James McHugh

Assistant Federal Defender

Mr. McHugh started at the Defender Association in Philadelphia in 1992. He joined the Federal Community Defender Office’s Capital Habeas Unit in 2000 and represented death sentenced individuals in both federal and state court. In 2008, he joined the office’s Trial Unit and handled all types of criminal litigation, including motions to suppress, jury trials, and complex sentencings. In 2015, Mr. McHugh was selected to be the First Assistant Defender for the Defender Association in Philadelphia. He served as the First Assistant for four years and rejoined the federal office in 2019. Mr. McHugh now represents individuals charged with capital murder in Federal Court around the country. Prior to becoming a Defender, Mr. McHugh served for two years as a judicial law clerk for United States District Court Judge James McGirr Kelly. He was an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at the Temple University School of Law from 1997 to 2001 and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he was the Managing Editor of the Law Review.