As a nonprofit corporation chartered since 1972 under the laws of California, Appellate Defenders, Inc., is governed by a seven-member board of directors. The board meets approximately quarterly to discuss the business of the organization.

The board co-sponsors the annual Defender Dinner with the board of Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. The two boards present the Paul E. Bell Memorial Award for excellence in appellate advocacy and the E. Stanley Conant Award for excellence in trial advocacy. In addition, the boards confer recognition for lifetime achievement and other outstanding accomplishments.

When the occasion and budget call for it, the ADI board awards the Paul Bell Fellowship, which provides scholarship money for appellate training.

Members are chosen by the present board for three-year terms. They receive no compensation for their service. At present they include:

  • President: Steven J. Carroll, retired Public Defender.
  • Vice President: Dov Fox, professor of law, University of San Diego.
  • Secretary: Linda Keller, interim dean/professor of law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
  • Chief Financial Officer: Fred Kosmo, civil attorney.
  • Victoria Fuller: appellate attorney.
  • James Chavez: personal injury and criminal defense attorney.
  • Roberta K. Thyfault: professor of law emerita California Western School of Law, former ADI staff and panel attorney.
  • A non-director serving on an advisory basis to the Audit Committee is Kim Ufford, Certified Public Accountant with Levitzacks.


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