Executive

Barry C. Scheck & Peter J. Neufeld

Barry C. Scheck & Peter J. Neufeld

Co-founders and Special Counsel

Barry C. Scheck & Peter J. Neufeld

Barry C. Scheck & Peter J. Neufeld

Co-founders and Special Counsel Executive

Barry C. Scheck & Peter J. Neufeld

Co-founders and Special Counsel Executive

Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld are Co-Founders and Special Counsel at the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. In February 2000, Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution, and Other Dispatches From the Wrongly Convicted, written by Peter, Barry, and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer, was published by Doubleday. This non-fiction book grew out of the cases and stories of the Innocence Project.

In 1988, Peter and Barry became involved in studying and litigating issues concerning the use of forensic DNA testing. Their work not only shaped the course of case law across the country but helped lead to an influential study by the National Academy of Sciences on forensic DNA testing, as well as important state and federal legislation setting standards for the use of DNA testing. They both serve as members of the New York State’s Commission on Forensic Science, a body that regulates all crime and forensic DNA laboratories in the state.

Peter and Barry have litigated and taught extensively in both the “hard” and behavioral forensic sciences. Their trials frequently redefine and expand the parameters of permissible defenses involving forensic psychiatry and laboratory science. Most of this work is pro bono and of public interest. Their cases often result in enhancing public awareness of systemic problems, improving the criminal justice system, and legislative reform.

Bhavan Sodhi

Bhavan Sodhi

Chief Program Officer

Bhavan Sodhi

Bhavan Sodhi

Chief Program Officer Executive

Bhavan Sodhi

Chief Program Officer Executive

Bhavan K. Sodhi is the Chief Program Officer at the Innocence Project. In this capacity, she is responsible for the oversight, management, and supervision of all six programmatic departments: Client Intake and Evaluation, Post-conviction Litigation, Data Science & Research, Strategic Litigation, Social Work, and Public Policy Reform.

Prior to this role, she served as the IP’s Director of Intake & Case Evaluation. Bhavan comes to the IP with deep experience in innocence work, having served as the Legal Director at Innocence Canada, where she is now a member of its Case Review Committee and Executive Board. She was also the Executive Director of the Osgoode Innocence Project in Toronto and an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, teaching wrongful conviction and forensic science. Bhavan also co-founded and instructed the Wrongful Conviction Clinic at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law for many years.

Bhavan has served as a Board Member of the international Innocence Network and has experience working as both a prosecutor and defense attorney in Toronto. Bhavan has written extensively about criminal justice and wrongful convictions and regularly presents on these topics. She is deeply passionate about and committed to addressing injustice and the systems that foster it.

Christina Swarns

Christina Swarns

Executive Director

Christina Swarns

Christina Swarns

Executive Director Executive

Christina Swarns

Executive Director Executive

Christina Swarns is the Executive Director of the Innocence Project. She previously served as the President and Attorney-in-Charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender, Inc. (OAD), one of New York City’s oldest institutional providers of indigent appellate defense representation; as the Litigation Director for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice; as a Supervising Assistant Federal Defender in the Capital Habeas Corpus Unit of the Philadelphia Community Defender Office; and as a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division in New York. Christina argued, and won, Buck v. Davis, a challenge to the introduction of explicitly racially biased evidence in a Texas death penalty case, in the United States Supreme Court. Christina was the only Black woman to argue in the 2016 Supreme Court Term, and is one of the few Black women to have argued before the nation’s highest court. Christina earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.A. from Howard University.

Denise Tomasini-Joshi

Denise Tomasini-Joshi

Chief of Staff

Denise Tomasini-Joshi

Denise Tomasini-Joshi

Chief of Staff Executive

Denise Tomasini-Joshi

Chief of Staff Executive

Denise Tomasini-Joshi is an advocate whose work has touched upon issues of mental health, criminal justice reform, children, women, and marginalized populations. She previously held a series of progressively senior roles at the Open Society Foundations (OSF) where her work focused on combating abusive treatment in healthcare and reducing health inequities in criminalized populations. She also served as co-acting director of OSF’s Women’s Rights Program helping craft a strategy to reduce feminist over-reliance on criminal justice systems.

Previously Denise has worked as Assistant Dean at NYU Law School, as Senior Policy Analyst and as a Legal Services attorney. She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and speaks Spanish. Denise holds a JD from Columbia Law School, an MIA from Columbia University’s SIPA and a BA from Purdue University.

Elizabeth Vaca

Elizabeth Vaca

Executive Assistant to Co-founders

Elizabeth Vaca

Elizabeth Vaca

Executive Assistant to Co-founders Staff

Elizabeth Vaca

Executive Assistant to Co-founders Staff

Elizabeth Vaca is the Innocence Project’s Executive Assistant to Co-founders. She has worked for the Innocence Project since its inception in 1992. Her duties are various.

Mrs. Vaca received her paralegal degree from Long Island University, C. W. Post.

Kaleena Aviles

Kaleena Aviles

Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director

Kaleena Aviles

Kaleena Aviles

Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director Executive

Kaleena Aviles

Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director Executive

Kaleena Aviles joined the Innocence Project in January of 2020. Prior to joining the Innocence Project, Kaleena worked at the Center for Disability Advocacy Rights (CeDAR) a non-profit organization that  provided legal assistance for persons with disabilities. After leaving CeDAR she worked as Manager for Element Beauty Lounge and Blackstones Hairdressing where she cultivated her knowledge of the beauty industry. During that time, she realized her passion was working for non-profit organizations and helping those in need.

Lora Napier

Lora Napier

Administrative Assistant

Lora Napier

Lora Napier

Administrative Assistant Executive

Lora Napier

Administrative Assistant Executive

Ngozi Ndulue

Ngozi Ndulue

Special Advisor on Race and Wrongful Conviction

Ngozi Ndulue

Ngozi Ndulue

Special Advisor on Race and Wrongful Conviction Executive

Ngozi Ndulue

Special Advisor on Race and Wrongful Conviction Executive

Ngozi Ndulue is the Innocence Project’s Special Advisor on Race and Wrongful Conviction. In this role, Ngozi provides leadership and expertise on racial justice, equity, bias and discrimination and their impact on the functioning of the criminal legal system and, particularly, wrongful conviction. Prior to joining the Innocence Project, Ngozi was the Deputy Director of the Death Penalty Information Center where she conducted original research, supervised data collection and analysis, and led organizational development initiatives. Throughout her legal career, Ngozi has focused on the intersection of racial justice and the criminal legal system, engaging in litigation, policy research, coalition building, and advocacy. From 2016 to 2018, Ngozi served as Senior Director of Criminal Justice Programs at the national NAACP. She also worked at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC) in Cincinnati and as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Arizona Capital Habeas Unit. Ngozi has a law degree from Yale Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Susan Hyon

Susan Hyon

Executive Manager and Board Liaison

Susan Hyon

Susan Hyon

Executive Manager and Board Liaison Executive

Susan Hyon

Executive Manager and Board Liaison Executive

Prior to joining the IP, Susan served as the Interim Director of Strategic Planning for Luna Stage in West Orange, NJ; as a Consultant for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund’s Annual Capital Punishment Training Conference; and as a Project Manager for ID Media and Draftfcb (now, FCB) Susan has a BA in Economics from Smith College and an MFA in Theater from Columbia University. She is currently a license-qualifying psychoanalytic candidate in training at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies.

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