Advisory Board

Joni Spears

Advisory Board Chair
Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office
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Frank Barone

Advisory Board Member
San Diego County Primary Public Defender's Office

Frank J. Barone is the Assistant Supervisor of the Juvenile Division of the San Diego County Primary Public Defender’s Office.  He has practiced criminal defense since 1997 and became a deputy public defender in 1998.  He has represented adults and children, as both a trial and appellate attorney.  He supervises day-to-day operations and manages the Juvenile Division’s internship program.  He leads the team representing dual status youth and   oversees the county-wide SB 395 program.  He serves on the Restorative Community Conferencing Steering Committee, Alternatives to Detention Task Force, TERM Advisory Board, Crossover Youth Practice Model Guiding Coalition Workgroup, and San Pasqual Academy Advisory Board.  In 2017, he wrote the original draft of AB 529 which expanded record sealing under WIC 786 to include dismissed petitions.  Mr. Barone frequently instructs at the Public Defender’s Office, where trainings are streamed statewide.  He is certified by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) as a Juvenile Intensive Training Program (JTIP) trainer.  He served on the board of directors of the San Diego County Bar Association and the Public Defenders Association of San Diego County.  He was also a co-founder, board member, and president of the San Diego County Public Defender’s Community Outreach Committee.  Mr. Barone received a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and J.D. from California Western School of Law.  He shares a son with his wife, also a deputy public defender.


JoAnna Edwards

Advisory Board Member
Fresno County Public Defender's Office

JoAnna Edwards is the Supervising Attorney of the Juvenile Division of the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office. JoAnna has been with the Public Defender’s Office since 2012. She received her B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara and her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. JoAnna is a certified JTIP trainer with the National Juvenile Defender Center and is one of the JTAP Ambassadors for the Central Valley Regional Training Program. In addition to PJDC’s Advisory Board, she currently sits on the Fresno County Delinquency Executive Committee, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, SB 823 DJJ Realignment Subcommittee, Restorative Justice Advisory Board, Probation Phased-Response Plan Subcommittee, Judicial Workgroup Subcommittee and the Human Trafficking Court Steering Committee.

Christopher Hawthorne

Advisory Board Member
Loyola Law School Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing Clinic

Christopher Hawthorne is the Director of the Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing (JIFS) Clinic at Loyola Law School, the first law school clinic in the country dedicated solely to juvenile post-conviction sentencing and litigation.  Together with PJDC board member Maureen Pacheco, Hawthorne started the JIFS Clinic in 2012, shortly before the Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama.  Students in the JIFS Clinic have successfully litigated matters for over 100 clients, including Miller and Franklin hearings, 1170(d)(2) and 1170.95 hearings, wrongful convictions, appeals and parole hearings.  Mr. Hawthorne graduated from Loyola Law School and was an associate in the white collar department at O’Melveny & Myers, until he decided he needed a better class of client.  Now he exclusively represents clients in state prison, on appeal or post-conviction, and has done so for nearly two decades.  He has taught at Loyola Law School since 2004.  Before graduating from law school, he was a television executive and screenwriter for 20 years.

Margaret “Peggy” Huscher

Advisory Board Member
El Dorado County Public Defender's Office

Margaret “Peggy” Huscher graduated from Skidmore College in New York and McGeorge School of Law in California.  Following law school, she and her husband lived for three years in Micronesia where she advised the Kosrae State Court on issues such as due process, exclusionary rule, etc.  Upon her return to California, she worked as a public defender in Shasta County for approximately 20 years.  During that time, she represented clients in every aspect of the public defender practice including but not limited to murders, serious sex cases, general felonies, juveniles, misdemeanors,  guardianships, and conservatorships.  In 2017, she was named the Pacific Juvenile Defender’s Center  “Defender of the Year.”  Currently, she is a member of Pacific Juvenile Defender Center’s Advisory Board and is a Commissioner with the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission.  In 2018, she accepted her dream job in the El Dorado County Public Defender’s office where she exclusively represents  juveniles in an office that supports hiring  experts and gives her enough time to be creative.


