Biographical Sketch
Carol Garfiel Freeman
As a criminal defense attorney for almost 30 years, Carol Garfiel Freeman represented hundreds of primarily indigent defendants in the local and federal trial and appellate courts of the District of Columbia and the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. Her typical client was charged with a serious felony such as first-degree murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, child abuse, drug sales, and serious assaults. Among her clients were the defendant charged with murdering the father of D.C. judge Alfred Burka, the defendant charged with shooting a police officer in the case in which Heidi Fletcher, daughter of the former Deputy Major of Washington, was a co-defendant, and the defendant charged with taking hostages in the Mormon Temple in Kensington, Maryland. Several of her clients raised mental responsibility defenses which were accepted by the juries or the prosecution. Carol argued several appellate cases en banc, one of which established new law in the District of Columbia on the issue of admissions against penal interest (Laumer v. United States, 409 A.2d 190 (1979)). As a member of the District of Columbia Committee on Admissions, Carol argued for the Committee in In re Manville, 538 A.2d 1128 (1988), where the Committee recommended and the Court approved admission to the bar of three applicants who had been convicted of felonies but had established their current good moral character. From 1982 – 1989 Carol served as Deputy District Public Defender for Montgomery County, representing individual clients, and assisting in the administration of the office.
Carol began her legal career as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, after a clerkship in the U.S. District Court for the S.D.N.Y. She then became the 11th woman to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, where she argued appeals for the government, for a time as Deputy Chief of the Appellate Division, and then represented the government in felony prosecutions in the U.S. District Court. She concluded her career as a staff attorney in the Pro Se Unit of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she assisted the judges in civil cases filed by indigent plaintiffs not represented by counsel.
As a sole practitioner for many years, in addition to defendants in criminal cases Carol represented private clients in domestic matters, real estate purchases, estate matters, commercial issues, and general civil matters. From 1969-71 she was an associate in the firm of Bergson, Borkland, Margolis & Adler.
Carol graduated from Columbia Law School in 1961, where she was a James Kent Scholar (1959) and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar (1960, 1961) and a Member of the Board of Editors of the Columbia Law Review. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1958, where she was a Wellesley College Scholar (1957, 1958) and received the Erasmus Prize in History.
Carol was a founding member of the William B. Bryant American Inn of Court and held
various executive positions in the Inn including President, Counselor, member of the executive board, and team leader. In the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association she has been Chair and a member of the editorial board of Criminal Justice magazine,
Vice-Chair of Publications and a member of the Book Board, and a member of various other committees. From 2004-2019 Carol wrote the Cert Alert column for Criminal Justice and she has authored various other articles for the magazine.
Carol has been a member of the D.C. Bar Committee on Admissions, a
Trustee of the D.C. Public Defender Service, a member of the D.C. Clients Security Trust Fund, President and member of the executive board of the Montgomery County Women’s Bar association, and President and member of executive board Maryland State Bar’s Correctional Reform Section. She has also served as President and member of the executive board of the
Tulip Hill Citizens Association.
Carol is married to Arthur L. Freeman, a career State Department officer, and has three children and six grandchildren. Her hobbies include needlepoint, genealogy, and photography.