PLI PLUS 2.0 is now available – click here to test drive the new platform.
Skip to main content

Tribal Reentry Advocacy – Best Practices for Reentry Legal Advocacy in Rural Tribal Communities

Speaker(s): Chief Justice Abby Abinanti, Eva J. DeLair, Faride Perez-Aucar, Katherine Katcher, Laura Woods
Recorded on: Apr. 22, 2019
PLI Program #: 269436

Abby Abinanti, Yurok Chief Judge is an enrolled Yurok Tribal member, she holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and was the first California tribal woman to be admitted to the State Bar of California. She was a State Judicial Officer (Commissioner) for the San Francisco Superior Court for over 17 years assigned to the Unified Family Court (Family/Dependency/Delinquency). She retired from the Superior Court in September 2011, and on July 31, 2014 was reappointed as a part-time Commissioner for San Francisco assigned to Dependency, and Duty Judge for that Court where she served until 2015. She has been a Yurok Tribal Court Judge since 1997 and was appointed Chief Tribal Court Judge in 2007, a position she held in conjunction with her Superior Court assignment until 2015.

Eva received her J.D. in 2014 from Drexel University, Kline School of Law.

While at law school, Eva worked at the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project where she assisted in prisoner rights litigation; interned at the Philadelphia Defender Association where she represented low income clients in pretrial felony arraignments and misdemeanor trials. She also volunteered with the ACLU, reviewing police stops for violations of people’s Fourth Amendment Rights; Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity assisting individuals in understanding their conviction histories and applying to seal them; and as a collective member of Books through Bars in Philadelphia which sends free books and educational materials to incarcerated people. Eva brings strong experience to Root & Rebound, working with systems and impacted people and communities.

During Eva’s second summer of law school, she interned in San Francisco at Legal Services for Prisoner with Children (LSPC). Following law school, she continued that work as a fellow at LSPC and then as a staff attorney until July of 2018. With LSPC, Eva advocated for legislative and regulatory policy changes to increase the rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their families. Areas of work include increasing access to visits and family connections, increasing and protecting employment rights, accessing expungement and other post-conviction sealing remedies, challenging the use of solitary confinement, advocating for trans and gender nonconforming prisoners, among others. She worked from start to end on many of these projects, from legislative advocacy, following and advocating for proper regulatory implementation, and working with communities to ensure that they knew their rights and how to access them, and with service providers to develop tools to implement the changes.
In Eva’s spare time, she volunteers with the Prisoner Advocacy Network (PAN). PAN is a project of the National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco and works with activists inside California prisons to support them in their advocacy and challenge retaliation and other bad treatment they receive because of their work.

Eva received her BA in political science and religious studies at Scripps College in Claremont, CA.

Faride is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law. Before law school, she received her B.A in English and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Riverside. After college, she volunteered as a sexual assault crisis counselor and conducted theatre and empowerment workshops for youth of color.

As a first-year law student, Faride spent a summer in New Orleans, LA clerking for the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana. In her second year, she externed at the ACLU of Northern California, focusing on the Reproductive Justice policy work. She has also clerked at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles where she advised clients in employment discrimination claims and criminal record expungements. During her last year, she worked with the USF Law Employment Law clinic, where she represented workers in wage & hour claims in front of the California Labor commissioner.

At Root & Rebound, Faride focuses on Tribal Justice work. She is the lead author of the Tribal Reentry Advocacy Guide: A Roadmap for Increasing Access to Justice & Opportunity for Tribal Members with Criminal Records Through Collaboration & Partnership.

In her spare time, Faride enjoys watching films of the past and present. When not at the movies, she enjoys going on long hikes and seeing nature.

Katherine founded Root & Rebound in the Bay Area in 2013, which has grown to an organization with three California offices and national programs--with the vision of increasing access to justice and opportunity to people and communities most impacted by mass incarceration, so that the law serves, rather than harms them.

Katherine has 10+ years of work in the nonprofit sector, with a broad range of roles and experiences, including teaching adult education ESOL and GED classes, advocating for clients fleeing from violence, and working on behalf of prisoners and clients who are incarcerated. In her time at Berkeley Law, Katherine worked at the Texas Defender Service, the Berkeley Law Death Penalty Clinic, the Prison Law Office, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children in San Francisco, and UnCommon Law. Katherine also co-founded the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project, a Student-Initiated Legal Services Project, in partnership with Uncommon Law, whereby law students represent life-term prisoners in parole hearings.

Katherine received her B.A. in 2007 in Anthropology from Columbia College at Columbia University, where she focused her research and studies on asylum communities and had a concentration in English Literation. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Katherine is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of California. When not working to further the mission and vision of Root & Rebound, Katherine loves spending time with her husband (also a CC '07 alumnus) and two young children, preferably in the mountains or by the ocean.

Laura Woods is a proud member of the Yurok Tribe of Northern California. Her family originates from the ancestral villages of Cha’Pekw and O’rek, and she identifies herself as Ner-Er-Ner, a coastal Yurok. Having been born and raised in New Mexico, Laura attended New Mexico State University and then worked for many years in a NM State Court. After moving back to the Yurok Reservation in 2014, she now works as a Paralegal and Family Law Mediator for the Yurok Tribal Court in the Legal Access Office in Klamath, CA. The Yurok Legal Access office assists tribal members and their families with legal issues in both tribal court and state courts in Del Norte and Humboldt County. Laura assists her clients with child custody, guardianships, name changes, civil suits, unlawful detainers, divorces, criminal record clean up, prison reentry and probate issues. Laura mediates most of the cases filed in tribal court before they go before the Judge. Laura lives in Orick, CA and is currently studying for the Yurok Bar Exam and she also sits on several of the Tribe’s committees. She enjoys taking Yurok language and basket weaving classes and participating in her tribe’s cultural dances and events. Laura is a member of WEWIN (Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations) of Northern California and her hobbies include reading, cooking and walking her dogs on the beach. She has two sons, two grandchildren and extended family in New Mexico.