Corene Kendrick

Advisory Board Member
ACLU National Prison Project

Corene Kendrick is the Deputy Director of the ACLU National Prison Project, where she directs class action litigation and policy advocacy on behalf of incarcerated people across the country. From 2011 to 2020 she was a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, California, where she worked on multiple cases on behalf of people in prisons and jails in California and Arizona. She also was a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco from 2005 to 2011, where she engaged in policy advocacy, impact litigation, and public education on behalf of children in foster care and juvenile justice systems in numerous jurisdictions across the country.  While at YLC, she worked with Sue Burrell to obtain PJDC’s 501(c)(3) status and to grow the organization. She served on PJDC’s Executive Board from its founding in 2010 through December 2020, and moved to the Advisory Board in January 2021.  She also was a Skadden Fellow at Children’s Rights in New York, where she worked on class action lawsuits to reform multiple state foster care systems. Prior to attending law school, she was a Congressional lobbyist for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  She holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, and a B.A. from George Washington University.

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Sara McDermott

Advisory Board Member
Munger, Tolles & Olson

Sara McDermott is a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.  Her pro bono practice focuses on civil rights/prison litigation, including juvenile justice litigation. She served as amicus counsel in two juvenile justice cases before the California Supreme Court in 2020: O.G. v. Superior Ct. of Ventura Cty., 11 Cal. 5th 82 (2021) and In re Palmer, 10 Cal. 5th 959 (2021). She also represented the Youth Justice Coalition, among others, in a writ petition filed directly in the California Supreme Court, seeking to protect the health and constitutional rights of youth and adults incarcerated in correctional facilities across the state. (NACDL v. Newsom, No. S261827 (2020).) Ms. McDermott strives to stay involved in community-based juvenile justice reform efforts, as a member of the PJDC advisory board. She is also the author of Calibrating the Eighth Amendment: Graham, Miller, and the Right to Mental Healthcare in Juvenile Prison, 63 UCLA Law Review 712 (2016).

Before law school, Ms. McDermott worked with justice-involved youth at the YWCA of Greater Austin. Ms. McDermott earned her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, and her B.A. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. She clerked for the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Honorable Michael W. Fitzgerald in the Central District of California.


Raji Shivshanker

Advisory Board Member
Mitigation Specialist, Los Angeles

Raji Shivshanker is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in Los Angeles. Raji earned her Master’s in Social Work (M.S.W.) from the University of Southern California, where she concentrated her training in Community Organization, Planning, and Administration, and interned for the ACLU of Southern California’s Community Engagement and Policy Advocacy Department.

After graduate school, Raji worked as a community mental health clinician serving transitional aged youth. In 2016, Raji led the startup of the Youth Coordinated Entry System in the San Gabriel Valley, which focused on issues of housing and homelessness for young people exiting foster care and juvenile probation. She co-led Los Angeles’ 100 Day Challenge Team to house 100 youth in 100 days in partnership with L.A. County’s Homeless Initiative and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Raji piloted multidisciplinary housing planning with Los Angeles County’s Juvenile Probation Department and the Department of Children and Family Services as part of her effort to support youth exiting systems of confinement.

In 2017, Raji began her work as a private mitigation specialist and expert witness on capital, Franklin, and transfer cases in Los Angeles County. As a licensed psychotherapist, Raji is trained in somatic and talk therapy modalities and specializes in the treatment of complex trauma and dissociation. Raji’s work and life is informed by her experience growing up in Texas as a bi-racial woman. Raji integrates anti-oppressive practice, multicultural healing traditions, and trauma-informed approaches in her clinical and forensic work.

Nisreen Younis

Nisreen Baroudi

Advisory Board Member
Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office

Nisreen Baroudi is the Supervising Attorney of the Juvenile Division at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office in San Jose.  Ms. Baroudi been with the Public Defender’s Office since 2004. A first-generation immigrant from Damascus, Syria, she grew up in San Jose. She received her B.A. from U.C. Davis, and her law degree from McGeorge School of Law. She works closely with other juvenile justice advocates, community members, and juvenile justice stakeholders on racial and ethnic disproportionality in the juvenile system as well as ending the school-to-prison pipeline. In 2020, Ms. Baroudi received the “Wester Sweet Esq. Legal Services Award” from the NAACP San Jose/Silicon Valley County Branch, as well as “Juvenile Defender of the Year” Award from PJDC.