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Graphic: Criminal Law & Death Penalty panel event

2020 Summer Forum Preview: Criminal Justice Representation Imperative

By Laura Higbee

In his 2014 memoir Just Mercy, attorney Bryan Stevenson tells the world how he found his professional purpose: overhauling the United States’ prison system. Stevenson spent his 1L summer at the Southern Center for Human Rights assisting prisoners on Alabama’s death row. Today, Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative takes on not only the death penalty but also wrongful convictions, inhumane prison conditions, and the placement of children in adult correctional facilities.

You do not need to be Bryan Stevenson to work on criminal justice issues. Join us for our final virtual panel, Criminal Law & the Death Penalty, on Thursday, July 23 at noon to learn how you can get involved. Our panel of experts will be moderated by Stephon Woods. Stephon is an Assistant Attorney General in the DC Office of Attorney General’s Public Advocacy Division, where he focuses on the issue of safe, affordable housing in the District. The Division protects tenants by enforcing DC’s Housing Code to ensure everyone lives in a safe, habitable environment.

Our panelists include the following:

Bridgette Stumpf

Bridgette is the co-founder and executive director of Network for Victim Recovery DC. At NVRDC, Bridgette concentrates on advocating for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence throughout the DC area, including on college campuses. She has testified before multiple legislative bodies to ensure the laws they seek to pass appropriately address survivors’ rights.

Callie Heller

Callie is a Staff Attorney for the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project. The Project’s main goal is to match prisoners on death row who are seeking representation with pro bono attorneys from around the country. Before moving to Washington, Callie worked on behalf of death row prisoners at such institutions as the Michigan Innocence Clinic, the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office, and the Texas Defender Service.

Daniel Levin

Daniel is a partner at White & Case with over 30 years of experience in the criminal justice arena. He spent six years as an Assistant United States Attorney in California and has served as the Chief of Staff at both the FBI and the DOJ. Today, Daniel spends most of his time advising international clients under investigation for FCPA violations.

Liz Wieser

Liz is the Deputy Attorney General for the DC Office of Attorney General’s Public Safety Division. Attorneys in this division handle all juvenile cases and some adult misdemeanor cases in D.C. They also advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and for District residents suffering from mental illness. Liz led the Division’s Juvenile Section before taking on her current role.

Brandi Harden

Brandi is the managing partner of Harden & Pinckney, PLLC, a boutique firm specializing in criminal defense work and family law. She also coaches the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Moot Court Team at Howard University School of Law. Before opening her own firm, Brandi  worked in the Trial Division of DC’s Public Defender Service for eight years, first as a Staff Attorney and later as a Supervising Attorney.

Check out the schedule for all the breakout panels here.

Look for updates and join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo20 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!

 Laura Higbee is a member of the Washington Council of Lawyers Communications Committee.

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