Speaker Biographies - State Criminal Justice Network Conference 2023

Speaker biographies for panelists and moderators at the 2023 State Criminal Justice Network Conference. 

Conference Agenda  Conference Materials

Lizzie Buchen headshotLizzie Buchen is a policy consultant focusing on criminal justice reform. Prior to becoming a consultant, she was the Director of the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice Program, where she led a team of attorneys, policy advocates, and organizers in the ACLU’s efforts to reduce incarceration and address police misconduct, and a legislative advocate for the ACLU of California, where she worked on legislation to improve police accountability, reduce incarceration, and lower barriers to reentry for people leaving prison and jail. She is a member of California’s Peace Officer Standards Accountability Advisory Board.

Rabiah Alicia Burks headshotRabiah Alicia Burks is a strategic communications executive who has dedicated her career to educating the public about criminal justice reform issues through traditional and non-traditional methods. She has led communications at FAMM Foundation and the ABA Criminal Justice Section and is a member of a several organizations including the National Association of Black Journalists, and the National Press Club. Rabiah earned her Bachelor of Arts in History & African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Brandon Buskey is the Director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. He was previously Deputy Director for Smart Justice Litigation and has been with CLRP since 2012. His work focuses on reforming pretrial justice, reimagining community safety and policing, and expanding the right to counsel and access to quality public defense. Prior to the ACLU, Brandon worked at the Equal Justice Initiative and the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. He is a 2006 graduate of New York University Law School, where he was a Root-Tilden Kern and AnBryce Scholar. Following law school he clerked for the Honorable Janet C. Hall of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Khalil Cumberbatch headshotKhalil Cumberbatch is a nationally recognized formerly incarcerated advocate for criminal justice and deportation policy reform. Currently serving as Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Council on Criminal Justice. Previously, he served as Chief Strategist at New Yorkers United for Justice and as Associate Vice President of Policy at The Fortune Society. Pardoned by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014, Cumberbatch earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from CUNY Lehman College, where he was awarded the Urban Justice Award for his work with underserved and marginalized communities.

Premal Dharia headshotPremal Dharia is the executive director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration at Harvard Law School. She is a founding editor of the online publication Inquest. Previously, she spent nearly 15 years representing people charged with criminal offenses in three different places: the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Baltimore, Maryland, and the military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 2014, she was selected for a three-month fellowship to help build out and train three new public defender offices in the West Bank. She brought these years of experience to Civil Rights Corps, where she was the Director of Litigation. In 2019, she received a fellowship through the Reflective Democracy Campaign, which investigates the demographics of, and works to dismantle structural barriers around, political power. During that time, she started the Defender Impact Initiative, which focused on the role public defenders can play in the broad movement to end mass incarceration. The work and ideas of DII have been incorporated into the Institute to End Mass Incarceration. Ms. Dharia serves on the boards of the Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop and the Second Look Project, is on the Fellows Advisory Council of the International Legal Foundation, and is on the Academic Advisory Board of the Family Justice Law Center. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in History and African-American Studies, with a focus on comparative postcolonial studies, and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

David Gaspar headshotDavid Gaspar (he/him/his) is the Chief Executive Officer of The Bail Project. As the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Gaspar leads the strategic planning, organizational management, programmatic development, external affairs, and fundraising activities for the organization. Mr. Gaspar joined The Bail Project as a Bail Disruptor shortly after the organization’s launch and quickly rose through the ranks to become an Operations Manager, Regional Director, and eventually the National Director of Operations. A formerly incarcerated individual directly affected by the cash bail system, Mr. Gaspar earned his GED and bachelor’s degree and studied law while in prison, won his appeal, and was released 11 years early. Building upon his direct lived experience in the criminal justice system and fulfilling his commitment to social justice, he dedicates his spare time to efforts that help stabilize lives by mentoring young people and facilitating re-entry for people returning from incarceration. He has earned several certifications including an Offender Workforce Development Specialist certification from the National Institute of Corrections, the highest-level certification in Lean Six Sigma, and certifications in Results Based Accountability (RBA) and Trauma-Informed Community Building. Mr. Gaspar was recently selected for the Galaxy Gives Leadership program and is a graduate of JustLeadership USA’s Leading with Conviction program. A proud Mexican-American, husband, father of five, and grandfather, Gaspar’s work with The Bail Project is an embodiment of his hope for a brighter future, where better systems of justice are possible.

