Poyner Spruill attorney Cheslie Kryst’s pro bono work recently included assisting a North Carolina man secure a sentence reduction through the courts after more than 18 years in prison.

With help from p.s. attorney Deborah Sperati and the firm’s involvement with the USLAW NETWORK, Kryst was selected to serve as local counsel for Alfred Rivera, who was originally given a mandatory life sentence without parole for a low-level federal drug crime. Kryst worked with Brittany K. Barnett and the Buried Alive Project on Rivera’s case.

The Buried Alive Project seeks relief for the unjustly sentenced with the help of partners in the legal industry. Barnett is a Texas attorney and co-founder of the organization, and her work has been featured by the Washington Post, CNN, Huffington Post, and others.

“I’m so proud of this firm for supporting Brittany and me to make this success story possible,” Kryst said after Rivera’s release.

Kryst is a member of Poyner Spruill’s litigation team and concentrates her practice in complex civil litigation. She represents clients in a wide range of challenges, including government-related disputes, constitutional litigation, professional malpractice claims, and construction disputes. She was recently recognized in the 2018 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society for completing more than 50 hours of unpaid legal services.

This past May, Kryst earned the title of Miss USA 2019, and she will compete for the title of Miss Universe later this year. She also runs her own fashion blog entitled White Collar Glam and supports the nonprofit organization Dress for Success Charlotte, which “empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”

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