Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Honors Exemplary California Department of Justice Employees with 2016 AG Awards

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris concluded the 25th annual Attorney General’s Awards at a ceremony Sacramento on Friday, October 21, honoring California Department of Justice (DOJ) employees who have demonstrated the highest professional work standards.

This year, 151 DOJ employees were acknowledged for their accomplishments in 2015, as well as those attaining 25 years of distinguished state service. In addition, teams were recognized for their outstanding legal work on prosecuting predatory for-profit Corinthian Colleges, Inc. and securing relief for defrauded students and ensuring accountability for banks and other entities that contributed to the economic crisis by issuing mortgage-backed securities.  Teams working on eDiscovery and docketing projects were also honored, as were the team members who made OpenJustice—the Attorney General’s groundbreaking criminal justice open data initiative—a reality. 

Award recipients from across the state were honored at similar ceremonies earlier in San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

“There is a reason that a case reads the defendant’s name versus ‘The People of California.’ We understand that an injustice against one of us is an injustice against all of us, and every day each of you work tirelessly on behalf of those who may never know your names,” said Attorney General Harris. “Thank you for the sacrifices you make to do this work for the people of California.”

The awardees were as follows:

25 Years of Service

  • Jodi Schumow – San Diego
  • Linda Anglim – Los Angeles
  • Chris Leong – Los Angeles
  • Daniel Olivas – Los Angeles
  • La Rhonda Shaver – Los Angeles
  • Gloria Briones – San Francisco
  • Magdalena Campos – San Francisco
  • Elissa Mayo – San Francisco
  • Carmen Keeler – Sacramento
  • Maria Perez-Gonzalo – Sacramento
  • Lina Thomas – Sacramento

Award for Sustained Superior Accomplishment

  • Nicole Trama, Criminal Law – San Diego
  • Alissa Bermudez, DAS – San Francisco
  • Jonathon Bertran-Harris, Exec – San Francisco
  • Susanne L. George, DLE – Sacramento
  • Rachelle Newcomb, Criminal Law – Sacramento
  • Keri R. Spaulding, Public Rights – Sacramento

Award for Excellence

  • Suzanne Graydon, Criminal Law – San Diego
  • Frances Conroy, DAS – Los Angeles
  • Oscar Estrella, DAS – Sacramento
  • Sue Feldmann, Exec – Sacramento
  • Michelle M. Mitchell, Civil Law – Sacramento
  • Regina Tochterman, Public Rights – Sacramento

Award for Excellence in Supervision

  • Rick Acker, Public Rights – San Francisco
  • Seth Schalit, Criminal Law – San Francisco
  • Marc Argarin, DAS – Sacramento
  • Marc A. LeForestier, Civil Law – Sacramento
  • Pon Sitandon, CJIS – Sacramento

Award for Excellence in Management

  • Linda Schneider, Civil Law – San Diego

Award for Client Representation or Prosecution

  • Deborah Fletcher, Public Rights – San Diego
  • Robin Urbanski, Criminal Law – San Diego
  • Donna Dean, Civil Law – Los Angeles

In addition to individual awardees, groups of employees were honored for Excellence as a Team.

Encompassing employees from the regions of Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, both Corinthian and the eDiscovery team were also honored for Excellence as a Team. The Mortgage-Backed Securities team was honored including employees from Sacramento and San Francisco. The Docketing Unit in Los Angeles also received the Award for Excellence as a Team. In Sacramento, the OpenJustice Dashboard team received the Award for Excellence as a Team.

The Corinthian team members honored were Bernard Eskandari, David Jones, Jennifer Song, Nicklas Akers, Nicholas Campins, Ben Chida, Michelle Coseng, Cara Dessert, Michael Elisofon, Jake Fernandez, Hunter Landerholm, Angela Munoz, Nancy Quach, Ilene Stein, Carel Turner, Vivian Wang, Gayle Weller, Eric Chan, Sean Cotulla, Susana Fernandez, Casey Hallinan-Hicks, Kimberly McCrickard, Melissa Nelson, Brenda Pruitt, Reyzamyn Reyes, Jeanatte Salazar, Kimberly Salyphone, Megan Sato, Marvin Scott, Amber Taylor, Melissa Weikel, Lupe Zinzun.

The eDiscovery team members honored were Christine Mersten, Andrea Mintz, Michelle Burkart, Tyler Crabtree, Richard Ito, Shawn Lewis, Danielle Merriweather, Annadel Almendras, Annalissa Herbert, Mary Keck, TiTi Nguyen, Michelle Beltrano, Derek Bennett, Adrian Cahya, Sean Cotulla, Kenny Dean, Patrick Fillmore, Sharon Garske, Benjamin Glickman, Joseph Maio, Megan Sato, Stevie Shevey, Deborah Smith, Keri Spaulding, Jen Stewart, and Amber Taylor.

The Mortgage-Backed Securities team members honored were Rick Acker, Adelina Acuna, Nicklas Akers, Clarence Binninger, Suneeta Fernandes, Joanna Forster, Heather Hoesterey, Emily Kalanithi, Sylvia Keller, Nathaniel Spencer-Mork, Kenneth Sugerman, Lucy Wang, John Baldwin, Darlene Ramos-Singh, Michelle Ton, Xianchun J. Vendler, Starley Wagner, Lawrence Wold, and Jerry Yen.

In Los Angeles, the Docketing Unit team members honored were Elizabeth Abuel, Rommel Busuego, Beth Capulong, Gil Carreon, Sheree Casey, Dominique Colding, Rosita Donovan, Liza Nickolas, Aida Paraiso, Jocelyn Santos, Natasha Stringfellow, and Faheemah Usher.

In Sacramento, the Award for Excellence as a Team was given to the OpenJustice Dashboard team. The recipients of that award were Jason Collins, Keith Dann, Johnathan Elmore, Brandon Griffin, Todd Ibbotson, Tak Lam, Max Lindbroth, Vicki Louie, Alyson Lunetta, Gregory Mar, Emer McKenna, Charles Penn, Kris Reyes, Kimi Ronay, Suzanne Sharkey, Ivan Talley, and Stephani Zarrouk.

Photos of the AG Awards recipients are available at

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