Robert L. Listenbee
Robert Listenbee, Jr.
Robert L. Listenbee serves as the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama in February 2013, and was sworn in to the position on March 25, 2013. Before his appointment to OJJDP, Mr. Listenbee was Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia for 16 years and was a trial lawyer with the association for 27 years. In this capacity, he created a specialized unit to deal with juvenile sexual assault cases and was instrumental in developing three specialty court programs that divert youth out of the juvenile justice system and reduce their risk of residential placement.
Mr. Listenbee also worked with juvenile defenders across Pennsylvania to create the Juvenile Defender Association of Pennsylvania, the first organization in the Commonwealth to create a community of juvenile defenders to focus on the interests of juvenile practitioners. He was also the only juvenile defense attorney selected to be part of the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, which was established in response to the “kids for cash” scandal in the juvenile courts of Luzerne County. In 2010, the Commission issued a report recommending major reforms to the statewide system to ensure that a similar injustice did not occur again. Mr. Listenbee was also a member of the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness.
As a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Mr. Listenbee helped advise Pennsylvania’s governor on juvenile justice policy. While a member of the Commission, he served on the Disproportionate Minority Contact Subcommittee and advocated for the rights of juveniles and for improvements to juvenile indigent defense.
Mr. Listenbee was also actively involved in the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative in Pennsylvania. His work on this initiative included serving in both the Juvenile Indigent Defense and Disproportionate Minority Contact Networks. In 2011, he was honored by the Foundation as a Champion for Change in juvenile justice reform for his leadership in reforming the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania.
He has contributed his expertise on policy committees of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the National Juvenile Defender Center. He also served on the advisory board of the National Center for Juvenile Justice.
Mr. Listenbee played a central role in the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative. As co-chair of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, he was instrumental in the development of recommendations for launching a coordinated national response to address children’s exposure to violence. He also served as a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, which advises the President and Congress on juvenile justice policy. The committee is administered by OJJDP.
Mr. Listenbee received his B.A. degree from Harvard University and his law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.