Faculty and Staff


Elisabeth Semel, Clinic Director and Clinical Professor of Law
Professor Semel is the founding director of the Berkeley Law Death Penalty Clinic and is a nationally-recognized expert on capital punishment.  She has published and spoken widely on issues related to the death penalty, race discrimination in jury selection, and the rights of individuals accused of crime.  Throughout her career, she has defended criminal defendants in state and federal courts with an emphasis on representation at the trial level, including in homicides and capital cases.




Ty Alper, Clinic Associate Director and Clinical Professor of Law
Professor Alper has been representing indigent clients on Death Row for more than a decade.  Prior to joining the Berkeley Law faculty, he served as a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta.  He has written extensively on issues related to lethal injection, physician participation in executions, and post-conviction litigation.




Megan McCracken, Eighth Amendment Resource Counsel
Megan McCracken is an experienced capital litigator with expertise in challenges to lethal injection as a method of execution. As the Clinic's resource counsel, she provides litigation support and expert consultation to attorneys who are challenging lethal injection practices in jurisdictions across the country.  Megan was previously an assistant federal defender in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Community Defender in Philadelphia. 


Jessica Michalski, Paralegal
Jessica Michalski has extensive experience in capital defense.  As the office manager and paralegal with a non-profit capital resource center in Arizona for over a decade, she managed cases from pre-trial through warrant litigation.  She has been with the Death Penalty Clinic since 2009.  She received her B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Arizona in 2006.




Jen Moreno, Staff Attorney
Jen Moreno is an expert on legal challenges to lethal injection as a method of execution.  She created and developed the Clinic's lethal injection web-based clearinghouse, http://lethalinjection.org, and has consulted with attorneys litigating lethal injection challenges in more than twenty jurisdictions.  She is a member of the California bar.   Jen received her J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2006.     




Bidish Sarma, 2014-15 Arnold & Porter Clinical Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Residence
Bidish Sarma joined the Death Penalty Clinic in 2012, after serving as the Deputy Director of the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, where he represented indigent death row inmates on appeal.  He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2008.