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2023 Summer Forum Preview: Criminal Law & Death Penalty Panel

Over the past year, our communities have continued to engage in deep reflection on the systemic harms of abusive policing and mass incarceration. There is no area of law more central to those discussions than the criminal legal system. In this session, our panelists will share their work and insights in the criminal law space to uphold central individual liberties, stem the tide of mass incarceration, and protect communities. Learn more about these important topics at our 2023 Summer Forum Panel on Criminal Law & Death Penalty Panel on Thursday, June 15 from 1:15 – 2:30 pm ET.

Gwen Washington will moderate the Criminal Law & Death Penalty panel. Gwen is a Pro Bono Attorney at Cleary Gottlieb, working with a dedicated team of attorneys and professional staff to develop and manage the firm’s award-winning pro bono litigation practice. Gwen previously worked as an attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) for nearly two decades, where she litigated criminal, parole, mental health, and ancillary civil matters on behalf of her clients before multiple tribunals. She concurrently served as an immigrant defense consultant during her PDS tenure.

Our panelists will be:

Emily Olson-Gault, ABA Death Penalty Representation Project 
Emily is Director & Chief Counsel for the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project. Emily works with civil lawyers and law firms that are interested in pro bono death penalty representation to identify cases in need of assistance that match the needs and interests of the firm. She also oversees the Project’s systemic reform efforts and serves as a national expert on the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment & Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases. She routinely provides training and technical assistance to capital defenders and pro bono counsel and also assists state agencies and lawmakers with implementing qualification and performance standards for capital defenders. Emily co-teaches a habeas practicum at Georgetown University Law Center.

Naida Henao, Network for Victim Recovery of DC
Naida is the Head of Engagement at the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC). In this capacity, Naida works collaboratively with NVRDC staff and leadership to identify systemic barriers that impact NVRDC’s clients’ access to justice and creates strategic solutions to streamline NVRDC’s advocacy, legal work, and communications to combat these barriers. Her responsibilities range from managing NVRDC’s communications to analyzing and providing testimony on proposed legislation and supporting the Legal Program through complex motions practice and brief advice for clients. Naida joined NVRDC as a Bilingual Staff Attorney in 2016 and represented survivors in criminal cases, civil protection orders, and Title IX proceedings. In 2017, she became NVRDC’s Strategic Advocacy Counsel and took on legislative advocacy responsibilities in addition to her legal work. Before coming to NVRDC, Naida worked as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Timothy Lydon at Mercer County Superior Court’s Criminal Part in Trenton, New Jersey. Naida received her B.A. in International Studies at DePaul University and her J.D. at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Andrew Wise, Miller & Chevalier
Andrew is the Chair of Miller & Chevalier‘s Litigation Department. He defends clients in white-collar criminal and civil trials and represents multinational companies in fraud and anti-corruption investigations. Andrew has defended clients in cases involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), mail and wire fraud, bribery and honest services fraud, price-fixing, and tax fraud. In addition, he has extensive experience handling cases involving investigation-related offenses such as perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice. Before joining Miller & Chevalier, Andrew worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he defended indigent clients charged with serious criminal offenses in the District of Columbia Superior Court. During his career, Andrew has tried more than 50 cases to resolution before juries and judges in federal and state courts.

Stephanie Johnson, Howard University School of Law
Stephanie is currently the Director of Externships and Public Interest Programming at Howard University School of Law (“HUSL”). She is also a professor of the Criminal Justice Clinic at HUSL. Prior to joining Howard Law, Stephanie was a founding partner of Hunter & Johnson, PLLC, a boutique litigation firm located in the District of Columbia. She has represented individuals in criminal, appellate, post-conviction, landlord/tenant, and civil litigation matters. However, the majority of her practice was representing individuals charged with crimes through the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”). Stephanie’s appellate and trial advocacy has proven successful before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on numerous occasions. Her accomplishments and experience earned her appointments on CJA panels for the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia’s Court of Appeals, as well as a visiting faculty position for Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop in the Fall. As a result, Stephanie has been able to successfully represent thousands of indigent individuals charged with crimes in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Stephanie has previously been an elected member of the D.C. Bar’s Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section’s Steering Committee and the committee’s acting co-chair. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies) and Howard University School of Law (J.D.).

Quiana Harris, Public Defender Service
Quiana is a general felony trial attorney at the D.C. Public Defender Service as a general felony trial attorney. Prior to joining PDS, she was on the faculty of Georgetown Law School as an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow, where she supervised third-year law students in Georgetown’s Juvenile Justice Clinic while also representing children and adults in the DC Superior Court. Upon completion of the Prettyman Fellowship, Quiana was awarded an LL.M. in Advocacy. During law school, Quiana represented clients through the Criminal Justice Clinic and was the Executive Notes and Comments Editor for the Howard Law Journal. Quiana’s commitment to academic excellence and servicing minority and overlooked communities has also been recognized by the Washington Bar Association, as she was the first recipient of the Dr. J. Clay Smith Jr., Equal Justice Scholar Award and the Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award at the 2022 Burton Awards.  Quiana is a native of a small town in eastern North Carolina named Rich Square, a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Winston-Salem State University, and a graduate of Howard University School of Law.

Register here to join the virtual conversation. Don’t miss our updates and the opportunity to join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo23 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

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