Elizabeth Payette


Location Providence, RI
Phone (401) 854 7794
Location Providence, RI
Phone (401) 854 7794

I am an experienced trial lawyer who has devoted my entire career to defending and advocating for my clients.  I have successfully defended clients in countless felony bench and jury trials and litigated numerous pretrial motions where the government has violated my client’s constitutional rights.  I believe in a client-centered approach and consider my clients part of the defense team.  I have extensive experience in defending a wide range of felony cases including cases involving complicated legal issues and expert witnesses in areas such as cell phone analysis, DNA and ballistics.   

Why Criminal Defense?

I made the decision to attend Law School so I could zealously defend everyday people against criminal accusations.  While attending Law School, I assisted in defending individuals facing the death penalty, helped to successfully secure a pardon for a long-incarcerated client and tirelessly argued to overturn wrongful convictions through the appeals process.  While working as a Law Clerk in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, I was a member of the legal team that successfully argued to overturn an innocent client’s murder conviction and secure his release after serving 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.  Witnessing these injustices only strengthened my commitment to defend individuals accused of a crime.  For over a decade, I have been a strong and fierce advocate for every single client by tailoring each person’s defense to their specific needs.  I will continue to ensure each client’s fundamental rights are defended and protected and that they are treated with dignity and respect throughout the process.   

Recent Training

  • Legal Aid Society of New York City
    8th Questioning Forensics, A juror, an expert & an algorithm walk into a courtroom: Miscommunication in Forensics” Queens, New York (March 2023)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    “Mental Illness & the Law: Addressing and Litigating Behavioral Health Disorders in Criminal Cases (March 2021)


  • Assistant Public Defender, Rhode Island Office of the Public Defender
    Adult Trial Division (July 2017 – July 2023)
  • Committee for Public Counsel Services, Quincy, Massachusetts
    Public Defender Division (February 2017- July 2017)
  • Assistant Public Defender, Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender
    Felony Trial Division (August 2013- January 2016)
    Domestic Violence Division (September 2012-August 2013) Traffic Division (February 2010-September 2012)
    Intern (May 2007-May 2008)
  • DePaul College of Law, Professor Andrea Lyon
    Law Clerk and Research Assistant (May 2007-October 2008)

Bar Membership

Rhode Island (2018)
Illinois (2008)
Rhode Island Federal District Court for the District of Rhode Island (2023)

Court Panels

Rhode Island State Court, Murder Panel

Rhode Island State Court, Class One Felony Panel

Rhode Island State Court, Class Two Felony Panel


  • DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
    J.D. (May 2008)
  • American University, Washington, D.C
    B.A. (May 2002)

Expert Training/Collaboration

  • Criminal Street Gangs
  • Constitutional challenges
  • Reid technique/ Confessions
  • Warrant suppression
  • DNA
  • Cell Site Analysis
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Ballistics/Firearms training
  • Arson/Fire Science training
  • Fingerprint Analysis
  • Hasbro Hospital Child Protection Team


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