Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is composed of leaders in the fields of death penalty law, criminal justice reform, racial and social justice, civil rights, and interfaith organizing.
Mike Farrell, President
Mike Farrell is an actor and a human rights and social justice advocate. He has traveled the country, speaking, writing and lobbying against the death penalty for over three decades and has been president of the board of directors of Death Penalty Focus for over 20 years.
Billie Mizell, Chair of the Board
Billie Mizell is a legal analyst, investigator, writer, and nonprofit executive. She was previously the Executive Director of Insight Prison Project, which grew nationally under her leadership, and Billie remains Chair Emeritus of that organization. She is a founder of Acting with Compassion & Truth, which focuses on LGBTQ education, awareness, and healing for incarcerated people. Billie has worked on numerous death penalty cases with Habeas Corpus Resource Center and also in private practice. Billie and her friend Albert Woodfox were recognized in 2016 by DPF for their tireless efforts to free Albert and Herman Wallace (known as the Angola 3) from their four decades of solitary confinement at Angola Prison in Louisiana. She has also consulted for the Northern California Innocence Project and collaborates on special projects with the Prison Law Office, UnCommon Law, the ADL, and many other organizations dedicated to criminal justice/prison reform, racial justice, and gender & LGBTQ equity.
Linda Fox, Vice Chair of Programs
Linda Fox has been an advocate of death penalty abolition for more than three decades. Now retired, she is a former Research Librarian at the California Appellate Project, where she aided in post-conviction appeals for people on death row. In addition to her work with DPF, Linda also organizes around a number of cases of people in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Stacy Mallicoat, Vice Chair of Development
Stacy L. Mallicoat is a Professor of Criminal Justice at California State University, Fullerton. Her research focuses on issues of public opinion and the death penalty.
Stephen F. Rohde, Interim Vice Chair of Outreach
Stephen F. Rohde is a constitutional lawyer, lecturer, writer and political activist. He is chair emeritus of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California; immediate past chair of Bend the Arc, a Jewish Partnership for Justice; past president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association; and is a founder of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace.
Garland Allen, Treasurer
Garland Allen is the former Chicago Market Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's state and local tax consulting practice and before that was a tax partner in the Chicago law firm of Hopkins & Sutter (now Foley & Lardner).
Mark Kimber, Secretary
Mark Kimber is the past-President of the Salinas Steinbeck Rotary Club, the founder of a travel agency in Salinas, a volunteer with the Marine Mammal Center, and a certified skydiving instructor.
Joe Baker is Care2's vice president of advocacy and editorial. He oversees Care2's advocacy work, its campaigns for nonprofit partners, and its editorial content.
Robyn Barbour is a teacher who works with underrepresented students. She is also a member of California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Franky grew up in Lynwood, California, a small suburb of Los Angeles. At the age of 16, he was arrested for murder, tried and convicted as an adult, and sentenced to life in prison. Through the entire process, Franky maintained his innocence.
During his 20 years in prison, Franky never lost hope in himself or the judicial system. He wrote hundreds of letters requesting assistance; he filed legal briefs; and after 15 years, he finally got the attention of a lawyer who believed in him. After a five-year-long investigation, the key witnesses admitted they had been forced to falsely accuse Franky. When the new evidence was presented in court, the prosecutors conceded they had been wrong and asked the judge to dismiss all charges and release him.
On March 16, 2011, after living through this unimaginable injustice, Franky began his new life, full of optimism and hope. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University, received a settlement from the County of Los Angeles and Sheriff’s Department, and he is now married. He and his wife are raising their family in Echo Park.
