Rev. Alexis Anderson
Rev. Alexis Anderson is an ordained servant teacher, minister and the founder and Executive Director of PREACH. Rev. Anderson serves on the Louisiana Mental Health Advisory Board, the Committee to Support Healthcare Equity, the 19th JDC Domestic Violence Specialty Court Planning Workgroup, the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana Board and is the Life Skills Chair of the Capital Area LA-PRI IST Committee. She is a member of the Prison Subcommittee of the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition. Rev. Alexis Anderson is a proud member of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition.
David Brazil is a pastor and community organizer. Before joining PJI’s Unanimous Jury Project, he served as interfaith coordinator with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy in Oakland, California. With his partner, Pastor Sarah Pritchard, he is the co-founder of Abolition Apostles, a national jail & prison ministry, and Apostles Fellowship, a community church.
Sara Gozalo is a Unanimous Jury Specialist. With a PhD in immunology from UMass, Sara co-founded Students for Peace and Justice. She was also a member of the Worcester Global Action Network. In 2016, Sara was the Supervising Coordinator of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City until she moved to New Orleans. Sara is originally from Madrid, Spain. She is a queer immigrant who believes in a world without borders and without jails, where everyone has the right to live in dignity.
Alice Kallman started as an investigator in September of 2019. Alice transitioned into the role after working as the Client and Family Assistance Coordinator for a year. She was placed at PJI through a yearlong Jewish fellowship called Avodah, which explores social justice through a religious lens. Alice graduated from the University of Chicago in 2018 with a BA in Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies as well as Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Erica is a staff attorney, with the privilege of representing Louisiana clients at all stages of their capital appeals since 2015. In addition to direct representation, Erica was a part of the Lewis v. Cain and Ramos v. Louisiana litigation teams, co-authored a report shedding light on the terrible conditions of confinement in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, and is a member of the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition. Erica earned her BA in Sociology from Brandeis University, served as an Americorps member for two years in Boston, and then got her JD from Wake Forest School of Law.
Rebecca Ramaswamy is a staff attorney focusing on civil class action lawsuits. Before starting at PJI, Rebecca was a staff attorney with Equal Justice Under Law, litigating class action cases challenging poverty-based discrimination across the country, and before that, she was a legal fellow at LatinoJustice PRLDEF. Rebecca is a 2015 graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was awarded a Morrow Scholarship for outstanding clinic performance and published a Note with the Columbia Journal of Race and Law entitled “Bars to Education: The Use of Criminal History Information in College Admissions.”
AK Singleton received her B.A. in Political Science from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. Her professional experience has included everything from political consulting and legislative staffing to pro-public education policy advocacy and voting rights work. She joins the operations team to work on finance and development.
David Wheaton is orginally from the great city of Atlanta, and is a legal fellow. David has experience interning for the ACLU Capital Punishment Project and the ACLU of North Carolina. David also has experience working as a resident in practice with the Transformative Justice Coalition in Washington D.C. and as an organizing fellow for the North Carolina Democratic Party. David has a BA in Economics from Guilford College and a law degree from Elon University School of Law.
Cormac Boyle is a Staff Attorney. Cormac began working on capital cases in 2007 when he was an investigator at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and Capital Appeals Project. Prior to working on capital cases, he worked for the Legal Aid Society in New York City, and taught elementary and middle school students in Harlem as well as on the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation, a tribe of the Ochethi Sakowin
Claude-Michael Comeau is a Staff Attorney for the Unanimous Jury Project. Claude-Michael graduated from LSU Law in 2013. Before joining PJI, Claude-Michael was a Managing Attorney at Refugee Services of Texas in Dallas, Texas, where he helped reunite refugees with their loved ones after fleeing persecution. Claude-Michael has also spent time as a contract attorney for the Caddo Public Defenders. Claude-Michael is excited to be back in his home state helping to shape a more equitable Louisiana.
Shanna Hugle started as an investigator in January 2021. Originally from New Orleans, she returned after working as a capital and non-capital post-conviction attorney at the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy for nearly two years. She previously worked for eight years as a paralegal/ paralegal coordinator for Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana before leaving in 2015 to pursue a law degree. Later, she worked there as a legal intern. She also interned with the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles, where she worked on expanding understanding of the state’s absolute pardon statute. In the legal clinic, she assisted with various projects including research for the article, The Death Penalty and the Fundamental Right to Life, and researching nationwide case law, statutes, and legislation related to juvenile life without parole sentences. As a law student, she drafted a felony direct appeal, which she later argued before the Connecticut Court of Appeals. She received a BA in English from Dillard University and a certificate in paralegal studies. She earned her JD from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2018. She is also working on a Masters of Public Administration and Policy (MPAP) from American University, with an anticipated completion date of January 2023.
Josh Occhiogrosso-Schwartz is a staff attorney specializing in juvenile life without parole cases. Prior to working at the office, he was a supervising attorney, veterans specialist, and staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders. Before working at the Bronx Defenders office, Josh was a staff attorney in the Felony Trials Division of the Orleans Public Defenders.
Zoe Reier is a legal and administrative assistant for the Promise of Justice Initiative. Originally from Berkeley, California, Zoe moved to New Orleans in June of 2019 to explore the unique social policy landscape in Louisiana. Prior to her role at PJI, Zoe worked in various positions related to communications, education, and legal research. She has a BA in Sociology from UC Berkeley, with a focus on educational policy.
Amber Thorpe is an office manager and paralegal. Originally from Los Angeles, Amber moved to New Orleans to attend college at Tulane University and they graduated in 2018 with a dual degree in anthropology and political science, with a minor in Africana studies. Before working at the 1024 Building, they worked at Tulane University's Center for Public Service coordinating service-learning courses and facilitating conversations about equity and oppression on Tulane's campus.
