The IIP Team

The IIP team includes attorneys supported by professional staff and a broad network of UIS students, law students and community volunteers.


John J. Hanlon, Executive Director & Legal Director

John joined IIP in 2011 and is based at our home office at the University of Illinois Springfield in Springfield, Illinois.  He is an expert in post-conviction appeal and death penalty litigation. Before joining IIP in 2011, John practiced criminal defense for 25 years at the Office of Illinois State Appellate Defender where he worked almost exclusively on the appellate defense of death penalty cases. He represented four of the 21 wrongfully convicted individuals, including Rolando Cruz, of the nationally known Nicarico case, who ultimately were proven innocent and released from Illinois’ death row.


Larry Golden, Founding Director

Larry Golden co-founded the Illinois Innocence Project in 2001. With a Ph.D. in Political Theory from the University of Minnesota, Larry was one of the founding faculty of Sangamon State (which later became the University of Illinois Springfield), specializing in civil liberties, injustice and inequality. After 34 years of teaching, he retired in 2004 in part to work pro bono for IIP. Larry contributes to the UIS course Conviction of the Innocent and regularly lectures on the prevention of wrongful convictions. Larry was the recipient of the Spencer Faculty Service Award and most recently the University’s Distinguished Service Award.


Lauren Kaeseberg, Legal Director

Lauren joined the Project in 2013. She is based at IIP’s Chicago office and oversees the work of IIP staff attorneys. She attended Cardozo School of Law in New York City where she participated in the Innocence Project clinic program as a law student, an intern and a teaching assistant. Lauren has extensive experience in trial level, post-conviction and appellate cases, and bringing DNA cases to resolution. She was the Project’s lead attorney in the exonerations of Christopher Abernathy, Angel Gonzalez, Teshome Campbell and Bill Amor.


Stephanie Kamel, Staff Attorney

Stephanie joined IIP in 2019 and is based in our home office at UIS. She has extensive experience in the area of civil litigation, practicing law for several years in Silicon Valley, CA. Since arriving in Illinois over two decades ago, she has practiced in both civil and criminal appellate law. She more recently received an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where she participated in cases involving human trafficking and crimes against humanity. Her passion for human rights infuses her life and work as she advocates on behalf of IIP’s wrongfully convicted clients.


Maria de Arteaga, Staff Attorney

Maria de Arteaga joined IIP in November 2019 and is based at our Chicago office. Maria came to IIP with over three years of experience representing the wrongfully convicted as a staff attorney at the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Just before arriving at IIP, Maria won the freedom of her client, La’Shone Jackson, who served over 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Maria supervised second- and third-year law students as part of the Wisconsin Innocence Project’s clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she graduated with honors.


Courtney Cosgrove Reed, Development Director

Courtney joined IIP in 2014. She received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Courtney oversees advancement activities for IIP, including the annual Defenders of the Innocent fundraiser, federal grant applications and donor communications, and contributes to organizational development efforts. Texas Exoneree Michael Morton’s story inspired her to get involved in the innocence movement.


Christine Ferree, Case Intake & Evaluation Manager

Christine joined IIP in 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield and is enrolled in the Political Science Master’s program at UIS with an emphasis in Political Theory and Women and Gender Studies. Christine is responsible for researching and evaluating cases for actual claims of innocence, and supervises students, interns and volunteers. Her interests include further exploration of injustice regarding women in the criminal justice system.


Karen Meidel, Legal Assistant

Karen joined the Illinois Innocence Project as a volunteer in 2018 and became a staff member while completing a Psychology degree at Lincoln Land Community College. Karen wears many hats at IIP, assisting with social media, event support and case intake. She also works on a few active cases providing research, investigative and administrative support. Karen is committed to social justice issues and is a passionate advocate for the wrongfully convicted.


Community Volunteers

Dedicated volunteers share their extensive professional experience with IIP by providing legal expertise and administrative, legislative and case investigations support.