American University Washington College of Law Welcomes 9th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference


WASHINGTON, DC, October 6, 2010 – American University Washington College of Law welcomes the 9th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference Oct. 7-8.  The conference is presented by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and brings together a varied group of experts in various fields that relate directly to criminal justice reform.

Jim Lavine, NACDL President and Claudio Grossman, dean of American University Washington College of Law, will welcome participants with opening remarks. Several NACDL Board and general members are moderating or participating as panelists including immediate past president Cynthia Hujar Orr, and Eric Sterling, Nathan Miller, Geneva Vanderhorst, Jay Clark, Rick Jones, and Mike DiLauro.

The conference includes panels on a wide variety of criminal justice issues including drug courts, juvenile justice, Byrne grants, drug law reform, effective media outreach, and judicial independence moderated by Norman Reimer.  The keynote luncheon speaker is Jim Vance, NBC News 4 Anchor and subject in the book Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery by Christopher Kennedy Lawson.

Two documentaries will be screened: “Publicly Defended: Michigan’s Fight for Public Defender Reform” and “Heeling Neen” featuring Tonier Cain, about abuse, trauma, addiction, recovery and triumph. Tonier will speak following the documentary screening.

Full Schedule

Thursday, October 7, 2010

7:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. – Greetings - Angelyn C. Frazer, State Legislative Affairs Director; NACDL Netfa Freeman, Director; SALSA

9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. - Welcome - Dean Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law,  Jim Lavine, President; NACDL

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Roundtable Introductions Participant introductions and brief discussion of recent state reform efforts

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - State of the States: An In-Depth Look at Policy and Legislative Reforms around the Country

Moderator: Angelyn C. Frazer, State Legislative Affairs Director; NACDL Ryan King, Manager of Research;

Pew Center on the States, Nicole Porter, State Advocacy Coordinator; Sentencing Project, Jay Rorty, Deputy Director; ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, Gabriel Sayegh, Director, State Organizing and Policy Project; Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch hosted by American University Washington College of Law — Guest Speaker Jim Vance, Anchor, Washington, DC News 4

1:30 pm - 1:45 pm Break

Thursday Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

1:45 pm - 3:00 pm - I. Effective Media Outreach: Developing a Strategic Message For Various Outlets

Moderator: Jack King, Director of Public Affairs & Communications; NACDL, Gary Fields, Reporter; Wall Street Journal, Zerline Hughes, Communications Manager; Sentencing Project, Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor; Slate

II. Judicial Independence: The Value of Merit Selection v. Judicial Elections

Moderator: Norman Reimer, Executive Director; NACDL, Burt Brandenburg, Executive Director; Justice at Stake

Marco Guido, Principal; Hilltop Public Solutions, Lynn Marks, Executive Director; Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts

3:00 pm - 3:15 pm Coffee Break

3:15 pm - 4:30 pm - I. Drug Law Reform: Efforts Toward Medical Marijuana, Decriminalization And Legalization

Moderator: Eric Sterling, President; Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Aaron Houston, Executive Director; Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), State Senator Constance N. Johnson, Oklahoma, Nathan Miller, Defense Attorney; NACDL Member, Jasmine Tyler, Deputy Director; Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)

II. Indigent Defense: Access as a Right, Not Privilege

Moderator: Geneva Vanderhorst, NACDL Board Member and Indigent Defense, Committee Vice Chair

Edwin Burnette, Vice President; NLADA, Stephanie Chang, Deputy Director; Michigan Campaign for Justice

Corey Stoughton, Senior Staff Attorney, and Upstate Litigation Coordinator, New York Civil Liberties Union

4:30 pm - 4:45 pm Break

4:45 pm - 5:15 pm - NACDL Advocacy & Litigation Tools

NACDL staff will briefly review advocacy and litigation tools, available to members and non-members, including Capwiz, CQ StateTrack, and NACDL Resource Center.

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm - Social Event

Location: Guapo’s Restaurant-Fiesta Room

   4515 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

   Washington, DC 20016

   (202) 686-3588

   Loosen up and have some fun with participants of the SCJN conference including light fare, drinks and a dance presentation of Brazilian Zouk.

Friday, October 8, 2010

8:00 am -8:45 am Continental Breakfast

Friday Concurrent Sessions (Choose One)

9:00 am — 10:30 am I. Emerging Innocence Reform Efforts

This panel will focus on new techniques and strategies that have led to or have the potential to lead to effective reform in several states. Issues addressed will be eyewitness ID reform; arson investigations; recording of interrogations and the landscape of post-conviction, DNA and non-DNA and discriminatory jury selection.

Moderator: Cynthia Jones, Associate Law Professor; American University Washington College of Law

Michael DiLauro, Public Defender; Rhode Island & NACDL Member, Danielle Mitchell, Project Manager; American Judicatures Society (AJS), Steve Saloom, Policy Director; Innocence Project, Nancy Steblay, Professor; Augsburg College

II. Byrne Grants: Examining the Successes and Challenges of the Program

Moderator: Jason Ziedenberg, Research and Evaluation Officer; Department of Youth & Rehabilitative Service, D.C., Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, Deputy State Director; Southern California Drug Policy Alliance, David Maurer, Director; U.S. Government and Accountability Office, Homeland Security and Justice Team, Bobby Vassar, Chief Counsel; Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, House Judiciary Committee, Tracy Velázquez, Executive Director; Justice Policy Institute

10:30 am — 10:40 am Break

10:40 am — 11:50 am

I. Treatment without a Conviction: Envisioning A New Drug Court

Moderator: Rick Jones, Executive Director; Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, NACDL Board Member and Co-Chair, Problem-Solving Courts Task Force, Jay Clark, NACDL Board Member and Co-Chair Problem-Solving

Courts Task Force, Spurgeon Kennedy, Director; Research, Analysis and Development, D.C., Pretrial Services Agency, Judge Darryl Larson, Chair; Oregon, Criminal Justice Commission, Tamar Meekins, Director, Clinical

Law Center; Howard University School of Law

II. Death Penalty: A Preview of 2011 Reform Efforts and Staving off Attacks in Moratorium States

Moderator: Cynthia Hujar Orr, Immediate Past President; NACDL, State Senator Jamie Raskin, Maryland, Laura Porter, Director of Organizing; Equal Justice USA, Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director; National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

11:50 am — 1:30 pm Lunch on your own

1:45 pm — 3:15 pm “Heeling Neen” Documentary and Discussion with Tonier Cain

After surviving a childhood of abuse and neglect, Tonier “Neen” Cain lived on the streets for two nightmarish decades, where she endured unrelenting violence, hunger and despair while racking up 66 criminal convictions related to her addiction. Her story illustrates the consequences that untreated trauma has on individuals and society at large, including mental health problems, addiction, homelessness and incarceration. Today, she is a nationally renowned speaker and educator on the devastation of trauma and the hope of recovery.

3:20 pm — 4:30 pm Juvenile Justice Issues

Review of a series of juvenile justice issues including: sexting, collateral consequences of a juvenile conviction and juvenile life without parole.

Moderator: Tara Andrews, Deputy Executive Director for Policy & Programs; Coalition for Juvenile Justice Ashley Nellis, Research Analyst; Sentencing Project, Nicole Pittman, Juvenile Justice Policy Analyst; Defender Association of Philadelphia Representative from the National Campaign for  the Fair Sentencing of Youth

4:25 pm — 4:30 pm Thanks and Closing

For more information contact Angelyn Frazer at or check our Web site for updates at

# # #

American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school’s nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit