Justice Reinvestment: The Solution to Mass Incarceration?
Thank you everyone—especially all of the speakers, moderators, and panelists—for making this symposium such a great success.
Couldn't make it to the symposium? Watch the recorded sessions via the links below.
The 2017 symposium will explore whether justice reinvestment initiatives are effective tools to end mass incarceration.
What is justice reinvestment?
Justice reinvestment initiatives are often state-level efforts to reduce populations and spending in correction facilities. The efforts emphasize divesting from corrections and reinvesting in other programs to improve overall public safety and wellbeing. This conference will focus in particular on recent justice reinvestment efforts that reinvest in areas that address community needs, like education and healthcare. We will also discuss the future of justice reinvestment in Colorado.
Thank you to our sponsors:
University of Denver Division of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
Thursday, February 2, 2017
08:30 a.m. - 09:30 a.m. | Check-in & Coffee
09:30 a.m. - 09:45 a.m. | Welcome Address
09:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. | Keynote Speaker - Prof. Paul Butler: "The System is Working the Way it is Supposed to: The Limits of Criminal Justice Reform."
10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. | Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Panel No. 1: What is Justice Reinvestment? An Overview
Moderator: Prof. Alexi Freeman
Panelists: Lisa Graybill, Dean Bruce Smith, Michael Thompson
12:15 p.m. - 01:25 p.m. | Lunch & Table Discussions
01:30 p.m. - 02:45 p.m. | Panel No. 2: Implementing Justice Reinvestment at the State Level
Moderator: Hannah Proff
Panelists: Prof. David Ball, Denise Maes, Liz Ryan
02:45 p.m. - 03:00 p.m. | Afternoon Break
03:00 p.m. - 03:40 p.m. | Speaker No. 2 – Prof. James Forman Jr.: "Expanding the Reach of Our Mercy"
03:45 p.m. - 04:55 p.m. | Panel No. 3: Mental Health, Health Care, & Drug Rehabilitation
Moderator: Prof. Lauren Fontana
Panelists: Terri Hurst, Prof. Debora Ortega, Brian Vicente
04:45 p.m. - 05:00 p.m. | Preview of Friday
Friday, February 3, 2017
09:00 a.m. - 09:30 a.m. | Check-in & Breakfast
09:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. | Panel No. 4: Justice Reinvestment Within the Current Judicial System
Moderator: Amy Kapoor
Panelists: Lisa Calderón, Stan Garnett, Ann Roan, The Hon. Alby Zweig
10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. | Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. | Panel No. 5: How to Make Justice Reinvestment Community Centered
Moderator: Prof. Shannon Sliva
Panelists: Jenny Arwade, Jim Freeman, Ricardo Martinez
12:10 p.m. - 01:10 p.m. | Lunch & Speaker - Prof. Gabriel "Jack" Chin: "Free Lunch, Blank Check in the Criminal Justice System"
01:15 p.m. - 02:25 p.m. | Panel No. 6: Expanding the Lens on Justice Reinvestment
Moderator: Nicole Godfrey
Panelists: Kathy Gebhardt, Prof. García Hernández, Siddhartha Rathod
02:25 p.m. - 02:40 p.m. | Afternoon Break
02:45 p.m. - 04:15 p.m. | Panel No. 7 and Working Group: The Future of Justice Reinvestment in Colorado
Introduction: Prof. Robin Walker Sterling
Moderator: Prof. Lindsey Webb
Panelists: Christie Donner, Jessica Jones, Tammy Garrett-Williams, Rico Munn
04:15 p.m. - 05:00 p.m. | Featured Speaker - Zach Norris: "From Moment to Movement: Realizing the Promise of Justice Reinvestment"
Confirmed Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators
Jenny Arwade | Communities United
Jenny Arwade is co-executive director of Chicago-based Communities United (CU), which brings together young people and adult allies to advance social change and systems transformation through a racial justice framework. CU’s approach is centered on the creation of intentional healing and justice spaces, transformative civic engagement and leadership development approaches, and the development of broad-based alliances. Jenny has sixteen years of organizing experience during which time she has supported young people and adult allies in dismantling the school to prison pipeline, addressing mass incarceration and advancing community-led justice reinvestment efforts, and promoting health and housing equity. Jenny is a graduate of Princeton University, serves as vice chair of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, and is a field representative on the board of advisors for the Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing.
