Law Review Symposium Fall 2021

Join us virtually for an insightful discussion about how various identities impact an individual's journey throughout the criminal justice system.



Law Review Symposium F21_updated

Multiple Marginalization in the Criminal Justice System
Before, During, and After Prison

Friday, October 8, 2021
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Via Zoom

Those who are accused of crime are already at risk of discrimination or disparate treatment because of their charges. Multiple marginalization refers to the stigma and discrimination that affect individuals who are also members of historically oppressed groups. The Symposium will bring together a diverse group of legal scholars, including Professor Jeffrey Fagan of Columbia Law School, to engage in discussions about how an accused’s multiple identities, including race, disability, age, gender identity, and sex, intersect with the criminal charges against the individual.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, and the deaths of many others at the hands of law enforcement, it is critical to discuss the ways that many of those accused of crimes are multiply oppressed in order to inform our collective and individual perspectives on our criminal justice system, and ultimately on how we can effectuate change. The Symposium is part of the Law Review’s commitment to social justice and anti-racist education, and, we hope, a step forward in our school's pursuit of becoming an actively anti-racist institution.  The St. John’s Law Review will feature Symposium panelists who are prepared to write and speak about how individuals of “target” or historically oppressed identities are disparately impacted by the criminal justice system pre-sentencing, while serving prison sentences, and when reentering society.


Opening Remarks | 11 - 11:10 a.m. | Opening Remarks by Dean Michael A. Simons

Professor Fagan | 11:10 a.m. | Indignities of Order Maintenance Policing

Professor Saleh | 11:20 a.m. | Falling Away Into Disease: The Stubborn Appeal of Disability-Deviance Narratives in American Crime Control Policy

Ms. Merrigan, Mr. Maldonado | 11:30 a.m. | From Criminalization to Prisonization: Suppression of Agency, Autonomy and Access in U.S. Prisons and Reentry Initiative

Ms. Merrigan, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Mills | 11:40 a.m. | Death by Dehumanization: Prosecutorial Narratives of Death-Sentenced Women and LGBTQ Prisoners

Q & A | 11:50 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Student Q & A

Break | 12:15 p.m. - 12:40 p.m. | Lunch

Ms. Katherine Gerald from the Women's Project | 12:40 p.m. | Personal Experience

Professor González | 12:50 p.m. | A Call for an Intersectional Feminist Restorative Justice Approach to Addressing the Criminalization of Girls of Color


Professor Howell | 1:10 p.m. | On Gang Label and multiple marginalization

Q & A | 1:20 - 1:45 p.m. | Student Q & A

Conclusion | 1:45 - 2 p.m. | Conclusion

Questions? Contact Sara Salmonson at [email protected].



Donna Coker
Professor of Law & Dean's Distinguished Scholar
University of Miami School of Law

Donna Coker’s scholarship and advocacy regards restorative justice (RJ) responses to IPV and sexual harm including in the campus context, intimate partner violence (IPV) law and policy, and the intersections of gender, race, and class subordination in criminal law doctrine, policy, and application. Her empirical study of IPV cases in the Navajo Nation Peacemaking Courts, published in UCLA Law Review, shaped RJ theory and practice in the U.S. and elsewhere.  She co-chaired the 2014 national conference: Converge! Reimagining the Movement to End Gender Violence which brought together activists, service providers, attorneys, and scholars to explore alternatives to crime-centered approaches to gender violence. She is the co-creator of a video project, Reimagining the Movement to End Gender Violence, consisting of interviews with leading activists and scholars regarding the need to refocus gender violence activism on social inequalities and less on criminal justice intervention. In 2015, she was a co-investigator for a U.S. survey of 900+ service providers regarding policing, domestic violence, and sexual assault, published as Responses from the Field. Professor Coker served as an advisory board member for the U.S. project, A National Portrait of Restorative Justice Approaches to Intimate Partner Violence.  She has served numerous times as an external reviewer for the Department of Justice and a number of interdisciplinary journals in the fields of criminology and violence against women.  Her scholarship has appeared in leading law journals as well as interdisciplinary journals including Violence Against Women and International Journal of Restorative Justice. Professor Coker holds an M.S.W. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a J.D. from Stanford University Law School.  She teaches Substantive Criminal Law; Evidence; Social Justice Lawyering; Mass Incarceration: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies; and New Approaches to Domestic and Sexual Violence (co-taught for Vermont Law School, Master in Restorative Justice program.)


