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.
Elise Gonzalez is a Records Specialist. She is a New Orleans native. Elise recently graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Symbolic Systems and a minor in Human Rights. She was an Intern at The Promise of Justice Initiative in the summer of 2018, and is excited to be back doing the work to make Louisiana a safer and healthier state.
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.
Nishi Kumar is a staff attorney. She litigates around various criminal justice issues affecting currently and formerly incarcerated people throughout Louisiana. She graduated from NYU Law School in 2015, where she was a Hays Civil Liberty fellow, a Notes Editor on the NYU Law Review, and co-chair of the South Asian Law Students Association. After graduation, Nishi clerked for Judge Paul Watford on the Ninth Circuit and Judge Jesse Furman on the Southern District of New York. Prior to law school, Nishi was a middle school math teacher at New Orleans College Prep.
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 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.
Michael Cahoon is an organizer working on PJI's LA Repeal Project and East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Project. Before coming to PJI in 2018, Michael was a lead organizer with SEIU Local 509, a 20,000 member union of social workers, human service providers, and educators, where he also served as president for an independent union of SEIU organizers and support staff. Before organizing, he worked in policy research and development for New Jersey After 3, a nonprofit providing after school programming, evaluation, and policy consultation. He has a BA in English and Social Science from Bennington College in Vermont.
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.
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.
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.
Ariel Moyal is a Client and Family Assistance Coordinator. Her work focuses on supporting impacted people and their families. She is passionate about this work because she recognizes the importance of a commitment to clients, as full human beings; that extends beyond specific litigation in their cases. Ariel graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She comes to this work, and to New Orleans, as an Avodah Jewish Service Corps Member.
Katie Hunter-Lowrey is the Crime Survivor Organizer for The Promise of Justice Initiative. She is a founder of the New Orleans Ladies Arm Wrestling collective and a long time organizer of Nola to Angola, an annual bike ride fundraiser to keep families connected across the barriers of incarceration. She serves as a Board Member for the community land trust Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative. Katie earned her BA in International Studies from the University of New Orleans with a concentration in Peace & Justice.
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.
Michael Winters is a Client and Family Assistance Coordinator. Michael is originally from Chicago and attending Saint Louis University in Missouri where he studied Economics, Marketing, and Urban Poverty Studies. Michael has come to the work through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a Catholic year of service program. Michael's work entails supporting those impacted by incarceration as well as their friends and family. He is quite passionate about this work and was involved with various reformative justice initiatives while in college.
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.
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.
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.”