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Staff

Albert Wall

Albert Wall

Albert is a paralegal case-handler in the Decarceration Project. He is responsible for helping his colleagues in Brooklyn navigate the bail review process. His responsibilities include supporting trial attorneys in making bail applications, filing writs, filling appeals, ordering transcripts, making bail fund referrals and any other tasks that may serve to be beneficial to our clients’ cases.

Albert started his legal career in 1993 at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in the Grand Jury Court Reporters Office. From there  he went to the Grand Jury Felony intake unit where he was a paralegal in Criminal Court Part AP1. Albert joined the Legal Aid Society in September 1998 and has filled  numerous positions since, including working in central files, as an arraignment data entry clerk, and finally as a paralegal. In 2000,  Albert joined the RedHook Community Justice Center where he was responsible for the daily activities for the office for 14 years. Albert keeps going because of the compassion that he has to continue to help those less fortunate than he is.

Wilberto Ortiz-Batista

Wilberto Ortiz-Batista

Wilberto joined the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice in 2012 and is currently serving as Director of Grants and Contracts. Born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico, he pursued undergraduate studies in Political Science and graduate studies in Public Administration, specializing in Administration and Financial Policy, at the University of Puerto Rico. Wilberto has managed government and foundation grants and contracts in nonprofit settings for more than 10 years.  He is interested in research and analysis in public policy, particularly if it is related to human rights, equality, diversity, and equal access to justice.

Roslyn R. Morrison

Roslyn R. Morrison

Roslyn R. Morrison has been a public defender at the Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Practice in Brooklyn  for the last 15 years.  Prior to joining the Decarceration Project in late 2018, Ros was the Specialty Attorney in Brooklyn’s Misdemeanor Treatment Court (MBTC) for six years, where she helped develop and implement broad changes in how treatment court functions: by modifying the length of treatment, having more flexible modes of engagement, and drastically reducing penalties faced by people in recovery.

Ros is on the Board of Alliance of Families for Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to systemic criminal justice reform by supporting, empowering and mobilizing system-involved people and their loved ones to marshal their voting power and advocacy skills to bring about systemic change.  She also participates in Community Law Days, has hosted seminars and Know Your Rights trainings, and Mock Trial and Introduction to Restorative Justice forums for NYC high school students.  Ros is also a mentor to two local high school students.

During law school, Ros completed an internship at the Legal Resources Centre, South Africa’s first public defense organization in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she also completed a semester of law school at the University of the Witswatersrand.  Ros was a member of the Human Rights Law Review and also completed an externship with Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York.

Ros graduated magna cum laude from New York University, where she majored in Political Science with a double minor in French and History.  While there, she was on the Dean’s List, a University Scholar and traveled to Puerto Rico, New Mexico and Thailand as part of the Dean’s Leadership Circle. Ros is a graduate of Columbia Law School.

Samuel Berroa

Samuel Berroa

Samuel Berroa is a paralegal case-handler in the Decarceration Project. His many responsibilities include providing crucial support to trial attorneys in making bail applications, filing writs, filling appeals, ordering transcripts, making bail fund referrals and any other tasks that may serve to be beneficial to our clients’ cases.

Samuel joined the Legal Society in 2016 and has since worked as a paralegal in the trial office and on Rikers Island. In the trial office, he worked closely with attorneys to obtain pertinent case details that would be utilized to advocate on behalf of Legal Aid clients. After a year in that position, Samuel wondered how he could position himself in a way that would enable him to further assist clients in need. With that thought, Samuel applied for a position at Rikers Island Paralegal Program in the Rose M. Singer facility. There Samuel had the opportunity to interact with clients on a daily basis.

Prior to joining the Legal Aid Society, Samuel worked as an administrative assistant the Brooklyn Defender Services and as a court clerk in Brooklyn Criminal Court. Samuel graduated from the College of New Rochelle with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts.

Emily Woisin

Emily Woisin

Emily is the Grants and Contracts Coordinator for The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice (CDP) and has been working with the Decarceration Project since joining CDP in 2018. Emily collaborates with the Project on project expansion, and coordinates the data collection, analysis and reporting of all bail advocacy efforts. Prior to working at The Legal Aid Society, she was as an Overdose Prevention Coordinator for Housing Works and Positive Health Project. Emily received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Cornell University.

