Staff

Clare Gilbert
Executive Director (she/her)

Clare Gilbert is the Executive Director of the Georgia Innocence Project. Clare is responsible for overseeing all aspects of GIP’s mission, including working with the board of directors and leading fifteen legal, operations, communications, development, and client services staff. Since she joined GIP as Executive Director in 2016, GIP has helped free and/or exonerate six clients who served a combined 176 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Tiffany Bush
Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney (she/her)

As Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, Tiffany Bush is responsible for working with pro bono lawyers and legal professionals to assist in the screening stage of GIP cases, in order to evaluate those cases and advance them toward exoneration or other resolution. 

Tiffany also works with the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) at the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to identify cases with the highest chances of wrongful conviction and help advance cases through the CIU as appropriate. Prior to joining GIP, Tiffany worked as an associate at R. Gary Spencer, P.C., then as a prosecutor in the metro Atlanta area for nearly two years. Tiffany worked with state and local law enforcement, managing cases from the investigative stage through trial, and she successfully prosecuted numerous cases through pleas, trials, and alternative means of case resolution. Tiffany earned her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of Florida, before joining Teach for America and teaching kindergarten in Baltimore, Maryland. Tiffany went on to earn her law degree, as well as a Graduate Diploma of Comparative Law, from Louisiana State University in 2016. Tiffany is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and in her spare time, she enjoys coaching gymnastics, working out, traveling, reading, and eating delicious food.
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Shlomit Cohen
Supervising Attorney (she/her)

As a Supervising Attorney, Shlomit Cohen provides strategic direction, support, and oversight for the Intake and Screening-Stage departments, while also developing systems to maximize efficiency and efficacy within the Legal department as a whole.

Prior to joining GIP, Shlomit Cohen was a supervising attorney in The Bronx Defenders’ Family Defense Project, where she represented hundreds of caregivers in all stages of abuse, neglect, and termination of parental rights proceedings, and supervised staff attorneys at varying levels of experience. Shlomit graduated from New York University School of Law magna cum laude and Order of the Coif in 2014 and she is a licensed attorney in Georgia and New York. Shlomit holds an M.A. in Biblical and Talmudic Interpretation and a B.A. in Jewish Studies, both from Yeshiva University. In her spare time, Shlomit loves exploring Atlanta with her husband, their two children, and their dog.
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Mike Coszalter
Senior People and Programs Officer (he/him)

As Senior People and Program Officer, Mike is responsible for overseeing key programmatic developments for the organization and HR-related functions, such as hiring, training, and goal-setting for staff and interns. He also works closely with GIP's Client Services Advocate to manage GIP's client services and reentry support services. Mike has been part of the GIP team since 2019.

Prior to joining GIP, Mike served as the Executive Assistant at the Full Belly Project - a nonprofit dedicated to poverty alleviation and global development through simple, sustainable technology. Mike earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of North Carolina - Wilmington, where he honed his passion for social justice, applied academics, and social services. Outside of the office, Mike is also an experienced artist, avid video game fan, and proud parent of two adorable pups.
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Christina Cribbs
Senior Attorney (she/her)

As a Senior Attorney, Christina Cribbs analyzes wrongful conviction claims and develops strategies to best explore and present those claims, often through the lens of litigation.

Christina’s first experience working at GIP was as a legal intern in 2008 and she later returned to GIP as a Staff Attorney under a two-year grant-funded position, which ended in 2015. Immediately before rejoining GIP in 2021, Christina worked for over four years as a public defender handling direct criminal appeals for indigent clients across the state of Georgia. She filed over 50 substantive briefs and argued before the Supreme Court of Georgia and Georgia Court of Appeals on multiple occasions. She was successful in winning a new trial for several clients, including one client who had been convicted of murder. Christina also has civil litigation experience working on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants. She received both her undergraduate degree in criminal justice (2005) and law degree (2010) from Georgia State University. Christina and her husband are very involved in animal rescue and have fostered dozens of dogs over the last several years.
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EC Fajardo
Data & Records Specialist (he/they)

As Data & Records Specialist,  EC is responsible for a wide variety of tasks pertaining to the management of client and donor records.

In addition to working for GIP, EC is also an experienced dancer, teacher, and choreographer.  He has been dancing for over 12 years and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Dance Studies from Appalachian State University, where he most recently taught as Faculty Adjunct alongside his wife, also an accomplished choreographer.  They are the proud parents of a young daughter, two dogs, and a cat.
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Shawna Floyd
Executive Assistant and Board Liaison (she/her)

As Executive Assistant and Board Liaison, Shawna Floyd is responsible for working closely with the executive director to provide high-level support and partnership as the executive director leads a staff and works with the board of directors to oversee GIP’s mission.

