The Fair Punishment Project is helping to create a fair and accountable justice system through legal action, public discourse, and educational initiatives. The Project is a joint initiative of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and its Criminal Justice Institute, The Accountable Justice Collaborative (at Tides Foundation), and The Bronx Defenders. A number of individual and institutional donors support our work, including Open Philanthropy Project and Vital Projects Fund.

THE LEGAL ADVISORY COUNCIL 

Our Legal Advisory Council is comprised of nearly two dozen law professors, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and experienced Supreme Court litigators. By providing guidance to the Fair Punishment Project on amicus and issue briefs, the advisory council allows us to consistently provide the highest caliber legal analysis on emerging issues in criminal law and procedure. Individual members of the council hold a diverse array of views, and no advisory council member or their employer endorses the positions that the Fair Punishment Project puts forward in any particular report, brief, or other written product. Members include:

  • Alex Spiro (Chair) is an attorney at Brafman and Associates in New York City. He has defended an array of high-profile and complex cases in state and federal court, including cases involving professional athletes, entertainers, politicians, and corporate executives. Previously, Mr. Spiro worked as a Manhattan prosecutor and served the federal government in Washington DC. Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Spiro directed a program for children with Autism spectrum disorders at McLean Hospital, which is Harvard’s Psychiatric Hospital. Mr. Spiro is a graduate of Harvard Law School where he continues to serve on the adjunct faculty. He also is the chair of the Fair Punishment Project’s advisory council.
  • Amir Ali is an appellate and Supreme Court litigator at the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center, and opened the organization’s D.C. Office.   Ali has litigated many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and most recently argued successfully in Welch v. United States.  Previously, he was an attorney at Jenner & Block LLP.  Following law school, Ali clerked for Judge Raymond C. Fisher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Marshall Rothstein of the Supreme Court of Canada. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2011.
  • Russell Anello is an attorney at Davis Polk in Washington, DC, where his practice focuses on government enforcement actions and investigations. Before joining Davis Polk, Russell served in the White House Counsel’s Office, at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and on the staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Russell graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007, where he was an editor on the Harvard Law Review.
  • Rachel Barkow is the Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy 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. Since 2010, she has also been a member of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel. Barkow served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Laurence H. Silberman on the United States Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia. She graduated from Harvard Law School, where she won the Sears Prize, which is awarded annually to two students with the top overall grade averages in the first-year class, and Northwestern University.
  • Douglas A. Berman is the Robert J. Watkins / Procter & Gamble Professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He is the sole creator and author of the widely-read and widely-cited blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, which receives nearly 100,000 page views per month. Berman is the co-author of a casebook, Sentencing Law and Policy: Cases, Statutes and Guidelines, which is published by Aspen Publishers and is now in its second edition. He also has served as an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter for more than a decade, and is a co-managing editor of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. Berman served as a law clerk for Judge Jon O. Newman and Judge Guido Calabresi, both on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He graduated from Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor on the Harvard Law Review, and received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University.
  • Tamar Birckhead is a professor of law and Director of Clinical Programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she teaches the Youth Justice Clinic, the criminal lawyering process, and juvenile courts and delinquency. During the 2016-17 academic year, she is teaching at Yale Law School as the Martin R. Flug Visiting Clinical Professor of Law. Prior to joining the UNC faculty, Birckhead worked for ten years as a public defender, and previously clerked for the late Edith Fine on the Massachusetts Appeals Court.  She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1992.
  • Joseph Blocher is a Professor of Law at Duke University.  He clerked for Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He also practiced in the appellate group of O’Melveny & Myers, where he assisted the merits briefing for the District of Columbia in District of Columbia v. Heller.  He graduated from Yale Law School in 2006.
  • Daniel Epps is an Associate Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.  He clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.  He then spent several years practicing at King & Spalding LLP in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in appellate litigation.  He was a Harvard Law School Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law from 2013-2016.  Recently, he acted as co-counsel for petitioner in Ocasio v. United States,136 S. Ct. 1423 (2016).  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2008.
  • Jeffrey Fisher is co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He has argued 29 cases in the Court, including Crawford v. Washington, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, Riley v. California, Blakely v. Washington, and Kennedy v. Louisiana. He was also co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges. He clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens and Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Fisher graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and Duke University.
