Robert Brett Dunham
- B.A., Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania
- J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
After ten years as Director of Training in Capital Habeas Corpus Unit of the Philadelphia federal defender’s office, Mr. Dunham joined the Capital Habeas Corpus Unit of the Harrisburg federal defender's office in September 2009. From 1994 until 1999, he served as executive director of the former Pennsylvania Capital Case Resource Center. Mr. Dunham started his legal career in 1989 as a litigation associate at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis. Prior to attending law school, he served as press secretary and campaign manager for Robert W. O'Donnell, the former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Mr. Dunham has litigated death penalty cases at all levels of Pennsylvania’s state and federal courts, including arguing in the United States Supreme Court, and has served as a member of the Third Circuit’s Task Force on Management of Death Penalty Litigation. He has designed and taught death penalty training programs for the state and federal courts and a number of national, state, and local bar associations and defense organizations, as well as lecturing on innocence, non-capital sentencing, and scientific challenges to the misuse of forensic evidence. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project; and recently completed five years service on the Steering Committee of the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project and twelve years on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL) . Mr.
Dunham continues to serve as co-chair of PACDL's death penalty training committee. He also has served on the board of directors of a number of local public service organizations, including more than a decade as a crime victim-assistance volunteer, board member, and President of the Board of Northwest Victim Services.
In law school, Mr. Dunham was Managing Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal, Associate Editor of its Annual Review of Criminal Procedure, and received the Milton A. Kaufman Prize for outstanding contribution to the Journal and the Jeffrey Crandall Award for public interest law. His law review Note, Defoliating the Grassroots: Election Day Restrictions on Political Speech, 77 Geo. L.J. 2137 (1989) was cited by the plurality and dissenting opinions in Burson v. Freeman, 504 U.S. 191 (1992). His awards for professional achievement include PACDL’s Liberty Award and Alan J. Josel Advocacy Award; the Public Defender Association of Pennsylvania’s Gideon Award; the Bill of Rights Award of the Federal Bar Association for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and the Andrew Hamilton Award from the Public Interest Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Courses and Seminars
- Death Penalty
- Death Penalty Practicum