Shawna’s first experience working at GIP was in 2021 as Office Manager. She has a passion for Administration and Art, and thus thinks of herself as being a twist on personality Type A.
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Ron Grosse
Senior Investigator (he/him)
As an investigator, Ron Grosse works with staff attorneys in reviewing and evaluating innocence claims. Ron is responsible for examining and assessing cases, locating and interviewing witnesses, identifying and collecting new evidence where available, and assisting in case strategy. 
Before joining GIP, Ron was a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for over twenty-eight years, assigned to the office in Columbia, South Carolina. Ron was a White Collar Crime investigator. Prior to the FBI, Ron spent seven years in the U.S. Army and is a graduate of the University of Maryland. Ron is married with three grown children and enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and working out.
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Rhys Havens
Development Manager (they/them)

As Development Manager, Rhys Havens plays a pivotal role in cultivating relationships, securing resources, and ensuring the sustained growth of Georgia Innocence Project.

With a keen understanding of the importance of innocence work, Rhys strategically engages with donors, partners, and stakeholders to foster a supportive network for the organization. Outside of the office, Rhys enjoys being in nature and spending time with their partner, pets, and community.
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Raylynn Hughes
Legal Records Manager (she/her)

As Legal Records Manager, Raylynn Hughes oversees GIP's efforts to collect, process, and organize our legal casework documents and records.

Raylynn joined GIP in December 2016, thanks to generous support from GIP's Georgia Gives Day donors. Before coming to GIP, Raylynn worked as a Librarian and Continuing Education Services Coordinator for DeKalb County Public Library, in Decatur, GA. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and her Master of Librarianship from Emory University. Raylynn is fluent in Spanish. She picked up running as a sport when she previously worked as a manager at the Atlanta Track Club and still goes out for morning runs and occasional races.
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Veronica O'Grady
Senior Attorney (she/her)

As a Senior Attorney, Veronica O'Grady analyzes wrongful conviction claims and develops strategies to best explore and present those claims, often through the lens of litigation.

Before joining GIP in 2024, Veronica worked for the Georgia Public Defender Council for a collective 8 years as both a trial-level and appellate-level assistant public defender. In her time as an appellate attorney, she filed over 30 substantive briefs before the Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals. As a trial attorney, she represented hundreds of clients charged with felonies ranging from simple drug possession to murder in Clayton County Superior Court. After graduating from the Ohio State University (2011) and the University of Georgia School of Law (2015), Veronica clerked for a Federal Magistrate Judge in Columbus, GA. When not passionately fighting against injustice in the criminal legal system, she spends her time with her husband, daughter, and their various pets.
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Ryan Ralston
Investigator (he/him)
As an investigator, Ryan Ralston works with staff attorneys in screening cases and assessing claims of innocence. In addition, Ryan is responsible for coordinating requests for agency records, collecting and reviewing evidence, locating and interviewing witnesses, and collaborating on case strategy.
Before joining GIP, Ryan was a criminal investigator specializing in solving major felony cases and crimes against children. While active in law enforcement, Ryan was a recognized expert in search and seizure, criminal procedures, crime scene processing, and field training. He graduated from Mercer University’s Public Safety Leadership Institute and is a certified Physical Security Specialist who completed the Physical Security Training Program in Glynco, Georgia (Class 708). Before his law enforcement career, Ryan spent six years on active duty in the US Navy and is a plank owner of the USS Gonzalez (DDG-66). Ryan did the most punk rock thing possible: marrying his high school sweetheart. They have three incredible children. In his spare time, Ryan writes short stories, reads anything he can get his hands on, obsesses over Red Sox baseball, gets tattooed, and enjoys spending time with his three Australian Shepherds: Mabel James, Junebug, and Birdy Mae. His parents remain hopeful he will go to med school.
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Christian Stegall
Community Engagement Manager (he/him)

As Community Engagement Manager, Christian Stegall manages GIP's volunteer program, and speaker engagements, and assists with content creation for the organization. Christian also plays a crucial role in establishing relationships and partnerships with external agencies.

