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    Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter

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      Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter

          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. Jo-Anna began her post-bar legal career at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, which gives Jo-Anna a rare perspective that she uses to support, advise, and defend you.

          “I love criminal law. It’s captivating and I’m passionate about it,”

                                                                                                   – Jo-Anna Nieves

          Jo-Anna is committed to mounting the best possible defense for what she calls “hard working, family-oriented, successful professionals 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.”

          Jo-Anna was 20 years old when she graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in both Multinational Business and Finance. She went on to earn her J.D. from Florida State University in May 2009, where she was also a member of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. Jo-Anna started her legal career by interning with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, where she gained experience in the arraignment of misdemeanor and domestic violence offenses, the prosecution of adult sexual assault crimes, and felony preliminary hearings. After Jo-Anna passed the California Bar, she continued her career at the Sacramento County DA’s Office. She gained experience in the misdemeanor trial unit, negotiating plea offers, arguing suppression motions, and prepping cases for trial. She also built a rapport with members of the legal community, and further developed her trial advocacy skills.

          Two years later, she accepted a position as a trial attorney at a creditor’s rights law practice in Los Angeles, where she effectively litigated over 400 cases by reaching favorable resolutions for her clients by way of settlement prior to trial and maintaining a success rate of 95% for over 100 cases that went to trial.

          In 2012, Jo-Anna started The Nieves Law Firm, APC, to help restore the reputation of those caught in California’s criminal justice system. Since opening her own office, she has successfully represented defendants charged with assault and battery, DUI, contempt, drug offenses, sexual assault and other sex crimes, robbery and other theft crimes, fraud, and domestic violence and other violent crimes. She also has an impressive track record in civil litigation matters such as civil harassment, domestic violence, workplace violence and elder abuse restraining orders.

          Jo-Anna has served as a mock trial coach for El Centro Legal de la Raza’s Youth Law Academy and their Advisory Board for several years and is a member of the Earl Warren Inns of Court. Jo-Anna also taught at Stanford Law School in 2018 and 2019 – educating future lawyers about Trial Advocacy. She is admitted to practice before all courts of the State of California and Florida and is admitted for federal practice in the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California.

          Kevin Carney

          Kevin Carney is a defense lawyer that is dedicated to using his legal knowledge to serve his community. Born and raised in Stockton, California, Kevin considers it an honor to help protect the constitutional rights of his neighbors, friends, and fellow California natives. Prior to starting his legal career, Kevin joined the Peace Corps in Guatemala for two years, where he learned to speak, write and read Spanish fluently. This experience has fueled his interest and sensitivity to how criminal cases can impact a client’s immigration status. At the Nieves Law Firm, Kevin focuses on representing clients facing serious criminal charges.

          Some of Kevin’s exemplary legal work is best portrayed by the results he received for clients facing serious criminal penalties. He has successfully secured a “Not Guilty” verdict for a client facing murder charges in Stockton, California, and has received acquittals for two clients facing potential prison sentences of over 50 years for an alleged Robbery and an alleged Carjacking, both in San Joaquin County. Kevin has also received several acquittals for clients facing criminal charges related to domestic violence, DUIs, and burglary in a number of counties throughout the Bay Area.

          Kevin has been working as a criminal defense attorney for over 14 years, graduating from UC Davis College of Law in 2006. He started out his legal career working as a Public Defender in San Joaquin County. His experiences there helped him get a better understanding of San Joaquin’s criminal justice system, and he accumulated a myriad of trial experience and training, which qualifies him to handle death penalty cases pursuant to California Rules of Court section 4.117.

          When Kevin is not helping clients with their legal needs, he enjoys reading, writing and biking. He is a big fan of ocean swimming, and has swam in events such as the South End Rowing Club’s Alcatraz Invitational and the Tiburon Mile.

          Breanne Grey

          Breanne (Bre) Grey is a relentless defense attorney who represents individuals accused of a wide variety of criminal charges throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento. For her, the opportunity to defend fellow Bay Area natives is a dream come true. In fact, Breanne was born and raised in the Bay and has lived in every county except Marin (where she plans on retiring), leaving only to further her legal career by attending law school in New York and clerking with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Breanne was sworn to the California State Bar in 2015, accomplishing a goal she’d had since drawing herself as a judge on the cover of Time magazine for a class project.

          Prior to joining The Nieves Law Firm, Breanne gained trial experience by working at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and with private counsel across the Bay Area. Breanne’s unique legal experience has rendered her versatile in a number of criminal defense cases, ranging from drugs and DUIs to homicides and sexual battery.

          Breanne has a history of success through effective legal writing. She has written successful motions to dismiss in the interest of justice, motions to set aside the information, and motions to suppress evidence, allowing her to achieve impressive results for the individuals she represents. Not only is Bre a great writer, she is also a compelling orator in the courtroom, captivating jurors with her trial summations. Breanne’s approach to legal advocacy requires the clients to bring her the facts of the case while she takes care of the rest. 

