John Holdridge is the Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. He has represented capital defendants for over 20 years. Prior to his appointment at the ACLU, Holdridge was a public defender in Connecticut’s Capital Defense and Trial Services Unit and, before that, he spent 11 years as Director of the Mississippi and Louisiana Capital Trial Assistance Project in New Orleans. In these capacities, Holdridge has represented numerous clients at trial, on appeal, and in post-conviction proceedings. These clients include Michael Graham and Larry Maxwell, both innocent defendants who faced death by execution and were later freed.
Holdridge wrote the pleadings and co-argued the seminal case of State v. Peart, in which the Louisiana Supreme Court recognized that indigent defendants have a right to effective counsel and that the overwhelming caseloads of the indigent defender system in New Orleans violated that right. He is a graduate of New York University School of Law and in 2001 received the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Life in the Balance Achievement Award.