Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy is an Assistant Counsel. At LDF, Adam argued recently on behalf of amici before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Commonwealth v. Dew, __ Mass. __, 210 N.E.3d 904 (Mass. 2023). In that case, the court reversed Mr. Dew’s convictions and became the first court in the country to evaluate defense counsel’s racial and religious bias under an actual conflict of interest framework.

Adam also served as lead counsel for a client—initially sentenced to life without parole as a teenager—who was granted release by the Mississippi Parole Board. He has filed amicus and merits briefs challenging qualified immunity and racially biased sentencing in federal appeals courts, including in Rodney Reed v. Bryan Goertz, 143 S. Ct. 955 (2023), where the United States Supreme Court reversed lower court rulings that had barred Mr. Reed from accessing DNA evidence that could demonstrate his actual innocence.

Prior to LDF, Adam was a Staff Attorney and Law Fellow with the Equal Justice Initiative, where he represented people on Alabama’s death row and clients sentenced to death-in-prison as children. More recently, Adam was an appellate public defender with the Office of the Appellate Defender, where he was counsel-of-record in People v. Murray, 197 A.D.3d 46 (1st Dep’t 2021). There, the New York State Appellate Division reversed his client’s convictions after concluding that the trial level prosecutor excluded a Black prospective juror on the basis of race in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

Adam has advocated successfully for the release of eight people at state parole boards throughout the United States, including four people who were serving life sentences. He also co-founded and served as the licensed bail bond agent for the Washington Square Legal Services Bail Fund, a not-for-profit organization that posted bail for dozens of people who could not afford their freedom.

Adam graduated from the New York University School of Law in 2017, where he was an Arthur Garfield Hays Fellow. During law school, Adam was a member of the Juvenile Defender Clinic, the Equal Justice and Defender Clinic, and served as co-president of the Solitary Confinement Project. For his work, Adam received the Vanderbilt Medal, Ann Petluck Poses Memorial Prize, and the Eric Dean Bender Prize. He is a graduate of Vassar College.

Adam is a member of the state bars of Alabama and New York, as well as the United States Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit, Third Circuit, First Circuit, and the Northern District of Alabama.

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