Our Attorneys

Michael L. Desautels, Federal Public Defender
Michael has been the Federal Defender since 2006. He has more than 30 years of experience in federal and state criminal law in both Vermont and New York. Before coming to Vermont in 2006, 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 and the Vermont Defender General, as well as many federal defender seminars. He serves as the chairperson of the Criminal Law Subcommittee for the federal District Court in Vermont.

Steven L. Barth, Assistant Federal Defender
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, Assistant Federal Defender
Barclay was 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. Hoskins, 2016 WL 4154344 (D. Vt.); 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, Assistant Federal Defender
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, Assistant Federal Defender
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. While in law school, she was a staff member of the Hofstra Law Review and competed in interscholastic trial competitions. She received the Judge Edward Hart Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Trial Advocacy and the George and Sadie Krulik Award for Outstanding Performance in Advanced Trial Advocacy.

Upon graduation, Liz clerked for the Honorable William C. Conner, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. After her clerkship, she was a litigation associate at Clifford Chance US LLP where she worked on a pro bono death penalty case, which challenged the constitutionality of the lethal injection procedure in Georgia. She received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York for this work.

After working at the firm, Liz became a public defender in New York City. She first worked at 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 left New York City in December 2014 to join the Federal Defender Office in Vermont.