Laila provides systems and office management support for the entire Centurion team, specializing in fundraising operations. She has more than 20 years of experience in various development and administrative operations roles and is skilled in donor relations, fundraising, and process management. Prior to joining Centurion’s team, Laila was the Resource Development Manager at Isles, Inc., and the Development Director at the Waldorf School of Princeton. Laila provides systems and office management support for the entire Centurion team, specializing in fundraising operations. Her undergraduate degree is in Psychology. In her spare time, Laila is a Board Member of the Princeton YWCA, a review committee member for Cooperman College Scholars, and a member of Masjid Waarith ud Deen fundraising committee. She is the mother of two children and resides in Mercer County with her husband.
Christina received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University – Newark and her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently, Christina worked at The Legal Aid Society in the Parole Revocation Defense Unit (during which time she spent a significant amount of time on Rikers Island working with clients with special needs), and then in the Criminal Defense Practice.
After joining Centurion in 2018, Corey transitioned to the role of Executive Director in January 2019. Corey works with Centurion’s staff, board, volunteers, and donors to grow support for our work, and build organizational capacity. She is passionate about drawing people to Centurion’s mission, and the pursuit of justice for the innocent in prison. Corey has more than 15 years of experience working for non-profits at both local and national organizations with a wide range of missions including community development, education, domestic violence prevention, and disability services. She is proud and humbled to serve the men and women that Centurion supports. Corey lives in Lawrenceville, NJ with her husband and young daughter.
Kathy’s bio is forthcoming.
Stephen began with Merrill Lynch in 2003 after eight years working for a leading business and technology consultancy in a variety of management roles. He focuses on multi-faceted wealth management with an emphasis on investment and estate planning services. Stephen holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Stephen is a graduate of Brown University. A member of the Princeton Day School alumni board and a Head Pop Warner coach Stephen still finds time to run his local trails and cycle throughout central New Jersey. Stephen and his family reside in Belle Mead, New Jersey.
Edwin(Ed) is a retired partner of Ernst & Young with 40 years experience serving top-tier financial services institutions in both the assurance and advisory areas. Ed currently serves on the boards of a publicly traded bank in New Jersey and 2 asset management companies located in the New York Metropolitan area. Ed holds a BS in electrical engineering from Clarkson University, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MS in accounting from Northwestern University. For the past 20 years Ed has led a mentoring program with Adlai Stevenson High School in the Bronx. Ed was introduced to Centurion by retired Chairman, Jay Regan and current Director, Charles Crow, who spoke in glowing terms about the mission of Centurion and the tremendous passion and commitment of its leaders, Jim McCloskey and Kate Germond. Ed has served on the Board of Centurion for nearly 20 years and remains very enthusiastic about its strategic mission and contribution to society. Ed and his wife Margy have two daughters, Genny and Emilia.
Regina’s bio is forthcoming.
Richard spent 15 years in Texas prisons as a result of being wrongfully convicted of murder and aggravated assault. While in prison he pursued his education receiving my Associate Degree in Science. With the help of Centurion his innocence was recognized. Richard was released from prison on October 10, 2009. But the fight was far from over. On February 15, 2012 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed his conviction and declared him to be “truly” innocent! After two and a half years of being out, having gone to prison at 19 and being released at 34, he was finally FREE! His case is the first non-DNA, non-recantation exoneration, Miles vs. State of Texas.
Shortly after his exoneration he founded Miles of Freedom, a organization providing re-entry and support services to recently released men and women in the Dallas area.
Subsequent to graduating from Bucknell University in 1964, Jim spent three years as a U.S. Naval Officer, including a year in Vietnam patrolling the rivers in the Mekong Delta serving as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Naval Junk Fleet. For such service he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat “V”. He then spent the next 12 years working for two different management consulting companies specializing in Japanese business affairs, the first in Tokyo and the second with the Hay group in his hometown of Philadelphia. In 1979, Jim felt a call to leave the business world and enter the ministry. In 1983, upon graduating with a Master of Divinity degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary and freeing an innocent man he met as a student chaplain at Trenton State Prison, Jim founded Centurion Ministries. Although still a member of Centurion’s Board of Trustees and still managing several cases he has been working on for years, Jim retired from the active management of Centurion’s organization in 2015. In 1993 Jim was the recipient of Princeton Seminary’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and in 2002 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Currently Jim is a member of Princeton’s Nassau Presbyterian Church’s Session, the ruling body of the church. He is also in the process of writing a book about his and Centurion’s 36 year experience with our nation’s criminal justice system.
