Featured Guests

Kimberly Buddin

Policy Counsel at the ACLU of Michigan

Kimberly Buddin is a civil rights attorney currently serving as Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan. In this capacity she works with law makers and stakeholders to advance policies that promote and protect individuals’ civil rights and civil liberties, provides legal analyses on proposed legislation, and testifies before the House of Representatives and Senate committees. Her focus areas include immigration, racial justice, privacy and technology, criminal justice reform, indigenous rights, and first amendment issues to name a few. Outside of the ACLU, Kimberly is an adjuct professor for Wayne State University Law School. She also serves as a gubernatorial appointed commissioner on the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission and as a board member on the Advisory Board to the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center for Homeland Security. She is the State Bar of Michigan Immigration Law Section’s co-founder and inaugural corresponding secretary and a former member of the State Bar’s Access to Justice Policy Committee. Kimberly received her B.A. in Psychology and Political Science from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law, where she focused on civil rights, human rights, immigration, and criminal law.

Beth Colgan

Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law

Beth Colgan is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. She is one of the country’s leading experts on constitutional and policy issues related to the use of economic sanctions as punishment and particularly on the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause. In addition to her interest in the intersection between criminal legal systems and poverty, Professor Colgan’s research and teaching also investigates the treatment of juveniles in juvenile and adult criminal legal systems and indigent defense representation.

Michael Daugherty

Former Public Defender for the Hopi Tribe

Michael Daugherty has worked as an in-house attorney for the Navajo Nation, as an associate attorney at a boutique water law firm in Denver, as a public defender for the Hopi Tribe, and as a rural legal services attorney for DNA-People’s Legal Services. He is licensed to practice law in Arizona, the Navajo Nation, and Colorado (inactive). He grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BA, 2011) and the University of Colorado Law School (JD, 2015).

Wesley Dozier

Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by International Paper, Just City

Wesley Dozier is a native of Memphis, TN. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Studies with a Minor in Spanish from Vanderbilt University in 2016. In 2019, he earned a JD from Vanderbilt Law School. After finishing law school, Wesley returned home to Memphis to join the Just City staff as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by International Paper, Inc. Among other things, his work at Just City focuses on advocating on behalf of Just City clients to have their court debt waived so that they can successfully have their criminal records expunged. Wesley is a prison industrial complex abolitionist and strives to approach all of his work through that lens. He is also a community lawyer and has worked with organizers and organized communities while in law school and beyond as a part of his legal practice.

Lisa Foster

Co-Director of the Fines and Fees Justice Center

Lisa Foster is the Co-Director of the Fines & Fees Justice Center, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending the unjust and harmful imposition of fines and fees in the criminal legal system. A retired judge, Lisa is also the former Director of the Office for Access to Justice at the United States Department of Justice where she led the Department’s efforts on fines, fees and bail reform, as well access to counsel and legal assistance in civil, criminal and tribal courts. Prior to joining the Justice Department, Lisa served ten years as a California Superior Court Judge in San Diego where she presided over criminal, civil and family law departments. Lisa was the Presiding Judge of the San Diego Court’s Appellate Division, the Assistant Supervising Judge of the Family Division, and served as a member of the state Judicial Council Appellate Advisory Committee. Lisa graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in American Studies and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Alexes Harris

Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington

Alexes Harris, Ph.D., is the Presidential Term Professor and Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. Her research is fundamentally centered on issues of inequality, poverty and race in United States’ systems of justice. Her book, A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as a Punishment for the Poor details the ways in which sentenced fines and fees often put an undue burden on disadvantaged populations and place them under even greater supervision of the criminal justice system. Dr. Harris has been appointed to serve on several federal advisory boards, including the Office of Justice Programs Science Advisory Board and the National Task Force on Fines and Fees, and Bail Practice. Dr. Harris has been inducted into the Washington State Academy of Sciences (2017) and is the chair of the Washington State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (2017-current). She was acknowledged for her teaching with the University of Washington’s highest teaching honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award (2018).

