We were pleased to welcome a diverse group of experts to participate in the symposium and associated workshop. Participants below are grouped by their role, including: speakers, authors, and reviewers.
Menard Family Lecture
Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States
Eric H. Holder, Jr. is an internationally-recognized leader on a broad range of legal issues and a staunch advocate for civil rights. He served in the Obama Administration as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from February 2009 to April 2015, the third-longest serving Attorney General in U.S. history and the first African American to hold that office. He currently serves as Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Including his tenure as Attorney General, Mr. Holder served in government for more than thirty years, having been appointed to various positions requiring U.S. Senate confirmation by Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Reagan. He began his legal career at the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department. In 1988, President Reagan appointed him to serve as a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 1993, Mr. Holder stepped down from the bench to accept an appointment from President Clinton as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. He held that position until he became the first African-American Deputy Attorney General in 1997.
Piper Kerman, Social Justice Advocate and Author
Kerman is a social justice advocate and the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison. This eye-opening memoir recounts the year that Piper spent in federal prison for a crime she had committed ten years previously during a brief involvement with the drug trade. Compelling, moving, and often hilarious, Orange is the New Black explores issues of friendship and family, mental illness, the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailor, and the almost complete lack of guidance our society offers for post-prison life. The book inspired the Peabody Award-winning, critically acclaimed Netflix series of the same name, and has been credited with radically increasing the public’s awareness about mass incarceration and the growing female prison population. Kerman speaks to audiences around the country and has spoken at the White House and testified before the U.S. Senate. She serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association and the advisory boards of the PEN America Writing For Justice Fellowship, InsideOUT Writers, Healing Broken Circles, and JustLeadershipUSA. She speaks about learning from mistakes, the power of women’s communities, the need for prison reform and support for people after incarceration, her life and experiences, and the TV series.
The Honorable Maureen O’Connor, Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, the first woman to lead the Ohio judicial branch, has made justice system reform the centerpiece of her nine-year tenure. Among initiatives she has championed in Ohio and nationally are racial justice; challenges to “debtor’s prisons;” attorney representation for the poor; reform of bail, fines and fees; sentencing fairness; cameras in courtrooms; and grand jury reform. Chief Justice O’Connor led the creation in 2016 of the nation’s first multistate body designed to fight the opioid epidemic by creating an across-borders team of judicial, legislative and law enforcement sectors with medical, scientific, research and philanthropic groups.
The Honorable Algenon L. Marbley, Chief U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio
Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Upon recommendation from Senator John Glenn, President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Marbley to the bench in 1997. Judge Marbley became the Chief District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio on September 14, 2019, becoming the first African-American to serve in that capacity. In his twenty-four years serving as a district court judge, Judge Marbley has presided over some of the most important cases in central Ohio and the country, ranging from voting rights issues to issues involving policing.
Weldon Angelos, Advocate, Music Producer, The Weldon Project
Weldon Angelos is a music producer who has worked with legends like Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur’s recording group, and Tory Lanez. In 2004, Weldon became the national face of criminal justice reform after he was sentenced to a mandatory 55-year prison term for selling a $900 worth of cannabis as a first-time offender. His cause was championed by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) & Mike Lee (R-UT), celebrities, leading news organizations like the Washington Post, and even the Koch brothers, which led to an early release in 2016 after serving 13 years of his 55-year sentence. Since his release, Weldon has become a leading activist working with a bipartisan coalition of celebrities, lawmakers, and business leaders to make our criminal justice system fair for everyone.
Rachel Barkow, Faculty Director, Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, Vice Dean and Charles Seligson Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Rachel Barkow is the Charles Seligson Professor of Law and the Faculty Director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at NYU. In June of 2013, the Senate confirmed her as a Member of the United States Sentencing Commission, where she served until January 2019. Since 2010, she has also been a member of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel. Her scholarship focuses on criminal law, and she is especially interested in applying the lessons and theory of administrative and constitutional law to the administration of criminal justice. Professor Barkow teaches courses in criminal law, administrative law, and constitutional law. After graduating from Northwestern University (B.A. 1993), Barkow attended Harvard Law School (J.D. 1996).
