May 1, 2018
SMU Dedman Law Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center Seeking Prisoner Release After Federal Judge Overturns Conviction
Case highlights importance of quality public defense and need to address Louisiana’s controversial rule permitting conviction by non-unanimous jury vote
(DALLAS) Today, the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center at SMU Dedman School of Law announced that it is seeking the release of Troy Rhodes in a case that amplifies the need for justice reform. In 2003, a non-unanimous jury voted 10 to 2 to convict Mr. Rhodes of armed robbery and attempted second-degree murder, based largely on the testimony of a single eyewitness. Last month, a federal judge ruled that Mr. Rhodes had not received the effective assistance of counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.
“This case is emblematic of why a well-funded public defense system is essential,” said Pamela R. Metzger, Inaugural Director of the Deason Center and Professor Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. “All defendants should have representation from an attorney who performs their job effectively under the law.” Read More
SMU DEDMAN LAW DEASON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM CENTER LAUNCHES PROSECUTORIAL CHARGING PRACTICES RESEARCH PROJECT
Nation’s leading criminal justice researchers partner for the Center’s first data-driven research initiative
- April 16, 2018: Featured in American Association of Law Schools LEGAL EDUCATION IN THE NEWS
- April 6, 2018: DALLAS (SMU) – The Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center at SMU Dedman School of Law is partnering with some of the nation’s leading criminal justice researchers to conduct the Prosecutorial Charging Practices Project, the Center’s first data-driven criminal justice research project. READ MORE.
February 21, 2018
Dallas Morning News
NON-VIOLENT DRUG SENTENCING HAS LEFT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE BURIED ALIVE IN PRISON
Dallas attorney Brittany K. Barnett is best known for her work representing clients pro bono in their quest to break free from disproportionate sentencing. She has won the release of 10 people, including Sharanda Jones, a Terrell woman who served more than 16 years of a life without parole sentence as a first-time nonviolent drug offender. Barnett has just launched the Buried Alive Project, aimed at eliminating life without parole for federal drug offenses.
A lot of Americans remember the Obama administration's clemency initiative and believe that corrected out-of-proportion federal drug sentences. What's the real story and why have you stayed involved?
Over 30,000 men and women in federal prison applied for clemency, and President Barack Obama granted clemency to 1,715 people [including Jones]. Thousands of people who are just as deserving of a second chance were left behind. Of the 185,000 people in federal prison today, 46.2 percent of them are there for drug offenses. Nearly half of the people in federal prison serving life without parole are serving this fundamental death sentence for drug offenses and 80 percent of them are people of color. READ MORE
Feb. 22, 2017
NOTED LEGAL ADVOCATE, SCHOLAR TO LEAD SMU DEDMAN LAW’S DEASON FAMILY CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM CENTER
DALLAS (SMU) – Nationally respected criminal justice scholar Pamela R. Metzger has been named director of SMU Dedman School of Law’s new Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center.
Beginning July 1 Metzger will oversee the new center’s independent research and its development of educational opportunities focused on issues ranging from wrongful convictions to over-incarceration. The overarching goal of the Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center will be to promote the fair, ethical and compassionate treatment of people involved in every stage of the criminal justice process. READ MORE
April 21, 2016
SMU ANNOUNCES DEASON FAMILY CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM CENTER IN DEDMAN SCHOOL OF LAW
New center, supported by $7 million in gifts, to conduct innovative research and educational programs to address need for reforms in US criminal justice system
DALLAS (SMU) – SMU is launching the new Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center in its Dedman School of Law, where scholars will undertake independent research and develop educational opportunities on topics such as the causes of wrongful convictions and over-incarceration, and ensuring the fair and ethical treatment of individuals at all stages of the criminal justice process. READ MORE