Jo-Anna Nieves, Esq.
When you are charged with a criminal offense, you need a strong, experienced, and committed advocate. It’s a role that Jo-Anna Nieves has assumed many times, with great success. As a criminal defense attorney who began her post-bar legal career at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, Ms. Nieves has a rare perspective that she uses to support, advise, and defend the firm’s clients. “I love criminal law. It’s captivating and I’m passionate about it,” she says. She is committed to mounting the best possible defense for what she calls “hard working, family oriented, successful professional people who aren’t career criminals…. Some are falsely accused, others make a bad call like driving home after a couple glasses of wine at a work event.
Chelsie D’Malta Thurmond
Chelsie D’Malta Thurmond transplanted to California from New Orleans, Louisiana over a decade ago. Chelsie graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and minors in Psychology and Peace and Justice Studies from the University of San Diego. Upon graduation, she was awarded the “Spirit of Public Sociology” Award and was also inducted into USD’s prestigious Alcala 100 Club, nominated by university staff and administration as an outstanding key leader in the USD community. During her undergraduate career, Chelsie coordinated a volunteer program at the local juvenile hall. It is through her experiences she fostered with incarcerated youth where she discovered her passion for criminal defense and advocating for those in need of a strong ally as they face the taxing reality of the criminal justice system.
After Chelsie graduated from the University of San Diego, she went on to attend the University of San Francisco School of Law. Chelsie participated in USF’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic and clerked at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office, in the former Hayward Branch Office, as well as the Juvenile Unit in San Leandro. She also worked as a criminal defense law clerk assisting in the defense of several high profile cases. While awaiting her bar results, Chelsie volunteered at the Santa Clara Office of the Public Defender’s Juvenile Team.
Most recently, Chelsie worked as a Deputy Public Defender for the Mendocino County Office of the Public Defender, where she proved to be an excellent trial attorney. In her time there, Chelsie handled a broad spectrum of cases. She was often recognized by judges, colleagues, and courtroom staff for her diligence, compassion, and dedication to clients.
A Bay Area Native, Roxane Farmer has over a decade of experience working in criminal law and defense. She graduated with Highest Honors from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2008 and worked for the Department of Justice in Washington D.C., and then as a paralegal on a multi-defendant homicide case in Marin County before attending law school.
While at U.C. Davis School of Law, Roxane worked on death penalty cases at the California Appellate Project, and received a grant through the King Hall Legal Foundation that funded her work as a state certified intern at the San Francisco County Public Defender’s Office. Roxane also externed at the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office, where she argued suppression motions, argued for pre-trial release of incarcerated clients, and wrote motions. Roxane also participated in the Prison Law Clinic at U.C. Davis, responding to prisoner inquiries about conditions of confinement and preparing prisoners for parole hearings.
In addition to working on criminal law issues throughout law school, Roxane was an exemplary student. She was the T.A. to the Dean of Student’s in his Constitutional Law class and advised first-year students on how to succeed in law school. During her final year, Roxane was one of two students on the Law School Admission’s Committee and, together with faculty, selected the incoming law class at U.C. Davis.
Roxane passed the California Bar Exam in 2014, and the Alaska Bar Exam in 2016. She was a judicial law clerk in Anchorage for two years before joining the criminal and habeas team as a staff attorney at The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Most recently, Roxane worked at the San Francisco County Public Defender’s Office where she represented clients charged with misdemeanors and second-chaired homicide cases. As a public defender, Roxane did jury trials and had a robust motions practice that resulted in frequent dismissals of her clients’ cases. In addition to trial advocacy, she performed extensive legal research and writing on serious felony cases.
After graduating, Kat moved to Oakland, a community that she loves because of its’ tolerance, diversity, and passion for the arts. She went into sales at a large tech company to pay the notoriously high bay area rent, and soon developed a unique approach to consultative, honest salesmanship. She has given lectures to budding salespeople called “Empathy is Your Secret Weapon”, which won her an accolade award from General Assembly.
Kat is passionate about prisoners rights advocacy and impacting reforms in our prison system. Because she has loved ones who are incarcerated, she understands the impact that a prison sentence has on communities, families, and the individual. She hopes to someday help enact changes that will lead to more positive rehabilitation and re-entry into society for people who
have served time incarcerated. She truly believes that people contain multitudes far beyond their mistakes. She is very happy to be part of a team that shares this core belief.
At an early age, Elaine began developing her interest in the legal field when she was forced to adapt to the outcomes and challenges of a close family member’s prison sentencing. Having to take on adult responsibilities at an early age, she began questioning the justice system. This interest grew deeper during her sophomore year in high school where she joined the speech and debate team, enrolled in Political Science college courses, and attended court cases at her local court house. While attending UC Davis, she volunteered at an internship that allowed her to publish online articles for Yolo County court cases. Elaine’s ultimate goal is to utilize both her educational background and personal experience to become a criminal defense attorney. As a criminal defense attorney, Elaine aspires to give back the community the security in the justice system as well as the voice that they deserve.
Ebony’s hobbies include traveling, dancing, reading and serving as a coordinator for youth activities at her church. She has a passion for helping youth and young adults, meeting new people, and experiencing life. Her future goal is to create a non-profit organization that is geared towards feeding and clothing the houseless.
Monique’s special interests include women’s rights, prisoner’s rights, social justice, criminal justice, and inmate reentry to society. Additional She enjoys visiting new places, traveling, eating, cooking, dancing, spending time with family, listening to music, watching the latest popular TV show, and going to the gym. Monique’s future career aspirations include attending law school and subsequently practicing criminal law.