Valena Beety, Professor of Law and Deputy Director, Academy for Justice, Arizona State University
Professor Beety’s experiences as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and as an innocence litigator in Mississippi and West Virginia, shape her research and writing on wrongful convictions, forensic evidence, the opioid crisis and incarceration. Professor Beety founded the West Virginia Innocence Project, served as a board member of the national Innocence Network and a commissioner on the West Virginia Governor’s Indigent Defense Commission. She is the co-author of the Wrongful Convictions Reader (2018). Before serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Beety clerked for the Honorable Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and for the Honorable Chief Judge James G. Carr of the Northern District of Ohio. Beety holds a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago.
Douglas A. Berman, Professor of Law and Executive Director, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, The Ohio State University
Douglas Berman is Professor and Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. His principal teaching and research focus is in the area of criminal law and criminal sentencing and rapidly-evolving drug laws and regulations. Berman is a long-time editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter and is frequently consulted by policymakers, sentencing commissioners, and public policy groups concerning sentencing law and policy reforms. Prior to joining the faculty at Moritz College of law, he was a litigation associate and served as a law clerk for Judge Jon O. Newman and then for Judge Guido Calabresi, both on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Sherry Boston, District Attorney, DeKalb County, Georgia
Sherry Boston is one of only three African-American female District Attorneys in the State of Georgia, and among the rare one-percent of African-American females currently serving as District Attorney nationwide. DA Boston oversees the prosecution of felony offenses filed in the Superior Court of DeKalb County. Since taking the helm as District Attorney in 2017, Ms. Boston has restructured and redefined prosecution processes and increased the Office’s capacity to serve victims with an expanded victim services unit. Through her work with the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution and the Fair and Just Prosecution initiative, DA Boston has also become an integral part of the national dialogue on criminal justice reform. Prior to her role as District Attorney, Ms. Boston served as DeKalb County Solicitor-General. She is a graduate of Villanova University and Emory University School of Law.
Michael Collins, Strategic Policy and Planning Director, Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City
Michael Collins is the Strategic Policy and Planning Director at the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, where he works to devise and implement criminal justice reform policies. Previously, he was director at the Drug Policy Alliance’s (DPA) Office of National Affairs, in Washington, D.C., where he worked with Congress on a wide variety of drug policy issues including marijuana reform, criminal justice reform, overdose issues, and more. He is originally from Scotland, and lived in France, Spain and Mexico, before moving to Baltimore in 2010. Before joining DPA, Michael interned in the U.S. Congress, and worked on drug war issues in Mexico for the CIP Americas Program. He holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an undergraduate degree from Strathclyde University in his hometown of Glasgow.
Premal Dharia, Executive Director, Institute to End Mass Incarceration, Harvard Law School
Premal Dharia is the executive director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration at Harvard Law School, which draws together organizers, scholars, activists, policymakers, lawyers, and students who are committed to new approaches to ending mass incarceration and the harms of the carceral state. For nearly fifteen years, Dharia worked on the criminal legal system’s front lines, representing individual clients as a public defender. In that role, she represented people in local and federal courts, supervised and trained attorneys, led teams in complex cases, and tried numerous cases before judges and juries. Dharia then shifted to impact litigation as the Director of Litigation for Civil Rights Corps. Prior to her current role, Dharia founded and directed the Defender Impact Initiative. Dharia graduated from Brown University and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Jessica Eaglin, Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law
Jessica M. Eaglin joined the Maurer School of Law in 2015 after several years of experience in private practice and as a judicial clerk. She served as counsel in the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and clerked for Hon. Damon J. Keith of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was also a litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City. She is an expert in criminal law, evidence, and federal sentencing law. In addition to her JD degree from Duke University School of Law, she holds an M.A. in literature from Duke University and a B.A. in English from Spelman College. She served as a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton University during 2017-18.
