Faculty and Staff

semel_elisabethElisabeth Semel, Clinic Co-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 AlperTy Alper, Clinic Co-Director and Clinical Professor of Law Professor Alper has been representing indigent clients on Death Row for almost two decades. 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.


Mridula RamanMridula Raman, Clinical Supervising Attorney Mridula Raman joined the Death Penalty Clinic in 2019 after five years as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona. There, she represented death-sentenced prisoners in Arizona and Texas in federal habeas and state post-conviction proceedings. Before joining the Federal Public Defender’s Office, Raman clerked for the Honorable Mary H. Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Neil V. Wake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. She graduated from Yale Law School in 2012 and from Harvard College with an A.B. in economics. Learn more about Mridula in this Q&A.

p1260272-4Heather Canfield, Paralegal Heather Canfield joined the Death Penalty Clinic in October of 2016. She brings with her over a decade of experience as a capital mitigation specialist working on federal and state cases in jurisdictions across the country. She has worked for capital nonprofit organizations in both California and Louisiana, and has served as invited faculty at conferences across the country. Heather was born and raised in the Bay Area and is an alumni of the University of California, San Diego, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution) and a Bachelor of Arts in Third World Studies.