Board of directors, oregon justice resource center

Affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.

Janis Puracal
Of Counsel, Maloney Lauersdorf Reiner PC
Co-Founder, Oregon Innocence Project

Kasia Rutledge
Attorney, Metropolitan Public Defender

Sara Werboff
Deputy Defender
Office of Public Defense Services

President/Treasurer/Secretary
William Penn
Assistant Director, OLF/LSP, Oregon State Bar

Lindsey Burrows
Attorney, O'Connor Weber LLC

Kimberly McCullough
Legislative Director, ACLU of Oregon

Erin McKee
Attorney, The Law Office of Nicole T. Dalton, PLLC
Co-Founder, Oregon Justice Resource Center

 

advisory committee, oregon innocence project

Affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.

Cynthia Hamilton
Investigator, Federal Public Defender's Office

Ryan O'Connor
Partner, O'Connor Weber LLP

Janis Puracal
Of Counsel, Maloney Lauersdorf Reiner PC

William Teesdale
Attorney/Investigator, Federal Public Defender's Office

Dennis Balske
Attorney, Law Office of Dennis Balske

Lane Borg
Executive Director, Metropolitan Public Defender

Nicole Ciccarello
Paralegal, Federal Public Defender's Office

John Comery
Retired Federal Agent

Jeff Ellis
Director, Oregon Capital Resource Center

 

ADVISORY COMMITTEE, women in prison project

Affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.

Alexandra Appleton
PSU student, Reentry & Homeless Advocate, and Formerly Incarcerated

Ailene Farkac
MSW Candidate, Reentry Navigator, Formerly Incarcerated

Jackie Whitt, PSS, PWS
Client, Volunteer, Intern at Mercy Corps NW Reentry Transition Center, and Formerly Incarcerated

 

STAFF

Office Manager and Policy Associate
Ben Scissors
ben@ojrc.org

A recent Portland transplant, Ben Scissors graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2015 with a BA in International Affairs and Sociology and a minor in Jewish Studies. Ben got a taste for the criminal justice system while working for his mother, who was then a practicing criminal defense attorney, after high school. His interest in civil and human rights was further cultivated when he spent some time in Jerusalem engaging with the topics of national security, immigration, and conservation, as well as immersing himself in the Arabic language. 

Ben has committed himself to improving the lives of those unfairly suffering from disenfranchisement and abuse both domestically and abroad. By focusing on systemic structural inequalities, he has since narrowed his focus in particular to the US criminal justice system. Our work has thus been a great outlet for Ben's passion for change, as well as an indispensable resource for learning from the creative and enthusiastic people who work here.

 

Legal Director, Oregon Innocence Project
Steve Wax
wax@oregoninnocence.org

Steve Wax served as Oregon's Federal Public Defender from 1983 to 2014, and was one of the longest-serving public defenders in the country. He was a key part of the Brooklyn, NY, District Attorney's prosecution of David Berkowitz, AKA "The Son of Sam". Steve and his federal defender team successfully represented six men formerly held as "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo. 

Steve has taught at Lewis & Clark Law School, serves as an ethics prosecutor for the Oregon State Bar, and lectures throughout the country. He has been honored for his work by, among other groups, the NACDL (2004 President's Commendation), the American Jewish Committee (Oregon Chapter 2007 Judge Learned Hand Award), the ACLU (Oregon 2007 Civil Rights Award and Oregon 2010 Hon. James M Burns Professionalism Award) and the American Constitution Society (Oregon Chapter 2014 Justice Hans Linde Civil Liberties Award).

Steve was invited to present the 2009 Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Memorial Peace Lecture at Oregon State University. He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. Kafka Comes to America, his book about his work representing Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield and the men in Guantanamo, has won four national awards, including the prestigious ABA Silver Gavel.

JD, Harvard Law School, cum laude
AB, Colgate University, cum laude

 

Associate Director
Amie Wexler
wexler@ojrc.org

Amie Wexler graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1999. She has been an ardent advocate for access to justice and worked across the nonprofit sector while in law school and in her years since graduating. Most recently, Amie worked at Portland State University's Student Legal Services, providing legal access for students who would not otherwise have had representation. Amie is passionate about criminal justice reform, civil rights, and death penalty abolition and brings her fundraising, lobbying, and legal experience to OJRC to grow our capacity. 

