College and the University of California – Hastings College of the Law, and likes to fish, ride bicycle, read and cook.
Kevin Lucchetti is the Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining us at CPCS, Kevin served as the Director of Administration and Finance for the Massachusetts Department of Health, Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality. Prior to that, he spent twelve years in the private sector as a Finance and Purchasing Director and a Senior Financial Analyst. He began his career in state government, first as a Budget Analyst for the House Ways and Means Committee and as a Senior Budget Analyst for the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority.
Kevin has a long history and strong background in financial management.
Laura Sanford oversees the Mental Health Litigation Division and leads its efforts to improve access to legal representation and quality of services for a segment of our community with unique and difficult life and legal challenges. Before joining CPCS management, Attorney Sanford spent over 20 years as private counsel representing citizens facing civil commitment proceedings in District, Superior, and appellate courts, and litigating all aspects of guardianship law including issues of capacity, substituted judgment, court ordered medication, and other extraordinary treatment. Attorney Sanford appealed Guardianship of Zaltman which holds that an incapacitated person is entitled to an evidentiary hearing to determine capacity to retain counsel for the purpose of removing the guardian, and appealed Guardianship of L.H, which addresses the role of Respondent’s counsel in a guardianship case with authority to admit to a nursing facility and administer antipsychotics. She received the Paul Liacos Award for Zealous Advocacy and Outstanding Legal Services to Individuals with Mental Health Issues and was a member of the Disability Law Center’s Advisory Council for the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Program. Attorney Sanford has mentored attorneys for certification by the MHLD trial and appellate panels since the mentorship program began. As a MHLD Regional Coordinator she designed, organized, and implemented numerous training programs for MHLD attorneys’ continuing education.
After a 20-year career in civil litigation in state and federal court, she was inspired to apply her talents to representing the critically underserved MHLD constituency (the joy of her legal career). Attorney Sanford was a former ADA for Middlesex County in another incarnation and is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Boston College and B.C. Law School. She lives in Boston with her husband and their dog, Taji.
Holly T. Smith, Director of Administration and Operations
Holly T. Smith is the Director of Administration and Operations for the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS).
Holly spent the lion’s share of her legal career working for and with CPCS, first as private counsel and then as staff. Holly joined CPCS staff as a trainer in the Youth Advocacy Division training unit in Boston in 2012 after having been in private practice for many years during which time she represented adults and juveniles in criminal, delinquency, and youthful offender matters in all Trial and Appellate Courts of the Commonwealth. She came to this current position from the Somerville/Malden Youth Advocacy Division Trial Office where she was the Attorney-in-Charge. In addition to the aforementioned roles, Holly has also served as the Interim Director of the Criminal Trial Support Unit, co-headed the Post-Conviction Covid 19 Task force focused on seeking deincarceration of our clients during the pandemic, Chaired/Co-Chaired the Juvenile and Child Welfare Section Counsel of the Massachusetts Bar Association, and participated in CPCS’s last Strategic Planning efforts as a member of the committee focused on Training.
Holly earned her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her J.D. from New England Law Boston.
Arnie Lucinda Stewart is the Deputy Chief Counsel of the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. She oversees the operation of public defender staff offices throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Arnie Lucinda Stewart began her journey with the Committee for Public Counsel Services in 1997 as a trial unit staff attorney assigned to the Boston Superior Court Office. In 2009, Arnie was appointed as the Attorney-in-Charge (AIC) of the Boston District and Municipal Court office. She supervised, trained, and mentored attorneys, support staff, social service advocates, and investigators. In 2012, Arnie was chosen as the first PDD Managing Director for the Northeast Region now known as the Central Region. The Central Region includes all of the public defender offices in Suffolk and Norfolk Counties.
Arnie has served as a mentor to numerous colleagues and been an active participant in efforts to improve CPCS and the representation provided to clients. Arnie has served on various committees and has been extremely active in recruiting and hiring. Arnie is a leader in efforts to increase agency diversity and retention, helping to create training on management and diversity and being a founding member of the CPCS affinity group Public Lawyers of Color (PLOC).
Arnie received the Thurgood Marshall Award for Zealous Advocacy which honors “a person or persons who champion the cause of zealous representation for the poor and the right to effective assistance of counsel for all.” At New England Law, Arnie received the Charles Hamilton Houston Award for Academic Achievement and the Timothy J. Cronin Memorial Award for Public Service. She was given the Activism Award by the National Lawyers Guild.
Arnie studied Criminal Justice and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree, she attended New England Law in Boston. Arnie received a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from the University of Massachusetts, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies.
Photo: Paper Schemes Productions
Vanessa Vélez oversees 80% of the state-wide legal representation of indigent clients by private counsel in the following units: Criminal Trial and Support, Post-Conviction, Parole Advocacy, and Alternative Commitment and Registration Support. In addition, she oversees the Immigration Impact Unit, the Innocence Program, and the Private Social Work Services Unit.
Before being appointed Deputy Chief Counsel, Vanessa was the Attorney in Charge of the Boston District and Municipal Court Office, a public defender division of CPCS. She also worked in the public and private sectors litigating criminal and civil cases in Massachusetts’ district, municipal, superior, and probate and family courts. Vanessa was a member of the CPCS’ post-conviction panel. She also represented clients through the Volunteer Lawyer’s Program of the Boston Bar Association.
Vanessa has actively participated in the Homeless Court Project (HCP) and the Boston Veterans Treatment Court (BVTC). The HCP’s goal is to reduce legal barriers homeless individuals face by expeditiously resolving outstanding warrants for non-violent and misdemeanor offenses. The BVTC serves court-involved veterans struggling with addiction, mental health issues, traumatic brain injuries, and other co-occurring disorders.
Vanessa has been a faculty member in the Trial Advocacy Workshop of Harvard Law School. She has mentored 12th-grade students from Chelsea High School through the Pathways Mentorship Program, designed to help students prepare for college and future careers. She also mentored law students with the Boston Lawyers Group (BLG), a nonprofit organization that promotes diversity in the Boston Legal Community. In addition, Vanessa participated as a Commission member to study the role of structural Racism in the Massachusetts Probation Services and as a member of the Data Collection and Analysis Subcommittee of the Trial Court of Massachusetts Committee to End Racism & Other Systemic Barriers. She is currently a member of the Alternative Paths to Licensure subcommittee of the Massachusetts SJC’s Steering Committee on Bar Admissions.
Bob McGovern, Communications Director
McGovern oversees all internal and external communications for CPCS and is the main point of contact for media organizations seeking comment from the agency. McGovern joined CPCS in 2019.
McGovern has worked for various media outlets, most recently as the legal columnist for the Boston Herald. While at the Herald, he covered all matters of the law – from novel Supreme Judicial Court decisions to the “Deflategate” saga involving New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Massachusetts Bar Association honored him with the 2016 Excellence in Legal Journalism Award. He joined the Herald after working as an attorney in Boston.
McGovern is an active member of the New England First Amendment Coalition and worked as a law clerk for the organization while in law school. He frequently guest lectures on media law and ethics.
McGovern earned his B.A in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and his J.D. from New England Law in Boston.