Erin Keith

Staff Attorney for the Legal Services and Advocacy Practice at the Detroit Justice Center

Erin Keith currently serves as a staff attorney in the Legal Services and Advocacy Practice at the Detroit Justice Center. In this capacity, she focuses on criminal legal system reform through a racial equity lens, by providing direct representation to indigent and/or formerly incarcerated clients. Additionally, Erin analyzes pending legislation to remove legal barriers in the criminal punishment system, providing oral and written testimony about the collateral consequences of excessive fines and fees to relevant governing bodies. Erin has also led the organization’s youth empowerment efforts, by developing Know Your Rights workshops and other outreach programming for local students. As part of her work at DJC, Erin co-authored the “Highway Robbery” report, a 60-page white paper on transit apartheid, racialized policing and wealth extraction through municipal traffic courts. She also spearheaded the creation of a “Barrier Relief Fund” to assist indigent clients with paying excessive fines and fees. Erin is a proud alumna of Howard University and Georgetown University Law Center.

Geoffrey Leonard

Staff Attorney at the Detroit Justice Center

Geoff Leonard is a Staff Attorney at the Detroit Justice Center. Prior to joining DJC, Geoff worked in the legal department of the Service Employees International Union, where he served as counsel to the Fight for Fifteen campaign to organize fast food works to fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage; and the home care campaign, a campaign to organize home care workers into a union. Additionally, Geoff served as one of the co-chairs of the policy committee of Law for Black Lives-DC, a legal collective started to provided legal support to the Movement for Black Lives in DC. L4BL-DC has supported organizers with legal research and advocacy on resisting policies to increase policing, and supporting non-police alternatives to public safety; by coordinating legal support for the black mama’s bailout in DC; by conducting a summer learning series based on the Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform to sharpen the political analysis of DC lawyers and L4BL-DC members; and much more. Geoff graduated Cum Laude from Georgetown University Law Center, and earned a Masters in Public Policy from the Georgetown University McCourt School for Public Policy. Prior to law school, Geoff worked as a Legal Advocate at the Urban Justice Center, representing public benefits recipients in administrative hearings, and was a member of the UJC Staff Union’s bargaining committee.

Jeremy Levine

Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies and Sociology (by courtesy) at the University of Michigan

Jeremy Levine is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies and Sociology (by courtesy) at the University of Michigan. He earned his A.M. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard. His work analyzes the politics of inequality, particularly in U.S. cities. His first book, Constructing Community, will be published in 2021 with Princeton University Press.

William Maurer

Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice Washington Office

William Maurer is the Managing Attorney of the Washington office of the Institute for Justice. He was the lead counsel in a class action challenge the use of tickets to raise municipal revenue in the city of Pagedale, Missouri, which resulted in a ground-breaking federal consent decree that reformed the city’s ticketing and municipal court system. He regularly speaks and writes about fines and fees and participated in summits on criminal justice reform convened by the White House and Department of Justice. He is an advisory board member of the Fines and Fees Justice Center. He joined IJ in 2002 and has successfully argued constitutional cases across the country, including at the U.S Supreme Court. He previously practiced with Perkins Coie LLP and clerked for the Washington Supreme Court. He received his J.D. in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was an editor of the Wisconsin Law Review.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack

Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack joined the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2013, and became Chief Justice in January 2019. Before her election to the Court in November 2012, she was a law professor and dean at the University of Michigan Law School. Since joining the Court, Chief Justice McCormack continues to teach at the Law School. As the Chief Justice, McCormack has promoted statewide initiatives devoted to improving the courts service to the public, and in particular delivering on a promise that courts are independent, accessible, engaged with their communities and efficient. For example, together with the Attorney General, she launched an Elder Abuse Taskforce, which is actively working on improvements to the service to seniors in courts. Additional successful initiatives by Chief Justice McCormack include the Michigan Access for all Taskforce, Online Dispute Resolution throughout Michigan’s courts, the first expungement clinics in the state, and Michigan’s participation in the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative (RJOI).

Steve Mello

Assistant Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College

Steve Mello is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. He is an applied microeconomist interested in inequality. His work uses administrative datasets and quasi-experimental research methods to examine the costs, benefits, and equity implications of public policies, with a particular focus on the criminal justice system. Steve earned a PhD in economics at Princeton University and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the NYU Furman Center before joining the Dartmouth faculty.