Nancy Gertner, Senior Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School and Judge (Ret.), U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Judge Nancy Gertner has been an instructor at Yale Law School, teaching sentencing and comparative sentencing institutions, since 1998. She was appointed to the bench in 1994 by President Clinton. In 2008 she received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, only the second woman to receive it (Justice Ginsburg was the first). In September of 2011, Judge Gertner retired from the federal bench and became part of the faculty of the Harvard Law School teaching a number of subjects including criminal law, criminal procedure, forensic science and sentencing, as well as continuing to teach and write about women’s issues around the world. Gertner is a graduate of Barnard College and Yale Law School where she was an editor on The Yale Law Journal.
Oren M. Gur, Director of Research, Policy Advisor, Director of District Attorney’s Transparency Analytics (DATA) Lab, Office of District Attorney Larry Krasner
Oren joined the DAO in 2018 to use analytics, research, and criminological theory to plan and implement policy to transform Philadelphia’s legal system. At the DAO, Dr. Gur has been a PI or Co-I on more than $4.86 million in foundation grants, including to create the DATA Lab, a new unit that supports policy, practice, and research into the impact of prosecutorial discretion on individuals and communities. Oren has worked on prosecutor-led bail reform, sentencing reform to reduce mass supervision, decriminalization of buprenorphine and fentanyl test strip possession, and expediting the adjudication of nonfatal shooting cases, and facilitated independent research on topics including bail reform, accidental drug overdoses and criminal justice contacts, and the resentencing of juvenile lifers.
Jason Hernandez, Founder, Crack Open the Door
Jason Hernandez was sentenced to life without parole plus 320 years for a nonviolent drug offense in 1998 at the age of 21. While incarcerated, in 2011, Jason prepared his own Petition for Commutation and sent it to President Obama, along with a letter, asking for his sentence to be reduced. On December 19, 2013, Jason became one of the first to receive clemency from President Obama: known as the “Obama 8.” Since his release in 2015, Jason has assisted nearly a dozen individuals receive clemency through the Obama and Trump Administration: six of whom were serving life without parole. He has become a leading voice and advocate for criminal justice reform. Jason has also written a Clemency Guidebook for people in prison and their families called Get Clemency Now.
Sean Hill, Assistant Professor of Law, The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law
Sean Hill is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. His teaching and research lie at the intersection of critical race theory and criminal justice policy, and his forthcoming publication in the UCLA Law Review specifically examines bail reform and pretrial risk assessment instruments through a critical race lens. Prior to joining Moritz, Professor Hill was a Law Research Fellow & Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Hill served as a member of the Law4BlackLives Steering Committee from July 2015 to March 2017, and as the co-chair of the National Conference of Black Lawyers – New York Chapter from January 2016 to March 2018. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Nailah Jefferson, film director
Nailah Jefferson’s acclaimed work has been distributed domestically and internationally on the film festival circuit, theatrically and televised. She is the director of the forthcoming feature documentary Commuted, about a 51 year old woman whose triple life sentence was commuted by the Obama Administration in 2016. In 2017, Nailah was nominated for a National Magazine Ellie award for directing Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4. Nailah’s first narrative film, Plaquemines, was awarded the inaugural Create Louisiana $50k Short Film grant. It was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is currently available on HBO platforms.
Jelani Jefferson-Exum, Dean and Philip J. McElroy Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy
Jelani Jefferson Exum, Dean and Philip J. McElroy Professor of Law at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, is a nationally recognized expert in sentencing law and procedure. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Federal Sentencing Reporter. Dean Jefferson Exum is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College. Prior to joining the Detroit Mercy Law faculty, she was an associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion and professor of law at the University of Toledo College of Law, an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, and a visiting associate professor at the University of Michigan Law School. Dean Jefferson Exum writes mainly in the areas of federal sentencing and policing, with a focus on racial justice.