Morgan Godvin headshotMorgan Godvin is an internationally recognized expert on drugs and prisons. Formerly incarcerated, she was sentenced to five years in federal prison. She serves on Oregon’s drug decriminalization Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council, the state’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, and Portland’s Public Safety Coordinating Council. She is the engagement editor for JSTOR Daily assigned to the American Prison Newspaper collection, an open access primary source of newspapers produced by and for incarcerated people from the 19th century to now. She is a Bard Prison Initiative Public Health Fellow 2021-2022 and a graduate of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. As a narrative justice fellow at Northeastern School of Law’s The Action Lab, her work centers around the intersection of substance use and the criminal legal system. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Sharlyn Grace photoSharlyn Grace (she/her) is the Senior Policy Advisor at the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender. Prior her current role, Sharlyn was a founding member of Chicago Community Bond Fund and served as CCBF’s first Executive Director until early 2021. Before joining CCBF full-time, she was the Senior Criminal Justice Policy Analyst at Chicago Appleseed. In those roles, Sharlyn was part of launching and helping lead the Coalition to End Money Bond in 2016 and the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice in 2019. In 2021, their joint statewide legislative campaign culminated in the passage of the Pretrial Fairness Act, which will make Illinois the first state to completely eliminate money bail. Outside of work, Sharlyn has provided legal and organizing support for grassroots movements in Chicago since 2012. She is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and an Illinois licensed attorney.

Brad Haywood headshotBradley R. Haywood is Chief Public Defender for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, VA and founder of Justice Forward Virginia, a criminal justice reform advocacy organization that led efforts to pass over a dozen reform bills in the Virginia General Assembly since 2019, including historic limits on pretextual policing practices, repeal of mandatory jury sentencing, and probation reform. Mr. Haywood is the 2021 recipient of the Arlington County NAACP's Charles P. Monroe Civil Rights Award, and a member of the 2022 class of Virginia Lawyers Weekly's Leaders in the Law. He is also the author of "Ending Race-Based Pretextual Stops: Strategies For Eliminating America's Most Egregious Police Practice," published in January 2023 in the Richmond Public Interest Law Review.

For nearly a decade, Scott Hechinger served as a public defender in Brooklyn, representing people charged with crimes who couldn’t afford an attorney, but also long shared his perspective as a public defender outside of court in a variety of media to shift the narrative and drive systemic change. 

While practicing, Scott co-founded the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, which freed thousands of people caged pretrial solely because they couldn’t afford to buy their freedom. After years of practice, Scott was appointed Director of Policy leading creative defender advocacy, as well as design and implementation of multiple new media advocacy films and campaigns, including We Have Rights (immigration nationally), Justice is Blindfolded (laws that allowed prosecutors to withhold evidence in New York), Power of Prosecutors (national Get Out the Vote effort for DA races); and Perpetual Punishment (collateral consequences nationwide). 

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Scott founded and now Executive Directs Zealous to build on the successes of the model developed at Brooklyn Defender Services and the promise of non-traditional legal advocacy, media and movements for defenders, social justice leaders, communities, and artists. Scott speaks widely, lectures at law schools and universities, advises companies and organizations on criminal justice media projects and campaigns, and his work and commentary are regularly featured in a range of major national and local outlets. Scott serves as Lecturer-In-Law at Columbia University Law School.

Tera Hurst is a leader devoted to sustainability and supporting people in recovery in Oregon. She is currently the Executive Director of Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance (HJRA), leading the effort to implement the first in the nation law that decriminalized small amounts of drugs and invests hundreds of millions of dollars into recovery and harm reduction services with a focus on communities most harmed by the war on drugs. Before starting (HJRA) she was the Executive Director of Renew Oregon, where she successfully worked with the Governor, State Legislature, community groups, foundations, and business to pass the most ambitious climate action in Oregon's history. Previously, Tera served as the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Portland and in leadership roles in the Oregon State Legislature. Her career began in business, where she was a top-performing sales executive and was quickly promoted to be the youngest female sales manager in the company.