Nanci Clarence is a criminal defense attorney and civil rights activist who has dedicated her career to defending the rights of individuals accused of crimes. She is the founding partner of Clarence Dyer & Cohen LLP, a law firm in San Francisco where she has represented high-profile clients across the nation. A former Assistant Federal Public Defender, she is committed to working on behalf of indigent criminal defendants at trial and in capital habeas corpus litigation. Nanci has represented two death row inmates in federal habeas corpus matters for over three decades, and won a reversal of a capital conviction in federal court. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and served as an advisor to the United States Sentencing Commission on federal sentencing policy. A frequent lecturer and teacher on criminal justice issues, Nanci has been an instructor at national meetings of the American Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2006, she was elevated to become President of the Bar Association of San Francisco. Dedicated to social justice initiatives, Nanci has also been on the board of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom.
Irving Cramer is the founding executive director of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger and involved in several international relief efforts. He also serves on the J Street Steering Committee, working to form a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
JB Dahmoune was born in France and started to work as a corporate counsel in 2000 in various software and online services companies. He relocated to the Seattle, WA area in 2009 for professional reasons and now works in the legal department of a large multinational company. JB was moved by the death penalty question in 1995 while working on a criminal law thesis, and visited with several death row inmates in Huntsville, TX along the years. In 1997, upon a request from one of these inmates, he witnessed his execution and saw first hand how barbaric capital punishment really is.
David Fermino has tried numerous complex cases in state and federal courts. He also has significant appellate experience that includes an oral argument before the United States Supreme Court, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and numerous three-judge panels of the Ninth Circuit and the California Courts of Appeal that have resulted in noteworthy published opinions. David has handled death penalty cases at the trial level, direct appeal and habeas corpus stages. Before going into private practice, David was a Supervising Deputy Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles where he led the Capital Habeas Unit, providing representation in complex federal habeas corpus proceedings for inmates under sentence of death in California. David was also an Assistant Federal Public Defender in San Francisco, where he handled a broad spectrum of matters, including criminal tax matters, complex fraud matters, and major gun and drug trafficking cases. David also served as a law clerk to the Honorable George N. Leighton, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. David serves as Vice Chair of the Judicial Nominee Evaluation Committee of the State Bar of California, a prestigious 40-lawyer committee that assists the governor in the judicial selection process by providing independent, comprehensive, accurate and fair evaluations of candidates for judicial appointment and nomination.
Nicole Gutierrez is an associate at Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside. Nicole is an associate in the litigation group and primarily practices White Collar and Employment and Labor Law. Nicole previously worked at Manatt Phelps & Phillips, the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Section, Special Litigation Unit and the Office of the Federal Public Defenders.
[Bio coming soon]
Takehiko (Take) Kawame is one of Japan's leading death penalty attorneys and represents a client on Japan's death row pro bono. He is a member of the Death Penalty Abolition Committee and the Legal Counseling Committee of the Japan Federation of Bar Association. Take is very active in organizing symposia, writing op-eds, and researching the capital punishment systems in Japan and the United States. Take also founded an educational organization to hold public meetings, converse with correctional officers about regulations, and arrange international conventions for volunteers who help prisoners with information and visitations. He studied at Sophia University in Japan and was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley in 2016.
Rev. James Lawson
Reverend Lawson moved to Los Angeles in 1974 to lead Holman United Methodist Church where he served for 25 years before retiring in 1999. He has continued to train activists in nonviolence and to work in support of a number of causes, including immigrants' rights in the United States, the rights of Palestinians, opposition to the war in Iraq, and workers' rights to a living wage.
Dr. Luskin continues to serve as Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, an ongoing series of workshops and research projects that investigate the effectiveness of his forgiveness methods on a variety of populations. He currently serves as a Senior Consultant in Health Promotion at Stanford University and is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. He presents lectures, workshops, seminars and trainings on the importance, health benefits and training of forgiveness, stress management and emotional competence throughout the United States. He offers presentations and classes that range from one hour to ongoing weekly trainings.
Robert M. Myers
Robert M. Myers grew up in Northern Orange County when there were more orange trees than people. He graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1972 and Loyola Law School in 1975. He wrote Santa Monica’s rent control law as staff attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and served as Santa Monica City Attorney from 1981-1992. He is a founding board member of DPF and currently represents two men on California's death row.