Willem Kooyker received his B.A. in economics from Baruch College and an MBA in international finance and economics from NYU. He began his trading career with Internatio-Muller in Rotterdam, where he eventually became a managing director of the international trading group. In the early 1980s, he joined Commodities Corporation in Princeton, where he became president. In 1988, Kooyker founded Blenheim Capital Management, and was its chairman until retirement.
Along with, Judith-Ann Corrente, Willem is active in civic life, with a focus on New York City, and serves on a number of boards. Arts and culture is a major interest, and Judith serves as president, managing director and chief executive officer of the board of Metropolitan Opera. The couple is also interested in education, health, and social justice.
Ken Javerbaum has been one of New Jersey’s most well-known and highly-regarded members of the Plaintiff’s Civil Trial Bar for more than four decades. His standing and reputation have been built on his integrity and collegiality combined with his
extraordinary record of success as well as his committed participation and leadership in professional activities and organizations.
Ken has annually been recognized as one of the top Ten Super Lawyers in New Jersey and has received countless other distinctions, honors and accolades during this career. His colleagues at the bar routinely refer him their most difficult cases and it is a testament to his reputation and that he is frequently called upon to represent some New Jersey’s leading governmental and judicial officials when they or close family members require personal representation.
In addition to trying hundreds of cases to verdict and obtaining numerous multi-million dollar recoveries, Ken’s appellate advocacy has led to a number of progressive advances in Tort Law.
Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.
Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.
One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.
That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.
The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.
Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, The Associate, The Confession, The Litigators, Calico Joe, The Racketeer, Sycamore Row, Gray Mountain, Rogue Lawyer, The Whistler, Camino Island, The Rooster Bar, The Reckoning, and The Guardians) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.
Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books’ protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients’ case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.
When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.
I grew up in Storrs Connecticut, the daughter of two scientists and went to college very briefly before heading west to Mendocino California where I lived happily for 20 years. During those 20 years I started a business in the village of Mendocino in the mid-60’s, worked for a gourmet coffee company, helped my best friend open a shoe store, was a bookkeeper for a number of businesses, and managed to marry four husbands before leaving in late 1986. However, my passion was volunteer work. I started Mendocino’s first soup kitchen with another woman. I helped efforts to stop clear cut logging and small net fishing. I was able to change the way people (hippies) were able to register to vote so that it was much more egalitarian. My home was a safe house for women who left their abusers. I grew up in Mendocino and count it my ‘heart’ home. My husband and I headed east when he was offered interesting work with old friends in Manhattan. It was there in November 1986 I opened up the NY Times to an article about Jim McCloskey’s work on behalf of the wrongly convicted and I thought he needed my help. I called him up, we met, and thought we could get along and we worked together for the next 28 years. I had my own cases I worked as an investigator all over the US and I helped grow Centurion with Jim. I am an incredibly lucky woman to have found this work I have two basically neglected sons, a grandson, and a very patient husband.
Mary Catherine Cuff is a retired Judge from the New Jersey Supreme Court Appellate Division. She received her J.D. from the Rutgers School of Law in Newark.
Her full bio forthcoming.
Charlie is a founding partner at Crow & Cushing, a law firm representing individuals and entities concerned with physical commodity products for consumption or investment. He provides legal representation to multi-national firms including those in metals, softs, and energy. Charlie specializes in regulatory, transactional and corporate matters involving the SEC, CFTC, PERC, and IRS as well as experience with State Securities boards and Boards of Public Utilities. His clients include public and private firms and individuals in Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, and the United States.
