Thomas Harvey

Executive Director

Thomas B. Harvey is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of ArchCity Defenders, a non-profit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy to the poor and homeless in the St. Louis region and beyond. ArchCity Defenders uses direct services, impact litigation, and advocacy through policy and public relations as its primary tools to promote racial justice and protect civil and human rights. Thomas is the lead author of ArchCity’s paper on St. Louis County’s municipal court system. Published in August of 2014, it served as the template for the Department of Justice’s findings in Ferguson in March of 2015 and has sparked a national conversation about the way police and local courts worked in concert to criminalize Black lives and generate revenue, violated the clear mandates of the United States Constitution, and destroyed the public’s confidence in the justice system and government. Thomas’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Democracy Now, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. Thomas is a 2015 Harvard Law Wasserstein Fellow, the lead author of 6 Months Later, a publication of the Harvard African American Policy Journal, and the co-author of a chapter of Ferguson Fault Lines, a forthcoming ABA book detailing the systemic racism, for-profit policing, and unconstitutional procedures and practices in the municipal courts. Thomas helped organize the historic Law4BlackLives convening in Harlem’s Riverside Cathedral, he represents Ferguson protesters and is active in litigation and advocacy directed at reducing systemic racism through the elimination of cash bail, debtors’ prisons, revenue-based policing, and unconstitutional court practices. He was a member of the Ferguson Commission Working Group on Municipal Courts and has provided policy guidance to state and federal legislators concerning the rights of protesters, law enforcement misconduct, and unconstitutional and racist practices in local courts.