Our Attorneys

Federal Public Defender

Michael L. Desautels

Michael has been the Federal Defender since 2006. He has more than 30 years of experience in federal and state criminal law in Vermont, New York, and West Virginia. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Before coming to Vermont, he was in private practice in New York for almost 20 years, focusing on litigation in federal and state court. He also worked in the Federal Defender Office in the Southern District of West Virginia. Michael has presented trainings for the New York State Bar Association, the Vermont Defender General, and at many federal defender seminars. He serves as the chairperson of the Criminal Law Subcommittee for the Federal District Court in Vermont.

Assistant Federal Defenders

Steven L. Barth

Steve graduated cum laude from the University of Vermont in 1996 and New York University School of Law in 1999. After two years at the New York law firm Dewey Ballantine, LLP, he transitioned to the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., where he maintained a full trial and appellate case load. In 2007 he was promoted to supervisor and led a trial team of between 6 and 8 attorneys while continuing to maintain an active trial and appellate practice. In 2010, he joined the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Vermont.

Barclay T. Johnson

Barclay was previously an attorney with Vermont’s largest law firm. Recent important victories include, United States v. Merz, 653 F. App'x 72 (2d Cir. 2016); Blow v. United States, 829 F.3d 170 (2d Cir. 2016); United States v. Van Mead, 773 F.3d 429 (2d Cir. 2014); United States v. Simard, 731 F.3d 156 (2d Cir. 2013); United States v. Klim, 2014 WL 4403153 (D. Vt.).

Barclay graduated summa cum laude from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis where he was a member of the Indiana Law Review. Barclay also holds a M.A. in Russian and European history from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After law school, he clerked for the Hon. Pasco M. Bowman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Barclay is the author of a number of articles, including Restoring Civility The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000: Baby Steps Towards a More Civilized Civil Forfeiture System, 35 Ind. L. Rev. 1045 (2002); The Severest Justice Is Not the Best Policy: The One-Strike Policy in Public Housing, 10 J. Affordable Housing & Community Dev. L (2001); Credit Crisis to Education Emergency: The Constitutionality of Model Student Voucher Programs Under the Indiana Constitution, 35 Ind. L. Rev. 173 (2001).

David L. McColgin

David has been practicing with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Vermont since 2012. He was previously the head of the Appeals Unit for the Federal Defender Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he practiced for over 20 years. David has practiced at all levels of the federal court system. He argued and won Corley v. United States in the Supreme Court, establishing suppression as the remedy when agents unreasonable delay a defendant’s arraignment to secure a confession. He has also argued numerous cases in the Second and Third Circuits. David attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and received a J.D. from New York University School of Law in New York, New York.

Elizabeth K. Quinn

Liz holds a B.A. in English from Wagner College, magna cum laude, and a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, magna cum laude. During law school, she was a member of the Hofstra Law Review and competed in interscholastic trial competitions. Upon graduation, Liz clerked for the Honorable William C. Conner, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
After two years with the New York City law firm Clifford Chance US LLP, she became a public defender in New York City. She first worked for the Staten Island public defender’s office for two years, followed by four years with New York County Defender Services in Manhattan. In this capacity, she represented the indigent charged with felony and misdemeanor state charges in New York City through all phases, including trial. She also worked as a Special Professor of Law at Hofstra University School of Law coaching law students in their interscholastic trial competitions. Liz has been practicing with the Office of the Federal Defender for the District of Vermont since December 2014.