Charlie holds a seat on the Boards of Arden Capital Management LLC; Blenheim Capital Management LLC; Investor Analytics LLC; Quality Capital Management (UK); and Tenor Capital Management, LP Funds. He is currently Chairman of the Board for 1st Constitution Bank, (FCCY). In addition to his longstanding commitment to Centurion since 1995, Charlie’s charitable work includes member of the Board of Starfish Foundation for Children with Aids, Inc from 1995 – 2000; Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey from 1991 – 1995 when he served a year long term as President. Charlie is currently on the Board of the Antique Boat Museum, Clayton NY.
Initially Charlie was drawn to Centurion because of his sense that while we have the fairest legal system in the world, it is run by human beings, and as such it is less than perfect. Where our system has made mistakes, he firmly believes it is incumbent on everyone but particularly those connected with the judicial system whether, lawyer, judge, prosecutor or law student to see that those mistakes are not allowed to go uncorrected and without remedy. Charlie has a BA from Hartwick College and a JD from Seton Hall University. He and his wife Lynn live in Princeton, NJ, have two grown children and #? grandchildren.
Jozelyn is a Managing Director at BancLab, LLC and the volunteer CFO on the board of directors at Village Health Works. She holds a PhD in International Economics and Macroeconomics from Columbia University.
Her full bio is forthcoming.
Rob is the Head of School at the Christina Seix Academy. He holds a PhD in Educational Policy and Management from the University of Pennsylvania and is a proud graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
His full bio is forthcoming.
Rob is Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Snowden Lane Partners, a national independent wealth advisory boutique. Rob spent 22 years at Merrill Lynch, in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, and London.
He was General Counsel and Chief Business Risk Officer of Global Wealth Management and a member of the GWM Executive and Operating Committees. He previously held senior executive positions in International Private Client and the Asia Pacific Region. Rob started at Merrill Lynch in London (Europe, Middle East and Africa Region) and before that worked at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He has a BA from Franklin and Marshall College and a JD from George Washington University.
Rob is passionate about preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system. He has been a long time supporter of Centurion. Rob is a former Board Chair and Board member of the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey and a founding Board member of the Christina Seix Academy, a residential school for underprivileged inner city children. Rob and his wife, Cheryl, reside in Princeton, NJ and have four children.
Kate Germond joined Centurion Ministries in January of 1987 after reading an article in the NY Times about Jim McCloskey’s pioneering work on behalf of the wrongly convicted. She thought he might need some help. They met, thought they could get along and for 30-years worked shoulder to shoulder to free the innocent from prison. Prior to that, she was a businesswoman and community activist in Mendocino, California where she lived with her family for close to 20 years. After Jim’s retirement in May 2015, Kate became the Executive Director of Centurion. She continued to grow the organization until the end of 2019, when returned to her passion of working in the field on cases. Kate remains a integral part of Centurion’s operations and is grateful every single day for Jim’s commitment in 1980 to free from prison a complete stranger.
Prior to becoming Legal Director for Centurion in October 2014, Paul Casteleiro was a sole practitioner with law offices in Hoboken, New Jersey. His specialty was criminal trial and appellate work. Early on in his private practice, Jim McCloskey retained Casteleiro to represent Chiefy De Los Santos, who became Centurion’s first client and exonoree. With that case, Casteleiro began his 35-year relationship with Centurion. Since then his collaboration with Jim McCloskey, and Kate Germond, Centurion’s Executive Director, has resulted in freeing wrongly convicted and imprisoned individuals. As a private practitioner he also was able to free several private, non-Centurion clients, who were wrongly convicted.
As a law student at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey Casteleiro clerked for Morton Stavis, one of the founders of the Center for Constitutional Rights. His work with Stavis led to an assignment on the Chicago 8 retrial. Upon his graduation from Rutgers, Casteleiro spent three years as a trial attorney with Office of the Public Defender in Jersey City, New Jersey.
