RCP Staff

   
Omar Arauza

Project Assistant Omar Arauza grew up in Riverbank, a small town located in California's Central Valley. He is a first-generation college graduate with a degree in Justice Studies, concentration in Criminology. Omar interned for the Crime Strategies Unit at the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office before joining the Record Clearance Project. Omar enrolled in RCP Spring 2019 to empower people who have not traditionally had access to information about their rights. He feels a sense of urgency about flaws in the United States criminal justice system and plans to work for legislative reform in the area. Omar speaks Spanish. 

Diana Carreras

Mentor Diana Carreras has spent the last 25 years advocating for those recovering from addiction, mental health conditions, and other trauma. She has 33 years of sobriety and is a former client of RCP. For the last 20 years, she has given free swim lessons to traumatized children. Since 2015, Diana has been a peer mentor at Recovery Cafe in San Jose, facilitating classes in trauma recovery and running peer support groups. In 2017 she was trained by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) to mentor NAMI's recovery programs. Since 2015, Diana has shared her story of recovery from drugs, trauma, and homelessness as a motivational speaker to give hope and illustrate the power of resilience. Diana is excited to guide people on an individual level as they prepare for their futures. She speaks fluent Spanish. 

Sabrina Cervantes

Student Assistant Sabrina Cervantes is a first-generation college student from the East Bay Area. Sabrina enrolled in RCP in Fall 2020. She is graduating in May 2021 with a B.S. in Justice Studies from SJSU, where she is recognized as a President's Scholar. This program motivates her to pursue a career in social services to assist and empower underserved communities.

Cesar

Project Assistant Cesar Gonzalez grew up in Panorama City, a small neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. He is a first-generation college graduate with a degree in Justice Studies. The Record Clearance Project has rekindled and solidified his passion for law. He plans to attend law school and hopes to create a similar program in his community. Cesar feels a sense of urgency to address what legal scholars term "invisible punishment," the collateral consequences imposed for having a criminal record. He believes that programs like the RCP can significantly reduce recidivism rates and give individuals the opportunity to put their past behind them. Cesar speaks fluent Spanish.

Kanita

Student Assistant Kanita Ilic is a first-generation college student from Pleasanton, CA. Kanita is majoring in Justice Studies with a concentration in Criminology and a minor in Forensic Studies. Kanita enrolled in the RCP in Fall 2020 and will graduate in Spring 2022. Kanita plans to attend law school after graduation. Kanita is grateful to be able to provide legal assistance to those whose voices have been lost in the criminal justice system. Kanita speaks Bosnian.

Victoria

Lead Mentor Victoria Kirschner had her record expunged in 2011 and has been volunteering as a motivational speaker with the RCP ever since. After decades of addiction, Victoria began living a life of sobriety in August 2002. She has sponsored other women in recovery and been the manager of a recovery home. She is active in her church and community. Victoria has worked in the transportation industry for years. She enthusiastically embraces her work as a guide to people moving from custody to create their individual stories of success.

Jesse

Administrative Coordinator Jesse Mejia enrolled in RCP as a student in Spring 2018. Jesse is a first-generation college student who transferred to SJSU from Hartnell Community College with an AS-T in Administration of Justice in Fall 2016. Jesse majored in Justice Studies and graduated in Spring 2019 with plans to attend law school. He hopes to work on expungement law after law school and take this experience back with him to Monterey County. Jesse grew up speaking Spanish. 

Darlene

Mentor Darlene Montero has mentored child-welfare-system-involved parents who suffer from substance use, mental illness, incarceration, and homelessness for seven years following her own experience navigating the court system to reunify with her child. Through this journey, she has over ten years in recovery from substance use. She continues to help others who struggle with the disease by sponsoring women and being in service to a recovery program. Darlene has more than 17 years of experience supporting people in the community who experience mental illness and substance use as a mentor, case manager, and administrator. She has served on the Santa Clara County Foster Youth Task Force and the California Parent Leadership Team; she is a Nationally Certified Parent Leader. In the summer of 2020, the RCP represented Darlene in court to expunge her record. She has volunteered to speak in a fundraising campaign and to incoming RCP students. She is excited to work with clients to become self-sufficient.

