Staff & Structure

The staff of the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender’s office consists of attorneys, investigators, paralegals, social workers, a mitigation coordinator, law clerks, administrative assistants, data entry personnel, and a comptroller.

The workload and delivery system is organized into 8 coordinated, collaborative divisions with lines of authority and responsibility as delineated in the organizational chart.

Leadership Team

Leo G. Smith

Chief Public Defender / Executive Director

502-574-3800, Admin. Asst. Ext. 3720

lgsmith@metrodefender.org            

Beth McMahon

Deputy Chief Public Defender

502-574-3800, Admin. Asst. Ext. 3720

bmcmahon@metrodefender.org

Daniel T. Goyette

Defender Emeritus

502-574-3800, Admin. Asst. Ext. 3720

defender.emeritus@metrodefender.org

Amy l. Hannah

Director of Training & Performance Evaluation

502-574-3800, Admin. Asst. Ext. 3720

aihannah@metrodefender.org

louisville defender lady justice

Michael J. Ferraraccio

Litigation Director

502-574-3800, Admin. Asst. Ext. 3720

mjferraraccio@metrodefender.org

Attorneys/Division Chiefs:

Attorneys/Deputy Division Chiefs:

Support Staff/Division Chiefs:

Administrative Staff Leadership:

Contact Us

Leo G. Smith is the Chief Public Defender/Executive Director of the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender Corporation. A Louisville native, he attended St. Xavier High School, graduated from the University of Louisville with high honors and a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce. Thereafter, he graduated cum laude from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, where he served as Executive Editor of the Law Review. He was also a member of the Brandeis Honor Society and, upon graduation, received the Robert C. Jayes Memorial Award. For the past 40 years, he has served as a staff trial attorney and held several leadership positions with the Public Defender’s Office, including Deputy Chief Public Defender, Director of Training, and Chief of the Adult Trial Division. He has acted as lead counsel in numerous jury trials, including several death penalty cases. The Louisville Bar Association presented him with the Distinguished Service Award in 2021. He also is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. His work was recognized by the Department of Public Advocacy and the Kentucky Bar Association in 1999 with the presentation of its first Professionalism and Excellence Award. In 2015 he received the prestigious Gideon Award: Trumpeting Counsel for Kentucky’s Poor from the Department of Public Advocacy. He has authored several articles on criminal defense practice that have been published in The Advocate, the Journal of Criminal Justice Education & Research publication of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. Mr. Smith serves on the Board of Directors of the Louisville Bar Association and is a former member of the Board of the Louisville Bar Foundation. He is past chair of the Criminal Law Section of both the Kentucky Bar Association and the Louisville Bar Association, as well as a former member of the LBA Professional Responsibility Committee. Mr. Smith was trial counsel in the case of Griffith v. Kentucky, 107 S.Ct. 708 (1987), which decided the retroactivity question left open in the landmark case of Batson v. Kentucky. He has received numerous Walker Awards in recognition of excellence of advocacy in felony jury trials that resulted in verdicts of acquittal for his clients.

Beth McMahon is the Deputy Chief Public Defender of the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s Office. She graduated summa cum laude from Transylvania University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where she served as Executive Editor of the Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Law. Ms. McMahon began her career at the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s Office in 1994 and has served as an attorney in the Juvenile Trial Division and the Appellate Division. She was promoted to Chief of the Juvenile Trial Division, including supervisory responsibility for the Mental Health docket. She has obtained felony acquittals in juvenile court and in circuit court and has successfully appealed cases that resulted in complete reversals. Ms. McMahon is the recipient of the 2014 In re: Gault Award, presented by the Department of Public Advocacy for advancing the quality of justice for juveniles in Kentucky, and the 2015 Gail Robinson Juvenile Justice Award, presented by the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in recognition of her contributions to and achievement in the development of juvenile law and her representation of children. She is also the recipient of the 2020 Clarence Earl Gideon Award, presented by the Department of Public Advocacy for demonstrating extraordinary commitment to equal justice and advancing the right to counsel for the poor in Kentucky. Ms. McMahon has been an Associate member of the Louis D. Brandeis Inn of Court, a member of the Kentucky Supreme Court Standing Committee on the Juvenile Court Rules of Procedure and Practice, and Chair of the Louisville Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section. She is a graduate of the Louisville Bar Association’s Leadership Academy and is a member of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Kentucky Bar Association’s Committee on Child Protection and Domestic Violence. Ms. McMahon serves as Chair of the Jefferson County Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee and Chair of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section.