W. David Ball | Santa Clara Law
Professor W. David Ball works primarily in the field of criminal justice, writing and teaching in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, sentencing and corrections. His articles have been published in the Columbia Law Review, the Yale Law and Policy Review, the American Journal of Criminal Law, and the Stanford Law and Policy Review, among other journals. Professor Ball is currently co-chair of the Corrections Committee of the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section. He also served as the chair of the Public Safety Working Group for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Law and Policy. He graduated with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar, got a second B.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and received his JD from Stanford.
Paul Butler | Georgetown University
Professor Paul Butler researches and teaches in the areas of criminal law, race relations law, and critical theory at Georgetown University Law Center. He is the author of the widely reviewed Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, which received the Harry Chapin Media award. Professor Butler has been awarded the Soros Justice Fellowship. He was elected to the American Law Institute in 2003. Previously, Professor Butler was a professor and associate dean at the George Washington University Law School, and a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to joining the academy, Professor Butler served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where his specialty was public corruption. While at the Department of Justice, Professor Butler also worked as a special assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuting drug and gun cases. Professor Butler is a cum laude graduate of Yale, and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He clerked for the Hon. Mary Johnson Lowe in the United States District Court in New York, and then joined the law firm of Williams & Connolly.
Lisa Calderón | Community Reentry Project
Lisa M. Calderón is the executive director of the Community Reentry Project in Denver where she supervises six staff who work on behalf of formerly incarcerated persons for their successful transition back into the community. She is an adjunct faculty member for CU Denver's Ethnic Studies department and has taught in academia for more than ten years in the areas of women's studies, sociology, and criminal justice. She holds a master's degree, law degree, and is currently working on her doctorate in education. As a former legal director of a battered women's program, Ms. Calderón was qualified as an expert witness on issues of domestic violence and victim advocacy. Ms. Calderón has more than 20 years of facilitation experience in the areas of critical race theory, gender equity, and ethical communication. As an active community member, Ms. Calderón is involved with several community-based initiatives to create more opportunities for low-income women, youth of color, and formerly incarcerated persons.
Gabriel J. Chin | University of California, Davis
Gabriel "Jack" Chin is Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair and Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis where he teaches and writes about criminal law, race and law, and immigration. He regularly appears on lists of the most cited criminal law scholars, and his work has appeared in the Penn, Cornell, UCLA and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties law reviews, and the Yale, Duke, and Georgetown law journals, among others. His scholarship has been cited by many state and federal courts, including in three opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court. He clerked for U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch and practiced with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and the Legal Aid Society of New York before entering teaching. He earned a B.A. at Wesleyan, a J.D. from Michigan and an LL.M. from Yale.
Christie Donner | Director, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
Christie Donner is the executive director and founder of Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC). Since 1995, she has been working in criminal justice reform advocacy, community organizing, policy research, and lobbying. Ms. Donner co-authored Parenting from Prison: A Resource Guide for Incarcerated Parents in Colorado. She is also the project lead for CCJRC's publication Getting On After Getting Out: A Re-Entry Guide for Colorado. She represents Colorado on the executive committee of the National Network for Justice. Ms. Donner has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Lauren Fontana | Civil Rights Investigator, University of Colorado Denver; Adjunct Faculty, University of Colorado Law School
Lauren Fontana is a civil rights investigator in the University of Colorado Denver's Office of Equity and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado Law School. She previously taught in the University of Denver Sturm College of Law's Civil Rights Clinic and, before that, spent several years litigating civil rights cases on behalf of plaintiffs.
