Melissa Kupferberg was a nationally recognized investigator with the Tampa, Florida Federal Public Defender office when she passed away. Only 32 years old, she was a skilled investigator, capital mitigation specialist, and sentencing advocate who had a wonderful ability to relate to and work on behalf of clients. Her Master’s Degree in Social Work and considerable experience in both capital and non-capital cases gave her great expertise in understanding and addressing mental health issues. This expertise helped her to develop a rapport with all types of clients, even those with significant mental illnesses or intellectual disabilities.
First and foremost, Melissa was dedicated to her clients. She was a fierce advocate, always seeking the most persuasive way to demonstrate a client’s humanity to judge or jury, from the mentally ill death row prisoner to a defendant facing child pornography charges. Melissa worked tirelessly to ensure thorough investigation of her clients’ cases. Innocent or guilty, Melissa helped clients open up about their pasts, including painful details they would not reveal to others, so that information could be developed that might eventually persuade a judge or jury to give a lighter sentence than they would otherwise receive. Most importantly, she respected them and appreciated their humanity.
To honor Melissa, her family has created the Melissa Kupferberg NDIA Scholarship. The goal of the scholarship is to recognize those NDIA members who have followed in Melissa’s footsteps, through their client-centered approach to indigent criminal defense, by providing them with funding to attend an NDIA National Conference.
If you are interested in applying for the scholarship, please fill out the following form by clicking here.
The form may be filled out online and emailed via an email button on the form to Beverly Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the form may be printed and submitted by mail. The address is:
Beverly Davidson, Executive Secretary
460 Smith Street, Suite K
Middletown, CT 06457