Justice Center Offices

Agency Leadership Team

Acting Executive Director Maria Lisi-Murray

Maria Lisi-Murray
Maria Lisi-Murray was appointed as Acting Executive Director of the Justice Center in March of 2024.  In this role, she oversees the agency’s nearly 500 employees across New York State.  Maria joined the Justice Center in 2023 as the Deputy Director for the Office of Audit, Control, and Quality Management.  In that role, she oversaw internal audit, internal controls, and quality management.  

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Maria served as Chief Risk Officer at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles where she supervised Internal Audit, Internal Controls, the Office of Risk Management, and the Office of Compliance Counsel. 

Maria is an admitted attorney with more than 20 years of private and public litigation experience in both state and federal courts, most recently as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New York Attorney General.  She is also a former police officer/SIU investigator with the City of Binghamton Police Department. 

Maria holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from the Syracuse University College of Law and a bachelor’s in Economics from S.U.N.Y Binghamton.

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Executive Deputy Director Robert Miller

Rob Miller 2

Executive Deputy Director Robert Miller joined the Justice Center when the agency first opened in 2013, bringing with him extensive experience in State government. In his current role, Rob manages operations for all Justice Center regional offices and maintains key relationships with State leaders on behalf of the agency.  

In his previous position as Deputy Director of Administration, Rob led several significant initiatives at the agency, including expansion and improvement of the Justice Center’s regional office infrastructure, realization of federal Medicaid reimbursement, and substantial improvements to the Justice Center’s information technology program.

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Rob worked at the NYS Division of the Budget, focusing on criminal justice related issues including analyzing and assessing the impact of proposed changes to the State’s drug laws.  Additionally, he worked on various policy and legislative issues at the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Rob completed his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and has studied Constitutional Law at SUNY Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.


 

General Counsel Christa Book

Christa Book

 

General Counsel Christa Book has been working to protect vulnerable populations for her entire career.  In her current role, Christa oversees several units involved in the agency’s legal functions.   Prior to becoming General Counsel, Christa was the Deputy Director of Incident Management and Investigations.  Additionally, she had an integral role in forming the Justice Center Sexual Abuse Response Team (SART).

Before joining the Justice Center, Christa held positions at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) as well as the District Attorney’s office in Rensselaer County where she served as an Assistant District Attorney and Bureau Chief of the Special Victims Unit. 

Christa received her Juris Doctor and graduated magna cum laude, from Albany Law School and her bachelor’s degree from Towson University.


 

Director of Strategic Communications Christine Buttigieg

Christine Buttigieg

Christine Buttigieg joined the Justice Center in 2017 as Director of Strategic Communications.  She manages all internal and external communications for the agency including responses to press inquiries, crafting of the agency newsletter, and remarks by agency leadership.  She also provides feedback on agency FOIL responses and legislative inquiries.  In addition, she oversees the Justice Center’s website and intranet.

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Christine spent 15 years in local television news as a producer and then as Assistant News Director.  In that time, she won four regional Emmy awards, four regional Edward R. Murrow awards, three New York State Broadcasters’ Association awards, and two Associated Press awards. 

Christine graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with dual degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science.  She lives in Halfmoon, NY with her husband and two children.  She volunteers in several cancer patient advocacy roles.


 

Director of Special Projects Nadia Chanza

Nadia Chanza

Director of Special Projects Nadia Chanza has worked in public service for more than two decades years protecting the health and safety of New York State’s most vulnerable. She joined the Justice Center as Deputy Director in January 2019 to oversee quality assurance initiatives across the agency with a focus on investigations process from intake through administrative appeals before being promoted to Chief of Staff in 2020.

Prior to joining the New York State Justice Center, Nadia worked as an Assistant Chief of Investigations for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities for approximately six years.  She was also instrumental in the creation, development, and training of the Office of Investigations and Internal Affairs Death Unit at OPWDD.

Prior to her tenure at OPWDD, Nadia was an Assistant District Attorney at the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for approximately 14 years. She graduated from Stony Brook University and earned her law degree from Fordham University School of Law.


 

Director of Administrative Hearings David Cochran

David Cochran

David Cochran serves as the Director of Administrative Hearings for the Justice Center.  He oversees a team of Administrative Law Judges that reviews and renders decisions on appeals of cases substantiated by the Justice Center.

David joined the Justice Center when the agency first opened in 2013.  He has broad-based legal experience including a Judicial Clerkship, practiced law both in the public sector and with national law firms and has taught at two law schools.  He is admitted in New York and Massachusetts. 

David has a J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Faculty of Law and Jurisprudence and a B.A. from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. 


 

Director of Incident Management Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole oversees the Incident Management Unit (IMU) of the Justice Center.  As such, she is responsible for supervising the intake and investigatory assignment of all reports made to the Justice Center.