James Forman Jr. | Yale Law School
James Forman Jr. is a clinical professor of law at Yale Law School. Professor Forman attended Yale Law School, and after he graduated, worked as a law clerk for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. After clerking, he worked at the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. for six years. In 1997, along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. Professor Forman started teaching law in 2003, and he currently teaches at Yale Law School, and this year is a Visiting Professor at Stanford Law School. Professor Forman teaches a course on Race and the Criminal Justice System and a clinic in which his students fight against the school to prison pipeline by representing young people facing expulsion from school for discipline violations. He has just finished a book, titled Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.
Alexi Freeman | University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Alexi Freeman is associate professor of the practice and director of externships and public interest initiatives at Denver Law. Professor Freeman focuses her efforts on teaching courses and implementing programming that aim to build a community of students dedicated to pursuing the public good and train the next generation of social justice advocates. Prior to joining Denver Law, Professor Freeman was an attorney at Advancement Project, a national civil rights group, where she assisted grassroots organizations across the country on social justice advocacy campaigns around education and juvenile justice policy, housing, and voting rights issues. She is a member of the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals and the Board of Governors for the Society of American Law Teachers. Professor Freeman graduated from Harvard Law School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She first became interested in issues of social justice growing up in an interracial and interfaith family.
Jim Freeman | Grassroots Action Support Team
Jim Freeman is the founder and executive director of the Grassroots Action Support Team, which supports community-based organizations in creating large-scale, transformative social change around key social, racial, gender, and economic justice issues. He has assisted grassroots-led efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, address mass incarceration, and promote educational equity, among many other issues. Mr. Freeman was formerly a senior attorney at Advancement Project, where he directed the Ending the Schoolhouse-to-Jailhouse Track project. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Law School, and was an editor on the Harvard Law Review. He is a former adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and is currently an adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. In 2014, he was appointed by President Obama to serve as a commissioner on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Stanley Garnett | District Attorney, 20th Judicial District (Boulder County)
Stan Garnett was first elected as the district attorney for the 20th Judicial District in 2008. Before becoming district attorney, he was a trial lawyer for twenty-two years in private practice in Denver, and specialized in complex litigation at the state and federal level, and has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the 10th and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Colorado Appellate Courts, and in state and federal trial courts across the United States. As district attorney, Mr. Garnett has focused efforts on prosecuting economic crimes, crimes against the elderly, immigrant, and homeless communities, and cold case homicide investigations. He has prioritized the prosecution of violent criminals who present a threat to public safety. Under his direction, the office has become a national leader in the development of juvenile and young adult diversion and restorative justice programs, as alternatives to traditional forms of criminal prosecution.
The Rev. Tammy Garrett-Williams | CEO and Founder of the Above Waters Project
Reverend Tammy Garrett-Williams is the founder of the Above Waters Project (AWP), the only non-governmental agency in Colorado focusing on Community Corrections, the Colorado halfway house system. She and AWP have been working towards improving the majority privately-owned facilities by seeking greater oversight and accountability in the system and by education the public about this lesser known, but very expensive side of incarceration. Reverend Garrett-Williams is dedicated to improving the criminal justice system from the perspective of those directly impacted by it.
Kathy Gebhardt | Children's Voices
Kathy Gebhardt is the executive director of Children's Voices, a non-profit law firm. Her advocacy focuses on ensuring that all school age children in Colorado, regardless of their background and where they live, have the opportunity for an excellent education. Ms. Gebhardt was the one of the lead attorneys in the school finance cases filed in Colorado for the past 20 years. These cases include Giardino v. State of Colorado, Lobato v. State of Colorado, and Dwyer v. State of Colorado. Ms. Gebhardt is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She is a fellow with the National Education Policy Center. She serves on numerous boards: Boulder Valley School District Board of Education; Colorado Lawyers Committee; BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today); Great Education Colorado; and the Rural Schools and Community Trust. Ms. Gebhardt graduated from the University of Denver College of Law and Lewis and Clark College.
