CVAA Board of Directors

Daniel Felizzatto – Chairman of the Board

Daniel Felizzatto has been a Deputy District Attorney for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office since 2005.  Mr. Felizzatto has worked as a trial deputy in Los Angeles where he prosecuted domestic violence cases, drug prosecutions, gang crimes, illegal weapons offenses and a variety of other felony and misdemeanor crimes, and in the District Attorney’s Sacramento Legislative Unit.

Prior to his appointment as a Deputy District Attorney, Mr. Felizzatto served as deputy Legislative Secretary for Governor Gray Davis where he was responsible for advising the Governor on all legislative matters involving public safety.  In addition, he served as a liaison to local police and sheriff’s departments, district attorney’s offices and to local police officer associations, deputy sheriff associations and victim’s rights organizations.  Mr. Felizzatto has also served on the senior staff of three former California Assembly Members.

Mr. Felizzatto grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attending City College of San Francisco and San Jose State University where he graduated with Highest Honors with a B.A in Political Science (Public Policy Emphasis) and a B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration.  He eared his Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Davis King Hall School of Law.

Mr. Felizzatto is a member of the California District Attorneys Association, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys and the California Narcotics Officer Association.  Mr. Felizzatto is actively involved in the victim’s rights movement.  In addition to his work with CVAA, he serves on the Executive Board of the Crime Victims Assistance Network I-CAN and Citizens for Law and Order.  Mr. Felizzatto is also a Governor’s appointee to the California Italian-American Task Force.  Daniel is married to his wife Tina.

Paul Cappitelli – Executive Board Member

Paul Cappitelli is a career law enforcement professional with over 35 years of experience. He served with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) for 29 years, retiring at the rank of Captain. During his tenure at SBSD, Paul worked a number of assignments at all ranks. His command assignments included: Adelanto Detention Center, West Valley Detention Center, Sheriff’s Regional Training Center, and Chief of Police of the Chino Hills Police and Sheriff’s Station. He has extensive experience working in administration, patrol, traffic, custody, homicide investigation, public affairs, gang enforcement, and academy director to name a few. Commensurately, Paul has completed several hundred hours of formal training related to the duties of a California Peace Officer.

Additionally, Paul served for 5 years as Executive Director of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) from 2007-2012. In that capacity, he was responsible for providing leadership to POST Staff in the development and administration of training for approximately 75,000 California Peace Officers and 10,000 professional staff.

Since 2013, Paul has been a special law enforcement consultant. In this role, he has provided a variety of services to law enforcement and other municipal and private clients including, but not limited to: Critical incident/administrative/personnel investigation support, assistance with public agency defense litigation, assessment of ethics and public integrity issues, development and enhancement of training and administrative policies, analysis of complex problems to determine viable solutions and threat/security assessments. Paul is presently providing expert analysis and evaluation of police practices in defense of public entities as an independent consultant.

Paul has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and is a graduate of the POST Command College, as well as various other leadership development programs. He has authored several articles for various publications on topics primarily related to law enforcement and public policy.

Larry Morrison – Executive Board Member

Michael Saragosa – Secretary

Michael Saragosa has over 13 years of increased responsibility in the State Legislature and Executive Branch, government relations industry and political management of campaigns.  Prior to Quintana-Saragosa Public Affairs, Micheal was Coalitions Director for the Meg Whitman for Governor Campaign and oversaw the campaign’s ethnic, gender, youth, trade association, and Central Valley outreach programs, staff and consultants.

A veteran of state government, Michael served in a variety of high-level positions within the Schwarzenegger Administration.  He was Undersecretary of State and Consumer Services ensuring that the programs and activities of Agency’s 17 departments and 17,000 employees are properly planned, operated and coordinated.  Prior to his appointment as Undersecretary, he was appointed as Executive Director of the Employment Training Panel (ETP).  ETP is a joint business and labor program that allocates over $100 million annually in workforce training dollars.

