Kristen Clarke, J.D.

Chief, Civil Rights Bureau, NY Attorney General’s Office

Kristen Clarke is the Bureau Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York Attorney General's Office.  In this capacity, she helps promote civil rights enforcement in the State of New York under the leadership of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.  Using federal, state, and local civil rights laws, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other landmark laws, the Bureau investigates and prosecutes discrimination in a variety of areas.

Recent cases handled by the Bureau have helped to promote voting rights, access to fair housing and lending opportunities, access to equal employment and educational opportunities and equal access for individuals with disabilities.  In addition, the Bureau has worked to combat discrimination and harassment in the workplace, barriers to re-entry and police misconduct.  The Bureau’s goal is to combat discrimination faced by all New Yorkers, particularly among the most vulnerable individuals in our state. In 2013, the Bureau issued a groundbreaking report regarding the New York City Police Department’s Stop and Frisk Program.  The report, which analyzed close to 150,000 arrests that resulted from approximately 2.4 million stops between 2009 and 2012, concluded that merely half of those arrests led to guilty pleas or convictions at trial. In addition, just 0.3 percent of stops led to jail sentences of more than 30 days, 0.1 percent led to convictions for a violent crime, and 0.1 percent led to convictions for possession of a weapon

Prior to joining the Attorney General's Office, Ms. Clarke served as the Co-Director of the Political Participation Group at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. where she managed the activities of the organization's legal program in the areas of voting rights and election law.  Ms. Clarke also handled redistricting litigation and frequently provided counsel and guidance to elected officials and advocates throughout the country regarding the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.  She also served as the Co-Chair of the Voting Rights Task Force for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation's premier civil and human rights coalition.

Prior to joining LDF, Ms. Clarke worked for several years in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice through the Attorney General's Honors Program. She served as a trial attorney in the Division's Voting Section and served as a Federal Prosecutor in the Division's Criminal Section handling a range of police misconduct, hate crimes, and human trafficking cases. While at the Department of Justice, she received a Special Commendation and Performance Award for her work.  In addition, she served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia where she prosecuted a number of domestic violence and assault cases.  

Ms. Clarke has testified before both chambers of Congress, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and numerous state legislatures on a range of voting rights and election reform matters. She also writes and comments frequently on civil rights matters. Publications include Barack Obama and African American Empowerment: The Rise of Black America's New Leadership (edited with Dr. Manning Marable) and Seeking Higher Ground: The Hurricane Katrina Crisis Race and Public Policy Reader (edited with Dr. Manning Marable).  Ms. Clarke received her A.B. from Harvard University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.