Kerwin Kaye, Associate Professor of Sociology, Wesleyan University
Kerwin Kaye is Associate Professor of Sociology, American Studies, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University. He is the author of Enforcing Freedom: Drug Courts, Therapeutic Communities, and the Intimacies of the State, published with Columbia University Press in 2020.
David Lucas, Clinical Advisor/Senior Program Manager, Center for Court Innovation
David Lucas, MSW, is a therapist and social work educator committed to reducing the harms of the criminal legal and substance use treatment systems. David specializes in the areas of addiction counseling, drug policy, and problem-solving justice. As a Clinical Advisor at the Center for Court Innovation, he consults nationally with judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement on overdose prevention, health equity, and person-centered care. Previously, David was an addiction therapist and drug court clinical lead at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), providing support for formerly-incarcerated and precariously-housed patients. During those years, he also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, course director at York University’s School of Social Work, and presented internationally on drug policy and best practices for addiction care in legal settings.
Erik Luna, Amelia D. Lewis Professor of Constitutional and Criminal Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
Erik Luna is the Amelia D. Lewis Professor of Constitutional and Criminal Law in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Professor Luna teaches and writes primarily in the areas of criminal law and criminal procedure. Luna has received two Fulbright awards. Prior to coming to ASU, Luna was the Sydney & Frances Lewis Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, and before that, he was the Hugh B. Brown Chair in Law at the University of Utah. Luna is an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute. He graduated from the University of Southern California and received his J.D. from Stanford Law School. Upon graduation, Luna was a prosecutor in the San Diego District Attorney’s Office and a fellow and lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
Mona Lynch, Interim Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and Law, School of Social Ecology, University of California Irvine
Mona Lynch is Chancellor’s Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, holds a courtesy appointment in the School of Law, and is currently Interim Dean of the School of Social Ecology at UC Irvine. A social psychologist by training, her current research is on plea bargaining, criminal sentencing, and punishment processes, with a focus on institutionalized forms of bias within the criminal legal system, including the federal system. She has also conducted a body of research with Craig Haney that examines bias in death qualification and capital jury decision-making, including how racial bias manifests in the decision-making process. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, and the Russell Sage Foundation. In 2017, she was named a W.E.B. Du Bois Scholar in Race and Crime by the National Institute of Justice.
Kenneth Matthews, Team Leader, residential rehab facility operated by Prestera Center
Kenneth Matthews is a formerly incarcerated person in long term recovery. He currently serves as a team leader at a residential rehab facility operated by Prestera Center. Previously, Matthews worked at West Virginia State University as a Collegiate Peer Recovery Coach. He is part of the state organizing team for the West Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project, on the board of directors for the West Virginia Family of Convicted People, as well as, the treasurer for the local Kanawha County chapter. He strives through advocacy to help individuals in recovery and reentry from correctional facilities to be successful, purpose driven, members of their communities in order to help build better stronger communities and a better state.
Danielle Metz, student, community activist, advocate, and public speaker
In 1993, Danielle Metz was a twenty-six year old mother with two small children, who was labeled a drug kingpin by the U.S. Government as a part of her husband’s drug ring. She was sentenced to triple life plus twenty years for nonviolent drug offenses. After serving twenty-three years in prison, Danielle’s sentence was commuted in 2016 by the Obama Administration as a part of the Clemency Initiative to address historically unfair sentencing practices during the “war on drugs.” Now back home, Danielle is trying to start life over again in her fifties while working to help other women avoid her fate. She is the central protagonist of the forthcoming feature documentary Commuted by Nailah Jefferson.
