PLGL Advisory Board

Appel, Joe 

Joe Appel joined the Appel Law firm as an associate after working for several JoeAppeldefense firms, which included defending employers against workers' compensation claims. His current practice focuses on representing plaintiffs in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.

During law school, Mr. Appel externed for Justice Timothy A. Reardon of the First District of the California Court of Appeal and Judge Richard A. Kramer of the San Francisco Superior Court. He also was elected as the Editor in Chief of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, was a founding member of the Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal, and received an Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service Award from the San Francisco Bar Association.

Mr. Appel received a B.A. in Psychology-Spanish from the University of California, Los Angeles and a J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Before earning his degrees, Mr. Appel played intercollegiate rugby in Spain and was also awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.

In his spare time, Mr. Appel enjoys playing with his two dogs, exploring new restaurant menus, and rooting for Real Madrid.


Graham, Jessica

JessicaGrahamJessica Graham is a licensed attorney in Tennessee and California. Combined, Professor Graham has 14 years of legal experience. Her criminal justice experience includes having served as a district attorney in both Tennessee and Riverside County, California. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Liberty in Virginia and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Memphis in Tennessee. 

Professor Graham has prosecuted all manner of crimes including prison crimes, gang cases, homicides, career criminals and white collar crime. As a district attorney, Professor Graham has trained other prosecutors as well as law enforcement and outside agencies.

 Lerner, Sunny

Sunny Rosenfeld Lerner is a licensed attorney in California. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law and undergraduate degree from U.C. Santa Cruz. 

For over a decade, Professor Lerner has worked on prison healthcare reform as a member of the Receiver’s reform team, tasked with bringing the delivery of healthcare in California state prisons up to constitutional standards. Before joining the Office of the Receiver, Professor Lerner was the Lead Staff Attorney at the California Superior Court in San Francisco, assisting judges in complex litigation and appeals to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.   


Mackey, Cheryl L. 

I am a practicing attorney and full-time professor at Chabot College, as well as the Department Chair of the Administration of Justice and Paralegal Studies program, teaching classes in the field of Criminal Justice.  I am licensed to practice law in both California state and federal courts and a member of the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association. I am also a law enforcement subject matter expert for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), advising in areas of procedural justice, use of force and de-escalation, principled policing and work closely with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office (ACSO). Recently, I had the privilege of co-facilitating the POST Use of Force Task Force with Chief Darryl McAllister and was the lead writer for the new POST use of force guidelines for the state of California.  

I received my law degree, Magna Cum Laude and Order of the Coif, from U.C. Hastings College of the Law, along with a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA. Prior to teaching at Chabot, I taught at U.C. Hastings College of the Law, Diablo Valley College, and worked as a trial attorney representing police departments, fire departments and other agencies in various legal matters in both federal and state court. I also served as a Law Clerk to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Strike Force Division in San Francisco and to the California Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento. Finally, I am a former Commissioner for the Contra Costa County Juvenile Justice Commission and former Cadet with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department and Danville Police Department.

I am a proud Latina and first-generation college graduate, married to Federal Agent Mackey and mother of two little munchkins and two fur babies. I love the law and its incredible potential to protect society's most vulnerable and ensure just and equitable outcomes. I believe the law is a vehicle for change and touches every aspect of a person's life. I also absolutely love teaching. Please know my door is always open - I encourage you to contact me and/or come see me with any questions, especially regarding the criminal justice field, the legal field, law enforcement, internships, job preparation, transferring to a four-year institution, or anything else that might be on your mind!


Lead Writer & Co-Facilitator. "POST Use of Force Standards and Guidelines." California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. (2020).

Co-Author (as Cheryl D. Lema), Justice Clarence Thomas and Incommunicado Detention: Justifications and Risks, 39 Valparaiso U. L. Rev. 783 (2005).​


Meehan, James  

JamesMeehanMr. Meehan graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science.  Mr. Meehan earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco and is licensed with the State Bar of California to practice law.  Mr. Meehan holds the position of Assistant District Attorney for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and is currently assigned to the Consumer & Environmental Protection Division.  Mr. Meehan has held a variety of positions within the District Attorney’s Office including Branch Head, Felony Senior Trial Deputy, Felony Team Leader, Felony Trial Deputy, and Capital Litigation Coordinator.  Mr. Meehan is a past member of the District Attorney’s Special Circumstance Committee and currently serves as the senior member of the Officer Involved Shooting/Critical Incident Team.

 Mr. Meehan is an instructor for the Stanford University, School of Law Trial Advocacy Program.  Mr. Meehan is also a member of the Las Positas College, Administration of Justice Advisory Board.  Mr. Meehan has been an instructor at Chabot College and Las Positas College in the Administration of Justice Programs since 2013.  Mr. Meehan has taught Criminal Law, Evidence, Family Violence, and Homicide Investigation.  Mr. Meehan previously was an instructor for the University of San Francisco, Paralegal Studies Program, where he taught Criminal Law and Procedure.  Mr. Meehan’s professional memberships include the California District Attorneys Association and the California Homicide Investigators Association. 


Shoker, PalvirPalvir

Palvir Shoker is a Mediator, Arbitrator and Discovery Facilitator. Prior to starting her Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) journey 6 years ago, Professor Shoker practiced Personal Injury and Employment Law cases for over 15 years. She is the Court Mediation Program Director for The Congress of Neutrals, a non-profit organization providing free mediation services. Professor Shoker has served as a Mediator in over 500 cases to-date, involving Personal Injury, Neighbor Disputes, Civil Harassment, Unlawful Detainers, Landlord-Tenant Disputes and Small Claims. Palvir trains and mentors new Mediators with The Congress of Neutrals. She is the Chair of Contra Costa County Bar Association ADR Section. In addition, Professor Shoker volunteers as a Pro Tem Judge in Contra Costa Superior Court handling Small Claims, Unlawful Detainer, Civil Harassment and Traffic Court cases.

Professor Shoker is fluent in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu and has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia, which allows her to understand, appreciate and address the nuances of cultural, gender and/or nationality which can become critical in bringing a complex case to a successful resolution. 


Swonetz, Josi

JosiSwonetzJosi Swonetz is a Director of Legal for Best Buy Health, Inc.  Her practice focuses all legal aspects of Best Buy Health’s consumer business, including negotiating and drafting vendors contracts, managing consumer facing terms and conditions, managing outside counsel for litigation matters, and investigating consumer complaints.  Prior to Best Buy Health, Ms. Swonetz worked as Senior Counsel at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP with a focus on commercial litigation and employment defense.  Ms. Swonetz enjoys an array of board work, including being on the Board of Directors for the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation, the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, the Associate Corporate Counsel – San Diego Chapter, and the California Association of Black Lawyers. 

Advisory Board Meetings