Michael served as the main liaison between the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Governor’s Office.  Prior to his position in Cabinet, he served as Chief Deputy Appointments Secretary and was responsible for the daily operations of the Appointments Unit managing the recruitment, interviews and recommendation of candidates to the Appointments Secretary, Chief of Staff and Governor.

Michael has been Chief of Staff and has served several State Legislators.  Michael is widely recognized for his expertise navigating government entities and being able to deliver results in complex situations.  Michael is the unique consultant who can traverse the halls of government and provide political management and coalition building expertise for his clients.

Erin Sasse – Executive Board Member

Erin Sasse has over 10 years of experience working in the State Legislature, Executive Branch, local government, and political management of campaigns. Currently Ms. Sasse is a Regional Public Affairs Manager with the League of California Cities.

Prior to joining the League of California Cities, Erin was Chief of External Affairs for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) where she was the main liaison between stakeholders and the Department.  Furthermore, Ms. Sasse has served in a variety of positions within the Schwarzenegger and Brown Administrations, serving as Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs and Outreach at the California Lottery Commission and as a Senior Field Representative for Governor Schwarzenegger in the Riverside Office.  In this capacity she represented the Governor in both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

Sasse has served several State Legislators and has worked on various political campaigns including re-election campaign for Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006 and President Bush in 2004.

Erin is excellent in crisis communication, coalition building, and navigation difficult policy initiatives.  She is excellent at coalition building and creating and maintaining relationships.  Ms. Sasse graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Political Science.

Ryan Sherman – Executive Board Member


Dennis Smith – Executive Board Member

Dennis Smith has been a longtime advocate for victims’ rights and is aware of the pain and trauma that victims and victims’ next-of-kin suffer.

Dennis earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from California State University at Sacramento. 

He began his forty-four year career with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and then moved on to the State of California Department of Justice, Bureau of Organized Crime and Criminal Intelligence.  Subsequent State of California assignments included serving as Deputy Chief of the Emergency Management Agency’s Law Enforcement Division; Senior Investigator with the Board of Parole Hearings; Parole Supervisor with the Parole and Community Services Division; and most recently until retirement, Deputy Commissioner with the Board of Parole Hearings.

Christine Ward  – Executive Director

Christine Ward has been assisting victims of crime and advocating for victims’ rights for over two decades.  She began her career in victim assistance/advocacy answering the crisis hotline at the Center for Women Studies and Services (now Center for Community Solutions) in San Diego, CA as well as providing accompaniment and support to sexual assault victims at evidentiary exams.

Ms. Ward has since worked for centers across the county, developing and managing programs that assist victims of violent crime.  Ms. Ward is an accomplished trainer and speaker and presents on a variety of topics including victim support/assistance, victim advocacy, and professional and personal development.

Ms. Ward has created outreach tools to improve awareness, and encourage activism, around issues pertaining to victims of crime, crime prevention and victims’ rights.  She is the co-creator of the internationally recognized Watch Your Drink – Watch Your Friends drug facilitated sexual assault educational program and has presented on this program across the US and Canada.

Ms. Ward has worked extensively with various law enforcement agencies to improve communication with and assistance to victims of crime.

Ms. Ward has received several awards and recognition for her work assisting victims of crime and in advancing victims’ rights.  In 2006, Ms. Ward was honored with a special recognition award from the Trenton, New Jersey Police Department for her service and dedication to victims of domestic violence and for her commitment to the training of the Trenton Police Officers.  In 2008 she was honored with the California Governor’s Crime Victim Advocacy Award for her dedication to serving victims of violent crime.  In 2009 she was appointed by the Governor to the state Domestic Violence Program Advisory Council  and was re-appointed to the Council in 2015.

Ms. Ward holds a BA in psychology and a Masters Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on non-profit management.  Ms. Ward is a survivor of violent crime and has been active with the Alliance since its inception in 1992.


Advisory Board Members

Joe Baumann

Cliff Costa