IPNO is made up of full time staff-attorneys and support staff, aided by a constellation of Interns and Volunteers including pro-bono counsel.
Emily Maw | Bill Aquino | Charell Arnold | Irn Coury | Huy Dao | Richard Davis | Cat Forrester | Kia Hall Hayes | Jené O'Keefe Trigg | Jee Park | Caprece Robertson | Kristin Wenstrom | Kirschelle McGowan
Director Emily Maw has been with IPNO since 2003. Emily is licensed in Louisiana and Mississippi and litigates cases of wrongful conviction in both states while directing operations for the rest of the organization.
Prior to working at IPNO, Emily worked with the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center for several years as an investigator for capital cases in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. She also worked at the Texas Defender Service.
Emily received her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Edinburgh and her Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School.
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William (Bill) Aquino is a staff attorney who originally served as an intern at IPNO in 2007.
From 2010 until its conclusion in 2015, he was assigned to the Orleans Parish Postconviction DNA Testing Project. This project was a joint program of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, New Orleans Police Department, Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, and IPNO to inventory old biological evidence and conduct DNA testing that could prove the innocence of convicted prisoners, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice.
During law school, Bill was a summer intern and later student attorney at the Tulane University Domestic Violence Clinic. Before law school, he worked as a licensed private investigator in San Francisco. Bill also served as an investigator of the City of New York's Civilian Complaint Review Board, working on investigations and departmental prosecutions of New York City Police Department officers for cases of abuse of authority and excessive force.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California, Los Angeles and received his Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School in 2009.
Charell Arnold is a staff attorney with IPNO. During law school, Charell was a summer law clerk with the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as a student attorney for the Tulane University Juvenile Clinic. In 2011, she was awarded the Robert Masur Fellowship in Civil Liberties by the Nation Institute.
Charell worked as a staff investigator with the Orleans Public Defenders Office for several years before attending law school. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and a Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School. She was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 2014.
Irn Coury is originally from Detroit and has a degree from Wesleyan University in American Studies. He worked for several years as an investigator with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board and is moving back to the US after having worked around South and Central America for the past six years, including time as an International Human Rights Accompanier.
Richard Davis came to IPNO for a four-month internship in 2005, and has remained ever since.
Richard obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Sheffield in 2004. He obtained his Master of Law degree from Loyola University New Orleans in 2011, while working at Innocence Project New Orleans.
Huy Dao started as the case manager in October 2015. Prior to working at IPNO, Huy was the case director at the Innocence Project, where he managed the Intake & Evaluation Department from 1997 – 2015.
Huy graduated from Cornell University in 1997 and received an MFA in writing from the New School in 2000.
Cat Forrester is IPNO’s Communications Manager. She was an intern at IPNO from 2013-2014 before joining the staff in January 2016. Prior to joining IPNO, Cat worked as a Client and Court Support Administrator at Orleans Public Defenders. She obtained her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Brown University and her M.A. in Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University.
Kia Hall Hayes
Kia Hall Hayes is a staff attorney who interned with IPNO in the fall of 2012 and officially joined the staff in August 2013.
Kia received her Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies from Brown University in 2003 and a Master of Arts in Print Journalism from the University of Maryland in 2004. She worked for six years as a newspaper reporter--first at the Providence Journal and then at the Times-Picayune--before enrolling at UCLA School of Law, from which she received her Juris Doctor in 2013.
Kirschelle McGowan received her Juris Doctor from Southern University Law Center in 2012 and was admitted to practice law in Louisiana in October 2012. During law school, Kirschelle worked as a student attorney in the Juvenile Defense Clinic and was a member of Law Review. Before joining IPNO’s staff in 2013, Kirschelle worked for Criminal Defense Attorney Julie C. Tizzard in New Orleans.
Kirschelle obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice in 2006 as well as a Master of Science in Criminal Investigations in 2007 from Southern University and A&M College.
Jené O'Keefe Trigg
Jené O'Keefe Trigg, IPNO's managing director, brings to IPNO nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit communications and management. As managing director of Pro-Media Communications, a social issues public relations firm, she worked with numerous nonprofits including but not limited to the Correctional Association, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Safe Horizon and Death Penalty Information Center. She also coordinated the film premiere of "After Innocence" in New York.
Prior to Pro-Media, Jené was the executive director (and hired originally as the development director) of The Moratorium Campaign, a national anti-death penalty nonprofit based in New Orleans and founded by Sister Helen Prejean.
At Pyramid Communications, a public affairs firm in Seattle, Jené worked with numerous justice and political-focused groups such as Legal Aid of Washington Fund, Columbia Legal Services and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. She was also lead advance during the 2000 Gore/Lieberman Campaign. She has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer and a mentor with the Women's Prison Association and for 13 years assisted with publicizing the wrongful convictions of three men widely known as the "West Memphis Three" who were freed August 19, 2011.
Senior Attorney of Public Policy
Jee Park is the Senior Attorney of Public Policy. Prior to joining IPNO in January 2017, Jee served as the Deputy District Defender of Orleans Public Defenders (OPD) from 2014-16. She joined OPD in the spring of 2008 as a supervising attorney then directed OPD’s Special Litigation Division from 2009-14. Prior to OPD, Jee worked as a staff attorney at The Bronx Defenders in New York, and was a Prettyman Fellow at the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown Law Center. Her interest in fighting for poor people’s equal access to justice was sparked in Montgomery, Alabama when she worked for Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) after college. Jee served as a law clerk to Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall); received a LL.M in Clinical Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center; and graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
Operations / Finance Manager
Caprece Robertson, IPNO’s, Operations/Finance Manager brings over 30 years of experience in management and finance. She has worked with nonprofits such as Covenant House New Orleans and The American Red Cross of Philadelphia. She has also worked with New Orleans Public Schools and the Recovery School District.
Caprece is a graduate of Clark College in Business Administration.
Kristin Wenstrom is a staff attorney who began working at IPNO as an intern in 2006 and officially joined the ranks as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2008.
Kristin's fellowship entailed representing wrongfully convicted youth sentenced to life without parole in Louisiana and utilizing their cases and stories to reform policy that allows for these injustices to occur. In addition to her juvenile cases, Kristin also represents Innocence Project New Orleans’ exonerees on their applications for compensation for wrongful conviction.
Kristin received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Mathematics from New York University in 2002 and her Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School in 2008. Before law school she worked for three years as a legal assistant at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, and Loewy, LLP in New York City.
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