          When she is not representing The Nieves Law Firm clients, Breanne volunteers with the Prisoner Reentry Network to provide counsel and assistance for inmates across the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

          In her free time, Breanne likes taking her Mustang or Bronco out on a cruise around the Bay Area. You can also find Bre hiking the Santa Cruz Mountains over the weekends with her beagle, Fin. Breanne’s talents extend far beyond the legal field as she is a decorated fantasy football manager and was the MVP of her law school flag football team. Breanne has recently taken up sailing and is a founding member of the Wahine Sail Club.

          Victoria Hirsch

          Los Angeles native and attorney Victoria (Tori) Hirsch is eager to fight for you in the legal arena, and she thoroughly enjoys fighting for the rights of every single person she represents. At the Nieves Law Firm, Tori primarily represents clients facing criminal charges, those who find themselves caught up in the juvenile justice system, and those who need assistance with post-conviction relief matters. Her focus on juvenile work stems from her previous experience working as an English Language Arts teacher at KIPP Bayview Academy where she taught what she considers “some of the world’s smartest, funniest, and kindest seventh graders.” Now, she spends her professional career dedicated to keeping Californians out of the criminal justice system.

          One of the most memorable cases in Tori’s career took place while she was in law school. She and other representatives from her school’s Juvenile Justice Clinic helped a young client facing serious charges avoid incarceration with the Department of Juvenile Justice.  Success in that case required taking a detailed social history from the client and leveraging facts about the client’s life to advocate for him in front of the judge and with the District Attorney. Throughout the case, Tori learned that providing great legal representation includes building a trusting, empathetic relationship with every client she defends. Tori’s background is what makes her zealous and eager to fight for justice, and she is hungry to take on any and all Juvenile and Post-Conviction Relief cases.

          Tori earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona before attaining her law degree from Loyola Law School. As a student there, Tori developed her love for criminal defense through courses like Criminal Procedure, where she internalized the limits the Constitution places on police action. Outside of the classroom, Tori spent her time assisting public defenders around the county during externships with offices in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New Orleans. As a participant in Loyola’s Juvenile Justice Clinic, Tori managed her own caseload of young clients accused of delinquency charges.

          When Tori isn’t defending clients from police action, she enjoys cooking, exercising through barre classes, interior decorating, and looking for the best local matcha latte (she claims nothing beats Blue Bottle Coffee). Tori lived in Oakland while teaching in San Francisco and fell in love with Oakland’s rich history and culture. Even though Tori is from L.A., she now considers The Bay her home.

          Stephani Prieto

          Stephani Prieto is a criminal defense attorney at The Nieves Law Firm with unwavering passion for social justice and client-focused legal representation. Having lived in the Bay Area for much of her life, Stephani shares a strong connection with the local community and fellow Bay Area residents. Stephani believes that everyone should be afforded quality representation to prevent the perpetuation of systemic injustice.

          Stephani graduated from U.C. Davis with a B.A. in Political Science before attaining her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law with a certificate in Public Interest. Stephani first developed her love of criminal defense as an undergraduate intern at the Yolo County Public Defender’s office. During law school, Stephani externed at various public defender offices in Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Jackson Mississippi, and Washington DC.

          Outside of the office Stephani spends her time working-out, spending time with family, and exploring the Bay Area.

          Ebony Caraballo

          Ebony Caraballo is the Office Manager at The Nieves Law Firm. She was born and raised in Florida and, after graduating from Florida State University, moved across the country to California where she became an intern at The Nieves Law Firm. She gained experience in criminal defense and quickly became skilled at law office management, client relations, and case management systems.

          In 2017, Ebony came back to The Nieves Law Firm as a paralegal where she felt she could affirmatively take a stand against mass incarceration and demand police accountability. Ebony exhibited hard work, dedication, and loyalty to The Nieves Law Firm, which landed her a new position in 2019 as The Nieves Law Firm’s office manager. To learn more about management, Ebony attended Western Governors University where she received her Masters in Management and Leadership in 2020. 

          Ebony thoroughly enjoys her position as our office manager. From interviewing potential new employees, onboarding them, training them in their new position, and teaching them The Nieves Law Firm way, she is our office’s go-to for any and all questions. Ebony is always finding new ways to create better systems and training guides to help our office grow and reach our goals. 

          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.

          Andres O’Sullivan-Comparan

          Andrés O’Sullivan-Comparan is a legal assistant at the Nieves Law Firm, assisting attorneys and clients throughout case preparation and trial proceedings. Originally from California, Andrés grew up in San Diego and neighboring Tijuana, Mexico. Throughout Andrés’ childhood, he was blessed with a very unique intercultural understanding from his opportunity to interact with a multitude of people from all different cultures and backgrounds. Criminal defense has always been a fundamental part of Andrés’ interests and prior experiences, which sparked his interest in a career in the legal field.

