About Us

Kristen Nelson, Director—Prior to joining the Powell Project in 2018, Kristen Nelson served for six and a half years as a Deputy State Public Defender on the Complex Litigation Team for the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender in Denver, which represents indigent clients at the trial level in complex felony cases, including those in which the State is considering or has declared it is seeking the death penalty.  As the designated appellate-minded lawyer on the trial team, Kristen was responsible for developing the legal issues in the case, drafting and arguing the motions, interlocutory appeals, and jury instructions, and providing legal analysis and input on other strategic decisions in the case.  Previously, Kristen spent four years as a staff attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, where she spent the majority of her time representing indigent clients in various stages of appeal on Alabama’s death row, as well as other criminal defendants and prisoners denied fair treatment under the law.  Kristen began her indigent defense career as a trial attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia following a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson in the Middle District of Alabama.  Kristen received her undergraduate degree in English summa cum laude from Wellesley College in 1999, an M.Phil in Criminology from Cambridge University in 2000, and her law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2004.

Julianne Hill, Assistant Director — Julianne Hill joined the Powell Project in 2016 and provides resources, assistance, and support to capital trial teams in several states. She has previously presented to capital defense attorneys on topics including investigating and litigating intellectual disability, partnering with clients and negotiating with prosecutors to achieve resolution, and defense-initiated victim outreach. Julianne formerly worked for human rights organization Reprieve, focusing on issues related to capital punishment, and was an intern with the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama and the Habeas Corpus Resource Center in California. She received her JD from Harvard Law School and holds a master’s degree in Political Science, as well bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Political Science, from Arizona State University. She is currently based in Miami, Florida.