Prior to her position as the Director of IMU, Lisa began her career at the NYJC as a call center agent. She was one of the first agents to take a hotline call when the agency opened on June 30, 2013. Over the next few years, Lisa was promoted to a supervisor, a unit manager, and then the Assistant Director. Prior to her employment with the Justice Center, Ms. Cole worked in voluntary providers providing care to vulnerable individuals for 13 years.

Lisa has a master’s degree in Cultural Foundations of Education, CAS in Women’s Studies, and a CAS in Disability Studies from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburg.


 

Deputy General Counsel Yolanda Harris

Yolanda Harris

Deputy General Counsel Yolanda Harris joined the Justice Center in 2022 after more than a decade of experience in civil litigation.  In her role, Yolanda works in coordination with the General counsel on legal matters concerning the agency including case closure, pre-employment checks, and records access.

Yolanda previously served as the Associate General Counsel of the FOIL/Records & Compliance Unit at the NYC Administration for Childrens’ Services.  She also managed Ambulatory Care Adult & Pediatric Clinic as well as Surgical Specialties staff in the delivery of primary care to underserved communities in NYC.

Yolanda earned her bachelor’s degree from Herbert Lehman College, C.U.N.Y., earned a Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Administration from New York Medical College, and completed her Law Degree at St. John’s University School of Law.


 

Director of Internal Audit Jawaria Khan

Jawaria Khan

Jawaria Khan joined the Justice Center in 2018 as the Director of Internal Audit.  The Internal audit function adds value to the Justice Center’s internal control system by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to the evaluation of risk and by making recommendations to increase the effectiveness of risk management efforts and improve the internal control structure.

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Jawaria held a finance managerial position at Danaher Corporation, a science and technology company. She has 17 years in state service, the public accounting sector, and the private sector working for Fortune 500 companies.

Jawaria holds a BA in Accounting from the Hofstra University. She is also a New York State Certified Public Accountant (CPA).


 

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Charles Pensabene

Charlie Pensabene
Charlie Pensabene joined the Justice Center in 2023 and serves as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, Charlie interfaces with legislators, their staff, and stakeholders to shape legislation impacting the Justice Center’s operations.

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Charlie worked as the Government Relations Manager for a large-scale renewable energy developer, advancing clean energy legislation in Albany. Charlie had previously served as an Associate Counsel at SUNY System Administration, where he represented campus clients on legal issues and contributed to SUNY’s legislative and policy agendas. Prior to SUNY, Charlie was an Assistant Counsel in the New York State Senate, working on an array of legislative topics that included government operations. He also served as a volunteer panel member on the Justice Center’s Surrogate Decision Making Committee for over three years.

Charlie completed his bachelor’s degree at Siena College and his law degree at Albany Law School.


Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention, and Support Davin Robinson

Davin Robinson

Davin Robinson joined the Justice Center as Chief of Staff when the agency was first established in 2013.  She moved into the role of Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention and Support in 2017 where she oversees the production of the agency’s extensive prevention materials, provider audits, Special Housing Unit (SHU) monitoring and compliance, as well as all outreach with stakeholders, individuals, and families.

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Davin was employed by the NYS Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities as the Director of Intergovernmental Relations.  Before working for New York State, she was employed at the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA) and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and Office of Management and Budget.

Davin graduated with a master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago after completing her undergraduate studies at Michigan State University.


 

Chief of Investigations Anthony Ryan

Anthony Ryan

Anthony Ryan currently serves as the Chief of Investigations for the Justice Center.  In that role, he oversees investigations in all five regions of the state as well as the Mortality Review Unit, the State Oversight Agency Review Team, and out of state placements.  Prior to his current position, Tony served as Deputy and Assistant Chief of Investigations.  He joined the agency when it was launched in 2013.

Tony came to the Justice Center with an extensive criminal justice background.  He worked for the Albany Police Department for 23 years in a variety of roles including Commander of the Detective Division, Detective Sergeant, and Detective in both the Special Investigations Unit and the Criminal Investigations Unit.

Tony received several awards during his tenure with APD including the Exceptional Duty Medal in 1998, 2000, and 2008.

He graduated from Hudson Valley Community College with a degree in Criminal Justice.


 

Special Prosecutor/Inspector General Paula Branca-Santos

Special Prosecutor - Inspector General  Headshot
Paula joined the Justice Center in the Spring of 2018. She oversees the management and analysis of all potential SPIG-led and SPIG-led cases handled by the assistant special prosecutors throughout the state. Paula is also responsible for outreach and relationship building with state district attorney offices and other partners in law enforcement.

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Paula was an Assistant District Attorney for Bronx County (1999-2003) and Westchester County (2003-2018). During her time in those offices, she served in various leadership capacities and in nearly every division.

Paula received her law degree from Pace University School of Law and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & Italian Studies from Fordham University.