Nick Chiarkas Firebird Book Award Winner & Author Interviews

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Nicholas L. Chiarkas was the Director of Wisconsin’s State Public Defender Agency for 22-years. Under his leadership, the agency received several awards for excellence. He was the founder of Justice Without Borders, was an adjunct professor of law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and a visiting lecturer in law at Justus-Liebig-Universität, Gießen, Germany.

Previously Dr. Chiarkas served as the Deputy Chief Counsel & Research Director to the President’s Commission on Organized Crime; Professor of Law; Professor of Criminology; a New York City Police Officer; and a US Army Paratrooper (101st ABN DIV).

Dr. Chiarkas received Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Columbia University, a law degree from Temple University, a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College; And was a Pickett Fellow at Harvard University.

Dr. Chiarkas worked with Israel in establishing its first National Public Defender Agency; with Japan as it introduced a public defender system, with the Department of Justice in examining indigent defense, including New Orleans after Katrina; with NLADA in assessing defense services in Michigan, and Ohio. He was on the planning team for USDOJ’s 2010 Symposium on Indigent defense in the U. S., in 2012 Dr. Chiarkas developed the public defender protocols for Afghanistan. In 2013 & 2015, he examined Delaware’s & Indiana’s justice system for The Sixth Amendment Center.

Nunzio’s WayDr. Chiarkas’ is the author of the award-winning novel “Weepers.” The sequel, “Nunzio’s Way,” will be out in late June 2022. He has also received awards for his poetry. His other publications include law books, books about Criminal Organizations, and several articles. He is a Wisconsin Writers Association Board Member.

Dr. Chiarkas grew up in the Al Smith projects on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where “Weepers” takes place. When he was in the fourth grade, his mother was told by the principal of PS-1, “Nick was unlikely ever to complete high school, so you must steer him toward a simple and secure vocation.”

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