Staff and Advisory Board

NCIP Staff

Aaron Aguas-Rao - Intake Attorney

Aaron Aguas-Rao received her J.D. from George Washington University Law School in 1997.  She served for several years as a Staff Attorney with the Superior Court Self-Service Center, and Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence.  She served for two years as the Co-Chair of the Policy and Research Committee of the California Alliance Against Domestic Violence.  Aguas-Rao handles case review and investigation focusing on claims of innocence.

Lauryn Barbosa Findley - Staff Attorney

Lauryn received a B.A. in Intercultural Peace & Justice Studies and a minor in History from Holy Names University in 2016 prior to graduating from Santa Clara School of Law in 2020 with a certificate in public interest and social justice, with an emphasis in criminal justice. During her time in law school, she interned as a judicial clerk in Santa Clara County, interned at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, and was a law clerk at the Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender. Lauryn was also a clinical student at NCIP for two years prior to joining the staff as an Equal Justice Works fellow in 2020.

Catherine Boyle - Volunteer Attorney

Catherine Marken Boyle graduated cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law after obtaining her undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. Prior to NCIP, she practiced civil municipal litigation for the City of San Jose and general litigation for Pillsbury Madison & Sutro. Catherine also has extensive fundraising and event planning experience gained through her years of volunteering on behalf of non-profits.


Todd Fries - Executive Director

Todd Fries graduated cum laude from Santa Clara Law in 2009 with a certificate in Public Interest and Social Justice after completing his Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to working at NCIP, he worked at Paul Hastings LLP and as a volunteer attorney at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, Family Law Self-Help Office.  Fries began working for the Northern California Innocence Project in 2007 as a clinical law student and returned to NCIP in 2010 as a research fellow as part of the law school’s post-graduate fellowship program.

Paige Kaneb - Legal Director

Paige Kaneb has worked at NCIP since 2007. In that time, she has helped free 14 of NCIP’s clients. Kaneb maintains her own caseload, supervises NCIP students, and has publications on actual innocence as a constitutional claim and wrongful convictions related to wrongful diagnoses of “shaken baby syndrome.” Kaneb received her J.D. from the University of San Francisco’s School of Law as a cum laude graduate.

Anne-Marie Macrae - Volunteer Research Associate

Anne-Marie obtained her law degree from  Oxford University in the UK. She went on to practice civil commercial litigation in London and Hong Kong. After moving with her family to the USA, Anne-Marie helped set up a legal recruitment firm in the Bay Area and also devoted time to various fund raising activities, which, happily, has led her to NCIP.

Cynthia Murphy - Office Manager & Paralegal

Cynthia received her B.A. in Psychology from Columbia University and is a certified Paralegal. Prior to joining the NCIP team in 2019, she served in corporate and litigation paralegal roles at Infineon Technologies, Cooley LLP and Skjerven Morrill LLP. She also served as Assistant Director of the Santa Clara University High Tech Law program. Cynthia manages the NCIP office and provides paralegal support to the NCIP staff and clinic law students.


Sarah Pace - Staff Attorney

Sarah Pace joins NCIP after a clerkship with the Honorable Laurel Beeler of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. Before her clerkship, she worked at a litigation firm in San Francisco, where she focused her practice on pro bono matters, including advising Governor Newsom’s office with drafting and defending the 2019 moratorium on the death penalty in California as well as assisting prisoners, who had been convicted by unconstitutional non-unanimous juries in Louisiana, with their post-conviction relief applications. Sarah received her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2018 with a certificate in Public Interest. While in law school, Sarah served as an Articles and Essays Editor on the California Law Review and worked at the East Bay Community Law Center in the Education, Defense, and Justice for Youth law clinic.


Karen Sinunu-Towery - Volunteer Attorney

Karyn Sinunu-Towery retired as an Assistant District Attorney at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in December 2013, after thirty years of service, and joined NCIP as a Volunteer Attorney in January 2014. As an Assistant District Attorney, she prosecuted some of the most difficult and complex criminal cases including murder, sex offenses, and white collar crimes.  Sinunu-Towery was the prosecutor who reinvestigated the case of an innocent man, Rick Walker, and worked for his freedom. She served on the Board of California District Attorneys Association.

Carla Spain

Carla Spain - External Relations Director

Carla Spain is NCIP’s External Relations Director, working on both fundraising and communications efforts. Prior to joining NCIP, Carla worked as the Director of Stewardship and Donor Communications at UC Merced as Stanford Law School’s Associate Director of Media Relations. She has a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in Public Relations from George Washington University. 

Linda Starr - Of Counsel

Linda Starr received her J.D. from the University of Southern California Law Center and clerked for the California Court of Appeal upon graduation. She was an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, New York, where she wrote and argued post-conviction matters before state and federal courts and was a supervisor in the Sex Crimes and Special Victims Unit. Starr worked as a staff attorney at the Sixth District Appellate Program in California and then privately represented indigent criminal defendants on appeal. In 2001, she co-founded NCIP with Cookie Ridolfi.

Cy'mone Stewart - Client Services Specialist

Cy’mone Stewart comes to NCIP after working for three years at San Francisco-based Felton Institute where she provided evidence-based mental health and social services to underserved communities. Prior to her work at Felton Institute, she received bachelors’ degrees from Georgia Southern University in Psychology and Justice Studies, and a master’s degree from George Washington University in Forensic Psychology.

Stu Hanlon

Stuart Hanlon - Volunteer Attorney

Stuart Hanlon has had an extremely distinguished and successful career as a criminal defense attorney. He has successfully represented many innocent people and has been featured in documentaries and books for his incredible work, including the documentary Free Chol Sol Lee and the book Last Man Standing, which is about Geronimo Pratt and Stu‘s 20-year pro bono work leading to Mr. Pratt’s exoneration. Stu now generously donates his time, expertise, and wisdom to helping exonerate NCIP’s clients.

NCIP Advisory Board

Jim Anderson: Founding Partner, Foundation Capital and Legacy Venture

Obie Anthony: Exoneree and Advocate

Margalynne Armstrong: Professor of Law, Santa Clara University

Franky Carrillo: Exoneree and Advocate

Rhonda Donato JD ’89: Director of Recruiting, Solutus Legal Search

Jo Golub: Attorney

Paul Grewal: Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary, Coinbase

Nancy Heinen: Former Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Apple Computer, Inc.,
Partner, SV2 Social Venture Fund

Ellen Kreitzberg: Former Professor of Law, Santa Clara University

Barmak Meftah: Ballistic Ventures

Elizabeth Zitrin: Former President, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

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