Jeffrey Fagan
Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law
Columbia University School of Law

Jeffrey Fagan is a leading expert on policing, crime, gun control, and race whose scholarly research is influential in setting public policy. A prolific scholar, Fagan has served on the editorial boards of academic journals, provided expert testimony, and is a sought-after commentator on policing, race, and the death penalty. His work includes scholarship on capital punishment; the legal socialization of adolescents; neighborhoods and crime; and juvenile crime and punishment. Fagan’s research on the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices—which found that more than 30 percent of the stops were legally unjustified or questionable—was central to a 2013 federal court decision that found the policy unconstitutional. Fagan, who has taught at Columbia Law since 2001, also holds the position of Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and has been a visiting professor at Yale Law School. He has received awards and fellowships from institutions including the Russell Sage Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Open Society Institute’s Soros Justice Fellowship. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals on criminology and law and is a past editor of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. Fagan has served on the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academies of Science and the 2004 National Research Council panel that examined policing in the United States. He was a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice and was a founding member of the National Consortium on Violence Research. He has been an expert witness on capital punishment to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He is a fellow of the American Society of Criminology and served on its executive board for three years. At Columbia, Fagan directed the Law School’s Center for Crime, Community, and Law and served on the steering committee of the Columbia Center for Youth Violence Prevention at the Mailman School of Public Health.


Katherine Gerald
Advocate and Survivor of domestic violence
Organizer and founding member, Voices of Women Organizing Project, Battered Women's Resource Center

Katherine Gerald is an advocate, a survivor of domestic violence, an organizer and founding member of Voices of Women Organizing Project, Battered Women’s Resource Center. Ms. Gerald is a member of The Women’s Project, a community of women that shares life experiences through a lens of healing. She has been impacted by the Criminal Justice System and has spent one year at Rose M. Singer, in Riker’s Island. Katherine is presently attending the Navigator course at John Jay College. She is a resident of Manhattan and was raised in the Bronx. 


Thalia González
Senior Scholar at Georgetown Law (Center on Poverty & Inequality) and Professor of Law & Politics
Occidental College

Professor González is a nationally recognized interdisciplinary legal scholar who explores contemporary theoretical and empirical questions at the intersection of law, society, inequality and public systems. To investigate questions in this area, she applies a broad range of research methods from legal theory development to empirical analysis. A core theme within her portfolio of work is the examination of how restorative justice operates within law and policy to address disproportionality, structural inequality, and systemic harm. Her research and teaching fields also include race and gender, health equity, juvenile justice, education law and policy, public interest legal practice, domestic human rights. Professor González’s work has been published in top legal and peer-reviewed journals such as, Wisconsin Law Review, Utah Law Review, Contemporary Justice Review, Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics, Fordham Urban Law Journal, and the NYU Review of Law & Social Change. She is the co-author of “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood” (2017), the groundbreaking study of the adultification of Black girls. Her newest work appears in the Stanford Law Review argues school policing is an an issue of racial health equity. She has forthcoming works in the UC Davis Law Review (an empirical analysis of state education restorative justice laws), SMU Law Review Forum (arguing for a public health intervention in the defund school movement) and the Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics (presenting an antiracist health equity agenda for education). Professor González has served as external reviewer for the Department of Justice, national foundations, and numerous high impact journals as well as a consultant for the National Institute of Justice. She currently holds an appointment as a Senior Scholar in the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center and has previously been a scholar in residence at Berkeley Law and UCLA School of Law. Professor González sits on the Advisory Committee for the Restorative Justice Research Institute and the Advisory Board for the Restorative Justice Center at the University of San Diego. She holds a J.D. from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and BA from Arizona State University. 


K. Babe Howell
Professor of Law
CUNY School of Law

Professor Howell’s research focuses on the intersection of the criminal justice system and race. She is particularly interested in the costs of policing minor offenses and alleged gang affiliations and the impact such policing and prosecutions have on the legitimacy of the criminal justice system and communities of color. Babe is an active member of a coalition of community groups and advocates to reign in over-policing of young people of color based on group affiliation. Before joining academia, Babe was a practicing trial lawyer in the area of criminal defense in New York City for eight years. During this time she worked at both The Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Division in Manhattan and at The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Trial Advocacy, and Professional Responsibility.



Marco Maldonado
Legal Apprentice and Certified Legal Reference Aide
Phillips Black

Marco Maldonado is a legal apprentice with Phillips Black and a certified legal reference aide by the state of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Villanova University with a B.A. in Liberal Arts. He also earned an M.A. in the Humanities from California State University - Dominguez-Hills with a focus on Historiography. Although not a lawyer, Marco successfully litigated his own wrongful conviction in both state and federal courts in Pennsylvania.