Marie Ndiaye

Marie Ndiaye

Marie Ndiaye is the Supervising Attorney of the Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project. Marie supervises the Project’s expanding team of dedicated attorneys and para-professionals, and manages the day to day operations of the project. Prior to re-joining Legal Aid, Marie was the Senior Policy Manager at the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice, where she focused on pretrial justice – bail, discovery, speedy trial – and parole legislative reform.

Marie began her legal career at the Legal Aid Society in 2012 as a Staff Attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice Manhattan trial office. As a Public Defender, she represented over 2000 low-income New Yorkers charged with misdemeanors and felonies. That representation spanned from arraignment to plea agreement or trial. She was also active in her union where she served as a delegate, attended conferences, and advocated on socio-economic issues in Albany.

A proud honorary New Yorker, Marie is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Hunter College. She received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 2012 where she participated in several student clinics and graduated with the distinction of having performed over 1000 hours of pro bono services. She was also an active member of the Black Law Student’s Association and the Harvard African Law Students Association, holding several committee chair positions in the both organizations. 

Terrence Davidson

Terrence Davidson

Terry is a Paralegal Casehandler and an expert in both software application development and state and local criminal sentencing. He developed Sentence Calculator, a fully automated web-based and mobile software that is the first of its kind in the United States. Terry holds an M.A. in Educational Administration with a major in Management Systems from Columbia University, New York, and an M.A. in Criminal Justice majoring in Criminal Law and Procedure from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Gloria Crespo

Gloria Crespo

Gloria is a paralegal in the Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Practice in Manhattan.  Gloria  attended LIU Brooklyn for her Paralegal certificate.  Five years ago she started at Legal Aid in the role of support staff.  She provides a supportive role in the Decarceration Project filing writs, ordering transcripts, and assisting with other document production.  Gloria’s personal interests include travelling, dining, watching movies, and spending time with her family.

Erwin Ma

Erwin Ma

Erwin joined the Legal Aid Society as a Data Analyst in 2015 and has been working with the Decarceration Project since 2016. He possesses a Master’s degree in Economics, with a specialization in public policy, from CUNY City College. Prior to his work at Legal Aid, Erwin worked for the Practising Law Institute (PLI) as a Database Specialist.  Erwin was born and raised in New York City and is an active advocate for the disenfranchised.

Macon Hollister

Macon Hollister

Macon Hollister is a Mitigation Specialist for the Special Litigation Unit. In 2016 Macon joined the Legal Aid Society as a Social Work in the Criminal Defense Practice Manhattan trial office. During her time at the Manhattan office she worked with the Decarceration Project on the Bail Pilot Project and the Women’s Pretrial Release Project. Through these projects Macon worked with a team of attorneys and paralegals to complete service plans and bail packages to advocate for the release of individuals who were being detained pretrial at Rikers Island.  Prior to working at the Legal Aid Society, Macon worked at the Safe Horizon Bronx Child Advocacy Center where she was a Clinical Forensic Specialist and conducted forensic interviews and trauma therapy to children who were victims of physical and sexual assault.  Macon received her Masters of Science in Social Work  from Columbia University, and a B.A. from James Madison University.

Jane-Roberte Sampeur

Jane-Roberte Sampeur

Jane-Roberte Sampeur is a Staff Attorney and coordinator of the Women’s Pretrial Release Project which is housed in the Decarceration Project. The Project’s primary focus is securing the release of women who are currently detained pretrial in New York City. Jane engages in bail advocacy for cis and trans women who have been detained on bail they cannot afford. She works closely with trial attorneys and social workers to identify women who are suitable candidates for intervention, and then advocates for those women to be released pretrial to community based supportive services.

Jane began her career at the Legal Aid Society in 2009 as a Staff Attorney in the Parole Revocation Defense Unit representing individuals charged with parole violations. In 2012, she transferred to the Criminal Defense Practice Brooklyn office where she represented indigent New Yorkers charged with misdemeanors and felonies.

Jane is active in the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys union and has held leadership positions in the Attorneys of Color Caucus.  Her legal internships included work with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Inmates Legal Assistance Program. In law school Jane also worked as a law clerk for the City of Hartford Office of Corporation Counsel. Jane graduated from the University of Connecticut Law School in 2009.

