Meet the GIP Legal Team
Our staff is at the heart of what we do. Our ability to help wrongly convicted people, to hold the State accountable, and to affect change in Georgia’s criminal legal system is all a result of the hardworking team at Georgia Innocence Project. Over the past year, we’ve been working hard to expand our legal department, enabling us to help more of Georgia’s wrongfully convicted than ever before while working to help correct a system rife with injustice.
Our staff positions are the direct result of the support of friends like you, who give to GIP, who amplify our message, and who support our efforts to hold the criminal legal system accountable for its injustices. From foundation, law firm, and corporate supporters, including Lakeshore Foundation and Dextra Baldwin McGonagle Foundation, to individuals and others who give year-round, including all who matched– and exceeded — a $33,000 attorney-hire challenge from donor, NBA All-Star, and Philanthropist Joe Barry Carroll, you make our work possible. Thank you.
We’re so thrilled to introduce you to GIP’s legal team:
As a Senior Attorney, Christina oversees GIP’s litigation team, analyzing wrongful conviction claims to develop strategies that best explore and present those claims. Directly responsible for 2 exonerations, Christina began at GIP as a legal intern in 2008, returned as a DOJ-funded attorney in 2014-2015, worked for several years as an appellate defender, and then returned again to GIP as Senior Attorney in April 2021.
Education: BA: Georgia State University; JD: Georgia State University College of Law
Experience: Georgia Public Defender Council; National Assoc. Of Government Employees
Fun Facts: Christina and her husband are very involved in animal rescue. They have fostered dozens of dogs and adopted several, including a tiny two-legged chihuahua named Birdee who has a self-driven wheelchair.
As Staff Attorney, Daniel represents wrongfully convicted clients seeking post-conviction relief by investigating and litigating their innocence claims. He’s becoming GIP’s resident expert on state habeas and statistics. Before GIP, Daniel spent 9 years working as a public defender in New York City, including 3 years at Rikers Island, and spent 2 years litigating post-conviction cases in KY.
Education: BA: Georgia State University; JD: Fordham University School of Law
Experience: Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Department of Public Advocacy; The Legal Aid Society
Fun Facts: A Georgia native and the 4th ‘Arthur Daniel Buckley’ in his family, Daniel enjoys reading magical realism and historical and science fiction, attempting to satisfy his every food craving, and wandering around in the woods tracking raptors and carrion birds with his hound dog, Georgia.
As Intake Assistant, Destinee supports GIP’s Intake Manager with application-stage cases and intake. She processes and responds to correspondence from applicants, assists in making case acceptance determinations, maintains our Clio database for intake, and ensures accurate data collection. Before GIP, Destinee was a Communications Officer and then Training Records Specialist with a sheriff’s office for 7.5 years and never missed a single day of work.
Education: BA: Ashford University; MBA: Columbia Southern University
Experience: Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office; Alpine Access
Fun Facts: Raised in GA, Destinee and her husband live in Ellijay and commute to Atlanta when needed for work. They enjoy hiking and biking as well as trying out every local coffee shop in every city they visit.
As Staff Attorney and Case Coordinator, Izzy litigates post-conviction wrongful conviction cases while providing oversight and strategic direction for GIP’s intake and screening-stage cases and staff. Izzy started at GIP on September 7, 2021. She spent 6 years working at an innocence organization – 4.5 years as an attorney – where she helped exonerate 3 clients, won a federal habeas petition, dramatically reduced the intake backlog, and trained pro bono attorneys.
Education: BA: Reed College; JD: George Washington University School of Law
Experience: Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project; Internships: AK Public Defender and Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office
Fun Facts: Izzy is a self-proclaimed hula hooping master and partakes in contact sports to relieve anxiety. She likes bad comedy podcasts & has known since childhood that she’d do this work. Her position is partially funded by retired NBA All-Star Joe Barry Carroll.
La Teisha Clements
As Case Analyst, La Teisha provides support for the entire legal team. She collects, organizes and summarizes case documents and works with GIP attorneys to conduct research and prepare for hearings. Before GIP, La Teisha spent 25 years as an investigator specialist, an advocate, and similar roles supporting attorneys and others in independent investigations, trial preparation, and ongoing case management – largely in abuse and neglect cases.
Education: Paralegal degree: Erie Community College; BS. & M.S: SUNY Buffalo
Experience: GA DHS Office of Inspector General; Dekalb DA’s Office; GA Dep’t. of Juvenile Justice
Fun Facts: La Teisha loves reading, traveling with her 3 daughters, and making unique kosher meals with her family. She strongly believes that effective public policy can manifest positive change.
As Accountability Counsel, Meagan investigates and litigates wrongful conviction cases, focusing on those involving official misconduct. Her position is partially funded by DBM Foundation (and hopefully others) to develop GIP’s expertise on official misconduct and accountability. She will also oversee building a bad actor / Brady database, working with GIP’s comms, IT and policy teams. Meagan was a law intern at GIP in 2017-2019 and played a critical role in securing freedom for Johnny Gates after 43 years (26 on death row). After taking the AL bar, she spent 2 years as GIP’s Alabama Fellow, starting an innocence clinic in AL while ethically transitioning GIP out of AL.
Education: BA: Reinhardt University; JD: Mercer University School of Law
Experience: Cumberland Innocence Clinic; Opelika–Auburn News; several law internships
Fun Facts: A Georgia native & former reporter, Meagan teaches 1st Amend. law at Reinhardt Univ. Her family has a farm in Alabama & she enjoys hiking, kayaking, & time with family & good friends.
As Intake Manager, Raylynn Hughes oversees the assessment of and responses to applicant and client mail and other requests for GIP’s assistance, and for managing cases through our intake process. A former county librarian and nonprofit office manager, Raylynn has excellent attention to detail and process, helps build and oversee data, statistics, and institutional knowledge.
Education: BA: Georgia State University; MLn: Emory University
Experience: DeKalb County Public Library; Atlanta Track Club
Fun Facts: Raylynn is fluent in Spanish and a runner who routinely goes out for morning runs and weekend races. When not working, she can often be found at theater and puppetry events along with her husband, who is the artistic director at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
As GIP’s Investigator, Ron 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. His investigations directly led to exonerations in the Perry & Talley cases. Ron was an FBI Special Agent for 28 years & in 2018 received SC’s Order of the Palmetto award, the state’s highest civilian award.
Education: BS: University of Maryland; CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner)
Experience: Federal Bureau of Investigation; US Army
Fun Facts: An Army veteran with a successful and distinguished career in the FBI’s White Collar Crimes division, Ron lives in South Carolina & is married with 3 kids. He enjoys reading, traveling, and working out, and before joining GIP he solo-hiked most of the Appalachian Trail!
As Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, a 2-year US DOJ grant-funded position, Tiffany manages GIP’s screening-stage cases and collaborates with the Fulton Co. DA’s Office, Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). Tiffany is creating and overseeing a case screening program with pro bono lawyers and legal staff at big law firms – to identify GIP cases best for representation. She also works with the FCDA CIU to identify cases at the highest risk of wrongful conviction & help advance them through the CIU.
Education: BA: University of Florida; JD & DCL: Louisiana State University
Experience: Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office; R. Gary Spencer, P.C.; Teach for America
Fun Facts: A Georgia native, Tiffany is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and enjoys coaching gymnastics & working out. She adds cinnamon to her peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.