  • Jaclyn Frankfurt is a Deputy Chief of the Appellate Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.  Prior to joining PDS, Ms. Frankfurt was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center and a law clerk for Walter Jay Skinner of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  Ms. Frankfurt argued Robertson v. United States ex rel. Watson in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 (560 U.S. 272 (2010)).  She graduated from Yale Law School in 1986 and received an LL.M. in advocacy from the Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Brandon Garrett is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. He clerked for Pierre N. Leval on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Garrett’s recent book examining corporate prosecutions, titled “Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations,” was published by Harvard University Press in Fall 2014. In 2011, Harvard University Press published Garrett’s book, “Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong,” examining the cases of the first 250 people to be exonerated by DNA testing. In Fall 2017, Harvard University Press will publish Garrett’s forthcoming book, “The Triumph of Mercy.” He graduated from Columbia Law School in 2001.
  • Brianne Gorod is Chief Counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center.  She clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer, Judge Robert A. Katzmann on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Jed S. Rakoff on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Prior to joining CAC, she worked at O’Melveny & Myers, where she was Counsel in the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice.  From 2009-11, she was an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.  She graduated from Yale Law School in 2005.
  • Carissa Hessick is a Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  She clerked for Judge A. Raymond Randolph on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  Before joining the faculty at UNC, she taught at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law.  She was a Harvard Law School Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law from 2005-2007.  She graduated from Yale Law School in 2002.
  • Emily Hughes is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of Iowa. She clerked for Michael J. Melloy, then the Chief Judge for the Northern District of Iowa, now on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She was a Sacks Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute from 1998-1999.  She graduated from the University of Michigan with order of the coif honors in 1997.
  • Latonia Haney Keith is the Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor of Law at Concordia University School of Law. She previously served as the Firm-Wide Pro Bono Counsel in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. She is the immediate past president of the board of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo), a membership organization of over 155 attorneys and practice group managers from 95 of the largest private law firms, who manage some of the most successful law firm pro bono practices.  She clerked for Judge Judith Ann Wilson Rogers on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003.
  • Lee Kovarsky is a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland.  He clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is an active habeas and capital litigator, regularly representing capital prisoners at all levels of state and federal judiciary. He has published extensively on the death penalty and the habeas privilege. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2004.
  • Miriam Krinsky served as the Executive Director of Los Angeles County’s Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence. She worked as a federal prosecutor for 15 years, wherein she served as Chief of the General Crimes Sections, Chief of the Criminal Appellate Section, chaired the Solicitor General’s Advisory Group on Appellate Issues, and served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on Sentencing. She received the Attorney General’s highest national award for appellate work. Ms. Krinsky obtained her B.A. in economics from UCLA, as well as her law degree from UCLA School of Law.
  • Leah Litman is an Assistant Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine. She clerked for Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.  She then worked at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where she specialized in appellate litigation. Professor Litman earned her B.A. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Harvard College, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law. Recently, she was a Climenko Fellow & Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.
  • Daniel Medwed is a Professor of Law at Northeastern University, where he teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, and Advanced Criminal Procedure: Wrongful Convictions and Post-Conviction Remedies. His book, Prosecution Complex: America’s Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent (New York University Press, 2012), explores how even well-meaning prosecutors may contribute to wrongful convictions because of cognitive biases and an overly-deferential regime of legal and ethical rules. Professor Medwed is an official Legal Analyst for WGBH News, Boston’s local NPR and PBS affiliate. Professor Medwed earned his B.A. from Yale College, and his law degree from Harvard Law School.
  • Jonathan Schneller is a public defender in Los Angeles, specializing in federal criminal appeals.   Before becoming a public defender, he worked as an associate in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice at O’Melveny & Myers.  He clerked for Justice Elena Kagan of the United States Supreme Court, as well Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2010.
  • James Sigel is an Associate at Morrison & Foerster in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice. Mr. Sigel clerked for Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the United States Supreme Court, Judge David Tatel on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Justice Goodwin Liu on the California Supreme Court, and Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He graduated from Harvard Law School.