Elizabeth Bender

Elizabeth Bender

Liz joined the Decarceration Project in early 2017 to guide the expansion of its Manhattan bail pilot project and now litigates bad bail decisions in New York City’s trial and appellate courts. She represents the Project at City Council hearings, in CLEs and trainings, and in a coalition of community agencies seeking to reform the abusive bail bond industry. Previously, Liz worked for five years as a trial lawyer at Legal Aid’s Bronx office. She is also an active member of the New York City Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Operations Committee. Liz received her JD Fordham University School of Law where she completed internships at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, The Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia, Legal Aid, and the chambers of Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis of the Southern District of New York. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Joshua Norkin

Joshua Norkin

Joshua Norkin is the founder of the Decarceration Project and has served as the project’s coordinator since 2016. He is a national leader in bail and criminal justice reform, and a leading voice in New York’s bail reform movement since 2011. He currently manages the Project’s impact litigation work in state and federal court. Joshua brings ten years of experience as a public defender, civil rights attorney and policy advocate to the Project. From 2008-2011, he worked as a defense and civil rights attorney in Denver, Colorado, where he defended protesters and advocated for migrant farmworkers. In 2008, his worked earned him the Gideon Award from the state’s criminal defense bar. From 2011-2016, he worked in Legal Aid’s Bronx Trial Office and Appeals Bureau. In 2016, he began to develop the model for the Decarceration Project, seeking to reform the state’s bail system through a combination of litigation, policy and communications work. The Project has now received over $1.2 million in grant money, added ten staff members and received the ABA’s 2017 Exemplary Indigent Defense Project Recognition. He has conducted trainings throughout New York and nationally, and has frequently appeared in media and print as an outspoken advocate for ending pretrial incarceration.

Michelle McGrath

Michelle McGrath

Michelle joined The Legal Aid Society as a staff attorney in the Manhattan’s Criminal Defense Practice in 2013, where she advocated for non-incarceratory sentences, litigated and tried felony and misdemeanor cases, and participated in Decarceration Project’s bail Pilot Project. Prior to law school, Michelle taught middle school for six years where she learned first-hand the devastating effects of incarceration on her students, their families, and the community at large. Michelle was a Public Interest Scholar at Boston University School of Law and she graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College. During law school she advocated for incarcerated youth in Washington, D.C., detained immigrants in South Texas and Miami, and survivors of human trafficking in Boston.

Grover Francis

Grover Francis

Grover Francis joined the Legal Aid Society as a Staff Attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice in 2010.  Grover has extensive litigation experience as he has represented  thousands of clients on misdemeanor and felony cases in Brooklyn courts. He has seen firsthand the devastating effects the money bail system has on indigent clients, their cases, and especially, their loved ones. Grover currently serves in the Decarceration Project as a Staff Attorney and is based in the Staten Island office. Grover received his Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 2010. While in law school, Grover interned for two semesters in the Brooklyn CDP office, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and at Brooklyn Legal Services’ A-Housing Unit. He also coached and participated in trial advocacy and moot court competitions as a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. Prior to law school, Grover taught English as a second language in both Madrid, Spain and Vilnius, Lithuania. He is a native Houstonian, and fluent in Spanish. 

Mitchell Esteller

Mitchell Esteller

Mitchell Paolo Esteller joined The Legal Aid Society in the fall of 2012.  Previously, Mitchell attended the CUNY School of Law, and was enrolled in the Defenders’ Clinic. While in law school, Mitchell interned in Legal Aid’s Queens Office, as well as with the NYC Department of Corrections as a legal coordinator, rotating from the different facilities on Rikers’ Island. Born in the Philippines, and raised in Brooklyn, Mitchell continues to reside in his childhood home, and maintains a strong connection with the members of the community – often being called upon whenever members of the community come into contact with the criminal justice system. He firmly believes in the necessity to reform the bail statute, so as to comport with the basic principle of innocent unless proven guilty.

Alma Magaña

Alma Magaña

Alma is a first-generation Mexican American, and has worked at the Legal Aid Society since 2007. Before joining the Decarceration Project, Alma worked as an attorney in the Parole Revocation Defense Unit, the Manhattan Criminal Defense Practice, and as a criminal immigration specialist in the Immigration Unit.

Alma obtained a B.A. from Furman University, while there, she interned at the South Carolina Legal Services and was a volunteer interpreter at the Juvenile Diversion Services in Greenville, SC. While earning her J.D. from Penn State University Dickinson School of Law, Alma interned at the Defender Corporation, Greenville, SC, and with Friends of Farmworkers. She was also a volunteer researcher for Leonard Weinglass.

Alma’s entire work history has focused on the injustice perpetrated against the poor; particularly the impact of criminal prosecutions on communities of color, and the subsequent immigration consequences on immigrants and the undocumented. Her work at the Decarceration Project furthers her desire to have a positive impact, one client at a time.

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