Joyce Hellen Akhahenda
Colorado State Public Defender, attorney
Bachelor of Science in Biology, minor: Chemistry Juris Doctor Mediation Certificate
Democratic Party Act Blue
Sam Cary Bar Association Colorado Black Women for Political Action National Bar Association National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Colorado Criminal Defense Bar National Association of Public Defenders Black Public Defenders Association National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
I am presently Treasurer of the Sam Cary Bar Association as well as a member of the Sam Cary Bar Association Executive Board. As a member of the Executive Board, I advocate for and on behalf of the African-American legal community regarding legal issues which impact African-Americans and other minority communities. I am also a member of the Colorado Black Women for Political Action. As a member, I help provide a political voice for issues which affect African-Americans and other minority communities. I represent the Denver Public Defender's Office on the Task Force to Reimagine Policing and Public Safety. My work experience at Africare involved advocating on behalf of Africans to obtain resources to support community projects. This work involved organizing and working with local communities.
I want to serve on the commission because I believe the work of the commission is important. I believe that it is important to have congressional districts that represent the needs of the communities and that encompass communities with similar needs and issues.
I will be able to utilize my abilities to negotiate in order to promote consensus. As a public defender, you often have to reach an agreement on what the district attorney wants and what your client wants in order to come to a plea disposition. I took an international course in mediation and I believe the skills I learned from that course will be as useful to the commission as they have been in my present work. As a member of the Sam Cary Executive Board, we are often asked to endorse or support various issues and positions. I work within the Executive Committee to work to reach agreement on how our organization should respond. I will be able to promote consensus or contribute to reaching agreement because of my ability to listen and to be able to identify important issues and to compromise. I have the ability to be fair and impartial. As a public defender, I don’t get to choose my clients. I have to represent people zealously whether their viewpoints are the same or differ from my viewpoints. In representing clients, I often have to put my personal viewpoints aside and work with people that I may not necessarily agree with. While I am a Democrat, I have several Republican friends, I grew up in Louisiana and have friends who are presently Republican. I have learned not to impose my viewpoint on other people, but to acknowledge places for consensus when there are opportunities.
As an attorney, my current work involves analyzing information to make a determination on the strength of a case and applying logic and reason to reach plea agreements between the district attorney and my client. I also have to analyze cases and use logic and reason to present a persuasive case to a jury. My prior work at Africare involved reviewing and approving budgets. I would use logic and reason in order to persuade sponsors to give financial resources for community projects.