Jennifer Merrigan
Founding Principal Attorney
Phillips Black

She has represented people facing sentences of death and life without parole for over fifteen years. Her training and background are in capital mitigation. She is a former staff attorney and Acting Director of the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic, a non-profit law firm in Kansas City, Missouri. Ms. Merrigan is an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law, where she founded and teaches a death penalty clinical practicum. She supervises clinical students from around the country and regularly presents at conferences on capital mitigation and litigation. She has written several journal articles on capital defense and helped research and develop the Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Death Penalty Cases, 36 Hofstra L. Rev. 677 (Spring 2008). She received the 2010 Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s “Atticus Finch Award,” the 2016 Saint Louis University Public Interest Lawyers Group “Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Service Award,” and the 2011 Missouri State Fair Blue Ribbon, fruit pie division.


John Mills
Founding Principal Attorney
Phillips Black

Mr. Mills represents persons under a sentence of death or juvenile life without parole across the country, serving as counsel for persons at every stage of the criminal justice process, from state trial court to the United States Supreme Court. He publishes scholarship on the on the administration of the harshest penalties under law and has authored dozens of related amicus briefs. He is an adjunct professor at UC Hastings College of Law where he teaches courses on capital punishment and advanced criminal procedure.


S. David Mitchell
Co-Director of Michael A. Middleton Center for Race, Citizenship, and Justice and Ruth L. Hulston Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

Professor Mitchell joined the University of Missouri School of Law faculty in 2006.  He is currently one of the two founding Co-Directors of the Michael A. Middleton Center for Race, Citizenship and Justice and the Ruth L. Hulston Professor of Law.  As an interdisciplinary scholar, he examines the criminal justice system using a sociological lens specifically focusing on the collateral consequences of sentencing; ex-offender reentry and reintegration; and felon disenfranchisement. His other scholarship includes articles on the impact of collateral consequences on communities of color, zero tolerance policies, ex-offender reentry and the retroactive application of laws. He has served on numerous panels and been interviewed and quoted in a variety of news outlets.  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Andre M. Davis (U.S. District Court of Maryland).  In 2015, he became an elected member of the American Law Institute, and is a member of the Missouri State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, serving as Chair from 2016-17. 


Michael Onah
Associate Attorney
Phillips Black, Inc.

Michael Onah is an Associate Attorney at Phillips Black, Inc., where he represents individuals facing death sentences in state and federal court. He also serves on the Diversity Subcommittee for the Texas Habeas and Race Litigation group, working with other habeas practitioners to illuminate racial disparities and encourage diverse recruiting in the capital habeas space. Michael is currently serving as Co-Chair for the Capital Punishment Committee for the New York City Bar Association, and works with his fellow committee members on national policy advocacy and education on abolishing the death penalty. He holds a Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Wesleyan University.


Matthew Saleh, J.D., Ph.D.
Engaged Faculty Fellow at Cornell University, and a Research Associate at the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell ILR School
Cornell University

Professor Saleh’s research focuses on career pathways for youth with disabilities and barriers to employment, such as justice involvement. At Cornell, Professor Saleh teaches undergraduate courses in the disability studies curriculum (Disability Law; Disability, Employment, and Workforce Development Policy), and a course in the Government Department on mass incarceration in the United States. He is Co-PI on a grant from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council focused on developing county-level collaboratives to support re-entry of justice-involved youth with disabilities, and PI on a new program called “Pro Se: Empowering Justice-Involved Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities through Speech and Debate Training,” which provides a 3-month of virtual certificate program in “Speech and Debate” to justice-involved youth and young adults with disabilities. Professor Saleh is the faculty advisor for the Cornell Undergraduate Mock Trial Association, 2021 recipient of the Cornell ILR Engaged Learning Teaching Award, and was a 2015-16 Fulbright Scholar in Barbados through the U.S. Department of State.


Jessica Sutton
Special Counsel
Phillips Black

Ms. Sutton has advocated for individuals facing extreme sentences for over a decade. She began her capital defense practice at the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri, where she represented death-sentenced persons in post-conviction proceedings and developed an expertise in capital mitigation investigation. Ms. Sutton later established her own practice in Baltimore, Maryland, with a focus on juvenile life without parole and capital cases. She has represented capital clients in over a dozen jurisdictions nationwide and at every stage of proceeding, from trial to clemency. Ms. Sutton currently represents death-sentenced women and transgender individuals. Ms. Sutton has served as a mentor for the ACLU Scharlette Holdman Mitigation Mentorship Program and she regularly presents as faculty at conferences across the country. She consults with the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide on representing death-sentenced women and transgender individuals. She has taught courses at Tufts University and the University of Idaho College of Law and is a consulting editor for the journal reSentencing. 

Kristin Swain

Kristin Swain
Associate Attorney
Phillips Black, Inc.

Kristin Swain is an associate attorney at Phillips Black, Inc. where she has represented persons sentenced to death and juveniles sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the past six years. She has taught the death penalty seminar at Saint Louis University School of Law and supervises clinical interns at Washington University School of Law. Ms. Swain is a graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law.