Click on a staff member's name to read their biography.
State Public Defender
James 'Jay' Dixon was born at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY into an army family. He moved throughout his childhood and graduated from high school in Madrid, Spain. After graduating from Bucknell University, he enrolled at Loyola Law School in New Orleans to pursue a law degree. Since graduating, his legal experience has been diverse. Mr. Dixon served as a law clerk at the Louisiana Supreme Court for former Justice Pike Hall. He had a private practice in New Orleans, while serving with the Jefferson Parish Public Defender's Office as contract counsel and later joined the St. John Parish Public Defender Office as a full-time line defender. He then served as the Attorney General for the Republic of Palau, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean. Upon his return to the United States, Mr. Dixon was the Judicial Administrator for the 12th Circuit Court for the State of Virginia. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he and his wife felt compelled to return to Louisiana.He accepted a position as a contract defender for the Lafayette Parish Public Defender Office. He was later selected and accepted the position of District Defender for the Parishes of Calcasieu and Cameron where he has served from January 2011 through November 2013. He is married and has two beautiful children.
Barbara Gelpi Baier became General Counsel for the LPDB on July 21, 2014. Her career with the court system began as a Probation Officer for Baton Rouge City Court Probation with a focus on counseling and rehabilitation of substance abuse offenders. Later, she attended Southern University Law Center and started her legal career in private practice in the field of insurance defense. During this time, Ms. Baier served as an ad hoc judge for Baton Rouge City Court and was an active member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association, particularly with the Pro Bono Project. From 1997 through 2006 she was a member of the Board of Directors and served as President of the Bar Association in 2007. Prior to joining the staff at LPDB, Ms. Baier was an attorney for the Louisiana Department of the Treasury where she advised the agency on issues of contracts, legislation, policy and procedures, and various aspects of funding for the state.
Natashia M. Carter joined LPDB in July 2009. Prior to joining LPDB, Ms. Carter was an Accountant with the Department of Economic Development in the Fiscal Division of the Office of the Secretary for over 5 years. In her position with Economic Development Ms. Carter was responsible for all payables, auditing and reimbursing employee travel along with many other duties. Ms. Carter earned her Bachelor of Science in Business/Accounting and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Accountancy.
Capital Case Coordinator
Jean M. Faria became the Capital Case Coordinator in March 2013. Previously, she had served as the State Public Defender since June 1, 2008. For 11 years prior to joining LPDB, Ms. Faria had served as the Assistant Federal Defender for the Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana, in Baton Rouge, LA. From 1995-1997 she was the Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana Indigent Defender Board in New Orleans, LA. Before 1995, Ms. Faria worked as a public defender in the 19th JDC Public Defender Office in Baton Rouge.
Ms. Faria has been active in the public defense reform movement, both locally and nationally, for many years. She is a charter member of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer and long-standing member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. For more than 10 years she served on the Board of Directors of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, which she chaired for two years. Concurrently, she spent significant time as the Chair of the Defender Policy Group within that organization. Currently, she is a member of the Indigent Defense Advisory Group of the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID) of the ABA. Ms. Faria regularly lectures at criminal defense trainings and participates in policy research of state public defender systems around the country. In December 2009, she was awarded the Justice Albert Tate Jr. Award.
Ms. Faria received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts and received her J.D. from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
Julie Gregory joined LPDB in August 2010. Prior to joining LPDB, Ms. Gregory worked at a firm as a paralegal for five years, whose primary focus was insurance defense. In 2001, Ms. Gregory earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from Louisiana State University and received her paralegal certification from LSU's continuing education program in 2003.
Paralegal, Executive Assistant to the State Public Defender
Anne Gwin graduated from Louisiana State University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts. She was employed at that time with the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and for ten years worked as a project manager and an executive assistant. In 1992, she took an office manager/legal secretary position with prominent Baton Rouge criminal defense attorney John Di Giulio. In 1999, Ms. Gwin received her paralegal certification from LSU's continuing education program. In November 2008, after 17 years of private sector criminal defense work in city, district and federal courts, she joined the staff of the Louisiana Public Defender Board as the paralegal for the Capital & Compliance Divisions. In November 2009, Ms. Gwin moved to the position of Executive Assistant to the State Public Defender.
Caressa Hall accepted an accounting position with LPDB in September, 2014. Ms. Hall obtained her Bachelor's degree in Accounting from Southern University in 2007. She brings with her state accounting systems experience with her having worked as an Accountant for the Division of Administration in the Office of Financial Support and Services and the Louisiana Department of Insurance for six years prior to joining LPDB.
Administrative Coordinator, Capital Division
Amber Harriman graduated from Central High School in 2013. She was employed for over two years at Central Heating & Air as a secretary, while attending school at Southeastern Louisiana University. In February, 2015, she began her career with the state as a WAE clerk for the Department of Treasury. Since then, Ms. Harriman has worked for the Louisiana Workforce Commission and is now serving as the Administrative Coordinator for the Capital Division.
