Director: Kathleen “Cookie” Ridolfi is a Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law and the co-founder and former Executive Director of the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP). In 2004, Professor Ridolfi co-founded the Innocence Network, an affiliation of organizations dedicated to pursuing exonerations on behalf of wrongfully convicted prisoners and working to redress the causes of wrongful conviction. She was lead researcher and co-author of Preventable Error, A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California 1997-2009. From 2004-2008, she served on the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice tasked with the study and review of the administration of criminal justice in California.
Professor Ridolfi remains committed to educating law students by teaching in the areas of criminal law, wrongful conviction, and legal ethics. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year, Women Defenders Annual Award, and the ACLU’s Don Edwards Civil Liberties Award. She has also been recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top 75 women litigators in California.
Co-Director: Todd H. Fries is a Co-Director of the VERITAS Initiative at the Santa Clara University School of Law and the Associate Director of the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP). His work on behalf of the VERITAS Initiative began in 2011, when he coordinated a multi-state research effort and national speaking tour focused on prosecutorial misconduct. As NCIP’s Associate Director, Mr. Fries is responsible for professional operation and management of NCIP. He joined NCIP in 2010 as a Research Attorney focusing on policy initiatives to help prevent wrongful conviction.
Prior to working at the VERITAS Initiative and NCIP, Mr. Fries worked as an Employment Litigation Associate at Paul Hastings LLP in Palo Alto and as an attorney at the Santa Clara County Superior Court Family Law Self-Help Office. He graduated cum laude from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2009 with a certificate in Public Interest and Social Justice after receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.