Current Student Profiles

Lanna Sanchez

Lanna Sanchez is a second-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to law school, she obtained a degree in Public Policy Analysis and a minor in Chicanx/Latinx Studies from Pomona College as a Posse Scholar. After graduating college, she worked at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office of San Mateo County, where she provided legal services to self-represented litigants in family law. Lanna has also interned at private civil litigation firms as well as Lawyers for Children in New York City and Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. While in law school, Lanna serves as an Academic Success Program Fellow and is the Secretary of the First Generation Law Students Association. She is passionate about social justice, human rights, and reforming systems of inequity. She is excited to join the NCIP team and contribute to their mission of promoting a fair, effective, and compassionate justice system and protecting the rights of the innocent.

Will McClanahan

Will McClanahan is a second-year student at Santa Clara Law School. Prior to law school, he attended the University of Colorado, where he received his B.A. in International Relations and Spanish. At Santa Clara Law, Will serves as an Associate of the Santa Clara Law Review, Volume 62; he is a member of the Tech Edge J.D. program, and he competed as a standby semi-finalist in the 2021 Galloway Moot Court competition. Will is passionate about criminal justice reform, human rights, and debunking junk science in order to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted.

Alyssa Kosel-Castaneda

Alyssa Kosel-Castaneda is a third-year student at Santa Clara Law. Originally from San Jose, she received a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Santa Barbara. Prior to law school, Alyssa worked as a legal assistant at a corporate immigration law firm and as a researcher at a commercial real estate data analytics company. Motivated by her interest in public service, she has spent her law school summers as a law clerk at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and as a judicial intern at the Santa Clara County Superior Court in the Criminal Family Violence Division. Alyssa hopes to pursue a career in public defense and is excited to work with NCIP to address the causes of wrongful convictions and help exonerate the innocent.

Christina Iriart

Christina Iriart is a third-year law student from Upland, California. Prior to Santa Clara Law, she attended Chapman University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and graduated Magna Cum Laude. While at Santa Clara Law, Christina aided law professors David Ball and Michelle Oberman in creating a new Criminal Law casebook. She then continued researching for Michelle Oberman regarding the criminalization of homelessness. Amid other activities, Christina is involved with law student organizations: She is the Co-President of If/When/How and the Co-Community Education Director of the ACLU NorCal SCU Law Club. Christina is determined to pursue a career in social justice and is honored to work with the NCIP team this year.

Jeanette Martinez

Jeanette Martinez is a third-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to law school, she attended San Jose State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. Prior to starting law school, she was a paralegal for five years at an estate planning firm and volunteered for Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), working with youth in the juvenile justice system. She continues to work at the firm part-time during law school. Jeanette is a first-generation college and graduate student and is fluent in Spanish. The need for Spanish-speaking representation in law motivates her to become an attorney and serve her community. Prior to working for NCIP, Jeanette spent the last two summers at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office where she worked with the juvenile justice, misdemeanor, and general felony teams. Jeanette appreciated the Office’s values of service, hard work, transparency, and integrity, and efforts for criminal justice reform. Jeanette is committed to public service and is excited to work with NCIP in its mission to exonerate the innocent and promote a fair, effective, and compassionate criminal justice system.

Brent Llanos

Brent Llanos is a third-year law student at Santa Clara University Law School. He grew up in Los Angeles and earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of California Los Angeles and master’s degree in Environmental Planning & Management at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to law school, Brent was interested in environmental justice and participated in a coral restoration and monitoring project in the Bahamas. He expanded his legal interests into criminal law and looking forward to helping exonerate wrongfully convicted people.

Ryba Bhullar

Ryba Bhullar is a second-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to law school, she attended Santa Clara University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Spanish Studies, and a minor in Retail Studies. At Santa Clara Law, Ryba has done the research for criminal law professors, David Ball and Michelle Oberman; is currently an Academic Success Fellow, and the co-president for the First Generation Law Students Association. She began interning at the Santa Clara DA’s Office earlier this year. Ryba is passionate about human rights and is grateful for this opportunity to join the NCIP team’s fight for justice.

Kelsey Belli

Kelsey Belli is a second-year student in the evening program at Santa Clara Law School. She grew up in the Bay Area and attended California State University, Chico, where she earned a dual B.A. in International Relations and French. While in law school, Kelsey works full time at the Santa Cruz Superior Court as a Criminal Courtroom Clerk. She is currently on the executive board of Latinx Law Student Association, Social Justice Coalition, and Women & Law. Kelsey is also an associate in the Journal of International Law, and Co-Vice President of Part-Time Students in the Student Bar Association. Kelsey is passionate about social justice and human rights, and she is excited to join the NCIP team’s fight for criminal justice.

Leah Mesfin

Leah Mesfin is a third-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to law school, she attended American University in Washington, D.C., where she received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Law and Society. During her time in law school, Leah conducted research for criminal law professors David Ball and Michelle Oberman’s open-source casebook project; served as the Assistant Chair of the Galloway Criminal Moot Court competition, Co-President of the Black Law Student Association, and member of the Honors Moot Court Internal board; and participated as a competing member of SCU Trial Team. Leah has spent the last two summers at the Contra Costa County DA’s Office and is passionate about using her law degree to contribute to criminal justice reform through progressive prosecutorial practices. Leah is excited to learn from and work with the inspiring members of the NCIP team.

Sophie McEvoy

Sophie was born and raised in Sunnyvale and is currently a third-year student at Santa Clara University. Prior to law school, she went to Sonoma State where she pursued a bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice. During her 2L summer, she interned with the Council on American Islamic Relations. She spent her 3L summer participating in the International Human Rights Clinic at Santa Clara Law. She is very excited to participate in the Northern California Innocence Project, where she can work with like-minded individuals who want to change the system and make an impact.

