DOUGLAS A. BERMAN, JD
Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law, Director of Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
Professor Berman’s principal teaching and research focus is in the area of criminal law and criminal sentencing and rapidly-evolving drug laws and regulations, with a special emphasis on the intersection of these issues. In addition to authoring numerous publications on topics ranging from capital punishment to the federal sentencing guidelines, Professor Berman has served as an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter for more than a decade, and is the sole creator and author of two widely-read and widely-cited blogs: Sentencing Law and Policy and Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform. Professor Berman is frequently consulted by national and state policymakers, sentencing commissioners, and public policy groups concerning sentencing law and policy reforms. He has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and before numerous sentencing commissions. Professor Berman has appeared on national television and radio news programs and has been extensively quoted in major newspaper articles, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Legal Times, and in pieces from the Associated Press, Reuters, and Knight-Ridder news services. He attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Director, National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance
Michael Collins is director at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, in Washington, D.C., where he works with Congress on a wide variety of drug policy issues including drug war spending, syringe access funding, appropriations, and Latin America. He is originally from Scotland, and lived in France, Spain and Mexico, before moving to the U.S. Before joining DPA, Michael worked at the Information Technology Industry Council, interned for Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in the U.S. House of Representatives, 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, where he studied international relations. He also has an undergraduate degree from Strathclyde University in his hometown of Glasgow. He speaks French, Spanish and Catalan. Michael has discussed drug policy issues on the BBC, NBC’s Telemundo, TVE and Telesur. He has also appeared in the Baltimore Sun and Proceso magazine.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Sentencing Project
As Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kara Gotsch oversees The Sentencing Project’s federal advocacy work and develops special projects and partnerships to advance the organizational mission of reducing mass incarceration. Gotsch returned to The Sentencing Project in 2016 after serving as its Director of Advocacy from 2005-2012, when she helped lead the multi-year effort to reform the notorious 100-to-1 crack cocaine sentencing disparity that resulted in the 2010 passage of the Fair Sentencing Act. Her sentencing reform advocacy was honored in 2011 by Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Prior to her return, Gotsch led the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition, a project of the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society, comprised of 50 national faith-based organizations. The coalition organized faith leaders and clergy to advance federal criminal justice reforms, particularly around issues of sentencing, reentry, and collateral consequences of incarceration. Gotsch has also worked for the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union overseeing media outreach, public education and federal legislative activities. She concluded her tenure there bringing international attention to the issue of prison rape in Texas. Gotsch received her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Maryland.
Executive Director, Law Enforcement Action Partnership
Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) is a 34-year police veteran and leading spokesperson on policing and drug policy issues. While serving as a narcotics agent with the Maryland State Police, Maj. Franklin was persuaded by then-mayor of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, that the War on Drugs was counterproductive and created excessive violence. This, followed by the tragic murder of his close friend, Corporal Ed Toatley, who was killed while making a drug buy as an undercover agent, cemented his resolve to change our failed drug laws. After 23 years with the Maryland State Police, the Baltimore Police Commissioner recruited him to reconstruct and command Baltimore’s Education and Training Section to become executive director for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), a nonprofit group of police, judges, prosecutors, and others who use their expertise to advance drug policy and public safety solutions. Franklin retired from policing in 2010.
Director of Public Health Law and Policy, Drug Policy Alliance
Lindsay LaSalle is Director of Public Health Law and Policy with the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of Legal Affairs and an expert and strategist in the areas of harm reduction and treatment as it relates to drug policy. She drafts harm reduction, treatment, and health-related legislation across the country, including bills that provide legal protections for people who seek medical assistance in the event of an overdose, improve access to the overdose antidote naloxone, permit syringe exchange programs, remove barriers to treatment medications such as methadone and buprenorphine, authorize new interventions such as supervised consumption sites and drug checking services, and advance novel drug research. LaSalle also pushes back on attempts to criminalize overdose through, for instance, drug-induced homicide, involuntary commitment, or fentanyl mandatory minimum laws. LaSalle has been published in peer-reviewed journals and also regularly drafts reports for the Drug Policy Alliance. She has testified before numerous legislative and government bodies in the United States, including the United States Sentencing Commission. She received both her B.A. and J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as development editor of the California Law Review. Prior to joining DPA, LaSalle worked at Morrison & Foerster LLP for three years on commercial litigation matters, while maintaining an active pro bono practice.
