Episode 30

Danielle Ponder

Maserati-E and Chris Redlitz welcome musician and lawyer Danielle Ponder.

About The Show

“We’re spending fortunes arresting people for petty crimes like petty larceny, mostly poor, Black, and Brown individuals. Meanwhile, the real issue is poverty and addiction—services, not cells, would actually make a difference.”
-Danielle Ponder

Danielle Ponder is a multi-talented musician and former public defender who has made a significant impact in both the legal and entertainment industries. Prior to her music career, Ponder worked as a criminal defense attorney for seven years, passionately advocating for her clients and striving to bring justice to the marginalized. Her journey towards activism began at a young age, influenced by her brother’s incarceration and the systemic inequalities she witnessed in her community.

In this captivating interview, Ponder shares her experiences navigating the criminal justice system as a public defender and the challenges she faced in ensuring fair representation for her clients. She discusses the disproportionate impact of minor offenses on marginalized communities and the urgent need for reform within the criminal code. Ponder also delves into her decision to pursue music full-time at the age of 40, highlighting the importance of taking risks and following one’s passions. Throughout the conversation, she emphasizes the power of storytelling in both law and music, and how she utilizes her platform to raise awareness about social justice issues. Ponder’s unique perspective on the intersection of art and activism, as well as her commitment to uplifting and mentoring young talent, makes this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in criminal justice reform, the power of pursuing one’s dreams, and the role of artists in driving social change.

(00:00:00) Introduction
(00:01:02) Danielle Ponder’s background as a public defender and activist
(00:04:55) Parallels between being a public defender and a musician
(00:09:47) Challenges and pressures faced by public defenders
(00:14:59) Cash bail and its impact on the criminal justice system
(00:18:36) Transitioning from law to music at 40
(00:23:32) Performing at the Hollywood Bowl and career highlights
(00:26:56) Giving back to the community and uplifting young talent
(00:29:25) Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, and inspirational figures
(00:32:06) Next steps: writing an album, documentary, and book
(00:34:35) Navigating the music industry while staying true to oneself
(00:36:18) Rebuilding the criminal justice system
(00:37:47) Reflecting on minor offenses and the need for criminal code reform
(00:40:00) Conclusion and closing thoughts

Episode Resources:

Behind The Scenes


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