Nicole Godfrey | University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Nicole Godfrey is the Civil Rights Clinic fellow at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Ms. Godfrey received her M.A. in international human rights from the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies, her J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and her B.A. in international relations from Boston University. After law school, Ms. Godfrey worked as a staff attorney for Prisoners' Legal Services of New York before returning to Colorado to co-found the Colorado Prison Law Project, an organization dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of prisoners confined in Colorado. Prior to her fellowship at DU, Ms. Godfrey worked as an associate attorney at the Denver civil rights firm of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. Her practice at KLN focused on law enforcement misconduct, employment discrimination, and prisoners' rights.
Lisa Graybill | Southern Poverty Law Center
Lisa Graybill oversees the SPLC's work to reverse the "new Jim Crow" and eliminate the structural racism entrenched in the policing, sentencing, imprisonment, and post-conviction practices of states in the Deep South through litigation, legislation, and public education. Ms. Graybill's previous experience includes teaching civil rights and immigration practice in the clinical programs at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law; serving as the legal director for the ACLU of Texas; and working on police and prison conditions cases as a trial attorney in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. A native Texan, Ms. Graybill clerked for a federal judge in New Jersey after graduating from the University of Texas School of Law and Smith College.
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández | University of Denver Sturm College of Law
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is an assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He publishes crImmigration.com, a blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law that is a past recipient of the 100 best law blogs honor by the ABA Journal. In 2014, he was presented with the Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award by the Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups, an honor issued to a "junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice." Professor García Hernández's academic interests center on crimmigration law, including teaching a seminar on the topic and publishing articles about the right to counsel for immigrants in the criminal justice system, immigration imprisonment, and race-based immigration policing. His book, Crimmigration Law, is published by the American Bar Association.
Terri Hurst | Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
Terri Hurst, MSW, has more than fifteen years of experience in behavioral health, public health, and drug policy reform. She received her B.A. in sociology and human services from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Ms. Hurst joined the CCJRC team in 2014 and manages the Take Care Health Matters campaign. Her previous work has included improving access to health care services, in particular, substance use disorder and mental health treatment. She has also provided direct services to injection drug users and justice involved people. Ms. Hurst currently serves as the board chair of the Harm Reduction Action Center, Denver's largest syringe access program, and has been a board member since 2008. In her ideal world, all drugs would be decriminalized; drug use would be treated as a public health issue, not a criminal one; and anyone who wanted behavioral health treatment would be able to access it on demand.
Jessica Jones | Law Office of Jessica Eve Jones, LLC
Jessica Jones has her own criminal defense practice. Previously, Ms. Jones was a public defender for five years and, more recently, was a civil rights attorney at Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. She has had cases in both state and federal court, and successfully handled charges at all levels: municipal violations, county charges, and felonies. Ms. Jones is on the boards of the Colorado Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, the Criminal Defense Bar, and LYRIC (Learn Your Rights in Colorado). In 2009, Ms. Jones was a co-recipient of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Gideon Award for her involvement in organizing and defending more than 100 political protesters arrested during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She coordinated more than eighty attorneys to provide free representation to the political protesters criminally charged as a result of exercising their First Amendment rights. Again, during the Occupy Denver movement in 2012, Ms. Jones organized pro bono attorneys to represent demonstrators.
Amy Kapoor | Johnson, Brennan, and Klein
Amy Kapoor is a senior associate attorney whose practice focuses on civil rights and criminal defense. Before joining Johnson, Brennan & Klein, Ms. Kapoor worked at Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. Previously, Ms. Kapoor was a trial attorney at the Federal Defenders of San Diego. Ms. Kapoor received a criminal-justice-policy fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she served on the steering committee that organized a nationwide conference titled "Reimagining Opportunity in a 'Post-Racial' Era." She also served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Fernando M. Olguin on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Air Force. Ms. Kapoor enjoys sharing her expertise and enthusiasm for criminal defense trial practice with other attorneys and with law students. She teaches a sentencing course as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Denise Maes | Public Policy Director, ACLU of Colorado
Denise Maes is the public policy director of the ACLU of Colorado. In that role, she oversees all legislative work that affects civil liberties at the state and local level. She is the primary person overseeing all legislative initiatives at the state capitol during the legislative session. Ms. Maes also sits on various municipal boards and commissions that review police and jail-related matters. She is a frequent panelist on civil liberties-related matters. Before joining the ACLU, Denise was director of operations for Vice President Joe Biden. In that role, she managed the vice president's budget, travel, and personnel. She also served as general counsel for the Office of Administration under President Barack Obama, where she managed White House contracts and personnel issues.
