Armando Nava owns and operates his own criminal defense firm located in Phoenix, Arizona. He has appeared in both State and Federal Courts across Arizona to defend the rights of those who find themselves caught in the criminal legal system. A fierce advocate for criminal justice reform, Armando served on the Phoenix City Review and Implementation Ad Hoc committee in 2019 and 2020 where he weighed in on the policies and procedures of the Phoenix Police Department and recommended reforms. He was recently named by Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel to serve on a task force reviewing the issuance of no-knock warrants. He is currently the President-elect of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and serves as a Board Member for Sonoran Prevention Works.
Leslie George is in her second year of law school at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Leslie grew up in and plans to practice law in Arizona after graduation. She is passionate about a variety of public interest law issues and currently chairs the board of GLSEN Phoenix. After spending two semesters as an intern with the Arizona Justice Project, she is thrilled to join the board and continue to work on innocence and wrongful conviction issues.
Piccarreta Davis Keenan Fidel
Date taking office: April 7, 2020
Louis Fidel is a native Arizonan who grew up in Phoenix, earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College (2003), then returned to the desert and graduated from law school at the University of Arizona. Louis has spent his entire legal career defending the criminally accused, first as a member of the Pima County Public Defender’s Office, before entering private practice with the law firm Piccarreta Davis Keenan Fidel, PC. Louis is an experienced advocate who has successfully represented individuals at all stages of criminal proceedings, including law enforcement investigations, jury trials, and post-conviction matters. Louis is the president-elect of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and also serves currently on the State Bar of Arizona’s Criminal Practice and Procedure Committee.
Date taking office: April 7, 2020
Tim Eckstein is a member of Osborn Maledon’s litigation and criminal practice group. His practice focuses on investigations and criminal defense, appeals and civil litigation.
Tim’s broad-ranging investigation and criminal defense experience includes white collar and fraud prosecutions, violent and other serious crimes. Tim has worked extensively on criminal appeals, special actions and other post-conviction proceedings. Tim also devotes a substantial portion of his practice to civil litigation, representing businesses and individuals in a variety of commercial, contract, tort and civil rights disputes. Tim is listed as one of the Best Lawyers® in White Collar Criminal Defense.
Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian, PC
Date taking office: July 13, 2018
Peter Akmajian is a trial lawyer with 30+ years of experience and 40 jury trials in Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma, Bisbee and Nogales under his belt. These trials have mainly involved serious personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death. He was a civil defense lawyer for many years before making the switch to the plaintiff’s side recently. Since 1998, Peter has been certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Specialist in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death, and he is a long-time member of the State Bar’s Commission that vets potential specialists. Peter is honored to have been inducted into three organizations recognizing outstanding trial work: the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the International Society of Barristers. He is also a long-time member of another prestigious trial lawyer organization, the American Board of Trial Advocates. Peter is honored to have served as a judicial law clerk for Vice-Chief Justice Frank X. Gordon of the Arizona Supreme Court, from 1984 – 1985. Peter graduated from the University of Arizona for both undergraduate and law school (B.A., with distinction 1980) (J.D., with distinction 1984).
Federal Public Defender
Date taking office: July 12, 2019
Piccarreta Davis Keenan Fidel PC
Date taking office: October 25, 2018
Michael L. Piccarreta received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Toledo (1971, 1974). Mr. Piccarreta’s practice is limited to the criminal defense of corporations and individuals. He has extensive experience in representing corporations and corporate officers for alleged improprieties such as securities violations, fraud, environmental matters, and other complicated white collar crimes.
Michael has served as president of the State Bar of Arizona. He is a past president and a founding member of the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice. He served on and chaired various committees for the State Bar of Arizona including the Criminal Rules Committee and Criminal Justice Section. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law teaching Advanced Criminal Trial Practice.
