Ashley M. Burrell

Ashley M. Burrell serves as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. where she works on criminal justice, educational equity, and voting rights cases.

Ashley is a member of LDF’s trial team in Arnold v. Barbers Hill Independent School District, a case challenging a Texas school district’s racially discriminatory hair and grooming policy after two students were suspended for having uncut locs, a central part of their Black identity and cultural heritage.

Ashley is also a member of LDF’s litigation team challenging their client’s death sentence under the North Carolina Racial Justice Act (RJA). In 2020, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that individuals, including their client, who filed RJA claims before the law’s repeal are entitled to hearings where, if established that racial bias or discrimination was a significant factor in the state’s decision to seek or impose the death penalty, their client’s death sentence will be commuted to life without parole.

Ashley has tried over a dozen cases to verdict, serving as lead counsel in more than half, and has litigated approximately 30 suppression hearings. Prior to joining LDF, Ashley was an Assistant Federal Defender at the Federal Defenders of New York, Inc. in the Eastern District of New York. Ashley began her legal career at the Bronx Defenders where she was a Staff Attorney and Supervising Attorney.

Ashley graduated from Columbia University School of Law where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Notes Editor of the Columbia Journal of Race & Law. Additionally, she was a recipient of the Lowenstein Fellowship, a fellowship awarded to graduates who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to public interest law. Currently, she is a member of the Columbia Law School Alumni of Color Honorary Committee. Ashley graduated with Honors from Williams College.

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