Co-Founder & Decarceration Counsel

federal lawyer • anti-carceral policy strategist •  constitutional law expert

sideshotMiAngel Cody picks locks to human cages. She won presidential clemency and freedom for five prisoners serving life sentences. Ms. Cody has defended hundreds of people in federal court, achieving a range of courtroom victories—from jury acquittals to successful federal appeals to significantly reduced sentences.  Ms. Cody has testified at legislative briefings concerning the societal imperative for decarceration. She frequently lectures nationally concerning impactful criminal defense advocacy & strategic litigation communication. In 2014, Ms. Cody received the Federal Bar Association’s National Younger Federal Lawyer of the Year Award. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, Chicago Tribune, Amazon’s Audible series, and CNN.  Ms. Cody is a featured criminal justice blogger for The Huffington Post. She worked as an Assistant Federal Defender in Chicago for eight years. Prior to joining the Federal Defender’s Office, Ms. Cody was a commercial litigator at an AmLaw 200 law firm. She served in two federal clerkships: for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Myron Thompson in the Middle District of Alabama. Ms. Cody received her law degree from Emory University School of Law, and she received her undergraduate degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Cody was a capital defense investigator and spent seven years listening to the stories of death row prisoners in Louisiana and Georgia. Ms. Cody believes the Sixth Amendment demands the highest caliber of representation to those with the least financial means, especially when their freedom or life is at stake.



  • Federal Bar Association Younger Federal Lawyer of the Year Award (2014)
  • Excellence in Public Service Award, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2014)
  • Xavier University of Louisiana 40 Under 40 Alumni Awards Honoree (2016)
  • Excellence Award  – Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Chicago (2017)