A New Executive Director and a New Direction

The Mary Byron Project is excited to announce former prosecutor Dorislee Gilbert as our new Executive Director, following the retirement of founding Executive Director, Marcia Roth. We express our deepest gratitude to Marcia for her 19 years of dedicated service in the Executive Director role. Under her leadership, we made great strides towards our goal of eradicating intimate partner violence.

Under new leadership, our mission of ending intimate partner violence will not change, but it will add new focus. Recognizing, as Marcia has said, that “an organization that has dedicated itself to innovation must implement change itself,” our Board took time to think strategically about new ways we could serve victims of intimate partner violence. Inspired in part by our prior work in supporting legislative and judicial change that benefitted victims of intimate partner violence and by the work of former Celebrating Solutions Award winner DVLEAP, we will pursue a new legal project, focusing largely on appellate advocacy for victims of intimate partner violence.

Victims of intimate partner violence are sometimes wrongly denied protection of the law in court.  Yet, the expense of appeal and the risk of angering the batterer prevent many victims from seeking further relief. For other victims, the batterer continues his control by pursuing an appeal that the batterer knows the victim cannot afford to defend.  Neither scenario is acceptable. MBP wants to make the costs of appeals manageable for victims, train and equip attorneys qualified to handle such appeals on behalf of victims, and hold judges publicly accountable for their decisions. 

Our organization was created in hopes of preventing inexplicable violence like the brutal killing of Mary Byron in 1993 by a batterer who had been released on bail without her knowledge. Our history speaks of its commitment to this goal, and our future is in furthering this goal through holding the legal system accountable to victims of intimate partner violence. 

Dorislee Gilbert Bio

Dorislee Gilbert is uniquely qualified to lead our organization in this new direction. She served Louisville crime victims for 15 years as a felony prosecutor at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, where she was most recently the Appellate Division Chief and previously the Deputy Chief of the Appellate Division and the Deputy Chief of the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Unit. Dorislee has personally handled more than 75 cases in Kentucky’s appellate courts, trained prosecutors across the state, and tried more than 25 cases before juries. Gilbert previously clerked with a Kentucky Supreme Court Justice and an Illinois Appellate Court Justice.   

Dorislee received her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she was an Honors Scholar and a member of the award-winning trial advocacy team.  She received her BA with honors from the Whitney Young Honors College at Kentucky State University, where she was awarded the Outstanding Senior and Outstanding Senior Thesis awards.

In February 2019, Dorislee was named Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney of the Year at the Kentucky Prosecutors Conference.  She previously received the Warren D. Wolfson Trial Advocacy Award and was a Louisville Bar Association Leadership Academy Fellow.  She is a contributing author to various legal publications.