Ricardo Martinez | Padres & Jóvenes Unidos
Ricardo Martinez is the co-founder and co-executive director of Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, a multi-issue organization led by people of color who work for educational equity, racial justice, immigrant rights, and quality healthcare for all. PJU works to build power to challenge the root cause of discrimination, racism, and inequity by exposing the economic, social, and institutional basis for injustice as well as developing effective strategies to realize meaningful change. PJU's victories include playing a role in the landmark case Phyler v. Doe, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a state statute denying funding for education for undocumented students; reforming school discipline practices in Denver and Colorado; and serving as lead organizers in the Alliance for Educational Justice, a national movement to stop the school-to-prison pipeline. Mr. Martinez began organizing in Denver in the 1980s, after having been a farm worker and organizer of farm workers under Cesar Chavez in California, Texas, and Arizona.
Rico Munn | Superintendent, Aurora Public Schools
Rico Munn serves as the 16th superintendent of Aurora Public Schools. In 2012, he was appointed to the 15-member Board of Governors for the Colorado State University System by Governor John Hickenlooper and currently serves in this position. From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Munn served on the Colorado State Board of Education. He was a member of Governor Bill Ritter's cabinet where he served as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education from 2009-2011. Mr. Munn also served on Governor Ritter's cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies from 2007 to 2009. Mr. Munn has also been a successful attorney and practiced commercial litigation with a national law firm from 1996 to 2007 and from 2011 to 2013. Mr. Munn serves on the Denver Foundation Board and is a founder of the Denver Urban Debate League where he also served as co-chair. Mr. Munn is a graduate of Midland Lutheran College and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Zachary Norris | Executive Director, Ella Baker Center
Zachary Norris is the executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and a former director of its Books Not Bars campaign. Prior to rejoining the organization, Mr. Norris co-founded and co-directed Justice for Families, a national alliance of family-driven organizations working to end our nation's youth incarceration epidemic. During the seven years he led the campaign, Books Not Bars built California's first statewide network for families of incarcerated youth, led the effort to close five youth prisons in the state, passed legislation to enable families to stay in contact with their loved ones, and defeated Prop 6—a destructive and ineffective criminal justice ballot measure. In addition to being a Harvard graduate and NYU-educated attorney, Mr. Norris is also a graduate of the Labor Community Strategy Center's National School for Strategic Organizing in Los Angeles, California, and was a 2011 Soros Justice Fellow. Mr. Norris was a recipient of the American Constitution Society's David Carliner Public Interest Award in 2015, and is a member of the 2016 class of the Levi Strauss Foundation's Pioneers of Justice.
Debora Ortega | Director, University of Denver Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship
Professor Debora Ortega serves as director of the University of Denver Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship, an interdisciplinary group of faculty members who engage in scholarship, research, and service for the benefit of the Latino community. She also conducts research and teaches multicultural social work courses at GSSW. Professor Ortega has authored and co-authored numerous journals articles, book chapters, and grant reports, and she has given presentations at state, regional, national, and international conferences. Her many grant-funded projects include private provider training, programs to assist youth transitioning from foster care, evaluation of a juvenile mediation project, and a three-year effort to develop models of effective child welfare with Hispanic families. Professor Ortega received the 2007-08 Outstanding Faculty Award from the University's Center for Multicultural Excellence. In Denver, she serves on the Mayor's Commission on Early Childhood Education.
