About the RCP
Mentor Norma Burns has worked with the homeless and disabled as a caregiver, and as a special education
teacher. She is a veteran of the US Army. Norma has spoken at more than a dozen RCP
community education presentations in Elmwood Jail and the community. She accepted
the County Board of Supervisors’ commen
dation on behalf of the RCP in June 2012. Norma appears in RCP videos and has talked to the media regarding her experiences in getting her record cleared through the RCP. Norma uses her experience as an addict and an inmate at Elmwood to motivate and challenge her listeners. She speaks of having been a victim of sexual, physical, mental and verbal abuse, and of having been given a “second chance” through the RCP. She believes that sharing her past will inspire others to get their records expunged, and that “having a record shouldn't be a lifelong sentence.”
Student assistant Anahi Beltran grew up in east San Jose and is the first in her family to attend college. She will graduate in Spring 2016 with a her BS in Justice Studies with a minor in Forensic Science. Based on her experience with the RCP, Anahi plans to attend law school in the future.
Anahi was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs to support her sister and her. Anahi herself began working when she was 10, going with family members to clean houses and giving her earnings to her family. Currently, in addition to attending school and working for the RCP, Anahi does security work for a high tech company, giving her perspective on law enforcement.
As a student assistant, Anahi is in charge of helping to organize and staff class workshops, community events, Speed Screening advice interview sessions, and related RCP program tasks.
Student assistant Nina Bernardini began working with the RCP in June 2015 after being a student in RCP courses. Currently a Justice Studies major planning to graduate Fall 2015, Nina started out as a nursing major. After taking criminal justice classes, Nina realized that her passion was in the legal field. She earned AA degrees in Paralegal Studies and Liberal Arts in 2007, and began working as a Legal Clerk for an employment law attorney. In 2015 she joined the RCP class where she has enjoyed helping with Speed Screenings and giving community education presentations on expungement law. Nina is considering going to law school so she can continue to help people in the future to learn about and use their legal rights.
Program Coordinator Kenia Contreras graduated from SJSU with a BS in Justice Studies and a minor in Human Rights in Spring 2015. Kenia started in the RCP class in Fall of 2014 and became Program Coordinator in May 2015. She was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was 11 years old. She is a native Spanish-speaker. Kenia lives in east San Jose and is the second in her family to graduate from college. Kenia plans to become a probation officer working with juveniles.
As Program Coordinator, Kenia responds to community requests for assistance; finalizes and files clients' court papers; organizes moot court practice sessions (giving clients a chance for critiqued preparation for court); organizes Speed Screening advice sessions; assists with the administrative tasks involved in staffing the RCP classes; and generally manages whatever needs to be done. When she is not devoting her time to the Record Clearance Project, Kenia helps individuals who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Former Mentor and current RCP Advisory Board member Winnonah Hernandez has moved to Richmond and thus is no longer an active mentor. However, Nona continues to guide the RCP and others. She has been a sponsor for numerous women over the last 12 years, and written a guide to the 12-step program. She currently sponsors 11 women, who in turn sponsor others; their sponsorship tree includes over 120 clean and sober women. Winnonah is a motivational speaker at conventions, retreats and community education presentations. She has spoken to the press regarding the powerful effects of expungement in giving her the courage and confidence to move forward in her life. Nona currently is writing her autobiography.
Nishtha Jolly, former Program Coordinator, is now attending law school at Santa Clara School of Law. She spends some of her time between classes assisting with the database and analysis of RCP's work.
Mentor Cheryl Lozano
Attorney Subba (Shaun) Naidu, Jr. has worked on expungements with Peggy when he was a summer student at the Stanford Community Law Clinic in 2005. Shaun has supervised RCP students’ work and helped train students since being admitted to the bar in 2009. He is the author of many of the RCP's materials. He has a JD from University of Iowa Law School and a BA from UC Berkeley.
Professor Harold Peterson, JD, teaches in the Justice Studies Department. He edited the RCP videos in the Students and Clients tabs. He assists with training RCP students and serves as the "District Attorney" coach for volunteers at the moot court practice sessions, as shown in the photo.
Hal holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Washington State University and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan. Hal practiced law for 15 years in Michigan and Washington. He is the author of “Better Angels,” a novel.
Former Student Mentoring Coordinator Rochelle Rotea is now a first-year law student at UC Irvine. She continues to assist with social media and communications.
Supervising Attorney John Scardamaglia has assisted in training the RCP students in class sessions, at Speed Screenings and in case supervision since 2012. John worked for over three years at the Northern California Innocence Project following his graduation from Santa Clara University School of Law. He served as a paramedic for 13 years before going to San Francisco State University. In late 2013 he established a family law practice in San José.
RCP Project Director attorney Margaret (Peggy) Stevenson has taught students to provide legal services to low-income clients since 1994, including 12 years of teaching Stanford and Santa Clara law students in community-based clinics. She began teaching at SJSU in 2007. She serves on the SJSU Pre-law committee, is highly rated for her teaching and the recipient of several awards, including Equity and Diversity Outstanding Faculty award, SJSU College of Applied Sciences and Arts (May 2011); Faculty Lecturer Award, SJSU Service Learning and Community Engagement (April 2012). Prior to teaching, Peggy was a legal services attorney for 10 years and clerked for a federal judge following UCLA Law School, where she earned her JD. She has a BA from Stanford University.
