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Staff

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 Holister

Macon Holister

Macon Hollister has been a part of the Legal Aid Society – Social Work Unit in the Manhattan Criminal Trial Bureau for almost two years. Prior to working at the Legal Aid Society she worked at the Safe Horizon Bronx Child Advocacy Center where she was a Clinical Forensic Specialist and the Vera Institute of Justice where she was a Case Manager for their Guardianship Project.  Macon received her Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.

Jane-Roberte Sampeur

Jane-Roberte Sampeur

Jane is a 2009 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. In 2009, Jane began working at the Legal Aid Society 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 the Attorneys of Color Caucus representative for the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys.  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. 

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 started with The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice in the Brooklyn trial office in the fall of 2010, after graduating from Brooklyn Law School. While in law school, Grover interned for two semesters in the Brooklyn 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. Prior to law school, Grover worked on a cruise boat in Alaska, and taught English as a second language in both Madrid, Spain and Vilnius, Lithuania. He is a Native Houstonian, fluent in Spanish, and received his undergraduate degree from University of Vermont.

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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