Leo Kim

Leo Kim is a third-year student at Santa Clara Law School. As a dedicated Angeleno, he firmly maintains that Southern California has better food and sports. In college, he spent a summer with the Los Angeles County Public Defender which directed his career aspirations for law school. Since he’s been humbled to work with the Office of the State Public Defender, Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender, and Contra Costa County Public Defenders. He is extremely excited to be part of the NCIP team and to be a more well-rounded advocate for criminal justice and prison reform.

Nallely Montes

Nallely Montes is a second-year law student at Santa Clara Law. Prior to law school, she attended UC Berkeley, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies. While at UC Berkeley, Nallely was a teaching assistant in an Organic Chemistry Lab and helped coordinate accessible community health events with Stanford University. At Santa Clara Law, Nallely has competed in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Galloway Moot Court competition and serves on the board of the Latinx Law Student Association. Nallely is interested in pursuing a career in criminal law and is excited to work with the NCIP team in exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals.

Arbana Lika

Arbana Lika is a third-year law student at Santa Clara University School of Law. She was born in Krujë, Albania, and lived in Michigan for most of her life before moving to Santa Clara for law school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in holistic health at Western Michigan University and used her degree to become a behavioral therapist for children. She changed her career path in 2019 when she came to law school with the goal of pursuing a career in social justice. She is honored to be working with NCIP this year and excited for the opportunity to help exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted.

Cassandra Wilkins

Cassandra Wilkins is a third-year law student from Pasadena, California. She moved to the Bay Area in 2007 to start her freshman year at Stanford University, where she earned a B.A. in Communications with a focus on print journalism. After college, Cassandra worked for SFGate and San Francisco magazine before making her way, albeit slowly, towards a legal career. Ever the writer at heart, she started that transition drafting, reviewing, and negotiating contracts until enrolling at SCU Law in 2019. In the last two years, Cassandra has worked with Santa Clara County Counsel’s Social Justice & Impact Litigation team; the Justice Lab at the ACLU of Louisiana, fighting police brutality, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco. She’s also been heavily involved with SCU Law’s oral advocacy programs as a Galloway semifinalist and a member of the 2021 Galloway Board, 2021-2022 Honors Moot Court Internal Board, and SCU Law’s Trial Team. Cassandra also serves as Co-President of If/When/How and the ACLU NorCal SCU Law Club, and Editor-in-Chief of The Advocate, the law school’s student-run newspaper. These experiences have reinforced Cassandra’s desire to pursue a career in social justice and civil rights litigation and she is eager to bring this fiery but humble passion to NCIP this year.

Miriam Contreras

Miriam Contreras is a third-year law student at Santa Clara School of Law. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Feminist Studies from UC Santa Cruz. She has interned with the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office and the Supreme Court of California on death penalty appeals. She currently serves on the board of the Criminal Law Society and is Vice President of the Social Justice Coalition. Miriam is excited to work with NCIP to create a more just criminal system.

Sonya Chalaka

Sonya Chalaka is a third-year law student at Santa Clara Law. She completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology and Cell and Molecular Biology at Santa Clara before earning her Masters in Global Health from UCSF. Sonya currently serves as the Director for the Honors Moot Court Internal Program, is a returning member of the External Trial Team, and will be competing in the 2021 Wechsler First Amendment Honors Moot Court External Competition. She is passionate about social and criminal justice, rooted in her academic and professional experiences in community wellness and advocacy.

Dennis Guzman

Dennis Guzman is a third-year law student at Santa Clara University. He is a San Jose native who, before joining Santa Clara University, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication Studies from San Jose State University. Dennis has long had a passion for criminal justice and has been fortunate to intern with the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office. He is very excited to get the chance to work with NCIP this year to help exonerate the wrongfully convicted.

Mark Ballinger

Mark Ballinger is a third-year law student at Santa Clara Law and an advanced student for NCIP. Mark grew up in East Los Angeles, California, and attended Loyola Marymount University where he received his B.A. in Philosophy and Sociology. Coming from a low-income background and community, Mark was exposed to complex social issues at an early age. Since then, he has been dedicated to addressing them in his professional and academic development. Mark is excited about the opportunity to be able to join the NCIP team and contribute to their mission of promoting a fair, effective, and compassionate justice system. Prior to joining NCIP, Mark worked at the Alternate Public Defender’s office in Santa Clara as a member of the homicide team and is the current Secretary of La Raza Law Student Association.

Robert Feldman

Robert Feldman is a third-year law student at Santa Clara University School of Law and an advanced student for NCIP. He grew up in San Diego County and attended UC Davis, where he studied Women and Gender Studies and Cultural Anthropology. Prior to joining NCIP, he interned at the Homeless Action Center in Alameda County, assisting and representing currently and formerly homeless people with mostly administrative legal issues. Now a student in the NCIP clinic, he is excited to have the opportunity to work to exonerate innocent people.

ANTONIO REZA

Antonio Reza is a Bay Area native, a 3L at Santa Clara Law, and an advanced student for NCIP. Prior to attending Santa Clara Law, he went to Ohlone College and earned 3 AA degrees. He then transferred to the University of San Francisco majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in both Legal Studies and Sociology; he graduated as their Valedictorian. His interest in criminal law stems back to his own felony conviction from 2012.

Adriane Bates

Adriane Bates is a third-year law student at Santa Clara Law and an advanced student for NCIP. She is passionate about social justice and has experience providing legal services to self-represented litigants in family law, domestic violence restraining orders, elder abuse restraining orders, guardianships, evictions, and other areas of law. She is excited to continue to provide access to justice with NCIP by fighting against wrongful convictions and assisting in the exoneration of the innocent.