David Wolfenson is a Unanimous Jury Specialist. David graduated from Clark University in 2011 and from Tulane Law in 2017. Before joining PJI, David was a staff attorney at the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender in Pittsburgh, PA. While at Tulane, he was a student-practitioner for the Criminal Law Clinic. David has also been a non-profit event coordinator and served with AmeriCorps NCCC. He is thrilled to be back in New Orleans.
Jude Braud is a New Orleans native. Jude started as and has been an intern through The Welcoming Project and is now a Unanimous Jury Specialist. He loves music, food, and studying law. He has firsthand knowledge of what it is like to be "the product of the system." While he prevailed in his situation, he was able to do so only because he was forced to study the law. He understands that knowing one's rights and fighting others' liberties is both prestigious and serious. He is acutely aware that being in the system doesn't mean you're guilty and that all people need advocacy. He is dedicated to the fight for equal justice and liberty. Jude is also a college student at Delgado, where he is pursuing Business Management.
Shanita Farris started as a legal fellow in 2016 and is now a staff attorney. Her work includes challenging the conviction and death sentence of individuals sentence to death in Louisiana on direct appeal and in state post conviction. She also represents clients who were sentenced to juvenile life without parole. Shanita is the co-author of the "Dying in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison" report that exposed circumstances surrounding the death of individuals in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, and assisted on the petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in Ramos v. Louisiana. Shanita is an alumna of Spelman College and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Cecelia Kappel is a New Orleans native and Executive Director of The Capital Appeals Project. Cecelia is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans Law School and has defended clients on death row since 2008. She has been the Executive Director of CAP since 2018.
Melissa Montle is a records specialist for the Capital Appeals Project. Melissa has a Public Relations/Political Science degree from Bradley University in Peoria, IL and a law degree from Tulane Law School where she externed for Innocence Project New Orleans. Melissa has been licensed to practice in Florida for over 17 years and started her career with the Public Defender’s Office in the 15th Judicial Circuit in West Palm Beach, FL. Most recently she spent 10 years as the staff attorney at the Innocence Project of Florida finding and freeing the wrongfully convicted.
Tina Peng is a staff attorney with the Unanimous Jury Project. Previously, she was a staff attorney with the Orleans Public Defenders. Tina is a graduate of Northwestern University and New York University School of Law.
Jordan Shannon joined PJI as a Staff Attorney for the Unanimous Jury Project after two years at the Orleans Public Defenders. In her former lives, Jordan worked for the Office of the Independent Police Monitor and NFC Law. She also served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for Puentes New Orleans. Jordan’s passions are criminal justice policy reform, racial justice, and migration. Jordan graduated from Loyola Law in New Orleans with a certificate in Social Justice. She holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and a B.A. in English from Cornell University.
Caroline Tillman is a Senior Staff Attorney. She specializes in representation of death sentenced people in state and federal court in direct appeal, post-conviction, and federal habeas proceedings.Caroline attended Cambridge University where she earned a BA degree in History and Law, before attending the College of Law in London. During this time, Caroline interned in New Orleans at the Loyola Death Penalty Resource Center and the Center for Equal Justice. Caroline worked at the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana until 2010 when she joined the staff at the Capital Appeals Project and The Promise of Justice Initiative.
Maddie is from Seattle, and received a BA in sociology and environmental studies from New York University and a JD from the University of Washington School of Law. At UW Law, Maddie was a managing editor for Washington Law Review and an organizer with the Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project and the Non-Complicit Student Association. Maddie’s law practice is dedicated to people’s liberation movements, with a focus on racial, economic, and environmental justice.
Wynton Yates grew up in Atlanta Georgia but has deep family roots in New Orleans. Yates is a Staff Attorney on the Unanimous Juries team. Before joining the UJP team, he worked for several years as a television News reporter in New Orleans Louisiana covering crime, natural disasters, governmental oversight, and sports. Wynton Yates is a graduate of Loyola University of New Orleans college of Law and Georgia Southern University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Communications.
Bethany Samhan is a legal fellow at PJI working on the Unanimous Jury Project. She is a Louisiana native, growing up in Shreveport, LA and earning a B.A. in Political Science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She went on to study law at Tulane University here in New Orleans. During her time in law school, Bethany gained experience interning for Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, working in children’s criminal defense and post-conviction work on the JLWOP team. At Tulane, Bethany participated in the Immigrants Rights’ Practicum, assisting victims of crimes in obtaining a U or T Nonimmigrant Visa. She is excited to begin her career at PJI working to make Louisiana a more just state to live in.
Ashwini Velchamy is a legal fellow for the Capital Appeals Project. Originally from the California Bay Area, Ashwini has a dual degree in Computer Science and Economics from American University and a law degree from Columbia Law School. During law school, she interned at the ACLU Capital Punishment Project and Phillips Black and was an Articles Editor for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.
Hayle Meyerhoff is an Avodah Jewish Service Corps Member who received her B.A. from Haverford College in 2020. In undergrad, Hayle studied history, with an interest in the ways historical harms pervade modern day society. She is excited to continue this work as a Unanimous Jury Specialist with PJI.
Rachel Snyderman is a Client and Family Assistance Coordinator at PJI. She is originally from Washington, DC. Rachel graduated this past May from Brandeis University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Rachel has worked at the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine where she learned about the intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system. Rachel comes to PJI as a member of the Avodah Jewish Service Corps, a yearlong social justice fellowship.
Reid Yundt is a Client and Family Services Coordinator at PJI. He is originally from St. Louis, MO, but grew up in Bend, OR. Reid recently graduated from Gonzaga University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in General Business. He found his start at PJI after receiving a placement through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a yearlong service organization with a focus on social justice through faith and spirituality.