Clinic Faculty & Staff
John M. Copacino, Director & Professor of Law
Professor Copacino is Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic and Co-Director of the E. Barrett Prettyman graduate fellowship program in criminal trial practice and advocacy. Prior to joining the Georgetown Law faculty, he was the Director of the Juvenile Law Clinic at the Antioch School of Law. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and received an LL.M. as a Prettyman Fellow from the Law Center. In the District of Columbia, he continues to serve as trial counsel in numerous criminal and post-conviction cases. He remains active in local criminal justice organizations and regularly participates in local and national training programs for criminal defense lawyers. In 1997, he received the Law Center’s Flegal Award for outstanding teaching.
Vida B. Johnson, Deputy Director
Professor Johnson, prior to joining Georgetown University Law Center, was a supervising attorney in the Trial Division at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), where she worked for eight years. At PDS Ms. Johnson was assigned to the most serious cases at the “Felony One” level, and her experience included numerous trials in D.C. Superior Court representing indigent clients facing charges including homicide, sexual assault, and armed offenses. Ms. Johnson’s responsibilities at PDS also included supervising other trial attorneys and serving as one of the agency’s two representatives to the D.C. Superior Court Sentencing Guidelines Commission. In 2009, Ms. Johnson was a Visiting Associate Professor in the Juvenile Justice Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center. Before joining PDS, Professor Johnson was an E. Barrett Prettyman fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. As a fellow she represented indigent adults in the D.C. Superior Court and supervised students in the Criminal Justice Clinic. Ms. Johnson earned her law degree from New York University Law School in 2000 and she earned her B.A. in American History from the University of California, Berkeley in 1995.
Seana Holland, Investigations Supervisor
Seana is the Investigations Supervisor and Director of the Investigative Internship Program. She received a B.A. in Criminal Justice and Public Policy from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Seana went on to spend seven years working as a Staff Investigator at the DC Public Defender Service, investigating serious felony cases on behalf of indigent clients. Seana has also worked as an investigator at private law firms in the Washington, DC area and spent two years as the Program Director at Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, a nonprofit that works with juveniles charged in the adult justice system.
Safa Ansari-Bayegan, E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow
Safa was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She received her J.D. from Berkeley School of Law where she was an NAACP Legal Defense Fund Earl Warren Scholar. At Berkeley, she co-led the student public defense organization, participated in bi-monthly restorative justice circles facilitated by the incarcerated people inside San Quentin Prison, volunteered in an asylum clinic, and led a court-watching trip to Mississippi. In the East Bay Community Law Center’s Education Advocacy Clinic, she represented young people in special education administrative hearings and school discipline proceedings. As a student in the Death Penalty Clinic, she assisted in the representation of an Alabama death row client in state post-conviction litigation. For her involvement in public service while at Berkeley, she was awarded the Eleanor Swift and Francine Diaz Memorial awards. Safa spent her law school summers working at the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Trial Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. For over two years prior to law school, she worked with the Regional Public Defender Office in Lubbock, Texas as a mitigation specialist on a trial level capital defense team. As an undergraduate, she worked on post-conviction capital cases with Texas Defender Service in Houston and lethal injection drug research with Reprieve in London. She received her bachelor’s in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Houston Honors College and master’s in Human Rights from the London school of Economics and Political Science.
Luna Garzón-Montano, E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow
Luna was born and raised in New York City. She received her J.D. in 2021 from Fordham Law School, where she was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics and co-president of the student public defense organization. For her involvement in public service while at Fordham, Luna was awarded the Feingold Family Prize in Public Service. Luna spent her law school summers at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Department of Public Defense in Seattle, Washington. For four years prior to law school, Luna worked as a paralegal on capital direct appeals with Federal Defenders of New York, and as a client advocate with the Center for Appellate Litigation. Luna received her B.A. in American Studies from Vassar College in 2014.
Taneisha Ballard, Clinic Manager & Notary
Taneisha Ballard is the current office manager helping both the Criminal Justice Clinic as well as Georgetown’s DC Street Law Program. Prior to working for Georgetown, Taneisha worked with the Department of Justice as a clerk helping a large staff of paralegals with a diverse set of administrative task, operations and procedures. While in school, Taneisha will be pursuing her degree as a double major in Business Administration and Marketing.