Emily Kaltenbach headshotEmily Kaltenbach is the senior director of state advocacy and criminal legal reform in the Office of National Policy. In that role, she leads DPA’s state advocacy efforts and efforts to decriminalize drugs, divest from punitive police responses and build health-based alternatives. Emily previously worked in DPA’s New Mexico Policy Office where she was instrumental in passing marijuana legalization, reforming the state’s asset forfeiture law, a model for the rest of the country, and helping start the second law enforcement assisted diversion program in the nation. Before joining DPA she worked in New Mexico implementing rural community-based health centers, helping reform the state’s long-term care system, and setting the stage to implement federal health care reform in the state. Born and raised in rural New Mexico, she graduated from Beloit College with a BA in sociology and a minor in health care studies. She later completed a master’s degree in health administration at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

Rena Karefa-Johnson headshotRena Karefa-Johnson is an attorney, organizer, policy expert and political strategist working to advance and protect legislation and campaigns to end mass incarceration. Prior to working as the VP of National Initiatives at FWD.us, Rena organized women with incarcerated loved ones across the country towards transformative policy campaigns as the Director of Campaigns and Advocacy for Essie Justice Group. A former juvenile justice attorney that provided criminal defense and other legal support for teenagers locked on Rikers Island, Rena helped right and pass historic bail reform legislation in New York State, written testimony for the United State Commission on Human Rights about the inhumanity of pretrial jailing and co-authored the Lives on the Line: Women with Incarcerated Loved Ones and the Impact of COVID-19 Behind Bars report. Her analysis on the American criminal legal system has been featured in NPR, Teen Vogue, Rolling Stone, The Intercept and The Appeal. Rena received her BA in African American Studies at Yale University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Laura Koenig headshotLaura Koenig is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Richmond, Virginia office of the Eastern District of Virginia. She strives to provide zealous, client-centered representation to her clients in a wide variety of district court and appellate cases. Before Laura became an Assistant Federal Public Defender, she clerked for federal district court judges in Indianapolis, Indiana and Atlanta, Georgia and was lucky enough to have spent several years practicing in the fearless Colorado State Public Defender system.

Jumana Musa is a human rights attorney and racial justice activist. She is currently the Director of the Fourth Amendment Center at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As director, Ms. Musa oversees NACDL's initiative to build a new, more durable Fourth Amendment legal doctrine for the digital age. The Fourth Amendment Center educates the defense bar on privacy challenges in the digital age, provides a dynamic toolkit of resources to help lawyers identify opportunities to challenge government surveillance, and establishes a tactical litigation support network to assist in key cases. Ms. Musa previously served as NACDL's Sr. Privacy and National Security Counsel.

Prior to joining NACDL, Ms. Musa served as a policy consultant for the Southern Border Communities Coalition, a coalition of over 60 groups across the southwest that address militarization and brutality by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in border communities. Previously, she served as Deputy Director for the Rights Working Group, a national coalition of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights, and immigrant rights advocates where she coordinated the “Face the Truth” campaign against racial profiling. She was also the Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice at Amnesty International USA, where she addressed the domestic and international impact of U.S. counterterrorism efforts on human rights. She was one of the first human rights attorneys allowed to travel to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and served as Amnesty International's legal observer at military commission proceedings on the base. 

Nicole D. Porter headshotNamed a “New Civil Rights Leader” by Essence Magazine for her work to challenge mass incarceration, Nicole D. Porter manages The Sentencing Project’s state and local advocacy efforts on sentencing reform, voting rights, and confronting racial disparities in the criminal legal system. Since joining The Sentencing Project in 2009, Porter’s advocacy and findings have supported criminal legal reforms in several states including Kentucky, Maryland Missouri, California, Texas and the District of Columbia. Porter’s areas of expertise include research and grassroots support around challenging racial disparities, felony disenfranchisement, in addition to prison closures and prison reuse. Her research has been cited in several major media outlets including Salon and the Washington Post, and she has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and on National Public Radio and MSNBC. 