Daniel T. Goyette served as Chief Public Defender for Jefferson County and as Executive Director of the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender Corporation from 1982 through 2018. He continues to serve and support the organization as Defender Emeritus. He started his 48-year legal career in 1974 as a trial attorney with the public defender’s office, becoming Chief Trial Attorney and holding several other leadership positions before beginning his 36-year tenure as Chief Public Defender/Executive Director. He also served as a member of the original Career Criminal Bureau at the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. Mr. Goyette is a past president of both the Louisville Bar Association and the Louisville Bar Foundation. A recipient of the American Bar Association’s prestigious Dorsey Award, he has served as a member of the ABA House of Delegates, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and the ABA Criminal Justice Council. He was a longtime member of the KBA Ethics Committee and a past chair of the LBA Committee on Professional Responsibility. He currently serves as Ethics Counselor for the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD) and as a member of the NAPD Workload Committee. Since 1979, he has been a member of the adjunct faculty at the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, receiving the Dean’s Service Award in 2003. He has lectured on a variety of legal issues and topics both locally and nationally, and he has authored numerous articles in Law Reviews, legal journals and professional periodicals. The Kentucky Bar Association presented the 2003 Justice Thomas B. Spain Award to him for outstanding service in continuing legal education. He has been a leader in bail reform efforts, including The Bail Project, as well as the Jail/Corrections Policy Committee and various other Task Forces and Commissions charged with improving the criminal justice system. In 2007, Mr. Goyette was selected as the recipient of the state’s Outstanding Lawyer Award by the Kentucky Bar Association, and he received the KBA President’s Special Service Award in 2019. In its inaugural rating of Kentucky lawyers, Mr. Goyette was recognized by SuperLawyers in the category of criminal defense, and he has been featured in the Top Lawyers edition of Louisville Magazine and in other publications. He is a charter member of the Louis D. Brandeis American Inn of Court and Chair of its Membership and Governance Committee. He is also a charter Board member and past President of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (KACDL) and was the recipient of the KACDL Special Recognition Award in 2009 and the Frank E. Haddad, Jr. Award in 2018. The Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) presented the Gideon Award to Mr. Goyette in 1994 for “his extraordinary commitment to equal justice and his courage in advancing the right to counsel for the poor in Kentucky.” DPA also honored him with the Lincoln Leadership Award in 2004 and the Nelson Mandela Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. He is a 1985 graduate of Leadership Louisville and a 1995 Bingham Fellow. Among other organizations, he has chaired Citizens for Better Judges and the Center for Educational Leadership. He was one of the recipients of the 2003 Hall of Fame William H. Sheppard – Excellence in Community Leadership Award. Mr. Goyette is a graduate of Marquette University, the Rome (Italy) Center of Liberal Arts, and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Amy I. Hannah is the Director of Training and Performance Evaluation at the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s Office.  A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ms. Hannah attended American University in Washington, D.C. as an undergraduate. While at American University, she worked as a White House Intern/Staff Assistant in the Office of National AIDS Policy as well as with the Office of Public Liaison.  After a semester living and studying in Merida, Venezuela, she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. After a stint in the restaurant business, Ms. Hannah graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2004.  During law school, she worked as a law clerk on both juvenile and adult cases at the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office. She also worked in the Immigration Clinic representing clients seeking asylum and spent a summer as an intern in the Alexandria (Virginia) Public Defender’s Office. Since June of 2004, Ms. Hannah has been a trial attorney at the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s Office.  She has practiced in the Adult Trial Division, including as one of the Division’s Chief Trial Attorneys. She has also served as the Chief of the Major Litigation Division and, most recently, as Litigation Director for the office.  Additionally, Ms. Hannah spent three years in the Capital Trial Division, successfully representing each of her clients against the death penalty. Her extensive defender experience and her leadership role in the office led to her current position as Director of Training and Performance Evaluation. Ms. Hannah is a Past President of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (KACDL) and a member of its board of directors. Early in her career, KACDL recognized her talent as a young trial lawyer with the Clarence Darrow Prodigy Award; a decade later, KACDL honored her with its 2017 Distinguished Service Award. Ms. Hannah was the recipient of the Professionalism & Excellence Award, co-sponsored and presented by the Kentucky Bar Association at the Annual Kentucky Public Defender Conference in 2017. A long-suffering Vikings fan in exile, she resides in Louisville with her husband Chris, also a lawyer, and their daughter Em.

Michael J. Ferraraccio received his B.M. from New York University in 1990, his M.M from the University of Louisville School of Music in 1993, and his J.D from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 1999. He began working at the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s Office in April of 2000. His first assignment was in the Adult Trial Division, where he served until 2004, before transferring to the Capital Trial Division, where he represented over sixty (60) clients facing the death penalty, bringing twelve of them to trial at which he successfully averted the death penalty, including one case in which his client was acquitted on all counts. In 2016, he rotated into the Juvenile Division, becoming Deputy Division Chief, and later, Division Chief. Based upon his work in the Juvenile Division, he was selected as the 2021 recipient of the Department of Public Advocacy’s “In Re Gault” award, recognizing excellence in juvenile advocacy. He also has received numerous “Walker Awards” and “Disconnected Switch Awards” for excellence in advocacy in jury trials and capital cases. Recently, he was promoted to the position of Litigation Director in the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s office.

