2021 Virtual SCJN Conference Agenda

NACDL’s 20th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference was held on August 18-20, 2021. Here you will  find the conference agenda and buttons to access the conference materials and speaker biographies. Check back on this page for recordings of each panel in the coming weeks.   

Wednesday  Thursday  Friday
 Speaker Biographies   Conference Materials 
State Criminal Justice Network 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

1:00 - 2:05 pm EST

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Opening & Welcome

Martín Sabelli, President, NACDL & Monica Reid, Director of Advocacy, NACDL

Disrupting Minority Report: How to Push Back on the Use of Predictive Analytics in Policing

Police departments across the country are increasing using predictive algorithms to decide where to patrol and who to investigate. These tools are also being used to create databases that label people as threats and feed them into the criminal legal system. Recently, NACDL published a report titled Garbage In, Gospel Out: How Data-Driven Policing Technologies Entrench Historic Racism and ‘Tech-wash’ Bias in the Criminal Legal System which laid out the historic biases that these systems exploit and recommends that the systems not be used. On this panel you will hear from experts who shared their experience in Chicago and Los Angeles with the NACDL Task Force on Predictive Policing and how they have pushed back.

Moderator: Jumana Musa, Director, Fourth Amendment Center, NACDL

Panelists:

  • Shakeer Rahman, Lawyer & Community Organizer, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and Practitioner Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford PACS
  • Chaclyn Hunt, Civil Rights Attorney & Director of the Youth/Police Project, Invisible Institute
  • Kevin Vogeltanz, Vogeltanz Law

2:30 - 3:30 pm EST

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A Year in Police Reform: Past Successes & Looking Ahead

Over the past year, amid continued police violence and the killing of unarmed black men and women, we have seen renewed calls for racial justice and systemic police reform. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation to reform some aspect of policing. Common reforms have included addressing issues around accountability and oversight, limiting the use of neck restraints and no-knock warrants, instituting use of force standards, requiring a duty to intervene, mandating data collection around police interactions, requiring increased use of police body cameras and more. But are these reforms enough? And how can we limit police interactions? Police retain enormous discretion in determining where to patrol, who to stop, and who to arrest for minor offenses like loitering, jaywalking, littering,disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace. Criminalizing minor offenses needlessly exposes individuals to police interaction, which can often function as a gateway to police violence. This panel will highlight policing reforms adopted over the last year and what still needs to be done.

Moderator: Paige Fernandez, Policing Policy Advisor, National Political Advocacy Department, ACLU

Panelists:

  • Kami Chavis, Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program, Wake Forest University School of Law
  • Walter Katz, Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures
  • DeRay Mckesson, Co-Founder, Campaign Zero

4:00 - 5:00 pm EST

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Criminalization of Sex and Status: HIV, Gender Identity and Race

The legislative history and enforcement of HIV and other infectious disease criminal laws reveal several consistent factors at their root: homophobia, transphobia, class and race bias, and a profound lack of literacy in the routes, risks and prevention/treatment realities of infectious diseases. This panel will examine the continued criminalization of HIV and other health status, the undermining of the central principle that criminal intent be required for criminal liability, and efforts to reform these discriminatory laws. The panel will also explore the relentless efforts to use the criminal law to punish and marginalize transgender individuals and work being done to turn the tide in this arena as well. Attendees will hear from leading policy experts in these areas.

Moderator: Ivan Dominguez, Senior Director of Public Affairs & Communications, NACDL

Panelists:

  • Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director, Center for HIV Law and Policy
  • Eric T. Paulk, JD, Deputy Director, Georgia Equality
5:15 - 6:45 pm EST
Affiliate Leader Social Networking and Recognition Event

For more information, please contact Jessica Stepan at jstepan@nacdl.org.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

1:00 - 2:10 pm EST

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Presentation of Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award

Monica Reid, Director of Advocacy, NACDL & Michael Iacopino, Senior Partner, Brennan Lenehan and Chair of State Legislative Affairs Committee, NACDL

The Trial Penalty: The Scourge of the American Criminal Legal System

The trial penalty is the vastly increased penalty after conviction faced by those who assert fundamental rights, such as the right to obtain discovery, conduct adequate investigation, challenge unlawfully obtained evidence, and the right to trial and appeal, compared to the penalty faced by those who plead pre-trial and waive those rights. The threat of these vastly enhanced penalties induces most accused persons, including those who are actually innocent, to waive all manner of rights. It reflects a grossly unbalanced system in which prosecutors wield their unbridled charging authority and mandatory sentencing schemes as a bludgeon to coerce guilty pleas, effectively eliminating trials. The trial penalty affects virtually anyone charged, but its weight falls most heavily on minorities and contributes significantly to racial and ethnic disparity. The penalty is sometimes referred to as “trial tax.” The panelists will discuss the impacts and solutions, including NACDL’s national campaign to expose and curtail the trial penalty through comprehensive state-based studies.  