Meghan O’Neil

Research Investigator at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan; Empirical Legal Studies Research Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School

Dr. O’Neil studies vulnerable populations in America, particularly focused on racial and economic inequality. She conducts evidence-based research to make for better public policy. Her research focuses on disparities in the American housing market, justice system, and the family. Dr. O’Neil’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation-Law and Science Division; Arnold Ventures; and Poverty Solutions. Dr. O’Neil’s grandfathers, father, and brother are wartime veterans. She is the first-gen in her family to go to college and aims to bring her lived experience to help solve complex American problems. She interned with the police department and Special Narcotics Division of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, later working as a senior data scientist for two years in NYC before matriculating for her PhD. M.A. Columbia University, Quantitative Methods, Ph.D. SUNY, Albany, Sociology.

J.J. Prescott

Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Michigan

J.J. Prescott is a Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Michigan. His research interests revolve around criminal law, sentencing law and reform, access to justice, employment law, and the dynamics of civil litigation, particularly settlement. Much of his work is empirical in focus. Professor Prescott also spearheaded the development of Matterhorn, on online platform now available in more than a dozen states, which helps people facing warrants, fines, and minor charges resolve their disputes online and without the need to hire an attorney. Professor Prescott earned his JD, magna cum laude, in 2002 from Harvard Law School, where he was the treasurer (Vol. 115) and an editor of the Harvard Law Review. After clerking for the Hon. Merrick B. Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, he went on to earn a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006.

Eli Savit

Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney

Eli Savit is a civil rights attorney, lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School, and the elected Prosecuting Attorney of Washtenaw County. Prior to his election as Prosecuting Attorney, Eli served as senior legal counsel at the City of Detroit. There, he oversaw the City’s public-interest litigation initiatives, and he provided legal counsel on issues concerning the city and its executive branch—and oversaw legal strategy on high-profile legislation, intergovernmental negotiations, and executive action. Eli is also a nationally recognized legal commenter on topics as diverse as criminal-justice reform, state and local government, education law, and environmental justice. A 2010 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Eli previously clerked for Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) on the United States Supreme Court.

Jeff Selbin

Clinical Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law

Jeff Selbin directs the Policy Advocacy Clinic, which he founded in 2015 as an interdisciplinary clinic to train and supervise law and public policy students to dismantle systemic racial and economic injustice. The clinic currently represents impacted groups in California and nationally on campaigns to abolish racialized wealth extraction in the criminal and juvenile legal systems. Recent fines and fees publications (with co-authors) include: “Juvenile Fee Abolition in California: Early Lessons and Challenges for the Debt Free Justice Movement,” in the North Carolina Law Review (2020); and two clinic reports: “Fee Abolition and the Promise of Debt-Free Justice for Young People and Their Families in California” (2019); and “Making Families Pay: The Harmful, Unlawful and Costly Practice of Charging Juvenile Administrative Fees in California” (2017).

Michael Steinberg

Professor from Practice and Director of the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative at the University of Michigan Law School

Michael Steinberg is a professor from practice and director of the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative at the University of Michigan Law School. Before joining the Michigan Law faculty, Professor Steinberg served for 22 years as the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, where he oversaw all ACLU litigation in the state. He has litigated dozens of high-impact, high-profile cases on a wide range of civil rights issues including: racial justice, police misconduct, freedom of speech and expression, immigrant rights, voting rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, post 9/11 issues, reproductive freedom, criminal justice reform, religious freedom, right to counsel, environmental justice, prisoner rights, economic justice, and disability rights. He also helped lead the organization’s litigation to eliminate “pay or stay” sentencing in Michigan. Six cases on which he worked have reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anne Stuhldreher

Director of Financial Justice, Office of the San Francisco Treasurer

Anne Stuhldreher is the Director of Financial Justice in the Office of the San Francisco Treasurer. San Francisco is the first city in the nation to launch a Financial Justice Project to assess and reform how fines, fees, and financial penalties impact the city’s vulnerable residents. Ms. Stuhldreher has a distinguished track record of working with public officials to create public private partnerships that financially empower lower income residents. In San Francisco, she brought people together to launch initiatives like: Bank on San Francisco (that spurs banks to create accounts for the one in five Americans who don’t have them), the Working Families Credit, and Kindergarten to College. As a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver, she helped start the WE Connect Campaign and Bank on California. She also served as a Senior Program Manager for the California Endowment, a health justice philanthropic foundation.

Min Su

Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University

Min Su is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration at Louisiana State University. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the budgeting and financial management of state and local governments. Current research projects examine local governments’ use of non-tax revenue. Her work has appeared in Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Budgeting & Finance, American Review of Public Administration, and International Journal of Public Administration.