  • Carol Steiker is the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the faculty co-director of Harvard’s Criminal Justice Program of Study, Research, and Advocacy. She specializes in the broad field of criminal justice, where her work ranges from substantive criminal law to criminal procedure to institutional design, with a special focus on issues related to capital punishment. Professor Steiker served on the Board of Editors of the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice (2nd ed. Macmillan 2002), she is the editor of Criminal Procedure Stories (Foundation 2006), she is a co-editor with Michael Klarman and David Skeel of The Political Heart of Criminal Procedure: Essays on Themes of William J. Stuntz (Cambridge University Press 2012), and she is a co-author of the Kadish, Schulhofer, Steiker & Barkow casebook, Criminal Law and Its Processes (9th ed. Aspen 2012). Her most recent book, Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment, co-authored with her brother Jordan Steiker of the University of Texas School of Law, will be published by Harvard University Press in 2016. Professor Steiker is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as president of the Harvard Law Review, the second woman to hold that position in its then 99-year history. After clerking for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, she worked as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. In addition to her scholarly work, Professor Steiker has worked on pro bono litigation projects on behalf of indigent criminal defendants, including death penalty cases in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Jordan Steiker is a Professor of Law at the University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches constitutional law, criminal law, and death penalty law, and is Director of the law school’s Capital Punishment Center. He  has written extensively on constitutional law, federal habeas corpus, and the death penalty, and was recently a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. Before beginning his career as a law professor, he clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the United States Supreme Court. Professor Steiker earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
  • Carter Stewart is the Managing Director of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. Prior to joining DRK, Carter served as the presidentially-appointed United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. In this role, he was responsible for prosecuting federal crime in a district which included Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Stewart also served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and chaired the Attorney General’s Child Exploitation Working Group. He previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in San Jose, CA, and he was a litigator at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus, OH, and Bingham McCutchen LLP in San Francisco, CA. He clerked for Judge Robert L. Carter on the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York, and Judge Raymond L. Finch on the United States District Court Judge for the District of the Virgin Islands. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1997, and holds an MA in Education Policy from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Stanford University.

STAFF

  • Mike Admirand, Senior Legal Counsel, joined FPP after serving as an appellate attorney at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in New Orleans. Prior to becoming a federal defender, he served as a staff attorney and deputy director of the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans, where he represented death-sentenced individuals on direct appeal and in state post-conviction proceedings. Mike holds degrees in History and Mathematics from Brown University, and a JD from Harvard Law School.
  • Ana Aspostoleris, Legal Fellow, received her JD from Duke Law School in May 2016, and graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in psychology in 2013. While in law school, she worked with Duke’s Wrongful Convictions and Children’s Law clinics, clerked with the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, PA during the summer of 2015, and co-organized a two-day interdisciplinary conference on “the present and future of civil rights movements” as a Student Director of Duke’s Center on Law, Race, and Politics. Her primary areas of interest include juvenile justice and the intersection of education policy and criminal justice outcomes.
  • Jessica Brand, Legal Director, previously worked at the Texas Defender Service in the capital trial project, where she consulted with trial teams in death penalty cases across the state of Texas and conducted state-wide trainings on understanding mental health, performing capital defense investigation, and preparing a case for life. Formerly, Jessica was a staff attorney in the appellate division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She also served as a member of the forensic practice group, and she continues to train lawyers across the country on litigating the admissibility of forensic evidence. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Michael McConnell on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2007, and summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004.
  • Burke Butler, Senior Legal Counsel, graduated from Yale Law School in 2011 and clerked for the Honorable Harris Hartz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the Honorable Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. As a Liman Fellow at the Texas Civil Rights Project, Burke spearheaded a state-wide report about solitary confinement in Texas’s prisons and represented prisoners in their civil-rights litigation. Before joining FPP, she was a Staff Attorney at Texas Defender Service, where she represented capitally sentenced inmates in their state and federal post-conviction proceedings.
  • Daniel Denvir, Journalism and Research Fellow, hosts The Dig, a podcast from Jacobin magazine, and is working on a book about immigration politics from 1965 to the Trump era.
  • Angel Everett, Legal Fellow. Observer. Blogger. Attorney. Angel often takes to pen and paper to convey her experiences, wonderings, and lessons learned. Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, she attended the University of Alabama, double majoring in International Studies and Spanish. Angel then spent two years in education, as a teacher and an administrator, before earning her JD from Harvard Law School. She is licensed to practice in Florida. In her free time, Angel maintains a blog, Harvard and Hardship, where she shares anecdotes and advice about law school. A proud Floridian, Angel loves the sun, beach, and warm weather.
  • Rory Fleming, Legal Fellow, received undergraduate degrees (English and Economics) from University of South Carolina’s Honors College, and his law degree from University of North Carolina School of Law. He has worked on several FPP reports, including America’s Top Five Deadliest Prosecutors and the Too Broken To Fix series.
  • Larry Hannan, Research Fellow, was an award-winning reporter with the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville before joining FPP. His work covered, among other stories, State Attorney Angela Corey, dubbed “the cruelest prosecutor in America” by The Nation, Marissa Alexander and Randal Ratledge, both of whom faced decades in prison for firing warning shots that didn’t hurt anyone, and Cristian Fernandez, a 12-year-old child whom prosecutors sought to try as an adult for the death of his half-brother. Larry won the 2016 Florida Press Club award for public safety reporting for a story on how the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida does not work and the 2015 Florida Press Club award for general news writing for his story on Corey’s death penalty record. He was also honored by the Florida Bar for his story “Diversity on the Bench” that looked at the lack of black judges in Florida.