Moderator: Norman Reimer, Senior Policy Consultant, NACDL

Panelists:

  • Susan Walsh, Partner, Vladeck Raskin & Clark, PC and Trial Penalty Project Chair, NYSACDL
  • Jeffery Robinson, Executive Director, The Who We Are Project
  • Vikrant Reddy, Senior Fellow for Criminal Justice, Charles Koch Institute

2:30 - 3:30 pm EST

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The Trial Penalty: Voices of Reform

Join NACDL’s President Martín Sabelli for a discussion with advocates who have experienced the trial penalty firsthand, serving excessive sentences after choosing to challenge their case in court.

Moderator: Martín Sabelli, President, NACDL

Panelists:

  • Chalana McFarland, Advocate
  • Robert Rose, Advocate
  • Brian Simmons, Advocate

4:00 - 5:00 pm EST

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The Case for Second Look Sentencing

While many individuals are behind bars for only a short time, the backbone of mass incarceration is people serving very lengthy sentences – often decades-long, and far longer than they would serve for comparable crimes elsewhere in the world. Society’s emerging recognition that it has over-used imprisonment is exemplified in a wide range of reforms aimed at reducing the potential for individuals to enter the criminal legal system. However, to tackle the problem of mass incarceration at its core, reforms must also target those currently experiencing incarceration. This session will focus on “Second Look Sentencing” reforms that seek to provide individuals with the opportunity for resentencing or a sentence reduction after they have served a certain amount of time in prison. Panelists will discuss “Second Look,” as well as NACDL’s model “Second Look Sentencing” legislation and accompanying report.

Moderator: JaneAnne Murray, Co-Chair, NACDL’s Second Look Task Force

Panelists:

  • Nicole D. Porter, Director of Advocacy, The Sentencing Project
  • James Dold, CEO & Founder, Human Rights for Kids
  • David L. Garlock, Pennsylvania State Organizer, Straight Ahead

Friday, August 20, 2021

1:00 - 1:25 pm EST

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The Overcriminalization of Abortion

The United States prosecutes and incarcerates on an unprecedented scale. As an organization whose members see the devastating consequences of misguided public policy on a daily basis, NACDL has long opposed overcriminalization. This extends to legislative efforts to vastly expand the potential for criminal charges to be brought against those participating in or performing abortions. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, a number of states are prepared to arrest and prosecute pregnant individuals, their medical providers and those who assist them. NACDL’s report detailing the overcriminalization of abortion examines existing criminal laws and both existing and proposed anti-abortion laws in a number of states, specifically considering their impact on arrests and prosecutions of people seeking and providing abortions. Hear from members of NACDL’s Women in Criminal Defense Committee as they highlight the report’s key findings and the impact of these laws on our criminal legal system.

Panelists:

  • Lindsay Lewis, Partner, Dratel & Lewis
  • Missy Owen, Founding Partner, Tin Fulton Walker & Owen

1:30 - 2:15 pm EST

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Social Media Skills for the Savvy Advocate

Social media offers advocates an incredibly powerful tool to advance one’s policy agenda and to build community around those efforts. This panel will explore various ways in which advocates – from individuals to small or large organizations – can leverage the power of social media platforms to amplify their voices and effect change.

Panelists:

  • Ivan Dominguez, Senior Director of Public Affairs & Communications, NACDL
  • Kate Holden, Public Affairs & Communications Associate, NACDL

2:30 - 3:30 pm EST

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Race and Public Defense

When people think of public defense, they often think of it as a service provided in the context of criminal representation.  However, historically lawyers who represent indigent defendants have sometimes served a hybrid function as both legal advocates and community organizers.  Join this panel discussion to learn about the different ways lawyers have organized within the legal community and beyond to better address racial inequity in their jurisdictions. 

Moderator: Monica Milton, Public Defense Counsel, NACDL

Panelists:

  • Kenitra Brown, Founding Board Member & Criminal Justice Committee Co-Lead, Power in Action; Staff Attorney and Director of Engagement, The Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center
  • Emily Coward, Project Attorney, North Carolina Racial Equity Network, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government
  • Johanna Jennings, Founder & Executive Director, The Decarceration Project
  • Kimberly O'Neil, CEO, Giving Blueprint; Founding Director, Power in Action

4:00 - 5:00 pm EST

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The Fight for Equitable Cannabis Reform

Since the onset of the war on drugs, cannabis prohibition has carried devastating consequences for communities of color. In the past decade alone, despite similar usage rates, Black Americans across the country have been 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white Americans. Cannabis criminalization has also been used to justify an increase in police surveillance, expanding the overall scope of policing and diverting scarce resources away from education and valuable social services. Today, lawmakers are beginning to rethink these practices, instead introducing new policies advancing legalization, decriminalization, retroactive expungement and resentencing, and community reinvestment. On this panel you will hear from state and national experts who will explore a range of strategies adopted to account for the devastating impacts of the war on drugs, highlighting the most effective modes of providing relief for individuals with prior cannabis convictions.

Moderator: Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance

Panelists:

  • Sarah Gersten, Executive Director, Last Prisoner Project
  • Chelsea Higgs Wise, Executive Director, Marijuana Justice Virginia
  • Ean Seeb, Special Advisor on Cannabis, State of Colorado

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