His noteworthy achievements include: passage of a statute in New Jersey to compensate persons mistakenly imprisoned, N.J..S. 52:4C-3 et seq.; overturning the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s seminal ruling in State v Hurd, 86 N.J. 182 (1981) resulting in the banning hypnotically enhanced testimony in criminal trials, State v Moore, 188 N.J. 182 (2006); developing evidence establishing the unreliability of the F.B.I.’s bullet lead composition analysis leading the FBI to disband the unit offering such testimony, State v Behn, 375 N.J. Super 409 (App. Div. 2005); obtaining for the first time in New York State history a published ruling admitting expert testimony on the psychology of police interrogations and false confessions, People v Kogut, 10 Misc.3d 305 (Sup. Nassau Cty., 2005); the acquittal of two Centurion clients in the retrial of their murder cases, James Landano in New Jersey in 1998 and John Kogut in New York in 2005; the exoneration of Richard Lapointe, a developmentally disabled man who was coerced into confessing to a murder he did not commit, Lapointe v Commissioner, 316 Conn. 225 (2015); and the granting of a federal writ of habeas corpus and a new trial in the Florida State court for Jules Letemps, after 26 years of incarceration, ___ F. Supp.3d ___; 2015 WL 4429244 (M.D. Fla. 2015).
Casteleiro is admitted to the New Jersey and New York Bars, as well as, the Bars of Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third and Eleventh Circuits and Federal District Courts in New Jersey and the Southern and Eastern Districts in New York.
Jim Cousins is a graduate of Beloit College and Fordham Law School. He spent the majority of his career as a trial and appellate lawyer handling intellectual property matters, fraud investigations and commercial disputes. He also spent several years as general in-house counsel to emerging technology enterprises and as a director in the global contracts group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. His interest in working to free the wrongly convicted began in 1999 when he first volunteered to work with Centurion as local counsel in a Connecticut case. Fifteen years later, after working closely with Kate Germond and lead counsel Paul Casteleiro, that case resulted in the exoneration of Richard Lapointe. During those 15 years, Jim’s involvement with Centurion grew and evolved. His commitment to this type of work progressed to the point where he joined Centurion full time in 2015 as an Attorney/Investigator responsible for case investigations and related legal activities.
Subsequent to graduating from Bucknell University in 1964, Jim spent three years as a U.S. Naval Officer, including a year in Vietnam patrolling the rivers of the Mekong Delta serving as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Naval junk fleet. He then spent the next 12 years working for two different management consulting companies specializing in Japanese business affairs, the first in Tokyo and the second with the Hay group in his hometown of Philadelphia.
In 1979 Jim felt a call to leave the business world and enter the
ministry. In 1983, upon graduating with a Master of Divinity degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary and freeing an innocent man he met as a student chaplain at Trenton State Prison, Jim founded Centurion Ministries.
After 35 years, although still a member of Centurion’s Board of Trustees and still managing several cases he has been working on for years, Jim retired from the active management of Centurion’s organizational affairs in May 2015. He is now in the process of writing a book about Centurion’s experiences with our nation’s criminal justice system.
Priyanka Joined Centurion as a Communication associate in August 2019. She is a social media strategist and passionate about Centurion’s communication activities, focusing on our branding and expanding our visibility in today’s digital world. She obtained her Masters in Communication & Media from Rutgers University. She previously worked with a lead United Nations agency as a communication professional on a short-term project for individual giving and partnership. Prior to that, she was a journalist for several years in India and other international news organizations. Commencing her career as a correspondent she wrote a range of feature stories, interviewed prominent industry players and social figures from business to politics. Over the years, Priyanka developed an expertise in print & digital media production, media relation and strategic communication for fundraising and donor stewardship.
Janet joined Centurion in January 2011 as Intake Analyst and Volunteer Development. She holds a Paralegal Certificate from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.A. from San Francisco State University. As an undergraduate, she interned with a prison advocacy group that helps inmates in the San Francisco jail system stay connected with their families. Janet works on Centurion’s Case Development team, assessing potential cases of innocence in addition to developing our volunteer and intern needs. Prior to joining CM, Janet worked as the Education Coordinator for the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and was the Research Coordinator for a 15-year longitudinal research study called CHAPS (Child Health and Progress Study) that was conducted through Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. Janet has two sons – Luke, who lives in Southern California, and Sam, who lives in Pennsylvania.
