Justice Council



The Justice Council of the Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) aims to involve young professionals and emerging leaders in the CWC's work. The Council will work to raise money for the CWC, expand its constituency, and educate the general public about wrongful convictions and the need for criminal justice reform.

Members of the Justice Council

Steve Art

Steve Art is a 2009 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. During law school, Steve worked with a number of Centers in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, including the Center on Wrongful Convictions. Steve is currently a civil rights lawyer at Loevy & Loevy in Chicago, where he specializes in cases brought by men and women who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit. Steve currently represents CWC clients Juan Rivera and Jacques Rivera.

dave Baltmanis

Dave Baltmanis is a 2009 graduate of Northwestern Law. While at Northwestern he worked at the Center on Wrongful Convictions representing Julio Mendiola and Daniel Taylor. Dave is currently an attorney at Miner, Barnhill & Galland in Chicago.

Meredith Baron

Meredith Baron is a practicing attorney in Chicago and a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. A former clinical student with the CWC, she has assisted in the representation of a number of wrongfully convicted clients, including Christopher Coleman and Julie Rea Harper.

Chris Bernard

Chris Bernard is a 2010 graduate of Northwestern Law. He worked as a student attorney in the CWC from 2008-2010 representing several clients including Christopher Coleman and Daniel Taylor. Chris has dedicated his career to improving the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Chris is currently the Program Coordinator at the Cook Country Justice Advisory Council.

Jon Brayman

Jonathan Marshall Brayman is an associate with Breen & Pugh and the son of acclaimed Chicago criminal defense attorney Paul Brayman. His practice focuses on criminal defense, Section 1983 civil rights actions, class actions, and asset forfeiture defense.

Amy Breihan

Amy Breihan is a practicing attorney in Chicago at Bryan Cave LLP and a graduate of Grinnell College and Northwestern University School of Law. As a former clinical student with the CWC, she represented a number of wrongfully convicted.

Joe Cooper

Joe Cooper is a former Teach For America corps member and graduate of Harvard Law School.  He currently works as an Associate in the Employment and Labor group of Sidley Austin LLP, where he commits a substantial amount of time to pro bono efforts, including working with the Center on Wrongful Convictions to represent wrongfully convicted clients.   

Kathryn Couey

Kathryn Couey is a practicing attorney in Chicago and a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. She worked as a clinical student and PILI Fellow at the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Erin Eckhoff

Erin Eckhoff is an attorney in the Chicago office of Ice Miller LLP and a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law. As a former clinical student with the Center on Wrongful Convictions, she assisted in the representation of a number of wrongfully convicted clients, including Juan Rivera.

Rami Fakhouri

Rami Fakhouri is a practicing attorney in Chicago. A former clinical student with the CWC, Rami has represented CWC clients in state court and before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board and was involved in a number of investigations into claims of innocence.

Solana Flora

Solana Flora is a litigation associate in the Chicago office of Winston & Strawn LLP. Solana is a graduate of Grinnell College and the University of Michigan Law School.  Before working at Winston, she spent two years clerking for the Hon. Carol A. Beier of the Kansas Supreme Court.  During law school, she served as a student attorney in the Michigan Innocence Clinic.  In the summer of 2012, the Michigan Supreme Court overturned the conviction of one of her clinic clients, and in the fall of 2012, the Michigan Attorney General dismissed all charges with prejudice.

Zach Getzelman

Zachary Getzelman received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. While at Northwestern, he was a clinical student in the Center on Wrongful Convictions and the Juvenile Justice clinic, where he helped represent Daniel Taylor. He received his B.S., cum laude, in electrical engineering and his B.A. in jazz performance from the University of Utah. After his undergraduate degree, he worked for three years as a process engineer at Micron Technologies.

Sharon Goott Nissim is licensed to practice law in Illinois and currently works as an associate at the consumer law firm of Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin. She graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 2010, and previously worked as a student and later as a volunteer attorney at the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Carrie Grady

Carrie Grady is a Talent Business Advisor at Deloitte. She is passionate about non-profit work and has significant experience in fundraising and advocating for equal rights for people who are marginalized due to disability or other means.

Mike Grady

Mike Grady is an Assistant Public Defender in DeKalb County and a graduate of Indiana University and Villanova University School of Law.  The majority of Mike’s career has been spent representing indigent clients, and he is working to further the mission of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.  In addition to his work with the CWC, Mike volunteers at Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the American Cancer Society.

Tim Hoppe

Tim Hoppe works in the labor and employment group in McGuireWoods’s Chicago office. He counsels employers on all aspects of employment-related litigation and traditional labor law. Prior to law school Tim worked for the state of Massachusetts, focusing on legislative initiatives such as reforming the Massachusetts health care system, affordable housing statute and  streamlining the state's sales tax.

Jennifer Huelskamp

Jennifer Huelskamp is a practicing attorney in Chicago and a 2012 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law.  As a former clinical student with the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Jennifer has assisted in the representation of a number of wrongfully convicted clients, including Julio Mendiola.

Brian Josias

Brian Josias is a practicing attorney in Chicago and a graduate of Notre Dame Law School and Johns Hopkins University. Brian frequently represents indigent criminal defendants and, since moving to Chicago in 2010, has worked to further the mission of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Rachel Julis

Rachel Julis is an attorney in Chicago and a former clinical student and clinical fellow with the Center on Wrongful Convictions. She has helped represent a number of wrongfully convicted clients including Anthony McKinney, Alan Beaman and Dana Holland at the CWC and Mark Clements through pro bono work.