Mark Osler, Professor and Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas Law School
Mark Osler is the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas (MN). He also holds the Ruthie Mattox Preaching Chair at First Covenant Church, Minneapolis. Osler’s writing on clemency, sentencing and narcotics policy has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic and in many law journals. A former federal prosecutor, he later won the case of Spears v. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court, with the Court ruling that judges could categorically reject a mandatory 100-to-1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine in the federal sentencing guidelines. In 2020, Osler served as chair of the independent panel which reviewed the case of Myon Burrell and recommended that Burrell receive a commutation of sentence. Osler is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Yale Law School.
Mary Price, General Counsel, FAMM
Mary Price is General Counsel of FAMM and directs the FAMM Litigation Project. Ms. Price was a founder of Clemency Project 2014, serving on its Steering, Screening and Resource committees. She is a member of and Special Advisor to the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, is a member of its Sentencing Committee, serves on the ABA’s Sentencing Standards Task Force, and was a member of the Task Force on the Reform of Federal Sentencing for Economic Crimes. She is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and serves on its First Step Implementation Task Force. Ms. Price is a founder of the Compassionate Release Clearinghouse. She was honored in 2019 by NACDL with its Champion of Justice Restoration of Rights Award for her work on clemency and compassionate release.
Addie Rolnick, Professor of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law
Addie C. Rolnick is the San Manuel Professor of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law. Professor Rolnick specializes in indigenous rights, juvenile and criminal law, and racial justice. She is the Faculty Director of the Indian Nations Gaming & Governance Program and the Associate Director of the Program on Race, Gender & Policing. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences Ad Hoc Committee on Reducing Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. Prior to joining UNLV in 2011, she was the inaugural Critical Race Studies Law Fellow at UCLA School of Law. Before that, she represented tribal governments as a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, D.C. She earned her J.D. (2004) and M.A. (2007) in American Indian Studies from UCLA and her B.A. (1999) from Oberlin College.
Judge, Eastern District of Wisconsin
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Clinical Professor of Law, Capital University Law School
Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, School of Criminal Justice
Villanova University School of Law
Senior Litigator AFPD, Office of the Federal Public Defender, SDWV
Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law
Dr. Judith Edersheim
Co-Founder of the Center for Law Brain & Behavior, Massachusetts General Hospital
Senior Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Judge (Ret.), U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Reader in Law & Criminal Justice, University of Surrey School of Law
Associate Professor, Department of Criminology & Justice Studies, Drexel University
Associate Professor, Duquesne University School of Law
Dr. Robert Kinscherff
Associate Vice President and Professor of Doctoral Clinical Psychology, William James College; Center for
Law Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Senior Research Consultant, National Association of Drug Court Professionals
Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School
Chairperson, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Loyola University, Chicago
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Criminology & Justice Studies, Drexel University
Professor of Law, University of Idaho College of Law, Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center
Assistant Professor, Penn State Law in University Park
Assistant Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Sarah Brady Siff
Visiting Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Office of Policy & Legislation, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Senior Education Attorney, Probation & Pretrial Services Education, Federal Judicial Center
Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Loyola University, Chicago
Director of the Institute for Justice Reform & Innovation, Drake University Law School, Former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
Professor and Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law, Executive Director, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Dr. Cynthia Boyer
Assistant Professor, UMR Framespa, thématique 1 (“Logiques du commun”), Université Toulouse II, France
Professor of Law and Director of Center on Race, Law and Justice, Fordham University School of Law
Executive Director, Institute to End Mass Incarceration, Harvard University
Clinical Professor, Yale Law School
Assistant Professor of Law, Penn State University Dickinson School of Law
Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law
Assistant Professor, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
Associate Professor, Faculty Associate to the Remington Center, Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty, Faculty Affiliate of the La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Law
Director of the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
Professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Professor of Law, Leo J. O’Brien Fellow, Loyola Law School
Professor and Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas Law School
National Sentencing Resource Counsel, Federal Public and Community Defenders
Associate Professor of Sociology, The Ohio State University
Director of the Office of Policy and Legislation, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School
Visiting Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Director of Federal Criminal Justice Clinic, University of Chicago Law School