VLS Honors Montgomery Co. Assistant Public Defender for Service to the Law School
Montgomery County Assistant Public Defender, Sharon R. Meisler
, was recently honored for her "outstanding dedication" and 10 years of service to the Villanova Sentencing Workshop and the goal of "effective, humane and rational sentencing," by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and Villanova University School of Law during a ceremony in Harrisburg, PA.
Meisler, who is well-known for her dedication to educating aspiring lawyers on the duties of a Public Defender and sentencing policies, was "extremely humbled" by the honor.
Each spring, the Commission co-hosts the Villanova Law Sentencing Workshop to provide judges, lawyers and law students with information about state sentencing guidelines. During the multi-day workshop a group of 12 Villanova Law students, six county court judges, a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, parole and probation officials and other professionals discuss recent court opinions and sentencing policies. Past workshops explored alternatives to prison and alternative sentencing programs such as restrictive intermediate punishment or the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program, a sentencing tool that offers prison treatment programs to drug addicted offenders to reduce their minimum prison terms.
Meisler, who truly enjoys mentoring others, has been the appointed Public Defender in the workshop panel for 10 years and takes her role very seriously. "I'd love to do it again," says Meisler, "It's a lot of fun because there's a lot of give-and-take between judges, lawyers and students."
The workshops are directed by Villanova Law's Associate Dean for Faculty Research, Steven L. Chanenson, who is also a member of the Commission. Dean Chanenson felt that he would be "hard-pressed" to find another individual in Pennsylvania with more knowledge about sentencing policies than Meisler. She is "the glue that held it together," and someone from whom he has learned a great deal.
Meisler, graduated from Temple University in 1981 and the New England School of Law in Boston, in 1984. She has been an Assistant Public Defender in Montgomery County since 1985. Meisler has also worked as an adjunct professor at Temple University and an instructor of criminal justice at University of Phoenix.