Michael Price headshotMichael Price serves as Litigation Director for the Fourth Amendment Center at NACDL, which provides the defense bar with resources and litigation support designed to preserve privacy rights in the digital age. Michael focuses on cutting-edge Fourth Amendment issues including location tracking, device searches, facial recognition, government hacking, and “reverse” warrants. He provides trainings and direct legal assistance to equip defense lawyers with the tools they need to ensure that the Fourth Amendment keeps pace with emerging technologies.

Michael previously served as Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. As part of the Liberty and National Security program, Michael worked to oppose discriminatory surveillance and immigration practices and developed legislation to enhance oversight and accountability for the NYPD. From 2008-2011, Michael was the National Security Coordinator for NACDL, where he provided legal assistance for the defense of detainees in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

Insha Rahman headshotInsha Rahman is Vice President for Advocacy and Partnerships at the Vera Institute of Justice and Vice President of Vera Action, Vera’s 501(c)4 sister organization. She leads the development of Vera and Vera Action’s advocacy priorities and campaigns across the organization, partnering with government and communities to end mass incarceration, fight for immigrants' rights, ensure dignity behind bars, and build safe, thriving communities for all. Insha is a nationally recognized expert on bail reform and pretrial justice and has been quoted as an expert in several outlets, including The New York Times, NPR, and PBS. Prior to joining Vera, she was apublicdefender at The Bronx Defenders. She graduated with a BA in Africana Studies from Vassar College and earned her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

Hannah Riley headshotHannah Riley is the Director of Programming at the Center for Just Journalism. She has worked at the intersection of the criminal legal system and the media world for over a decade, both as a communications professional and a freelance writer. At the Center for Just Journalism she works closely with both newsrooms covering public safety issues and advocates and organizers doing reform work on the ground across the country. Prior to joining the Center for Just Journalism, Hannah served as the Director of Communications for the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit law firm and policy shop. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and spends her free time organizing for a world without prisons and police. Hannah has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a graduate degree in Criminology. 

Cynthia Roseberry headshotAt the national ACLU, Cynthia Roseberry works to reform the criminal justice system. Focusing on issues like policing, bail reform, clemency, the death penalty, and other criminal justice related matters her work supports ACLU affiliates across the nation.

During the Obama administration, she served as project manager of the historic Clemency Project 2014. Often referred to as the nation’s largest law firm of nearly 4,000 lawyers, it provided pro bono support to more than 36,000 applicants for presidential clemency.

Ms. Roseberry also served on the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, a nine-member, bipartisan, Congressional blue-ribbon panel charged with examining the federal corrections system, including overcrowding, prison violence, public safety measures, prison rehabilitation and employment programs, and re-entry programs and policies to reduce recidivism. The task force released its groundbreaking report Transforming Prisons, Restoring Lives: Final Recommendations of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections in January of 2016.

Previously, Ms. Roseberry was the executive director of the Federal Defenders of the Middle District of Georgia, Inc. She has taught advanced criminal procedure and co-taught in the death penalty clinic at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, where she also founded the misdemeanor clinic. Prior to teaching, she practiced federal and state criminal defense in Georgia.

A founding board member of the Georgia Innocence Project, she was the first African American female president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She received the 2016 COS Humanitarian Award, the 2017 annual service award from the Alpha Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated and the 2017 Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Ms. Roseberry earned her Bachelor of Science from Wilberforce University in Ohio. She earned her Juris Doctor from Georgia State University College of Law. A national and international speaker, Ms. Roseberry has presented in nearly every U.S. state, in Europe, the former Soviet Union, and to a delegation of judges from China. Her TEDx talk, My Father, My Hero, delivered from inside a prison, has been critically acclaimed. See her TEDx talk at http://bit.ly/myfather-myhero.

Hayley Tsukayama headshotHayley Tsukayama is Senior Legislative Activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, focusing on state legislation. Prior to joining EFF, she spent nearly eight years as a consumer technology reporter at The Washington Post writing stories on the industry's largest companies.

Hayley, who is CIPP/US certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, has an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri and a BA in history from Vassar College.

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