Anna is the Executive Director of the Georgia Resource Center. Prior to joining the GRC team in August 2019, she worked for more than a decade as a staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. At the ACLU, Anna represented people in death penalty cases at the trial, direct appeal, and post‐conviction stages across the South. She also authored amicus curiae briefs in capital cases across the country and in the United States Supreme Court. Anna serves as a regular consultant with capital defense attorneys and advocates, and presents at training seminars for capital defense professionals.
Anna began her legal career as a fellow with the Fair Trial Initiative, where she assisted in the preparation of capital trial and post‐conviction cases in North Carolina. Anna received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Rachel Chmiel has worked as an investigator and mitigation specialist with the Georgia Resource Center for the past 20 years. Rachel attended the University of Notre Dame Law School as a Kiley Fellow and, after graduating in 1995, clerked for the Honorable Harry Lee Anstead on the Supreme Court of Florida. Before joining the Resource Center, Rachel worked as a staff attorney at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center in New Orleans. There, she helped to represent indigent people facing the death penalty in Louisiana and Mississippi at trial, on direct appeal and in state post-conviction proceedings.
Akiva Freidlin joined the Resource Center as a staff attorney in 2018. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Hampshire College. He began his legal career as a Skadden Fellow at the Southern Center for Human Rights. There he worked to reverse the criminalization of poverty by addressing issues including privatized probation and the use of money bail.
Ellie Hopkins has worked as an investigator at the Georgia Resource Center for more than 25 years. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Georgetown University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia. In addition to her work investigating appellate issues for clients, she has also worked as a mitigation specialist for capital cases at the trial level.
Devin Kirkland joined the Georgia Resource Center as an investigator in May of 2021. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Forensic and Legal Psychology. Before working with the resource center, Devin was a mitigation investigator with the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office.
Brandie Martinez Bedard joined the Georgia Resource Center as the Office Manager in 2021. In addition to financial responsibilities, Brandie manages office operations, personnel, and benefits. She is also responsible for case tracking and case file management. Brandie has earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies, a Master’s degree in Philosophy (specializing in Neurophilosophy), and a Juris Doctorate all from Georgia State University. After graduating from law school, Brandie joined the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) as the Membership Director and worked for GACDL for almost six years prior to joining the Resource Center.
John has been an investigator at the Resource Center since October of 2012 and has been doing investigative work in death penalty cases since 2003. Prior to joining the Resource Center team, he worked as a mitigation investigator in Memphis, TN. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.
Laura-Hill Patton returned to the Georgia Resource Center in 2019 after a 16-year hiatus from both the law and capital habeas work, during which she worked for her alma mater The Westminster Schools, as Director of Alumni, Director of Testing, and Registrar in the Upper School. Prior to that, she worked for the Georgia Resource Center and The Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Georgia for 7 years, representing people on Georgia’s death row at all stages of the collateral review process and clemency. Laura-Hill is a native of Atlanta and attended the University of Virginia School of Law and Duke University.
Cory Isaacson joined GRC in July of 2018. Before coming to GRC, Cory was an attorney at Georgia Justice Project, where she represented people facing barriers to employment and housing because of their criminal history and advocated for reforms to the state’s record restriction laws in the legislature. Prior to that, Cory was an attorney and clinical supervisor in the Youth Defender Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center, part of the clinical program at UC Berkeley School of Law. In that position, she represented young people in juvenile court and in school discipline proceedings and supervised law students working on those cases. She graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law in 2013.
Before coming to GRC, Traci was an attorney at Mobilization for Justice, Inc., where she represented litigants in New York City with severe psychiatric disabilities in federal and state court proceedings and administrative hearings. With a background in Social Work, Traci counseled indigent persons on disability law, housing, and government benefits. Prior to entering public interest law, Traci practiced in the area of Elder Law and Estate Planning. She graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2012.
Marcy Widder is a Senior Litigator at GRC. Prior to joining the Resource Center in October 2012, she represented Louisiana capital litigants, mostly on direct appeal, at the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, and later as a solo practitioner, following a two-year clerkship for the Honorable James L. Dennis at the Louisiana Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Tulane Law School and was articles editor for the Tulane Law Review. She has been counsel in four successful cases before the United States Supreme Court.