Episode 26 – Honoring the Hispanic Community, Liberating the Next Generation





On this episode of The Justice Rap Up, host Jonathan Rapping is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month! Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. This week Rap spoke with two public defenders located in El Paso, TX where there is a growing Hispanic community that has been impacted by the cruel reality of our criminal legal system.

Joining him this week is Gideon’s Promise Alumni and Trial Team Chief for the El Paso Public Defender Office, Gabriel Bombara. Also, joining him is Deputy Director, Nicole Masesse of the Texas RioGrande’s Legal Aid’s Beeville region. Tune in as they discuss the issues along the border, public defenders in the fight for immigration rights, and Tune in as they discuss the issues along the border, public defenders in the fight for immigration rights, and the challenges of being Hispanic and Latin X in America.  Subscribe today!





GABRIEL BOMBARA received his J.D. at University of Hastings College of Law.

He is the Trial Team Chief at El Paso County Public Defender Office and has worked there for the past 8 years. He has represented clients facing misdemeanor, felony, juvenile, civil, and quasi-criminal cases for retained and court-appointed clients in Texas. He has represented clients in both state and federal court in New Mexico. He is a trained Mediator, including Advanced Family Law Mediation. He has mediated both private cases and cases for the Dispute Resolution Center. He is a member of  Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA.) He is also a member of the State Bar of Texas.

In 2022, Gabriel joined the Gideon’s Promise Faculty as well as the Future Indigent Defense Leaders Training Faculty.

He lives in his hometown of El Paso, TX with his wife Jessie and two toddling daughters who seem to create more joy than anything scientists have ever studied.  He is an unapologetic Mets fan and believes that there’s a cosmic link between being a Mets fan and being a public defender. He believes every public defender needs a dog, so he has two (Clyde and Toast.)



NICOLE MASESSE has been a Public Defender since 2011. She spent 10 years with the El Paso Public Defenders Office.

In 2021 she joined Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s rural Public Defender Program as the Chief of the Beeville Regional Public Defender Office.  That same year she became TRLA’s Public Defender Division Director which covered 14 rural counties across southwest Texas.

During the past year, as Director of the Division, she has successfully doubled the funding that is available for the public defenders. Most recently, she has been promoted to Deputy Director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.  In her new role, she looks forward to continuing her commitment to bringing holistic and client centered representation to indigent clients across the 68 Southwest counties served by TRLA’s civil and public defender divisions.

In 2022, Nicole joined the Gideon’s Promise Faculty as well as the the Future Indigent Defense Leaders Training Faculty.



  • Do public defenders handle immigration cases?
  • How can we celebrate and honor Hispanic Heritage Month?
  • How as Gideon’s Promise impacted their career as a public defender?

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.

The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth  (2021) by Kristin Henning.