Professor Gilbert Villagran, MSW, assisted with the launch of the Path to Expungement mentoring program. Gil has been a part-time instructor in the School of Social Work since 1995. In addition to teaching, he has extensive experience in direct social work practice working as child welfare worker, public social service agency manager, program developer, grant writer, and community organizer. He has a Master of Social Work degree and a BA in Philosophy and Sociology from SJSU.
Mentor José Valle grew up in a single-parent low-income housing project in East San José. Without a positive male role model, José was vulnerable to the gangs and drugs that surrounded him, and dropped out of high school when he was 16. While at Elmwood Jail in 2006, José joined a recovery program, received his GED, and found inspiration at the Elmwood library in books about pre-Colombian and Chicano history.
Upon release, José continued his sobriety. José wrote for De-Bug and Street Low Magazine about Chicano history, current issues, and his life experiences. He co-hosted a community talk radio show, and founded Souleros Ball Revue, a nonprofit arts, music and cultural empowerment organization. José has been a case manager and gang intervention specialist at California Youth Outreach, a non-profit faith-based organization for gang-impacted youth and families.
The Record Clearance Project maintains a detailed database regarding its clients' demographics and conviction histories. The database -- removed of all identifying information -- has been the basis for research findings from SJSU Prof. Danielle Harris, Prof. Ericka Adams of North Central College in Illinois, andProf. Elsa Chen of Santa Clara University.
Wendy Brenner: Ms. Brenner is a partner at Cooley LLP, a large, international law firm primarily representing employers in employment litigation. The American Bar Association recognized Ms. Brenner's outstanding pro bono work by awarding her the national Frances Perkins award in 2007.
Earl Cease: Mr. Cease graduated from SJSU in 2013 and has been involved with the RCP for over three years. Currently he attends law school. He has volunteered his experience by leading training workshops for new students, assisting with case-handling on challenging cases and filling in whenever he is needed. Mr. Cease served in the National Guard for seven years, following three years active duty service, including a tour of duty in Iraq.
Alessandro De Giorgi: Prof. De Giorgi is an Associate Professor of the SJSU Justice Studies Department. He studies the effects of concentrated incarceration and prisoner reentry in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Oakland. Prof. De Giorgi’s interests also include theories of punishment and social control, urban ethnography, political economy, and social justice. Prior to coming to SJSU in 2007, Prof. De Giorgi taught in Germany, Switzerland and at UC Berkeley.
Javier de la Torre: Mr. de la Torre graduated from SJSU in 2013 and has been with the RCP for over two years, volunteering with the RCP after completing his RCP coursework. He has been a frequent spokesperson for the RCP and volunteers in the full range of RCP services.
Winnonah Hernandez: Ms. Hernandez has frequently represented the RCP in articulating the need for record clearance services and the RCP’s work. A former client, Ms. Hernandez’ compelling presentations and wise counsel have made a profound impact on RCP’s profile and work. She has been a volunteer in juvenile hall and for at-risk youth, a sponsor for NA, is active in her church and recovery programs there, and a speaker to women in Elmwood Jail. Ms. Hernandez has written a 12-step guide to sobriety, which she uses to help women she speaks to in recovery houses and others on their paths to their futures.
Adam King: Mr. King is Director of Admissions for the Center for Employment Training, an international
nonprofit based in San José. He has run CET's job placement program for students
with criminal records. Through Mr. King's coordination, CET has hosted numerous RCP
Speed Screenings and community education presentations. Mr. King founded and directs
New Skin, a nonprofit tattoo-removal program.
Suzy Mendoza: alumna member Ms. Mendoza assisted a large number of clients as an RCP student, and continued volunteering for the last three years since graduating. She has role-played clients, prepared classes and helped run Speed Screenings. Ms. Mendoza is a home health-care worker.
Bob Rucker: Prof. Rucker is Director of the SJSU Journalism School and diversity in media educator. He does strategic planning in multimedia and social media and is a media consultant and professional group facilitator. In the past, Prof. Rucker has been a television news producer, medical reporter, writer and editor. He also is a Catholic parish lay ministry leader and church Diversity/LGBT Inclusion and Outreach Coordinator.
Dayana Salazar: Dayana Salazar is a Professor in the Urban Planning Department at San José State University and the Executive Director of CommUniverCity San José, a partnership between central San José neighborhoods (community), San José State (university), and the City of San José (city) focusing collective resources, knowledge, and expertise on resident-driven priorities. She has been instrumental in enabling the RCP to exponentially increase its effectiveness through arranging resources, making connections and increasing RCP's visibility on campus and in the community.
Alice Smith: Ms. Smith is a former attorney active in Bay Area organizations including the ACLU, League of Women Voters and American Red Cross. She has monitored the County’s implementation of “realignment” (moving people from prison to county jail), worked to start a youth court in Santa Clara County, and an advocate on voting rights issues.
Kent Vickery: Mr. Vickery is a financial advisor, business strategist and senior executive in communications, consumer products, financial services, structured finance industries, start-ups, multinationals and governments. He advises Silicon Valley entrepreneurs regarding investment strategies, and has strong interests in education.
The County of Santa Clara
FoundationsThe Castellano Family Foundation
Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian Foundation
Kazan, McClain, Satterly & Greenwood Foundation
Morrison & Foerster Foundation
Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP
Rossi, Hamerslough, Reischl & Chuck
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation
Bay Area Maranatha Christian Center
Family and Children Services
South Hills Community Church