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Education

University of Georgia School of Law
Athens, GA

Juris Doctor
2012-15
  • Atlanta Bar Association: Student Co-Chair of the Criminal Law Section (2014-15)
  • Public Interest Law Council, Executive Committee: Service Chair (2013-14)

University of Southern Miss.
Hattiesburg, MS

BS with Honors
2007-11
  • All Hands Volunteers
    • Earthquake Response in Léogâne, Haiti (Summer 2011 & 2010)
    • Tornado Response in St. Louis, Missouri (Summer 2011)
    • Tornado Response in Birmingham, Alabama (Summer 2011)
  • Phi Kappa Tau: VP of Alumni Affairs (2009), Scholarship Chair (2008)

Experience

SPLC
Jackson, MS

Advocacy Fellow
2020-present
  • Create and update the Three Strikes Project’s public advocacy field plan
  • File public records requests with circuit clerks and the Department of Corrections and build and maintain a database with the data extracted from responsive documents to inform public advocacy, public policy, and legal strategies
  • Conduct policy research and analysis on legislation in Mississippi and other states concerning sentencing enhancements, mandatory maximum sentencing, mandatory minimum sentencing, and parole
  • Design, plan, and implement campaigns in unfavorable judicial districts to persuade reluctant circuit court judges to grant more parole eligibility petitions
  • Establish and maintain relationships with district attorneys, judges, community partners, and directly impacted people to identify and assess potential partners, stakeholders’ positions, the culture and practices of the local criminal courts, and public opinion concerning crime and punishment
  • Speak with the Mississippi Policy Director regularly during the session to discuss the status of legislative priorities, especially legislation referencing the parole or habitual offender statutes
  • Virtually attend Corrections and Criminal Justice Reform Task Force meetings and House and Senate Judiciary and Corrections Committee hearings
  • Co-led the organizing efforts for the Mississippi Day of Empathy in 2021 and moderated the panels on legislative advocacy, habitual laws, parole expansion, and prison conditions

Clergy for Prison Reform
Jackson, MS

Policy and Communications Consultant
2018-19
  • Managed the organization's Twitter and email accounts and assisted with managing the Facebook page
  • Assisted with drafting op-eds, developed and maintained relationships with reporters and editors
  • Counselled clergy on legislation, developed policy primers and helped organize policy summits to educate and train diverse religious leaders in advocating for statewide reform

SPLC
Jackson, MS

Consultant
2018
  • Assisted in developing Hopkins v. Hosemann, a Section 1983 class action challenging Mississippi’s criminal disenfranchisement laws as unconstitutional, by analyzing 23 years of court disposition data, identifying and interviewing disenfranchised persons, and securing plaintiffs

ACLU of Mississippi
Jackson, MS

Crim. Law Reform Advocacy Coordinator
2015-18
  • Developed and executed the short and long-term strategic programs and partnerships to achieve organizational goals for criminal justice reform in Mississippi
  • Spearheaded local and statewide policy reforms by working across the political spectrum with city and county attorneys, law enforcement leaders, legislators, key stakeholders, and administrators
  • Employed qualitative research and quantitative methods to drive evidence-based approaches to policy development and litigation support
  • Assisted in developing Brown v. Madison Cnty., a Section 1983 class action challenging unconstitutional policing practices, through interviewing witnesses, identifying plaintiffs, and using Public Records Act power and precedent to gather hundreds of relevant arrest, booking, and policy records to support the litigation
  • Used legal research methods to determine what public records information was most valuable to support claims and helped train firm lawyers on data analysis and input; worked directly with case experts to support their use of same
  • Drafted educational and advocacy material to advance reform; drafted letters to lower court judges advocating for implementation of the fines and fees procedures Biloxi adopted per the Kennedy v. Biloxi settlement agreement; drafted memoranda for local legislators regarding police surveillance technology
  • Drafted reports and conducted underlying investigation and analysis to support policy positions, such as a report on body camera policies which analyzes more than 65 local agencies’ policies obtained through requests, Public Records Act appeals and Ethics Commission actions
  • Drafted policy briefs, legislative memoranda, and talking points for partners and state leaders, and conducted the underlying primary research, such as years of Department of Corrections data, and secondary research, such as social science and law review journals and reports released by respected organizations and agencies
  • Conducted know-your-rights trainings for diverse audiences
  • Authored op-eds and blogs and developed and maintained relationships with reporters and editors to shape media coverage in furtherance of our advocacy goals