Hannah Seigel Proff | LYRIC Co-Founder & Board of Directors Chair
Hannah Seigel Proff is an experienced trial attorney whose practice is dedicated to representing adults and juveniles charged in criminal and delinquency cases. Before joining Johnson, Brennan & Klein as a senior associate in 2016, Ms. Proff was the policy director for the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center. Ms. Proff previously spent seven years as a trial attorney in the Denver office of the Colorado State Public Defender. Ms. Proff has been invited to lecture at legal conferences and trainings across the country on topics including litigating pretrial motions and best practices when defending children charged as adults. Ms. Proff co-founded Learn Your Rights in Colorado (LYRIC), a nonprofit organization that teaches high school students about their constitutional rights. She also serves as a board member for the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center. Ms. Proff has received a number of awards for her commitment to public service.
Siddhartha Rathod | Rathod Mohamedbhai, LLC
Siddhartha Rathod is a partner at Rathod | Mohamedbhai LLC, whose practice areas include civil rights, employment law, and criminal defense. Prior to forming Rathod | Mohamedbhai LLC, Mr. Rathod was a captain in the United States Marine Corps, a Colorado State public defender, and represented five Guantanamo Bay detainees. Mr. Rathod has been a faculty member for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy since 2011 and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado School of Law.
Ann Roan | State Training Director for Juvenile Defense & Complex Litigation, Colorado State Public Defender
Ann Roan has been the state training director for the Colorado State Public Defender since 2005 and has been a public defender since 1990. She develops curriculum, oversees training, and teaches more than 700 lawyers, investigators, and administrative professionals. Before her appointment to that position, she spent ten years as a deputy public defender in trial offices throughout the state, and six years practicing in the public defender's appellate division. She is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College in Macon and the NACDL Capital Voir Dire College and has taught lawyers all over the county. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado School of Law and is a frequent guest lecturer at the law schools of both the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. In 2015, she was recognized as Colorado's Outstanding Juvenile Defender of the Year by the Colorado Juvenile Defense Center.
Liz Ryan | Youth First!
Liz Ryan, a campaign strategist and youth justice expert, directs Youth First. In her capacity, she manages the overall initiative. She is the founder and former CEO of the nationally recognized Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), which leads the national effort to end the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth in the adult criminal justice system. Since CFYJ was launched in 2004, nearly half the states have reduced the prosecution of youth in adult court. Ms. Ryan has worked on many campaigns, including spearheading the launch of the Act 4 Juvenile Justice campaign (Act4JJ) to overhaul the main federal law on youth justice, the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), and the No More Oak Hills campaign to successfully close the notorious Oak Hill Youth Detention Center for DC's youth. An author of numerous opinion editorials, articles, and reports, Ms. Ryan frequently serves as an expert resource to reporters and national media outlets.
Shannon Sliva | University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
Graduate School of Social Work Assistant Professor Shannon Sliva conducts national and local research on the impacts of criminal justice policy, with an emphasis on innovative justice alternatives. Dr. Sliva tracks and analyzes state-level restorative justice legislation across the U.S., and is currently partnering with Colorado practitioners, policymakers, and advocates to track the impacts of leading-edge restorative justice laws in the state and to develop recommendations for policy transfer. Most recently, she was funded by the National Institute of Justice to evaluate the impact of victim offender dialogue on victims of serious, violent crimes in Colorado. Dr. Sliva works with other social work researchers on the national Smart Decarceration Initiative, coordinating research and advocacy efforts to promote justice reinvestment. Dr. Sliva teaches macro practice, policy, and restorative justice courses at GSSW.
Bruce Smith | University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Bruce Smith is the dean of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, having served in that role since July 2016. Previously, he was professor of law and Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was dean from 2009 to 2014. From 1996 to 2001, he practiced in the litigation group at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., where he focused on intellectual property litigation and sports law—in the latter capacity, representing the NFL, NHL, and NBA. An expert in Anglo-American legal history, Dean Smith is the co-author of History of the Common Law: The Development of Anglo-American Legal Institutions. He received a B.A. in history summa cum laude from Williams College, a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of Cambridge, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in history from the Yale University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, which he attended as a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities.