Jeff Owens

Mentor Jeff Owens was born in Ohio and grew up in Los Angeles. Jeff worked in customer service and manufacturing as a young adult and moved with his family to San Jose. Twelve years ago, at age 43, he was introduced to his faith, which he uses to guide and interact with others and fuel his consistent optimism. Jeff values compassion, sincerity, and giving back. He is grateful to work with the RCP mentoring program because it allows him to assist those who need support.

Cindy

Program Manager Cindy Parra grew up in San Jose and joined RCP in July 2019. Cindy is leading the Mentoring Program in which former clients are hired as peer mentors to connect people leaving custody with needed services as they move forward in their lives. She teaches Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) classes to clients, as she has in jail and the community since 2016. MRT, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, helps individuals evaluate their moral decision-making and learn to make positive choices. Cindy was a student with the RCP in 2012 and a frequent volunteer at Speed Screening advice sessions after she graduated. The second in her family to pursue higher education, Cindy graduated from SJSU in Fall 2012 with a B.S. in Justice Studies and received her Masters of Social Work from SJSU in Spring 2019. Cindy speaks fluent Spanish and has volunteered as a Spanish interpreter at immigration and workers' rights advice clinics held by Santa Clara Law School's Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center. 

stacy-quezada

Mentor Stacy Quezada grew up in Gilroy, CA. She has over three years of experience mentoring mothers with substance abuse and mental health issues to navigate the Child Welfare system. After graduating from the program, Stacy participated in Women's drug intervention as a client and supported other women as a guest speaker. She has been involved in several committees with the NA recovery community, including the "Annual NA Barbeque Meeting," where she oversees children's activities. Stacy is knowledgeable about available resources in South County and has done presentations for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and social workers in training. Having lived experience with obstacles of homeless, addiction, incarceration, and poverty, Stacy is passionate about helping community members better themselves and move forward on the right path. Stacy speaks Spanish.

Judith

Supervising Attorney Judith Randle joined the Record Clearance Project in 2021 and is honored to assist low-income members of Santa Clara County regain the ability to fully participate in civic life. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Justice Studies Department and has spent her career teaching courses in the sociology of law, punishment and corrections, victimology, juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice, and research methods and writing. Her scholarly writing and presentations have examined capital punishment, social movements, and victims' rights. A former Spartan, she received her M.A. in Sociology/Criminology from San Jose State University (2003). She received her J.D. (2007) and Ph.D. (2011) in Jurisprudence & Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Ruben

Project Assistant Ruben Souza joined RCP in Fall 2019. He is a first-generation college graduate from Oakland with a degree in Justice Studies and minor in Political Science. His involvement with the Record Clearance Project has solidified his desire to continue studying law and become an attorney. Ruben began classes at Santa Clara University School of Law in Fall 2021, where he is the first-year representative to the Criminal Law Society, Latinx Law Student Association, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Ruben also won first place in the 1L Galloway Moot Court Competition. He speaks Spanish and looks forward to further serving his community. 

Peggy

RCP Project Director 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. Peggy received the CSU Chancellor's Award for Faculty Innovation and Leadership in Fall 2018 for her work in establishing the Record Clearance Project. She has also received the SJSU Equity and Diversity Outstanding Faculty award, SJSU College of Applied Sciences and Arts, SJSU Service Learning and Community Engagement, and other university and community recognition awards. 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 J.D. She has a B.A. from Stanford University. She speaks Spanish.

Michelle

Project Assistant Michelle Taikeff enrolled in RCP as a student in Fall 2017. While majoring in Justice Studies at SJSU, Michelle played on the University's women's water polo team and served on the executive board of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. She was a member of the Criminal Justice Honors Society at SJSU and a President's Scholar. Working with RCP has enhanced her passion for providing legal aid to those in need. Michelle graduated from SJSU in Spring 2019 and plans to attend law school.

Jordan

Project Assistant Jordan Velosa joined RCP in Spring 2019. Jordan grew up in Jackson, New Jersey, and is the first in her family to graduate from college. She graduated from SJSU in May 2020 with a B.S. in Justice Studies and a minor in Forensic Studies. Participating in RCP has led Jordan to decide to attend law school in the future, and work in either expungement law or child welfare.