Diane’s work with Centurion has been a passion, her calling – her work helps convey the humanity, courage and strength of individuals freed from wrongful imprisonment. As Director of Events and Outreach, Diane manages Centurion’s fundraising and awareness-raising events, and helps us identify potential partners who can help advance our mission. She is well versed in graphic design and photography; Diane photographs our exonerees from their first moments of freedom, through the days and years following their release as they rebuild their lives. She works to create marketing materials and newsletters that tell our freed families’ stories, and help people better understand Centurion’s fight for justice.
As Centurion’s bookkeeper, Rosemary manages our books and makes sure our bills are paid! She also helps support our Case Development team by assisting with database management. In addition to the work she does at Centurion, Rosemary is the co-owner and co-managing partner of East Spring Properties LLC, a small industrial park located in Eastampton Township with farm land located in both Eastampton & Springfield Townships, and co-owner and co-managing partner of 206 Associates Farm (located in Pemberton & Springfield Townships) consisting of a 40 acre commercial solar project and 40 acres of farmed land. She is also the Manager of the Burlington County Farm Fair of Burlington County, NJ where she coordinates the annual six day event, that takes place during the third week of July and welcomes over 50,000+ visitors. She also taught piano for three years, and owned and operated a daycare business for children of working mothers, 1972 – 1982 while raising her own two sons.
Alan left the world of journalism in 2012 to join CM as a staff investigator. As a reporter with the Louisville Courier-Journal, he co-wrote a series of stories about flaws in Kentucky’s criminal justice system that was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service. He earned a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association for a 2011 investigation into police shootings in Las Vegas. In his role as staff investigator, Alan conducts top-to-bottom reinvestigations of cases, interviewing witnesses, tracking down documents, and digging for other information that helps prove a client’s innocence. He is a Philadelphia native and a graduate of Brown University.
In 2003, Tyler began volunteering for Centurion. Since then, he has done everything from directing cars in a makeshift parking lot at Jim McCloskey’s house to assisting in set up and break down of all Centurion events. He has participated in fundraising efforts large and small and has organized collections of clothing, furniture and household supplies to help those freed in many ways. In 2015, Tyler became Centurion’s Exoneree Support team member. He develops long-lasting relationships with Centurion’s freed folks.He works directly with our freed folks on a regular basis, identifying their needs and helping to coordinate assistance. He considers them family, and has been inspired by their stories of wrongful conviction, their ability to release anger and embrace life no matter the challenges. Tyler also works with our fundraising team so that we can provide the continued support of our folks once they have been freed from prison.
Gene came to Centurion after a career at the American Arbitration Association in both non-profit management and law positions. He began at Centurion as a volunteer in 2012 and joined the staff in 2014. He has also served as legal counsel in corporate and law firm settings and a municipal attorney in Newark NJ. Having handled criminal cases on both the defense and prosecution sides, Gene came to Centurion with the hope of applying this perspective to seek justice for the innocent in prison. He works in conjunction with Kim Weston in overseeing the development of prospective cases. Gene holds a journalism degree from Rutgers and a law degree from Seton Hall.
Kim began volunteering as a case worker at Centurion Ministries in September of 2011. She became a full-time staff member in March of 2013 and works in conjunction with Gene Truncellito in overseeing the development of prospective cases. Prior to her employment at Centurion Ministries, Kim worked in the area of insurance law and regulation and in the field of education. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois and law degree from Widener University School of Law. She was admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1994.
As a licensed clinical social worker with many years employed in both institutional and individual practice settings, Pamela is thrilled to have joined Centurion in May of 2020. Just prior to joining Centurion, she worked at a behavioral healthcare facility for 13 years, first as a clinical case manager with older adults and then in utilization management. She steps into a newly created position to assist in identifying needs and coordinate ongoing support services to those who have been released from prison. A diverse educational and professional path includes a college degree in Fine Arts from SVA, graduate degree in Media/Communications from NYIT and later a Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University. After living in Manhattan working as an artist and illustrator, in 1988 she moved to NJ for greener pastures, joined a band as a keyboard player and songwriter, became a certified bodywork practitioner, eventually settling in as a community organizer and social justice warrior. Pamela continues to maintain a private psychotherapy practice in Princeton in addition to her role at Centurion.