Tom Parker has been involved in the criminal justice system in the United States for the past 45 years. He served as an FBI Agent for 24 years, retiring in 1994 as the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge (i.e. Deputy Chief) of the Los Angeles Regional FBI Office. Prior to joining the FBI, Tom also served as a police officer for five years, and is currently an investigative consultant, educator, and expert witness on criminal justice matters.
Father Chris Ponnet
Fr. Chris Ponnet is a pastor at the St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He also serves as the director of the Department of Spiritual Care at the LAC+USC Medical Center. As Host Pastor, he leads the grassroots abolition group Catholics Against the Death Penalty Southern California.
Ed Redlich is currently a television writer/producer working for Paramount Television. He was an Executive Producer on "Without a Trace," "Felicity" and as a Producer on "The Practice."
Thomas H. Speedy Rice
Speedy Rice is a Professor at Washington & Lee School of Law’s Transnational Law Institute in Lexington, VA. He is also a partner in the law firm of Clarke Johnston Thorp & Rice in San Diego, CA. Prof. Rice is internationally recognized for his work and teaching in Human Rights, specifically against the death penalty, access to justice and anti-corruption.
Tracy K. Rice
As Vice President, Development, for Public Counsel, Tracy Rice continues her long history of passionate work for civil rights and social justice. Prior to joining Public Counsel, Tracy served as Los Angeles Bureau Chief of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and before that was a staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California for six years. There, she worked on a variety of civil rights cases, with a particular emphasis on criminal justice issues, including prison and jail conditions of confinement cases, police misconduct, and death penalty appeals.
Eugenie Ross-Leming is a graduate of the University of Chicago in General Studies in the Humanities and an alumna of Second City. She is an actress, a screen and television writer, and a producer. Currently she is the Executive Producer of the thirteenth year of Supernatural on the CW, with writing partner Brad Buckner.
Robert Sanger has been a criminal defense lawyer in Santa Barbara for over 40 years and has defended people charged with capital offenses since the reinstitution of the death penalty in California. He is Past President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and teaches law school classes in Forensic Science.
Shakeel Syed is the Executive Director of the Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD.org) and also serve the boards of ACLU and American Muslims for Palestine.
Javier Stauring is Director of Healing Justice Coalition, an interfaith coalition of faith-based organizations in California who are involved in juvenile justice reform. Before this position, he was the Co–Director of the Office of Restorative Justice of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Timberman founded her Sony Pictures Television-based production company, 25C Productions (now Timberman/Beverly Productions) in 2003. Timberman (along with partner Carl Beverly) is currently in production on the A&E drama pilot DANNY FRICKE, written by Cynthia Cidre and directed by Michael Dinner. Timberman/Beverly recently produced the Fox comedy pilot "Hackett," starring Donal Logue and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. In 2006, 25C and Sony produced the critically acclaimed NBC series, "Kidnapped."
Beth Webb is a member of California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and a tireless advocate of abolition. In 2011, her sister, Laura, was killed, and her mother, Hattie, was wounded in the Salon Meritage Shooting in Seal Beach, CA. Beth worked with the other victims' family members to oppose the death penalty in the resulting trial, based on her opposition to the practice and on the fact that it would cause the families to endure a painful and unending litigation process. Beth even spoke to the Orange County District Attorney to let him know her opposition to the death penalty, although the DA rebuffed her while still continuing to tout his "victims' rights" bona fides. In 2017, the defendant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole because the judge presiding over the case found that the corruption of the OCDA's office and OC Sheriff's Department had been so pervasive that he could not guarantee a Constitutional sentencing hearing. In 2016, Beth was one of the most forceful campaigners for Prop. 62, a statewide ballot initiative that nearly abolished the death penalty in California. She continues to be active in the fight to end the death penalty and to challenge corrupt prosecutors at the local level."
Richard Wollack is a real estate investment manager for institutional and individual investors for over 35 years. He also founded Premier Pacific Vineyards, the largest developer of high-end vineyards in California and owns two wine brands: Expression and Tetra.