Before joining GIP, Christian was the Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, NY where he was a 2x award-winning curator of his photography exhibition Through Our Eyes: Milestones and Memories of African Americans in Yonkers. Christian honed his museum skills at the Cooperstown Graduate Program where he earned a Master’s degree in Museum Studies in 2018. While there he interned for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Both institutions still use a lot of his work and his research can be seen in the August 2018 edition of the Public Historian. Christian is a proud Morehouse Man, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor’s degree in History in 2016. In his free time, Christian enjoys making his favorite comfort foods healthy, all things Atlanta sports, and jamming out to his favorite tunes.
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Wajiha Tamkeen
Legal Records Specialist

Under the supervision of the Legal Records Manager, Wajiha is responsible for collecting, processing, and organizing key casework documents while ensuring accessibility to relevant parties.

She helps maintain physical and digital case files and helps identify and implement improvements for data collection, document management, e-discovery, and file sharing. Wajiha is soon to graduate from Georgia State University in May 2024, with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, concentrating in Legal Studies. She aspires to enroll in a J.D. Law program fall of 2024. Working for GIP has inspired Wajiha to research and write a journal on the struggles of exonerees after being released from prison. Additionally, she is also a part of the GSU Honors College Assistantship Program, working for the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships. Wajiha enjoys painting, traveling, and sometimes cooking with her husband, three kids, with constant interruptions by her Norwegian Maine Coon cat.
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Michele Thompson
Operations & Finance Manager (she/her)

As Operations & Finance Manager, Michele is responsible for maintaining GIP's accounting systems and various behind-the-scenes tasks that keep the organization running smoothly.

Prior to joining the GIP team, Michele worked in fundraising at Humane Society in Lawrence, Kansas (the home of her alma mater, The University of Kansas). Michele has worked with GIP in multiple roles since 2020, and in that time also volunteered as a Lead Project Manager for a youth guidance nonprofit, Passion for Life. Michele earned her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in June 2023 thanks in large part due to her work with GIP.
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Destinee True
Intake Coordinator (she/her)

As Intake Assistant, Destinee True supports the Intake Manager with processing application-stage cases. Destinee is responsible for ensuring the proper processing, documentation, and filing of all correspondence between applicants and GIP. 

Before joining GIP, Destinee worked as a training records specialist at a local law enforcement agency. She received her Bachelor's degree in History from Ashford University and her MBA in Public Administration from Columbia Southern University. Destinee and her husband enjoy hiking and biking in their free time as well as trying out every local coffee shop in every city they visit.
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Board of Directors