          In 2020, Andrés graduated from Brown University with a degree in History with a specialization in 20th Century Latin America. He also completed a summer internship with the San Diego Public Defender’s office while pursuing his undergraduate degree. Throughout his internship, Andrés witnessed the inadequacies of the criminal justice system firsthand. This experience redefined the criminal justice system for Andrés and motivated him to do his part in creating a more accessible and dignified path to actively defend those who are in need.

          Andrés assists clients to the fullest of his ability at The Nieves Law Firm, understanding that he can utilize his experiences to better prepare himself to pursue a career as a criminal defense attorney. Andrés has a strong gift in legal writing, analyzing, and critical thinking. He is relentless in his pursuit to assist clients and staff while also maintaining a positive attitude. Andrés thrives under pressure and his work ethic is admired by many. Andrés plans to start law school in 2022. 

          When Andrés is not furthering his legal knowledge base, he spends his free time attending art shows, metalworking, and hanging out at the beach.

          Erin Afana

          Legal assistant Erin Afana is committed to helping those caught in the criminal justice system. She has personally experienced the criminal justice and family court systems from multiple perspectives and seeing the challenges from each viewpoint has driven her passion to make a difference and break the cycles of our failed systems. She strongly believes that there are many underlying factors that can influence bad decisions or behaviors. Erin is unwavering in her belief that individuals should not be punished for mistakes but instead should be given resources and proper support to learn from their lapses in judgement.

          Erin graduated from the Justice Studies Master’s Program at San Jose State University in 2021, where she developed an interest in research and investigation. Before embarking on her master’s journey, Erin received her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from California State East Bay. Her academic focus has been social justice, juvenile justice, evidence-based practices, and mental health (specifically in trauma, youth development, and healing).

          In 2018, Erin completed her Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) training and was sworn in by a Santa Clara family court judge. She is now working on becoming a volunteer at Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY), where she will teach a law-related education curriculum to youth in Alameda County. Erin plans to continue her education by either attending law school to become a juvenile attorney or obtaining her PHD for further research and teaching.

          Born and raised in the Bay Area, Erin appreciates local street art and being surrounded by diverse cultures with a multitude of beautiful languages. When she is not listening to crime podcasts or watching documentaries, she enjoys taking outdoor adventures while being surrounded by nature or staying home to play board games and read.

          Julianna Barreto-Jackson

          Julianna Barreto-Jackson was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, but she has always felt that her heart was in the Bay Area. The day after she graduated from The Art Institute of Phoenix with a Bachelors of Arts in Fashion Marketing and Management, she drove all of her belongings to Berkeley.

          Julianna bounced around the Bay, but ultimately she found a permanent home in Oakland where she fell in love with Oakland’s beautiful diversity and culture. After working in the fashion industry for several years, she didn’t feel satisfied with her current career path. Julianna wanted to be able to be a part of a team that wanted to help those in need.

          Julianna decided to switch careers and go back to school to pursue a paralegal certification from Cal State East Bay. During school, she realized that the legal industry was where she needed to be and was excited to start a more rewarding career in the criminal legal field. Julianna is passionate about helping others because she believes every person goes through life, down their own path, and sometimes that path may end them up in a negative situation. She believes that some people may need a lending hand and everyone, no matter their story, deserves a chance. During her free time, Julianna enjoys finding new recipes to cook, hiking and exploring new trails, and spending quality time with her loved ones.

          Dakota Char-Lee

          A Bay Area native, Dakota is an instrumental part of The Nieves Law Firm’s mission to protect the rights and future of every client. Dakota is a file clerk at The Nieves Law Firm, allowing her to take advantage of her effective communication and time management skills. For her, a career helping others is more than a job, it’s a way of life. 

          Dakota graduated from Cal State East Bay with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. Dakota is currently working on her paralegal certification and plans on finishing her coursework in 2021. Her passion for the legal field stems from her dedication to advocate for others, especially those who are seeking guidance through the difficult and trying processes of the legal justice system. She previously spent time volunteering at Glide Church in San Francisco, where she learned that in order to be an agent of change you must commit to helping others out for the good of society.

          Throughout Dakota’s educational career, her studies have continuously increased her knowledge base so she can fulfill her passion of advocating for those in need. She is a firm believer that everyone is capable of change, and people do in fact deserve second chances to rectify their past decisions. Community outreach is one way that Dakota knows she can make a difference. Staying connected within her community is how she feels she can continue to join the fight against injustices of all kinds.

          In her spare time, Dakota enjoys reading books, spending time with her loved ones, and working out. Dakota is a huge fan of Disneyland and visits the theme park often with her daughter. She enjoys taking long walks in nature and taking in all of the scenic beauty The Bay has to offer.

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