 

Project Director and Attorney, Reentry Law Project/Women in Prison Project
Julia Yoshimoto
julia@ojrc.org

Originally from Hawaii, Julia Yoshimoto worked in the social services field for six years before attending law school. She received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. She worked primarily with low-income clients in the areas of behavioral health and drug addiction. Through this work, she became acutely aware of the need for accessible, high-quality, and compassionate legal services for marginalized individuals. She is dedicated to using her law degree to increase access to justice by strengthening the bridge between legal services and social services. She has fulfilled her goal of collaborating with a social service organization serving low income clients and expanding its services to include identifying clients' legal needs and providing quality legal assistance through our partnerships with MercyCorps Northwest and Red Lodge Transition Services.

JD, Lewis & Clark Law School, cum laude, 2013
MSW, University of Hawaii-Manoa, 2006
BA, Carleton College, cum laude, 2001

Executive Director
Bobbin Singh
singh@ojrc.org

Bobbin Singh is the founding Executive Director of Oregon Justice Resource Center. He was born and raised in Atlanta, GA., and deeply inspired by the great figures of the civil rights movement in the South, often joking that as an Atlantan the first names he learned as a child were Dr. Martin Luther King, Andrew Young, Hosea Williams, and John Lewis.

Bobbin moved to Portland in 2003, studying for his Bachelor's at Portland State University and his JD at Lewis & Clark Law School. After graduating from Lewis & Clark in 2011, he started Oregon Justice Resource Center. Bobbin believes that mass incarceration, including over incarceration, mass conviction, and wrongful convictions, is in fact the greatest civil rights crisis of our time and we must all take ownership of it. He argues that for individual rights to have any meaning, we must protect them for everyone, without exception.

Bobbin manages OJRC, oversees staff, volunteers and all programs, and serves as our principal spokesperson. Working with our Board of Directors, he sets policy and direction for OJRC. He is active with the ACLU of Oregon and serves on its Board of Directors and is a member of the Oregon Council on Civil Rights.

JD, Lewis & Clark Law School
BS, Portland State University

 

Political Director
Kate Gonsalves
kate@ojrc.org

Kate Gonsalves moved to Portland in 1996 having grown up in Hawaii. For the next decade she led political campaigns with community groups, progressive nonprofits, and unions in multiple states including directing campaign strategy for the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club in California.

After receiving her master's degree in politics as a Rotary Scholar at the University of British Columbia, Kate returned to Portland in 2010. Prior to joining OJRC, she built political programs and lobbied for the American Federation of Teachers along with advancing ballot measure campaigns at Our Oregon.

Kate is passionate about decreasing systemic inequalities in the justice system. Her commitment to criminal justice reform stems from her work with Dr David Baldus and the American Civil Liberties Union linking race and death penalty sentencing along with coursework examining race and mass incarceration under Dr. Angela Davis.

 

Director of Communication
Alice Lundell
alice@ojrc.org

Alice Lundell is an experienced journalist and marketing and communications professional. She is an enthusiast for the power of first person narrative and believes organizations must work harder than ever to connect with an audience in the digital age. She takes delight in the new abundance of ways to reach people who care.

Alice received her BA (Hons) Classics from the University of Leeds, England. After graduation, she spent a decade working for the BBC and ITV as a journalist and broadcaster in her native United Kingdom before immigrating to the United States. In her years as a reporter, she broke numerous exclusive stories, always remembering that: "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

Alice has been channeling her commitment to social justice and poverty alleviation into helping nonprofits better communicate their message since her arrival in Oregon.

 

Law Fellow/Staff Attorney
Brittney Plesser
plesser@oregoninnocence.org

Brittney Plesser graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School in May 2015. Brittney works almost exclusively on Oregon Innocence Project cases and issues. Although new to our staff, Brittney has been working at Oregon Innocence Project since September 2014 as a legal extern. Before joining OIP, she was a legal intern at the California Innocence Project in San Diego, her hometown, and a legal intern at the ACLU of Oregon. Brittney is dedicated to social justice and criminal justice reform and is thrilled to have the opportunity to cultivate her passion as our first Law Fellow/Staff Attorney.

JD, Lewis & Clark Law School, cum laude, 2015
BA, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2010