Robin Walker Sterling | University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Professor Robin Walker Sterling is a graduate of Yale College and New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar, and Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned an LL.M. in clinical advocacy. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She then served as the Stuart-Stiller Teaching Fellow in the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellows program at Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Walker Sterling then worked as a staff attorney in the trial division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS). Professor Walker Sterling followed her tenure at PDS with a position as a supervising attorney at the Children's Law Center, where she trained and supervised guardians ad litem handling dependency, adoption, and guardianship cases. Professor Walker Sterling now teaches in the Criminal Defense Clinic at Denver Law. Professor Walker Sterling also works as the special counsel with the National Juvenile Defender Center.
Michael Thompson | Council of State Governments
Michael Thompson is the director of the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. The Justice Center serves policymakers seeking practical, nonpartisan advice and consensus-driven strategies, informed by available evidence, to increase public safety and strengthen communities. Mr. Thompson has been with CSG since 1997, transforming its regional criminal justice program employing one person into a nationally known organization with a staff of forty-five people with offices in New York City, Bethesda, Maryland, Austin, Texas, and Seattle. During his tenure, he has launched and overseen various national policy initiatives, including the Criminal Justice / Mental Health Consensus Project, the Reentry Policy Council, and the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. These efforts have prompted congressional hearings, federal legislation, national news coverage, and bipartisan legislative and programmatic initiatives in states across the country. Prior to joining CSG, Mr. Thompson worked for the Office of the Court Monitor, established by a U.S. District Court Judge, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received his B.A. from Middlebury College, where he graduated with honors.
Brian Vicente | Vicente Sederberg, LLC
Brian Vicente, Esq., is a partner and founding member of Vicente Sederberg LLC. He served as the co-director of the Amendment 64 campaign and was one of the primary authors of this historic measure, which resulted in Colorado becoming the first state to make the possession, use, and regulated distribution of marijuana legal for adults. Mr. Vicente was the chair of the Committee for Responsible Regulation, which coordinated the successful 2013 campaign to implement statewide excise and sales taxes on the sale of adult-use marijuana in Colorado and was awarded the Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law that same year. Mr. Vicente has conducted more than 1,000 press interviews regarding marijuana policy and recently assisted with Uruguay becoming the first country in the world to fully regulate the adult marijuana market. Mr. Vicente graduated from the University of Denver Law School on a full merit scholarship where he clerked for outspoken social critic, Senior Federal Judge John L. Kane.
Lindsey Webb | University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Professor Lindsey Webb graduated from Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School. She also served as a Prettyman Fellow in the Criminal Justice Clinic at Georgetown Law School, where she earned her LL.M. Professor Webb worked as a deputy state public defender in the Colorado State Public Defender's Office. In this capacity, she represented adults accused of misdemeanors and felonies, children accused of crimes in juvenile court and, in the appellate division, she handled direct appeals of felony convictions. At Georgetown Law School, Professor Webb taught seminar courses and supervised law students enrolled in the Criminal Justice Clinic. Professor Webb now teaches in the Civil Rights Clinic at University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Prior to this position, she taught doctrinal and trial advocacy courses in addition to serving on the faculty of the legal externship program.
The Honorable Alby Zweig | Denver Drug Court
Magistrate Judge Albert Zweig was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He received his B.A. in art history from Lewis and Clark College where he stumbled through his undergraduate education coping with an emerging drug and alcohol problem. He eventually became addicted to heroin and in 1995 found himself facing 4 to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. As an early beneficiary of the problem-solving court movement, Magistrate Zweig received court-ordered substance abuse treatment that made it possible for him to successfully complete a term of probation. Years later, Magistrate Zweig attended the University of Denver Sturm College of Law where he struggled academically but excelled as a student-attorney in the Civil Litigation Clinic. He received his Master of Public Administration from C.U. in 2003 and, in 2006, went to work for the Colorado State Public Defender. After eight years of defending the indigent/criminally accused he was appointed as a magistrate for the 2nd Judicial District and currently presides over the Denver Adult Drug Court. He rarely writes about himself in the third person but is currently making an exception.
Questions? Contact Katherine Steefel, Denver Law Review Symposium Editor, at email@example.com.