Jay Lambert is a 1983 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law. He came to work for the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s office soon after graduation and worked in the Adult Trial and Major Litigation Divisions until 1993, when he left to establish his own firm concentrating in criminal law. After a successful stint in private practice, Mr. Lambert returned to the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s office in 2000 as an Adult Trial Division Chief. In 2003, he assumed leadership of the Capital Trial Division, where he served until 2011 when he became Director of Training and Performance Evaluation, the position in which he presently serves. In 2017, responsibility for Special Litigation was added to his duties. During his years of practice, Mr. Lambert has tried more than eighty Circuit Court jury trials, including many high-profile felony cases and a number of death penalty cases. He is admitted to practice in Kentucky state courts, the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky and the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He has served as an instructor in criminal procedure at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, where he currently teaches trial practice. He has taught various criminal law topics and trial techniques at numerous conferences and workshops throughout Kentucky for the Department of Public Advocacy, the Louisville and Kentucky Bar Associations, the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Trial Lawyers Association. His current duties include directing the office’s New Lawyer Orientation &Training Program and various ongoing in-house training presentations and initiatives.  Mr. Lambert is the recipient of the 2005 Gideon Award, presented by the Department of Public Advocacy for extraordinary commitment to equal justice and courage in advancing the right to counsel for the poor, the 2009 Frank E. Haddad, Jr. Award, presented by the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in recognition of exceptional professional achievement, and the 2017 Dean’s Service Award from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

Michael C. Lemke is currently a Division Chief in the Adult Trial Division. He is a 1982 graduate of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of law and is admitted to practice in Kentucky, federal courts for the Western District of Kentucky and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. After a position as law clerk to Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Marvin Sternberg, Mr. Lemke came to the Public Defender’s Office in 1983. During a six-year period, he handled appeals, misdemeanor and felony trials, civil commitment defense, and several capital cases. Mr. Lemke attended the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia in 1985 and the Clarence Darrow Death Penalty Defense College in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2008. From 1989 until 2004, he was in the private practice of law that included securities fraud litigation, criminal trial work, criminal appeals, and various other matters. In 2004, he returned to the Louisville Metro Public Defender’s Office to take a position in the Capital Trial Division. He has been on the faculty or served as mentor for Department of Public Advocacy training programs for several years. Mr. Lemke has been recognized numerous times for the successful defense of felony cases at trial, as well for the successful representation of defendants in capital trials. Additionally, in 2009, Mr. Lemke received the Furman Award from the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy for “courageous representation of capital clients.” He was named Deputy Chief of the Capital Trial Division that same year and became Chief of the Division in 2012.  Since 2014, he has served as a Chief in the Adult Trial Division and has received several Walker Awards for excellent advocacy in felony jury trials that resulted in acquittal on all charges.

Leo G. Smith is a trial attorney who serves as Deputy Chief Public Defender in the Office of the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender. A Louisville native, he attended St. Xavier High School, graduated from the University of Louisville with high honors and a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce and, thereafter, graduated cum laude from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, where he served as Executive Editor of the Law Review. He was also a member of the Brandeis Honor Society and, upon graduation, received the Robert C. Jayes Memorial Award. For the past 35 years, he has served as a staff trial attorney and held several leadership positions with the Public Defender’s Office, including Director of Training and Chief of the Adult Trial Division. He has acted as lead counsel in numerous jury trials, including several death penalty cases. In 2000, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. His work was also recognized by the Department of Public Advocacy and Kentucky Bar Association in 1999 with the presentation of its first Professionalism and Excellence Award. In 2015, he received the Gideon Award from the Department of Public Advocacy for his extraordinary commitment to equal justice and courage in advancing the right to counsel for the poor.  He has authored several articles on criminal defense practice that have been published in The Advocate, the Journal of Criminal Justice Education & Research publication of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. Mr. Smith is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Louisville Bar Foundation. He is past chair of the Criminal Law Section of the Kentucky Bar Association, as well as a past chair of the Criminal Law Section of the Louisville Bar Association and a former member of the LBA Professional Responsibility Committee. Mr. Smith was trial counsel in the case of Griffith v. Kentucky,107 S.Ct. 708 (1987), which decided the retroactivity question left open in the landmark case of Batson v. Kentucky. He has received numerous Walker Awards in recognition of excellence of advocacy in felony jury trials that resulted in the acquittal of his clients.