Western Jud. Cir. Public Defender’s Office
Athens, GA

Legal Intern, Crim. Defense Clinic
2015
  • Conducted legal research and factual investigation necessary for effective representation
  • Assisted supervising attorney with all aspects of representing clients charged with misdemeanors
  • Participated in motion practice, preliminary hearings, bond hearings, pre-trial motion hearings, trials, pleas, sentencings and probation revocation hearings under Georgia’s Third Year Practice Rule

State Rep. Spencer Frye
Athens, GA

Campaign & Legislative Fellow
2015
  • Canvassed the district for the 2014 election and participated in community outreach
  • Tracked legislation concerning, but not limited to, criminal law
  • Drafted internal policy memoranda and blog posts concerning criminal justice reform

Public Interest Practicum
Athens, GA

Legal Intern, Shelter Project & Parents in Jail Project
2014
  • Interviewed clients at local homeless shelters and addressed concerns that arose in conversation, including criminal record restriction
  • Consulted with parents incarcerated in the local jail on the care and custody of their children
  • Extended the scope of services for jailed persons with issues concerning benefits, disability, identification, employment, and housing

The Bronx Defenders
Bronx, NY

Legal Intern, Crim. Defense Practice
2014
  • Undertook a four-day intensive training on the fundamental aspects of holistic advocacy, investigation, social work, immigration defense, housing, employment, benefits, civil action practice, and community outreach
  • Participated in advocacy training, consisting of lectures and performing mock client interviews, bail arguments, opening statements, direct examination, cross examination, and closing arguments
  • Assisted attorneys during all phases of representation indigent clients prosecuted in Bronx County
  • Represented clients during arraignments, probation hearings and bond hearings under attorney supervision
  • Interviewed clients incarcerated on Rikers Island and advised them on administratively appealing punitive segregation determinations
  • Embraced collaborative and interdisciplinary culture by becoming active with New York Jails Action Coalition, know-your-rights trainings, and registering voters at the annual Bronx Defenders Block Party

Federal Defender Program
Atlanta, GA

Student Extern, Trial Unit
2014
  • Reviewed, analyzed, and organized discovery material for human trafficking and child pornography cases
  • Conducted legal research, drafted internal memoranda, and contributed to motions, and briefs

Orleans Public Defenders
New Orleans, LA

Volunteer Law Clerk
Mar. 2014 & 2013
  • Observed trial and completed minor research and writing assignments
  • Digested medical records and identified excerpts relevant to competency (2014)
  • Transcribed hours of recorded phone conversations to identify segments relevant to a client's case (2013)

Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel
Jackson, MS

Volunteer Law Clerk
Jan. 2014
  • Reviewed trial records and appellate decisions to identify issues preserved to be raised in post-conviction proceedings for a client on death row

Western Jud. Cir. Public Defender’s Office
Athens, GA

Legal Intern, Crim. Defense Clinic
2013
  • Assisted the Deputy Defender with all aspects of representing clients charged with one or more felonies
  • Interviewed clients at the office and in jail, and conducted further field investigations
  • Conducted research and drafted memoranda on key issues for a client charged with malice murder and a client charged with multiple counts of child molestation

Human Rights League
Bratislava, Slovakia

Research Associate
2013
  • Completed a report on best practices concerning the intersection of child trafficking and immigration policies for unaccompanied minors (UAMs) throughout Europe
  • Drafted Country of Origin Information reports for immigration attorneys to use in asylum proceeding