Patricia Warth joined the Center for Community Alternatives in January 2008, as Co-
Director of Justice Strategies where she will use her experience representing those
accused of crimes who have not yet been convicted, as well as those convicted of crimes
and serving their sentences. Patricia Warth has devoted her legal career to criminal
justice issues. After graduating from Cornell Law School in 1996 and clerking for a
federal district court judge, Ms. Warth worked for the New York State Capital Defender
Office, representing individuals charged with first degree murder and facing a possible
sentence of death. In 2005, after New York's highest court invalidated the death penalty
in New York, Ms. Warth spent a semester at Syracuse Law School's Office of Clinical
Legal Education as practitioner-in-residence. Interested in continuing her work on behalf
of those involved in the criminal justice system, Ms. Warth spent two years working for
Prisoner's Legal Services of New York as Managing Attorney of the Buffalo office until
joining the Center for Community Alternatives.
Marika Meis has been a public defender for over ten years. She joined The Bronx
Defenders in 2004 and has served as Legal Director since 2008. As Legal Director,
Marika supervises all de novo bail applications and writs for The Bronx Defenders. She
also has a bail writ currently pending before the Court of Appeals. Prior to joining The
Bronx Defenders, Marika worked with the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Defense
Division in the Bronx, as an appellate defender at Appellate Advocates in the Second
Department, and as a clerk for the Staff Attorney's Office at the Second Circuit Court of
JOANNE MACRI is the Director of the Criminal Defense Immigration Project
(CDIP) of the New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA). On behalf of
NYSDA, Ms. Macri travels across New York State training criminal defense
attorneys on the immigration consequences of New York criminal convictions.
For her service, Ms. Macri was recently recognized by the New York State Bar
Association’s Criminal Justice Section for her Outstanding Contribution to
Criminal Law Education. Ms. Macri served as a legal advisor to the New York State
Immigration Pardon Panel established by former Governor David Patterson and as
the former Director of the NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project as a Managing
Attorney for Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York. Prior to joining the staff of
NYSDA, Ms. Macri served as a NYSDA Board Member. She is currently an adjunct
professor at the State of New York University at Buffalo Law School where she
teaches immigration law, immigration law practice and criminal/immigration law.
Ms. Macri received her Honors Bachelor degree from the University of Ottawa and
her Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School. She serves as a committee member of
the NYSBA Immigration and Federal Litigation Subcommittee and has served on
the New York City Bar Association Criminal Justice Operations Committee, the
WNY AILA Chapter Subcommittees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement
and Customs and Border Protection.
Jeff Leibo practiced as a criminal attorney for over seven years before joining CCA as
Senior Project Manager for Justice Strategies in April 2011. Mr. Leibo’s work at CCA is
funded through a grant awarded to CCA by the Open Society Institute to facilitate the full
implementation of the New York Drug Law Reform Acts of 2009. After graduating from
the Syracuse University College of Law in 2003, he spent two years working as a
prosecutor in Tompkins County, NY before joining the Anelli Xavier law firm. In this
position he practiced criminal defense statewide representing hundreds of defendants, and
conducting dozens of trials. He is also involved in coaching the Syracuse University
College of Law’s intercollegiate trial advocacy teams.
For the past 25 years Tom Klein has been a trial attorney in the Criminal Defense
Division. He has been a staff attorney, a Supervising Attorney, a Director of
Litigation, a senior homicide attorney, and an Attorney in Charge of the NY
County office. He has handled a large number of homicide cases, and has
lectured extensively at the Legal Aid Society and for the New York State
Defenders Association on cross-examination. He is the co-author of "Expanding
the Scope of Cross-Examination at Hearing and Trials in New York State," a
recent two volume, Legal Aid Society publication.
Ellen Yaroshefsky is Clinical Professor of Law and the director of the Jacob Burns Ethics
Center at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York.
She teaches a range of ethics courses, organizes symposia, and writes and lectures in the field
of legal ethics. Ms. Yaroshefsky also counsels lawyers and law firms and serves as an expert
witness. She is co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Ethics, Gideon and Professionalism
Committee of the Criminal Justice Section, chair of the Ethics Committee of the National
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and serves on ethics committees of state and local
bar associations. Prior to joining the Cardozo faculty, she was an attorney at the Center for
Constitutional Rights in New York. She began her career as an attorney for the Puyallup Tribe in
Tacoma, Washington and subsequently was a criminal defense lawyer in Seattle, Washington.
She has received a number of awards for litigation and received the New York State Bar
Association award for “Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Law Education.”
Brian Crow graduated from NYU School of Law in 2007 and has been a public defender at The
Legal Aid Society ever since. He has filed 15-20 writs of habeas corpus in that time, and has won
at least 75% of them. He also has taken two writs to the Appellate Division, and currently has a
client out on bail pending appeal.
Hon. Fern A. Fisher
Judge Fisher is the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts and also serves as the Director of the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program.
Judge Fisher’s career started in the Civil Court as a Legal Services attorney practicing in Manhattan Housing Court. She served as Deputy Director of Harlem Legal Services, Inc. and as an Assistant Attorney General of the New York State Department of Law. For four years, she provided pro bono legal services to Harlem-based community organizations as a project director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers. In 1989, she was appointed Judge of the Housing Part of the Civil Court, and later, in 1990, was elected to the Civil Court where she served as Deputy Supervising Judge. Judge Fisher was elected in 1993 to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. After serving in both the City and the Matrimonial Parts of Supreme Court, in December 1996 she was appointed Administrative Judge of the Civil Court where she served until March 2009 when she was appointed to her current position.
Judge Fisher contributes the Views from the Bench in the Thomson-West practice guide, "Residential Landlord-Tenant Law in New York." She served as the host of a series of television shows on housing issues for Crosswalk's, a public service cable show. She is a frequent lecturer at the New York State Judicial Institute and has taught at CUNY Law School. Judge Fisher is a founding member of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, a member and past Board member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the New York County Lawyers Association. Judge Fisher also served as the Chair of the Housing Court (Judges) Disciplinary Committee and Chair of the Anti-Bias Committee of the New York County Supreme Court. Judge Fisher served as an expert on courts of lower jurisdiction for the Yale Law School China Law Center during two workshops in China devoted to exploring improvements to the Chinese judicial system. In 2006, Harvard Law School awarded her the Gary Bellow Public Service Award. In 2008, she was appointed to the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. She is the recipient of many other awards too numerous to list here.
Judge Fisher received her B.A. summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 from Howard University and received her J.D. in 1978 from Harvard Law School.
Hon. Melissa C. Jackson
Melissa C. Jackson is a judge for the New York City Criminal Court of New York County, New York. She was appointed to the court in 2003 and has served as the supervising judge of the New York County Criminal Court since 2008. Her current term expires in 2017.
On October 22, 2014, Jackson was appointed the administrative judge of the New York City Criminal Courts.