Anna VanCleave directs the Criminal Defense Clinic, which represents individuals facing the loss of liberty in Connecticut state courts. She worked as a public defender in Washington, D.C., and in Louisiana and has represented children and adults in both non-capital and capital cases at the trial and appellate levels and in post-conviction proceedings. She was the chief of the Capital Division of the Orleans Public Defenders from 2014 to 2016.
Before joining UConn, VanCleave was a research scholar and the director of the Liman Center at Yale Law School, where she co-taught seminar courses on poverty and inequality in legal systems and the criminal justice system, experiential research projects, and the Capital Punishment Clinic. She received her law degree from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar, and was a Forrester Teaching Fellow at Tulane Law School.