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.

01-16-2020 04:33pm

UCLA Brings Together Engineering and Law Scholars to Study How to Harness Benefits of Emerging Technology

UCLA's new Institute for Technology, Policy, and Law will advance scholarship and address issues at the intersection of technology and the legal system, examining the impact of artificial intelligence, robotics, digital free speech and other new technologies on our society.

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01-15-2020 01:34pm

UNC Citation Project Seeks to Improve Public Safety by Exploring Alternatives to Arrest

The Criminal Justice Innovation Lab (CJIL) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Government recently launched The Citation Project, which aims to improve policing practices through rigorous evaluation of citation in lieu of arrest.

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12-17-2019 04:18pm

Business Is More Than Just A Good Idea | University of Louisville

Scholars at the University of Louisville’s Center for Free Enterprise are pushing well past what is standard to expand exceptional opportunities for students in their communities.

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