Trial Level Compliance Officer
Carol Kolinchak joined LPDB as the Trial Level Compliance Officer on January 4, 2016. Prior to joining LPDB, Ms. Kolinchak was Special Counsel at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR). In her capacity as special counsel, she played a leadership role in the development, implementation and coordination of litigation strategies and legal advocacy efforts that have led to justice reform in Louisiana. Before joining LCCR, she spent six and a half years as the Legal Director at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. She coordinated litigation, advocacy, and legislative efforts to end juvenile life without parole in Louisiana, including implementation of the Miller v. Alabama and Graham v. Florida decisions. In partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, she represented Graham-impacted individuals in Louisiana. In 2011, Carol received the Lucy McGough Juvenile Justice Award from the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Prior to joining JJPL, Carol was the Deputy Director of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana (CPCPL). In that capacity, she provided direct supervision of attorneys and interns in a 20 person office responsible for providing representation to all death sentenced inmates in state and federal post-conviction proceedings in Louisiana.
Carol has been a solo practitioner representing criminal defendants at all stages of proceedings in state and federal court. In addition, Carol was a member of the Orleans Parish Conflict Panel primarily handling the penalty phase of capital trials. Previously, she has been a staff attorney at both the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and the Loyola Death Penalty Resource Center.
Carol received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University in 1982. She is a 1993 graduate of Northeastern University Law School in Boston and has been a member of the Louisiana Bar since 1993.
Chase May graduated from LSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 2007. After graduating, he began his career in Information Technology in 2008 as a Support Technician with Innovative Computers, an IT consulting company serving local businesses in Gonzales and Baton Rouge. Mr. May joined the LPDB staff in June 2009 and took the position of Network Administrator in 2012.
Deputy Public Defender - Director of Juvenile Defender Services
Richard Pittman was hired by the Louisiana Public Defender Board on May 28, 2013, to be the Deputy Public Defender - Director of Juvenile Defender Services. He began his career in public defense in Juvenile Court and in criminal courts in 2006, and continued in the practice until his appointment as Deputy Public Defender. From 2006-2013, he represented juveniles accused of delinquency, parents and children in abuse and neglect cases, adults accused of misdemeanors and felonies up to an including capital murder. He had guardian ad litem certification which he maintained from 2006 until 2013. Prior to his public defense practice, Mr. Pittman worked in the field of personal injury litigation.
Mr. Pittman graduated from East Ascension High School in Gonzales, Louisiana, in 1992. Thereafter he attended Louisiana State University and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering in 1996. He then obtained a Masters of Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1999. By then he was working as a consultant for C.F. Picou Associates, a Baton Rouge firm specializing in process control with business worldwide. In 2001, Mr. Pittman decided to go to law school and was admitted to the University of Alabama School of Law in 2002, graduating with honors in 2005. While at the University of Alabama School of Law, he was awarded the Order of Samaritan for public service and volunteerism.
CMS Report Analyst
Cristine Roussel joined the LPDB staff as CMS Report Analyst in February 2012. Prior joining LPDB, Ms. Roussel worked in private sector as a business analyst.
Ms. Roussel earned her Bachelor 's Degree in Psychology from LSU, in 2003. From 2003 to 2008 she was a Doctoral student in Cognitive/Experimental Psychology with a concentration in Statistics. She earned her Master 's in Cognitive Psychology in 2005.
Director of Legislative Affairs, Juvenile Justice Compliance Officer
Tiffany Simpson serves a dual role as LPDB's Director of Legislative Affairs and the agency's Juvenile Justice Compliance Officer. Prior to joining LPDB, Dr. Simpson was appointed to serve as the Executive Director of the Children's Cabinet in the Office of the Governor. As the Executive Director of the Children's Cabinet, Dr. Simpson ensured the coordination of policy, planning, and budgeting among state services for children and families and also served as a policy advisor to the Governor on child-related issues. Dr. Simpson earned Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from Louisiana State University and was awarded her Doctorate in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of New Orleans.
Information Technology & Management Officer/Program Development and Resource Management Officer
Dr. Erik Stilling started with LPDB on September 24, 2008 and was tasked with developing uniform reporting systems to help the district offices to meet their monthly and annual reporting requirements and to develop and refine data collection and analysis systems for the Board’s data-driven decision-making. These tasks culminated in the statewide comprehensive financial and case management database and the Dashboard real-time analytics system which helps the Board and districts in data-driven decision-making.
Dr. Stilling also serves as an Information Technology and Analysis advisor to the National Association of Public Defenders, the Indigent Defense Research Association, and the National Legal Aid and Defense Association’s American Council of Chief Defenders-System Development and Reform committee. He began his career in the engineering department of WLAE-TV in New Orleans. After earning a doctorate, he taught Mass Communication Technology and Journalism at Nicholls State and served as the first Director of the Office of Distance Education, implementing compressed video and web-based technologies and applications for adult learners. From 2000-2005, Dr. Stilling worked in California at Holy Names University and as Dean at Expressions College for the Digital Arts, both in the Silicon Valley.
Dr. Stilling returned to Louisiana in December 2005 after Hurricane Katrina to help with reconstruction efforts and helped develop a data collection and analysis system as part of the MacArthur Models for Change program in the Jefferson Parish Department of Juvenile Services. This system was used to determine evidence-based alternatives to formal processing of juveniles facing detention and adjudication. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1987 and was awarded his Doctorate in Mass Communication from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1992.
Aliseia Williams joined LPDB in June 2014. Prior to joining LPDB, Ms. Williams worked as an Administrative Coordinator and a Contracts/Grants Reviewer. She has over ten years of administrative experience. Currently, Ms. Williams serves as Payroll Administrator and provides administrative assistance to the Juvenile Division.