Jee Park | Meredith Angelson | Charell Arnold | John Collins | Zac Crawford | Huy Dao | Richard Davis | Gwen Dilworth | Cat Forrester | Ayyub Ibrahim | Ceisha James-Hayes | Edward Johnson | Kiah Howard | Libra LaGrone Pealer | Jack Largess | Kirschelle McGowan | Caitlin Newswanger | Virginia White
Jee Park has served as IPNO’s executive director since June 2018. Prior to joining IPNO in January 2017 as the senior attorney for policy, 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.
After college, Jee worked for Equal Justice Initiative. Jee also 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 an LL.M in clinical advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center; and graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
Director of Special Projects
Meredith Angelson is the director of special projects at IPNO. She formerly worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s New Orleans office as a senior staff attorney in criminal justice reform and as a staff attorney at the Orleans Public Defenders. Meredith clerked for Judge Robert Sweet of the Southern District of New York. She is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Yale College.
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.
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.
Law Fellow – Unjust Punishment Project
John graduated from Southern University Law Center with a Juris Doctor in 2015. He also graduated from LSU in 2009 with a double major in English and African & African American studies along with a minor in history. Prior to joining IPNO as an attorney, John spent ten years as a middle and high school English teacher in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.
Zac Crawford is a staff attorney with IPNO. Prior to law school, Zac worked at IPNO as case review manager and a junior investigator. He graduated Order of the Coif from Washington and Lee School of Law in 2019 and Bowdoin College in 2012.
During law school, Zac was a summer law clerk with the Southern Center for Human Rights, attorney Rob McDuff, and Chief Justice John Weimer of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Zac was a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic and Executive Editor of the Law Review. Before returning to IPNO, he clerked for Judge Madeline H. Haikala of the Northern District of Alabama.
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 Master of Fine Arts in writing from the New School in 2000.
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.
Program Coordinator, Unjust Punishment Project
Gwen Dilworth rejoined IPNO in August 2021 as a program coordinator. Previously an Avodah Fellow at IPNO, Gwen returns to us from Orleans Public Defenders, where she served as a client advocate. Gwen holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Virginia with a concentration in Southern Studies.
Director of Operations and Communications
Cat Forrester is IPNO’s director of communications and operations. She interned 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 Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology from Brown University and her Master of Arts in sexuality studies at San Francisco State University.
Kiah Howard is an investigator who started at IPNO in May 2018. Prior to joining IPNO, Kiah spent almost five years as an investigator at the Orleans Public Defenders.
Kiah is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison where she studied political science and international studies.
Ayyub Ibrahim is a research associate who joined IPNO in November 2020. Ayyub, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, has previously supported criminal justice research programs in the United States, Africa, and the Middle East.
Ceisha James-Hayes is the operations manager at IPNO. She obtained her bachelor of arts in mass communication from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining IPNO, Ceisha worked in supply chain with the oil industry and in operations with the New Orleans education system.
Edward Johnson is a re-entry coach who joined IPNO in May 2021. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southern University at New Orleans, Edward holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in addictive behavior.
Libra LaGrone Pealer
Director of Development
Prior to joining IPNO, Libra LaGrone Pealer served as the finance/development manager at the Newcomb Art Museum, the deputy director/curator of Southern music at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art and has consulted independently for multiple arts and cultural organizations including Prospect 4, TEDWomen, and French Quarter Festival. Libra serves as a board member for A Studio in the Woods, an artists’ retreat center dedicated to science-inspired art education. She holds an MLA from Tulane University and a B.S. in Political Science from the University of North Alabama.
Jack Largess is an investigator who joined IPNO in October 2017. Jack received a Bachelor of Arts in geography from UNC Chapel Hill. His honors thesis studied the ways that housing policy limited the effectiveness of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system’s court-ordered desegregated plan. Before joining IPNO, he volunteered at a migrant shelter in Mexico and interned with the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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 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.
Fingerprint Law Fellow
Caitlin graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans with Juris Doctor in 2019. Prior to law school, she worked as a social worker in several homeless shelters and street outreach teams in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She obtained her masters in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia.
Client Services Specialist
Dr. Virginia White joined IPNO as the client services specialist in September of 2021. She completed undergraduate studies at Dillard University and received her Master’s in social work from Southern University at New Orleans. Virginia earned a doctorate in social work from Tulane University. She has presented at the National Summit on Eliminating Health Disparities and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) Minority Fellowship Program.