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.
Hannah Autry, Director of Trial Litigation
Hannah joined CDPL in February 2017. A native of Cumberland County, Hannah received her undergraduate degree at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with honors from North Carolina Central University School of Law in May 2013. During law school, she formed a student death penalty project and organized events and programs highlighting death penalty reform efforts. Before joining CDPL, Hannah practiced in the public defender’s office in Frankfort, Kentucky for 3 years. She is excited to be back home and working for CDPL.
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.
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.
Sandy Demeree, Financial Controller
Sandy joined CDPL as a consulting accountant in 2001 and was hired as the first financial controller in 2002. Sandy graduated from Clarkson University in upstate New York with a B.S. in accounting and business law in 1978, and with an M.B.A. in finance in 1985. She is a certified internal auditor and certified management accountant.
Elizabeth Hambourger, Senior Attorney & Public Information Liaison
Elizabeth has been a CDPL staff attorney since 2004. She grew up in Raleigh, and received her undergraduate and law degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. Before coming to CDPL, she was a staff attorney at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. In addition to representing her clients, she trains other attorneys and works with the public information staff to share her deep knowledge of the N.C. death penalty.
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.
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.
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.
Tyler Swanson, Campaign Strategist
Tyler joined CDPL in 2021 as a campaign strategist working to engage communities across North Carolina in the movement to end the death penalty. Before coming to CDPL, Tyler was a special education teacher for three years with Wake County Public Schools. While a student at North Carolina A&T State University, Tyler began working with the N.C. NAACP and was a part of the Forward Together Moral Movement and a Moral Monday arrestee. He was later hired by the NAACP and served as Youth Director and Communication and Policy Director for North Carolina. Tyler earned his B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina A&T State University.
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.