Board of Trustees

Carisa Cunningham is a long-time non-profit communications professional specializing in legal advocacy, LGBTQ rights, public health, and HIV. As director of public affairs and education for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) from 2004-2016, she used research-backed and story-based communications to power the drive to nationwide marriage equality. She has been director of public relations for AIDS Action Council (Washington), Wheelock College, and AIDS Action Committee (Boston), and worked in public relations for Gay Men's Health Crisis at the height of the American AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Internationally, she worked for the Harvard AIDS Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Botswana, handling communications surrounding the first HIV vaccine trial to take place in Southern Africa. Her work was presented at the International AIDS Conference. Carisa has taught non-profit public relations at Boston University and is a proud graduate of Oberlin College.

Stephanie Roberts Hartung teaches in the first-year Legal Skills in Social Context program at Northeastern University. Before joining Northeastern, she taught Legal Practice Skills and an array of courses relating to criminal appellate procedure and wrongful convictions at Suffolk University Law School for faculty for 13 years. Before she began teaching, Stephanie was a Deputy Public Defender in the Alameda County Office of the Public Defender in California for seven years. Her work included supervising misdemeanor law and motion practice as well as representing indigent clients charged with felonies at jury trials. Prior to joining the Public Defender’s Office she was a superior court law clerk for the State of Alaska Court System.

Dennis Maher was exonerated by DNA testing in 2003, after he was convicted of sexual assault and spent 19 years in prison.  In 1983, Dennis was an Army sergeant assigned to Fort Devens and was arrested because he was wearing a red hoodie similar to the one worn by the actual perpetrator.   His conviction was based on severely flawed eyewitness identification protocols.  Once when asked how he saw his future, Dennis said that he would ultimately be exonerated by DNA evidence, start work two months after his release, get married and have children.  Two months after his release Dennis was hired as a diesel mechanic for a local company, fell in love with and married Melissa and lives with her and their two children, Josh and Aliza.

Daniel Medwed is a Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law where he teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, and Advanced Criminal Procedure: Wrongful Convictions and Post-Conviction Remedies. His research and pro bono activities revolve around the topic of wrongful convictions. His book, Prosecution Complex: America’s Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent (New York University Press, 2012), explores how even well-meaning prosecutors may contribute to wrongful convictions because of cognitive biases and an overly-deferential regime of legal and ethical rules. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Innocence Network, a consortium of innocence projects across the world, and is a former President of the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center in Salt Lake City.

David E. Meier is a partner at the law firm of Todd & Weld, where his practice focuses on government investigations and criminal defense. In September 2012, Governor Deval Patrick appointed Mr. Meier to oversee the identification and review of thousands of drug cases called into question by the alleged misconduct of Annie Dookhan at the Hinton State Laboratory. Prior to joining Todd & Weld, Mr. Meier was chief of the homicide unit of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston for twelve years. As Chief of Homicide, Mr. Meier supervised the investigation, prosecution, and trial of all homicides occurring within the City of Boston. He was also involved in the post-conviction review and investigation of numerous cases leading to the release of defendants wrongfully convicted of murder and other criminal charges.

David M. Siegel is a Professor of Law at New England Law | Boston. He teaches Comparative Criminal Procedure, Criminal Advocacy, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Clinical Evidence and Evidence. He has written articles on the history of mental health defenses in criminal law, the ethical obligations of criminal defense lawyers, and involuntary medication of criminal defendants. He currently serves as Chair of the NEIP’s Board of Trustees.

Cheryl Schaffer is the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for the Union of Concerned Scientists; a national organization that puts rigorous science to work to build a healthier planet, and a safer world. She has a lifelong commitment to issues of social justice and a passion for activism, evidenced by her twelve year stint as the Deputy Director of the AIDS Action Committee. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Service Employees International Union for district 925, and the Associate Director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. She hopes that her experience working with non-profit management will help to ensure that NEIP is a strong, thriving, and effective organization for years to come.

Andrea Petersen is a criminal defense appellate attorney. A graduate of Harvard University and Boston College Law School, she began her career working in the theater and teaching in Boston public schools. In 2006, she took on an eleven year fight for justice that led to the freedom and exoneration of her client, Victor Rosario, who was wrongly convicted of arson and murder and spent 32 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The case involved many of the elements that are common to wrongful conviction cases: faulty forensics, a false confession, false eyewitness identification, withheld evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel. She continues the fight for justice for the wrongfully convicted through her work on the NEIP Board.

Lisa M. Kavanaugh is the director of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) Innocence Program, a unit of the statewide public defender agency in Massachusetts that identifies innocence cases and provides litigation support and funding for the investigation and expert resources needed. In addition to litigating cases and administering Innocence Program resources, Ms. Kavanaugh is actively involved in developing statewide training programs on flawed forensic evidence and other leading causes of wrongful convictions. In 2013, she formed a Working Group of criminal justice leaders to improve access to post-conviction DNA analysis and reform evidence handling practices. A frequent lecturer at local and national CLE training programs, she has also served as a Visiting Lecturer of Law at Harvard Law School, an Adjunct Professor with the Boston College Law School Innocence Clinic, and training faculty member for trial skills programs at Harvard Law School. She presently serves on the Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification and heads the Running for Innocence Program.