Trump Grants Clemency to Alice Johnson Thanks to Work From Lawyer Brittany K. Barnett and Advocate Kim Kardashian West

Following a visit to the White House from Kim Kardashian West last week, President Donald Trump today commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson—a great-grandmother serving life without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Johnson’s story numbers among the many of the people that attorney Brittany K. Barnett has represented.

While working to get her law degree at Southern Methodist University, Barnett took on the case of Sharanda Jones, another woman who was sentenced to life without parole for a first-time, nonviolent offense. Barnett was also ultimately successful in securing clemency for her.

People like Alice Johnson and Sharanda Jones are hardly alone.

Right now,  about 2,000 Americans are serving life without parole sentences for federal, non-violent drug offences. And Barnett plans to do something about it. She’s a practitioner-in-residence with SMU’s Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center as well as a co-founder of the Buried Alive Project, which raises public awareness about and eliminates unreasonable life sentences.

Since October the Buried Alive Project has worked with more than 50 SMU law students as well as creative writing and statistics graduate students who have volunteered more than 750 hours to the project. Students not only work on these individuals’ cases, but they tell their stories to shine a light on the human impact of current approaches to sentencing in our criminal justice system and the need for reform. And today their work made a real world impact.

06-19-2019 05:10pm

Scholars Pair Up with Their Philosophical Opposites to Research American Democracy

The University of Arizona-based National Institute for Civil Discourse awarded grants to 10 scholars to research core concepts that are vital to American political and civic life.

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06-11-2019 04:10pm

Charles Koch Foundation Supports Xavier University’s Williams College of Business

Xavier University’s Williams College of Business recently announced that it received a $500,000 gift from the Charles Koch Foundation to help support the Stephen S. Smith Center.

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06-07-2019 09:48am

New University of Florida Initiative to Examine the Role and Impact of Digital Markets

The University of Florida announced a new initiative within its Warrington College of Business focusing on the role and impact of growing digital markets.

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