Coordinator, BMORE Power
William G Miller Jr. is the coordinator of Bmore-POWER (People Offering Wellness Education and Resources ) a peer-led outreach organization that conducts street outreach around overdose and naloxone distribution, as well as harm reduction education in some of the most targeted and affected neighborhoods in Baltimore City. He also a member of the BRIDGES coalition, which is exploring implementing of Overdose Prevention Sites. William Jr also on panels that includes Drug Policy Alliance, National Harm Reduction Coalition, National Council for Behavior Health and Sensible Students for Drug Policy. Through all his work William Jr is dedicated to raising awareness of ways to prevent loss of life.
Professor and Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Professor Mark Osler’s work advocates for sentencing and clemency policies rooted in principles of human dignity. Osler’s writing on clemency, sentencing and narcotics policy has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post and in law journals at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Georgetown, Ohio State, UNC, and Rutgers. His University of Chicago Law Review article (with Rachel Barkow) was highlighted in a lead editorial in The New York Times, in which the Times’ Editorial Board expressly embraced Barkow and Osler’s argument for clemency reform. A former federal prosecutor, he played a role in striking down the mandatory 100-to-1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine in the federal sentencing guidelines by winning the case of Spears v. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court, with the Court ruling that judges could categorically reject that ratio. He has testified as an expert before the United States Sentencing Commission and the United States House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Osler’s 2009 book Jesus on Death Row (Abingdon Press) critiqued the American death penalty through the lens of Jesus’ trial. His second book, Prosecuting Jesus (Westminster/John Knox, 2016) is a memoir of performing the Trial of Jesus in 11 states. His current work on clemency and mercy is rooted in ideals of the Christian faith. In 2011, he founded the first law school clinic specializing in federal commutations, and he trained hundreds of pro bono lawyers for Clemency Project 2014. The character of Professor Joe Fisher in the Samuel Goldwyn film American Violet was based on Osler, and in 2014 he was the subject of profiles in Rolling Stone and The American Prospect. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Yale Law School.
Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Freedom Works
Jason Pye is the vice president of legislative affairs for FreedomWorks. He provides policy and legislative analysis for FreedomWorks, promotes the organization’s policy agenda on Capitol Hill, and works with allied congressional staffers to build support for their legislative priorities with the organization’s grassroots community. Before joining FreedomWorks, Jason served as editor of United Liberty, a blog dedicated to promoting free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.
Issues: Budget and Spending, Entitlement Reform, Criminal Justice Reform, Civil Asset Forfeiture, Taxes, Healthcare, Civil Liberties, Foreign Policy, Trade, Property Rights, Corporate Welfare
Policy Director, Harm Reduction Coalition
Daniel Raymond has worked in the field of harm reduction for over two and a half decades. Daniel joined Harm Reduction Coalition in 2003 and became Policy Director in 2005. In his capacity as Harm Reduction Coalition’s Policy Director, Daniel works with federal and state officials, advocates, and providers to expand critical drug user health interventions, including overdose education and naloxone distribution, syringe access programs, medication-assisted treatment, HIV and hepatitis C care and treatment, and quality health care for people who use drugs. He chairs the Injection Drug Users Health Alliance and the Washington Heights CORNER Project Board of Trustees, and formerly chaired the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Steering Committee. Daniel has served on Governor Cuomo’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force, the Food and Drugs Administration’s Antiviral Drug Advisory Committee, the American Medical Association Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement Hepatitis C Workgroup, and the AASLD/IDSA Hepatitis C Guidance Panel.
JASMINE TYLER, MA
Advocacy Director, US Program, Human Rights Watch
Jasmine L. Tyler is the Advocacy Director for the US Program at Human Rights Watch. She currently handles federal criminal justice, immigration, and national security policy. Prior to joining HRW, she was the senior policy advisor for drug policy and global health in the Washington, D.C. office of Open Society Foundations, where she worked with Congress and the executive branch to shape domestic and international policy. Previously, Jasmine served as deputy director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped lead reform efforts to address the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine which culminated in the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. She has also worked as research director for the Justice Policy Institute and as a sentencing advocate in public defenders’ offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, D.C. Jasmine’s firsthand understanding of the harms of our criminal justice system began as a child visiting her father in prison. She holds an MA from Brown University and a BS from James Madison University, both in sociology.