R. Alexandra "Sandy" Larson has practiced law for the past 25 years, specializing in criminal defense and civil rights issues. Formerly with the Middlesex Region Office of the Public Defender in New Brunswick, NJ, Sandy is a 1987 graduate of the Rutgers Newark School of Law and has been in private practice since 2002. In 2007, the Metuchen-Edison NAACP recognized Sandy with the "Walter Marvin Legal Advocacy" award as a result of her work on racial profiling and social justice advocacy.
Although she is a practicing attorney, Sandy holds an M.S.W. from Rutgers University and spent over 15 years in both direct services and policy advocacy for programs to benefit children and families. As a staff member for a special Juvenile Justice advocacy project with the National Council on Crime & Delinquency, Sandy chaired a citizen committee which worked with the New Jersey Legislature in revising the state's Juvenile Code. In her work on behalf of young people caught in the juvenile justice system, Sandy assisted with the development of the New Jersey Youth Services Commission established by the former State Supreme Court Justice Robert N. Wilentz to stimulate change in how the Courts handled youth at risk of incarceration.
Sandy also served as Director for the New Jersey Governor's Committee on Children's Services Planning under two New Jersey Governors. In her work as Director of the Governor's Committee, Sandy developed two comprehensive reports highlighting the needs of New Jersey's children and families and documenting the disparate treatment of children of color in the juvenile justice system. The reports served as a basis for legislative and administrative changes in services for children and families.
While Sandy's work in recent years has focused primarily on litigation, she has worked with a wide range of community organizations, such as the Metuchen-Edison NAACP and the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, on social justice issues including the successful appeal of a youth waived to adult court and tried for murder as well as a series of pro bono projects for Latino children and families. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Training School for Boys (Jamesburg), the Children's Trust Fund of New Jersey, the Coalition for Hispanic Rights in Criminal Justice, the Middlesex County Local Advisory Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse programs and the ASAP program, a one of a kind substance abuse treatment program serving incarcerated people in Middlesex County, N.J. Sandy has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work as well as the certification program for substance abuse counselors at University Behavioral Health Care.
One of 10 children from an Edison, N.J. family, Sandy is a resident of North Brunswick, N.J. Sandy's work with the Courts and community organizations focuses on the central and north Jersey counties. Her office is based in New Brunswick, NJ.