Kara Kapp

Kara Kapp is a practicing attorney in Chicago at Jenner & Block LLP and a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford Law School, where she worked with law professor Lawrence Marshall and the Center on Wrongful Convictions on successfully appealing Juan Rivera’s case. Upon arriving at Jenner & Block, Kara joined a team of Jenner attorneys and the Wrongful Convictions Center in representing Nicole Harris and successfully appealing her conviction.

Rachel Katz

Rachel Katz is licensed to practice law in Illinois and currently works as an Associate at Kulwin, Masciopinto & Kulwin, where she concentrates her practice in the representation of individuals involved in complex civil and criminal matters in federal and state court. Rachel has argued two cases in front of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law with honors in 2008.

Katelan Little

Katelan Little is a practicing attorney in Chicago and a graduate of Northwestern University. She was first introduced to the Center for Wrongful Convictions as a student in Northwestern's Legal Studies program and has become increasingly involved with the CWC in recent years.

Brett Mares

Brett Mares  is a litigator in the St Louis area.  As a law student, Brett became involved with the Center on Wrongful Convictions through a fellowship with the Upper Midwest Human Rights fellowship. As a member of the Justice Council, his support of the CWC and involvement in bono work continues.

Malorie Medellin

Malorie Medellin currently works out of the Chicago office of the international firm Latham & Watkins. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she double-majored in Journalism and Middle East Studies. After college, she attended Northwestern University School of Law where she obtained her JD in 2011. While at Latham, she has worked on cases involving domestic violence, asylum, complex commercial litigation, and environmental law.

Laura Nirider

Laura Nirider is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Project Co-Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.  Nirider represents individuals who were wrongfully convicted of crimes when they were children or teenagers.  In connection with that work, she has represented several defendants in high-profile cases involving juvenile false confessions, including members of the West Memphis Three and Dixmoor Five.

Jean Park

Jean Park is an attorney at the Office of the State Appellate Defender. She graduated from Northwestern University School of Law, where she was a former clinical student with the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Brittany Parling

Brittany Parling is a practicing attorney in Chicago and a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. As a former clinical fellow at the MacArthur Justice Center, she represented a number of wrongfully convicted individuals in civil rights litigation seeking compensation for the constitutional and other legal violations that led to their wrongful convictions.

Phil Payne is an appellate defender in Chicago and is an alumnus of the Center on Wrongful Convictions. He has contributed to the representation of present client Juan Rivera, most recently on his pending appeal.

Katie Pelech

Katie Pelech is an Assistant Public Defender with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. As a law student at Northwestern, she worked at the Center on Wrongful Convictions, where she had the opportunity to represent Alan Beaman, Dana Holland, and Jacques Rivera.

Andrew Pippin is an attorney in Chicago and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School.  In law school Drew worked with the Wisconsin Innocence Project, where he was involved in a number of investigations into claims of innocence.

Whitney Price

Whitney  Price is an attorney at the Office of the State Appellate Defender. Whitney began collaborating with the Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) in 2004, when she worked on criminal justice reform measures at The Justice Project in Washington, D.C. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law, Whitney joined Jenner & Block and then Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd in Chicago, where she concentrated her pro bono practice on representing indigent criminal defendants at both the trial and appellate levels.

Jason Sandler

Jason Sandler is a current JD-MBA student at Northwestern University. Jason is a former management consultant with experience in Innovation Strategy, Technology Strategy, User Experience Design, and Systems integration.

Alex Schwartzman

Alex Schwartzman is a certified mediator with the Center for Conflict Resolution, where she works as the Training Assistant. She is a graduate of Oberlin College. Alex is also a volunteer tutor with Safer Foundation, which works to reduce recidivism rates in Illinois.

Jacqueline Shiff

Jacqueline Shiff is licensed to practice law in Illinois and currently works as the Director of Operations at Get In Chicagoan innovative public/private partnership whose mission is to strengthen communities hardest hit by poverty and violence. Jacqueline served for two years as a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Mary L. Mikva and also worked in the Child Protection Division at Cook County Juvenile Court. She has volunteered for and continuously supported the Center on Wrongful Convictions since college.

Carling Spelhaug

Carling Spelhaug is associate director of corporate communications for Morningstar, an independent investment research firm based in Chicago. She joined the firm in 2008 after graduating cum laude from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in history, with departmental honors. She also holds a master’s degree in communication from Northwestern.

Devlin Su

Devlin Su is an associate at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago and an alumnus of Dartmouth College and Northwestern University School of Law. As a law student, he worked at the Center on Wrongful Convictions and assisted in the representation of Miguel Fluker.

Joshua Tepfer is the co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY), the first "innocence project" focused on the particular susceptibility of children and adolescents to wrongful convictions. He was part of the team of attorneys who helped exonerate nine men, known as the Dixmoor Five and Englewood Four, two decades after their wrongful convictions.

Will Trevena

Will Trevena is an attorney practicing in Chicago, and a former clinical student and volunteer attorney with the Center on Wrongful Convictions. Will has been involved with a number of investigations into claims of innocence, as well as the representation of a mother who was wrongfully convicted of arson after she lost her child in an accidental home fire.

Valerie Valenzo Valerie Valenzo is a practicing attorney in Chicago and a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. She is a former clinical student with the Bluhm Legal Clinic's Children & Family Justice Center.

Zouhary

K.M. Zouhary worked with the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) as a student at Northwestern University School of Law. She assisted in the representation of Terrill Swift and Robert Taylor and has been committed to supporting the CWCY in its fight ever since. K.M. is an associate at Proskauer Rose LLP.