  • Matt Henry, Legal Fellow, joined FPP after working as a public defender in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2015. Before attending law school, Matt worked for several years as a web developer for startups, agencies, and large internet companies in Silicon Valley, New York, and North Carolina.
  • Rebecca McCray, Journalism and Research Fellow, is a journalist based in Brooklyn. Her writing on criminal justice, politics, policy, and cultural issues has appeared in Rolling Stone, VICE, ThinkProgress, Mic, and TakePart. In 2013 and 2014, she was a Fulbright scholar in Slovenia, leading a research project on criminal sentencing after the country’s introduction to a democratic-capitalist system. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa.
  • Annie Nisenson, Research Fellow, has extensive experience conducting investigation and capital mitigation nationally and internationally. As an investigator and mitigation specialist, she has worked in non-capital and capital trial and post-conviction cases. She is a former mitigation specialist of the Phillips Black Project as well as a former investigator of the Bronx Defenders. Prior to that, Annie was a Reprieve Fellow on Reprieve’s European Commission funded project to help identify and assist foreign nationals and individuals with foreign ties sentenced to death across the United States. She lived in Mexico City for a number of years and is fluent in Spanish.
  • Jessica Pishko, Content Director, is a writer in San Francisco. She received a JD from Harvard Law School and an MFA from Columbia University. As a law student and lawyer, she worked on death penalty cases and domestic violence cases pro bono. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Nation, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Pacific Standard, San Francisco Magazine, and others. Her work on prison conditions was cited by California state investigators and she has received awards from the Nation Institute and John Jay.
  • Josie Duffy Rice, Research Director, received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University and her JD from Harvard Law School.
  • Rob Smith, Executive Director, previously was an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he taught criminal law and evidence. Smith earned his law degree from Harvard Law School and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Smith’s scholarship has appeared in the New York University Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Boston University Law Review, Washington Law Review, Alabama Law Review, Hastings Law Journal and Cardozo Law Review, among other journals, and in the online editions of the Yale Law Journal, Michigan Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, and Harvard Law and Policy Review. He also has published shorter works in The Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Salon and Slate. His work has been cited by courts including the United States Supreme Court, as well as in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, New Yorker, Atlantic, Harper’s, Mother Jones, USA Today and the ABA Journal, among other outlets.
  • Jake Sussman, Managing Director, graduated from New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar. He then clerked for the Honorable Ellen B. Burns of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Jake joined FPP in 2017 after practicing law in North Carolina for over 14 years, where he handled criminal and capital cases in state and federal courts. Jake also litigated scores of law enforcement misconduct and civil rights cases, including the successful challenge to North Carolina’s ban against marriage equality. Jake has been an invited speaker on issues ranging from the death penalty, working with experts, litigating civil rights actions, and First Amendment issues. Before law school, Jake worked as an investigator on capital cases in Alabama, Georgia, and California. During law school, he clerked with the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., the Bronx Defenders, and the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society.
  • Casey Tolan, Journalism and Research Fellow, is a journalist in New York City who covers criminal justice and immigration. He’s a former national news reporter for Fusion and he’s also reported for the Daily Beast, VICE, the Village Voice, the Texas Observer, and other news outlets.
  • Amy Weber, Senior Legal Counsel, works as a liaison between the Fair Punishment Project and lawyers across the country working to end excessive sentencing practices, including the death penalty, juvenile life-without-parole, and non-violent life-without-parole. Prior to her work with the FPP, she spent nearly a decade working as a trial and appellate attorney at the Public Defender’s office in Miami, Florida, representing clients in all phases of Florida criminal proceedings. In her legal career, Amy has also served as a law clerk for Judge Janet C. Hall in the District of Connecticut and as a Staff Attorney in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement. Amy obtained a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
  • Keli Young, Legal Fellow, graduated from New York University School of Law in 2015. While in law school, she served on the board of the Black Allied Law Students Association and as the director of the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. As a member of the Immigrant Defense Clinic, she assisted immigration attorneys in Manhattan in defense of undocumented individuals facing removal due to criminal convictions, and as a member of the Criminal Defense and Reentry Clinic, she assisted criminal public defenders in Brooklyn. Keli clerked during law school for Legal Outreach, Inc. and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. Prior to coming to FPP, Keli was a research consultant for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City, where she worked on policies to reduce the population on Rikers Island and racial disparity throughout the criminal justice system. Keli graduated cum laude from Tufts University with a degree in Psychology.