Alan Essig
Board Chair
Alan Essig is currently a policy consultant working with non-profits, foundations, advocacy organizations, and political campaigns. Alan previously served as Executive Director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Deputy Policy Director in Georgia Office of the Governor, and Director of the Georgia State Senate Research Office. Alan received an MPA from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany and a BA in History from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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David Sarnat
Immediate Past Board Chair
David Sarnat is a community activist and professional consultant with deep roots within Atlanta’s philanthropic circles. He is currently the president of the Jewish Community Legacy Project, and served for 21 years as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. David has a background in social work and joined the Georgia Innocence Project’s Board in July of 2017.
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Kenny Baer
Past Board Chair
With 20 years experience in the wealth management / financial planning fields, Kenny is Managing Partner at Baer Wealth Management. His work has been published in Investment Advisor Magazine, Nerd Wallet, Ignite/Fund Fire, and Chattahoochee Plantation Living. He has previously hosted the weekly financial talk show The Baer Facts on Atlanta's Newstalk 1160 am, had a regularly scheduled segment on The Voice of the Arts 1690 am and has been a featured guest on Atlanta Business Today. In 2017, he published the e-book "One Shot." Kenny relishes spending time with his wife Molly and two adorable small children, golfing with his father and brother, playing tennis, and enjoying life to the fullest. Kenny loves the University of Georgia Football and can recite the score of most every game. He is a board member of the Children’s Restoration Network and was drawn to Georgia Innocence Project after learning the story of Devonia Inman through the Breakdown podcast. Kenny co-chaired GIP's Finance Committee in 2019-2020 and became GIP's Board Chair in June 2020.
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Laury Bagen
Board Member
Laury received both his undergraduate BS in Social Welfare and his Master of Counseling degrees at Georgia State University. From there he went on to enjoy three quite different careers. First, as a social worker in the Jewish Community Center Movement he worked with both adults and teens in various positions. Secondly, he ran the wire chopping division and was later Human Resources Director for a large, scrap metal recycling plant. His final career was as an independent home remodeling contractor. These experiences allowed him to use his love of community, ability to work with people and creativity in various ways. Laury has always been an active community volunteer. Since retiring, his favorite activities have been serving as a volunteer companion for a gentleman during the last years, 98 to 102, of his life. He also teaches and mentors middle school students in a carpentry and life skills class. Laury spends several hours a week involved in a school feeding program and helping deliver food to a food pantry. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of Georgia State University, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
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Jeffrey Brickman
Board Member
Jeffrey was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. After attending college and law school at the University of Florida he obtained a Masters in Litigation at the Emory School of Law. The "first" part of his career was spent as a prosecutor first as an Assistant District Attorney in DeKalb County and then as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2004 then Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Jeffrey to serve as the District Attorney of DeKalb County. It was there that Jeffrey met Clarence Harrison whom he assisted in becoming Georgia Innocence Project's first exoneree and with whom he has developed a wonderful relationship. The "second" part of Jeffrey's career began in 2005 when he went into private practice and where he continues to specialize in state and federal criminal defense. Jeffrey and his wife Susan live in Dunwoody where they raised the greatest child of all time, Joseph. In his spare time Jeffrey continues to improve his tennis game which he hopes will result in an invitation to Wimbledon. He also spends a great deal of time honing his cooking skills and working in his garden.
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Kenneth Brown
Vice Board Chair
Kenneth is the Chief People Officer for WABE, in Atlanta, GA which is the home of the NPR and PBS broadcast stations WABE 90.1FM and WABE-TV. Kenneth oversees workforce planning & employment, recruiting, compensation & benefits, payroll, employee relations, risk management, and facilities among others, and is part of the senior leadership team at PBA. ** Kenneth is a member of SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management), SHRM-Atlanta, PMBA (Public Media Business Association) where he serves on the PMBA Board and was most recently Chair of the Professional Development Committee. He also serves on the Board of Integrity Transformations Community Development Corporation (ITCDC). ** Kenneth holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University. Centered by family, he and his wife Cynthia are the proud parents of Kristopher and Kyle.
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Matt Holbrook
Treasurer
Matt Holbrook is the Director of Operations at Global Growers Network, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that partners with people from diverse cultures to grow fresh food for their families and for local marketplaces. He worked at Georgia Innocence Project for over six years and joined the board of directors as Secretary in 2023. Matt received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Mexico in 2013. He is a board game enthusiast, sci-fi lover, and friend to cats.
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Judith Johnson
Secretary
With 40 years of experience in the Federal Government, Judith has held positions of responsibility and progressive leadership in her career as a communications professional in the fields of transportation, education, and employee relations. Through the years, she has garnered numerous honors recognizing her talents in team building, project management, professional development, and diversity initiatives. Judith comes to the Executive Board through the work of her brother, Calvin C. Johnson, Jr., exoneree, as well as past Chair and Board Member of the Georgia Innocence Project. Judith brings a unique perspective to the Georgia Innocence Project as a family member of an exoneree. In 2021, Judith retired from the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she served as the national Marketing Manager in Atlanta for the Federal Highway Administration Resource Center. Judith directed project initiatives advising the center’s technical teams in strategic marketing, communications planning, customer relations, and technology deployment. She began her career in the U.S. DOT as a writer in policy and planning development, and in a series of successive positions adopted new innovations and initiated improvements in the agency’s communications policies and guidance. She served as the Team Leader for Communications and Technology Team in the FHWA Southern Resource Center in Atlanta; the Management Team Leader for the FHWA Marketing and Visual Communications Division in Washington, DC; and the Chief for the Publishing Section in the FHWA Publishing and Visual Communications Branch in Washington, DC. Judith is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She lives in Decatur with her husband Eric. In retirement, Judith and Eric will enjoy travel, along with many gatherings with friends and family. It is an honor for Judith, along with her sister Tara, nephews, and Calvin’s daughter Brianna to continue his legacy in support of the wrongly convicted. As a member of the Board, Judith looks forward to representing the voice of the exonerees and their families.
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Julie Seaman
Past Board Chair
Julie recently retired after more than twenty years on the faculty at Emory School of Law, where she taught courses and seminars in evidence, constitutional law, and freedom of speech. Her research interests have included neuroscience and law, scientific evidence, hate speech, and free speech. She currently holds the title of associate professor of law emerita. Julie received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania (summa cum laude) and her JD from Harvard (magna cum laude), where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She has long been interested in issues involving the criminal legal system, and currently serves on the board of the Georgia Innocence Project and the advisory board of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Law and Justice at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Emeritus Board Members

David Balser

Emmet J. Bondurant

James C. Bonner, Jr.

Bobby Lee Cook

Charles K. Edmondson, Jr.

September Guy, Co-Founder

Greg Hampikian, Ph.D.

John R. Martin

Jill G. Polster, Co-Founder

Robert Sheft