FOUNDER + PRESIDENT
Prior to forming the Due Process Institute, Shana-Tara O'Toole served as a Policy Director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In that capacity, she led NACDL’s strategic partnership with other organizations on multiple federal legislative initiatives designed to prevent the further erosion of civil liberties in our criminal justice system.
Prior to joining NACDL, Shana practiced as a defense lawyer representing clients in civil and criminal investigations. She also served as pro bono immigration counsel for political refugees seeking asylum.
Shana received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Western New England College School of Law, where she was a Note Editor for the Law Review. Following law school, Shana had the honor of clerking for Justice Joette Katz of the Connecticut Supreme Court, who was the first woman to serve as Chief of Connecticut’s Public Defender Office and the youngest person to have ever been appointed to Connecticut’s Supreme Court.
Before she found her calling as a legal reformer, Shana received a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing from the University of New Orleans. While there, she taught literature and writing at several Louisiana colleges. Shana holds a B.A. in English Literature, Writing, and Political Science from Sweet Briar College, which has served as an all women’s college in the Blue Ridge Mountains since 1901.
Shana lives with her husband, stepdaughter, and two mischievous French bulldogs—Trudeau and Balthazar—in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of DC. When she’s not fighting on behalf of fundamental fairness, Shana enjoys hiking in National Parks, cheering for the Nationals, and attending JazzFest.
Favorite Fun Fact of the Moment: Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender.
Follow Shana on Twitter @stregon
RULE OF LAW INITIATIVES
Before joining the Due Process Institute, Joseph Luppino-Esposito served as the Manager for Federal Initiatives for Right on Crime and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Austin, TX. Joe worked in Washington, DC with members of Congress, their staff, and allied organizations to develop conservative criminal justice reform policies that increase public safety.
In his capacity as Editor and General Counsel of State Budget Solutions, a state policy organization, Joe focused his research on public employee pensions, labor law, and state budget reforms.
As the Visiting Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Joe worked on the overcriminalization project, analyzing federal criminal laws. It was at Heritage where Joe first studied the extent of the problem—the overuse and misuse of the criminal law—that he continues to work on today with the Due Process Institute.
Joe is a graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law, where he was Editor in Chief of the Circuit Review legal journal. He received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary, where he also co-founded the campus newspaper, The Virginia Informer.
He is a New Jersey native and currently resides in Virginia with his wife and daughter and their two cats, Reagan and Jack Bauer. When he's not advocating for reform, Joe spends his time catching up on books he should have read in high school and preparing for the next season of his 15+ year-running fantasy football league.
Favorite Fun Fact of the Moment: The DC flag is based on the crest of George Washington’s family.
Follow Joe on Twitter @avgjoele
OPERATIONS + EVENTS
Prior to joining Due Process Institute, Tamara served as Director of Events for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In that capacity, she was responsible for the Association’s quarterly board meetings, CLE seminars, as well as seminar site-selection and the planning of social events. During her tenure, she was involved in the planning and execution of nearly 175 different events. She also managed the entire online website presence for all events, CLE registration, and their speaker database.
She is excited to be part of the Due Process Institute where she can expand on her organizational and analytical skills as well as her love for criminal justice.
Tamara is a native of Serbia where she lived for 23 years before graduating from law school and moving to Washington, DC. Serbia’s specific political and economic conditions shaped her education and involvement in civil rights movements. Throughout her law school years, she attended trainings on human rights, democracy, and conflict resolution. She canvased the country and conducted public opinion polls on political issues. She joined the very first organization for free elections (CESID) and helped train over 800 election monitoring volunteers for the historic election in September of 2000.
Tamara lived in DC for 12 years before reluctantly moving to Virginia with her husband and two children. When she is not organizing events and running the office, Tamara resists requests for various house pets, enjoys watching people cook on TV, and buys books on Amazon that she will never get around to reading.
Favorite Fun Fact of the Moment: Andrew Jackson had a talking pet parrot named Poll. Poll had to be removed from Jackson’s funeral because it screeched obscenities and curse words at the mourners.
Follow Tamara on Twitter @tamarakalacevic
LEGAL RESEARCH + WRITING FELLOW
Devon comes to the Due Process Institute after spending more than two years practicing criminal defense with MillsMcDermott in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia under the tutelage of nationally renowned criminal defense attorneys Kevin Mills and Shawn McDermott. There, Devon gained a practical, firsthand understanding of the issues facing the criminal legal system while representing clients in court on charges ranging from simple traffic citations to first-degree homicide and kidnapping. Devon also took a key role in their post-conviction practice, drafting appellate briefs, habeas corpus petitions, and an amicus brief. Prior to joining the firm, Devon served as the law clerk for the Honorable James A. Matish in the Harrison County circuit Court in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Devon’s passion for criminal justice reform began in law school when he took a course on wrongful convictions and worked as a student attorney in the West Virginia Innocence Project Clinic. As a clinical student, Devon helped draft habeas corpus petitions on behalf of clients with viable claims of actual innocence. Devon was also instrumental in expanding post-conviction remedies for individuals convicted of crimes in West Virginia. His oral argument in State v. Hutton convinced the West Virginia Supreme Court to recognize the writ of error coram nobis as a remedy for individuals no longer in state custody. Devon also published scholarship regarding the Fourth Amendment’s application to prescription drug monitoring programs as a member of the West Virginia Law Review.
Devon graduated from the West Virginia University College of Law in 2015, and WVU’s Perley Issac Reed School of Journalism (Now Reed College of Media) in 2011. He spent one year working as a freelance journalist for The Dominion Post in Morgantown, WV before beginning law school.
Devon is a proud member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Democratic Socialists of America. He is eager to reach across the aisle and work as part of the unique cross-ideological consensus that is currently building around the needs to create a more fair and equitable criminal legal system that respects the Constitutional rights of every individual.
Devon is a native of Morgantown, West Virginia, where he lived with his wife Samantha until the two moved to Southwest DC in late 2016. When he isn’t fighting to uphold the Constitution, Devon likes to spend time with his two dogs, Maggie and Bella; explore the wilderness; discover dive bars, and try new types of beer and food.
Favorite fun fact of the moment: There are more non-human cells on and in your body than your own cells.
Follow Devon on Twitter