Mr. Piccarreta was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as its State Chairman. Nomination for invitation, peer-reviewed fellowship, by fellow members of the bar and bench, is limited to one percent of the lawyers in the state. He was elected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only organization which is limited to 500 trial lawyers in the United States. He was honored to be the recipient of the State Bar of Arizona Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award and was also honored by the Pima County Bar Association as the recipient of the Robert J. Hooker Criminal Justice Award. He has been selected by the Best Lawyers in America as Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense for Tucson, Arizona in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. He is the proud recipient of a President’s Commendation from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice. Mr. Piccarreta was a Co-Honoree of the Year by the Southern Arizona and Southern California chapters of the ACLU. He is an AV-rated lawyer in Martindale-Hubbell and a co-recipient of the Freedom Fund Honoree of the Year for the NAACP Tucson Chapter.
- Past President, State Bar of Arizona
- Past President, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice
- Past Chair, State Bar of Arizona Criminal Rules and Criminal Justice Section
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Adjunct Professor, University of Arizona College of Law
- Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Law, 27 consecutive years
- Best Laywers in America, Tucson Lawyer of the Year, Criminal Defense, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
- Listed in Southwest Super Lawyers
- Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
Northern Arizona Healthcare
Date taking office: July 27, 2017
Before moving to Flagstaff, Attorney Colleen E. Maring was based in Washington, D.C., where she practiced civil and criminal defense in courts around the country and world, winning cases everywhere from small trial courts to the Supreme Court of the United States. Ms. Maring’s experience includes defense of serious felonies and government investigations, and representation of individuals on death row and serving life sentences in efforts to win new trials or resentencing. On the civil side, she has extensive experience in professional malpractice matters and litigation related to the dissolution of corporations. Most recently, Colleen enjoyed a robust practice representing clients in highly regulated areas of law, including health care, education, and land use at Aspey, Watkins & Diesel. She now holds the position of Chief Legal Counsel at Northern Arizona Healthcare. Professor Maring has also held joint appointments as faculty in NAU’s Criminology & Criminal Justice Department and as Director of the Arizona Innocence Project from 2014–2016. Originally from Oregon, Ms. Maring was an honors student and varsity soccer player at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan before graduating in the top 1% of her class at Georgetown University Law Center.
Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.
Date taking office: October 29, 2015
Jeffrey Willis is a senior litigation partner in Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. For nearly thirty-five years, Jeff has tried commercial litigation cases all over the southwest in both state and federal court. Jeff has also handled a wide variety of arbitrations and other legal matters. He is the 2018-2019 president of the Arizona State Bar. Jeff is also the Chair of the Northern Arizona University Foundation.
Jeff has engaged in substantial service to the state and national legal community and the public. This includes serving in the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and serving as President of the Tucson Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He was also a Lawyer Delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. Jeff also generously serves on community organizations. In addition to being on the Board of the Arizona Justice Project, Jeff is also on the Board of the Patronato San Xavier, which is dedicated to restoring and preserving the San Xavier Mission.
Exoneree, Khalil Rushdan, became a board member of the Arizona Justice Project on July 25, 2014. Rushdan was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1997 and served 15 years of a life sentence. With the help of the AZ Justice Project, the prosecutorial misconduct and vindictive motive of the lead prosecutor was exposed. In 2012, Rushdan’s conviction was overturned and he was freed.
Since Rushdan’s release, he has served the Arizona community by providing real-time solutions for individuals re-entering society after time in prison or jail. Rushdan has been an on the ground mentor and resource for both Arizona Justice Project clients and hundreds of formerly incarcerated individuals through the SAGE counseling program.
In 2018, Rushdan began a new position as the Community Partnership Coordinator at the ACLU of Arizona for the SMART Justice Campaign. This position will help educate and combat the problems with mass incarceration as well as racial disparities that exist in the U.S. criminal justice system. Rushdan is widely recognized as a trusted advocate in the community. Members of both the law enforcement community and the private sector look to Rushdan as a leader who brings solutions to the community and helps empower individuals to rebuild their lives upon release from incarceration.