Episode 16 – No Rookies, Just Vets



According to Veterans in State & Federal Prisons**, an estimated 107,400 veterans were serving time in state or federal prison in 2016—the majority (98%) of which were male. Hosts Jonathan Rapping and Ilham Askia speak with Michaela Himes, Assistant Public Defender for the Dallas County’s Public Defender Office, and Nick Place, Staff Attorney for the Orleans Public Defender. Michaela has an extensive background representing within veterans court, and as a former Marine Corps Officer, Nick provides a unique lens to the needs of defending veterans.

We learned about Veterans Court, how veterans are impacted by our criminal legal system, and how to support our veterans dealing and trying to cope with trauma that stems from their time in active service. Tune-in to listen to this important episode!



Michaela Himes is an Assistant Public Defender with the Dallas County Public Defender’s Office. She has represented clients in misdemeanor and felony courts, trying cases ranging the gamut from theft to murder, as well as representing clients in multiple Dallas County specialty courts and diversion programs.

Michaela currently supervises our Bond Division and takes an active role in mental health-related cases, in addition to serving on the office’s Executive Leadership Team and technology committee.

Michaela is a graduate of Gideon’s Promise, a nationally-recognized organization devoted to improving the level of defense available to indigent clients.  She has also completed continuing legal education (CLE) courses from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College, as well as extensive CLE in the subjects of immigration law, mental health and specialty court best practices, and is herself a frequent speaker at legal seminars on a range of topics.


Nick Place is a Staff Attorney with Orleans Public Defender. He represents hundreds of clients in one of the most difficult jurisdictions in the United States. From the beginning, he is the sole attorney representing clients with felony charges from arrest to disposition, responsible for every hearing, every meeting with a family member, and every step of litigation including interlocutory appeals.

Before law school, he joined the Marine Corps and was deployed to Afighanistan from August 2011 to May 2021. As an officer, he had Marines under his command that came from different backgrounds, with different experiences, and different skills and challenges.

After his service, he attended George Washington School of Law in 2014. During law school he interned with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Security Project and the Federal Defender in DC.

Nick is a graduate of the Gideon’s Promise Class of 2017.



  • What is Veterans’ Court?
  • How has the criminal legal system impacted the lives of veterans across the nation?
  • How can we be allies in the fight for veterans legal rights?

Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast can be found on Apple PodcastsSpotifySoundCloud,  YouTube and on the Gideon’s Promise website.



Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice (2020) by Jonathan Rapping.