Gretchen M. Engel, Executive Director
Gretchen joined CDPL in 1992, after graduating from Northeastern University School of Law and interning at the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Alabama Resource Center. Gretchen grew up largely in the Great Lakes region and received her B.A. from Oberlin College. In 2004, she received the Paul Green Award from the NC-ACLU Legal Foundation for her work against the death penalty.
Stephanie Bouis, Mitigation Investigator
Stephanie joined CDPL in 2007. She is a licensed clinical social worker, has a Master’s of Social Work degree, and is trained in Defense-Initiated Victim Outreach (DIVO). Before coming to CDPL, she provided treatment to persons living with substance abuse, mental illness and HIV/AIDS.
Susan Brooks, Finance Assistant
Susan joined CDPL in November 2016, after many years in program and financial management at Duke University. She also worked for several years in administration at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park. She earned a bachelor’s in French and Italian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and master’s in French at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Becky Broun, Administrative Assistant
Becky joined CDPL in June 2018. A Chapel Hill native, Becky received a BA from Connecticut College in 1990 and an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale School of Art in 1997. After working as a graphic designer in Washington DC and in Durham, she ran a toy store in Chapel Hill for 18 years.
Sydney Calas, Staff Attorney
Sydney joined CDPL as a staff attorney in 2023 after graduating from Emory University School of Law. While in law school, she worked with the Georgia Capital Defender, the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, the Georgia Resource Center, the Georgia Innocence Project, and Emory’s Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic. Sydney received her B.A. in Cognitive Science from Brown University in 2017. Between college and law school, she spent several years in the San Francisco Bay Area teaching fifth grade through Teach for America, then working for the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, a civil legal non-profit.
Kristin Collins, Director of Public Information
Kristin joined CDPL as a writer and researcher in 2012. She previously served as executive director of Uniting NC, a non-profit that works to create a welcoming climate for immigrants. Before beginning her career in non-profits, Kristin worked as a newspaper reporter for 13 years, 11 of them with The News & Observer in Raleigh. Her first journalism job was at a small newspaper in eastern North Carolina, where she covered crime and courts, including death penalty trials.
Janine Fodor, Staff Attorney
Janine joined CDPL in 2023. Janine grew up in Michigan and received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1983. She graduated from Yale Law School in 1990 and began her legal career in North Carolina, as an assistant appellate defender, and later joining the firm of Unti & Lumsden. Janine then moved to western New York state where she worked as a civil litigator and as in-house counsel for a family owned business. She has returned to North Carolina and to CDPL to work on death penalty appeals and post-conviction cases.
Shelagh Kenney, Deputy Director
Shelagh has been a staff attorney at CDPL since 2001. In 2005, she served as the legal director of the ACLU of NC. Prior to joining CDPL, Shelagh clerked for the Hon. Aleta Trauger in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. She also clerked for the Hon. Napoleon Jones, Jr., then a federal district court judge for the Southern District of California. Shelagh is a 1996 cum laude graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. She is a 1991 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College. Between college and law school, Shelagh was a teacher in south central Los Angeles through Teach for America. She also worked for Public Counsel, a nonprofit legal organization in Los Angeles.
Aiesha Krause-Lee, Staff Attorney
Aiesha joined CDPL as a staff attorney in 2021 after graduating from New York University School of Law. While in law school, she interned with various public defense organizations in New York and assisted incarcerated individuals serving life sentences with parole matters. Aiesha is originally from Virginia and received her B.A. in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies from The College of William and Mary in 2016.
Ryan Kuchinski, Staff Attorney
Ryan joined CDPL as a staff attorney in 2023. Prior to joining CDPL, Ryan clerked for Chief Judge Donna Stroud of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Ryan is a 2021 graduate of Duke University School of Law, and while in law school he worked with indigent clients in state capital trial and post-conviction settings as well as federal capital habeas cases and non-capital direct appeals. Ryan graduated from Georgetown University in 2017 with a B.A. in Government and History.
Carrie Milosevich, Staff Attorney
Carrie joined CDPL as a staff attorney in 2023. Prior to joining CDPL, Carrie worked as a legal fellow at the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs in Austin, Texas. She also clerked for the Hon. Karen Nelson Moore on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Carrie graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2021. In law school, she interned with the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Texas, and with California’s Office of the State Public Defender. Carrie received her A.B. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 2014, and her M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in 2016.
Kailey Morgan, Staff Attorney
Kailey joined CDPL as a staff attorney in 2022. A Durham native, Kailey graduated from Duke University School of Law. While in law school, she worked with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, Prisoner Legal Services, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the Mecklenburg Public Defenders, and the Duke Children’s Law Clinic. In 2019, Kailey graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. in English and Political Science with a minor in Creative Writing.
Lafmin Morgan, Chief Operating Officer
Lafmin joined CDPL in 2023. Before coming to CDPL, he worked for 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry. Lafmin is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned a Master of Business Administration and a B.S. in Business Administration with an Accounting Concentration.
Matt Propper, Staff Attorney
Matt joined CDPL as a staff attorney in 2023 after graduating from CUNY School of Law in Queens, NY. In law school, Matt collaborated with incarcerated individuals serving life sentences on parole, clemency and post-conviction matters. In addition, he interned with Brooklyn Defender Services, the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project and the Legal Aid Society. Matt also organized with student groups to increase access to law school, and the legal profession, for those impacted by the criminal legal system. Prior to law school, Matt worked at a nonprofit supporting unhoused veterans on their employment searches. He graduated from Cornell University in 2018 with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations.
Zach Rowles, Mitigation Investigator
Zach has been an investigator at CDPL since August 2012. Before joining CDPL, he worked at the Fair Trial Initiative as a mitigation investigator for eight years, where he worked on both trial-level and post-conviction cases. He started at Fair Trial Initiative as a mitigation fellow and later became the Initiative’s mitigation project manager. Zach graduated with a Master’s of Social Work from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work in 2002, where he completed field placements at organizations focusing on mental health and conflict resolution.
Barrie Wallace, Office Manager and Paralegal
Barrie has worked at CDPL since 2003. She worked in CDPL’s Trial Assistance Unit from 2003 to 2007. She has held her current position since 2007. Barrie graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from Smith College. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and now resides in Hillsborough.
James E. Williams Jr., Of Counsel Attorney
James Williams joined CDPL in 2018. He coordinates racial equity work and other special projects at CDPL. He was Chief Public Defender for Orange and Chatham Counties from 1990 to 2017. He was previously the Felony Chief of the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office. He is a founder and chair of the N.C. Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, as well as the founder of the N.C. Public Defender Committee on Racial Equity. He has won several awards for his work to advance racial equity. Learn more about James here.