Panel Series on Sex Offender Registration Laws (SORLs)
Panel 1: The Impact of SORLs on Registrants
Monday, April 6th, 12:15-1:30pm
NYU Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Room 210 (lunch will be served)
Over the past 20 years, the federal government and all 50 states have passed sex offender registration laws (SORLs) to monitor and publicize the whereabouts of “sex offenders” (people convicted of a broad range of offenses, which range in severity from child molestation to consensual sex among teenagers). Information about registrants, including their names, pictures and addresses, is posted online and, in some cases, actively distributed to neighbors, subjecting registrants to profound stigmatization and the risk of vigilantism. In many states, registrants also face restrictions on where they can live, work and travel, leading to chronic homelessness, unemployment and estrangement from loved ones, as well as the possibility of new criminal charges if they fail to comply. This panel series will examine how SORLs have affected the lives of roughly 650,000 registrants (and their families), what effect they have had on rates of offending, and how they might be reformed.
Panel 1 has been approved for 1.5 CLE credits in the Areas of Professional Practice category. This event is appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys. There is no attendance fee.
See below for biographies of the panelists.
Former Trial Chief, The Bronx Defenders; Law Professor and Writer
David Feige is a public defender, law professor and writer. As the trial chief of The Bronx Defenders, he carried a caseload of homicides and other complex felonies, supervised the courtroom practice of a staff of committed public defenders, and directed broad based legal challenges that helped bring about systemic changes to line-up procedures around the country. In 2002 he was honored with the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Reginald Heber Smith Award. He subsequently served as a professor of law and director of advocacy programs at Seton Hall Law School. He has been on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College for over a decade and has taught trial skills at law schools and public defender offices across the country.
David has written about criminal justice for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Slate, and The Nation, recorded commentaries for National Public Radio and WNYC, and appeared on shows as diverse as All in with Chris Hayes and The O’Reilly Factor. His book Indefensible, which chronicled a single day in the criminal justice system was published by Little Brown & Co. David is a credited writer/producer on over 70 hours of episodic television. Raising the Bar, a show he co-created with Steven Bochco, premiered to 7.7 million viewers, making it one of the most watched pilot episodes in the history of ad-supported cable television. He is currently at work on a documentary feature about sex offender laws around the country. His documentary short about a small group of sex offenders in Florida appeared last year as an Op-Doc in The New York Times. His greatest accomplishment was marrying Robin Steinberg, the founder and executive director of The Bronx Defenders and his partner in the pursuit of justice.
Executive Director and Attorney-in-Chief, Federal Defenders of New York
David Patton has been the Executive Director and Attorney-in-Chief of the Federal Defenders of New York since July 2011. From 2002 to 2008, he worked at the Federal Defenders as a trial attorney in the Manhattan office. From 2008-2010, he was an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Alabama where he taught Criminal Law and directed the Criminal Defense Clinic. From 2010 to 2011, he was a Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founded the school’s first trial-level criminal defense clinic. He currently teaches Professional Responsibility in Criminal Law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at N.Y.U. He previously taught at NYU running the Federal Defender clinic. Mr. Patton is also on the faculty of Gideon’s Promise, a non-profit organization dedicated to training new public defenders and improving the quality of indigent defense throughout the country.
Mr. Patton is a member of the American Law Institute. Among other publications, he is the author of Federal Public Defense in an Age of Inquisition, 122 Yale L.J. 100 (2013) and Guns, Crime Control, and a Systemic Approach to Federal Sentencing, 32 Cardozo L. Rev. 1427 (2011). Mr. Patton is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as an editor of the Virginia Law Review. He clerked for the Honorable Claude Hilton of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Prior to joining the Federal Defenders in 2002, he was an associate at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.
Stoneleigh Fellow & Senior Policy Specialist, National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Nicole Pittman is a leading national expert who has spent the past 10 years doing groundbreaking work questioning the wisdom of placing children on sex offender registries. Nicole has provided expert testimony on the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act and sex offender notification and registration laws as they relate to children to over 30 states and before United States Congress. She has also presented widely on these issues to juvenile advocates, law enforcement, victim advocates and scientists.
As a 2011 Soros Senior Justice Advocacy Fellow at Human Rights Watch, Nicole interviewed hundreds of youth sex offenders across the country to document the abuses that stem from subjecting children to sex offender registration laws. Pittman’s 2013 Human Rights Watch report entitled, Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US, is the first comprehensive examination of the harm of placing children on sex offender registries, and features first-person narratives to illustrate the harrowing treatment of children, as young as 8, 10, and 12 years old, subjected to lifetime sex offender registration and public notification. Nicole is currently a Stoneleigh Fellow at National Council on Crime & Delinquency (NCCD). The primary goal of Nicole’s 3-year fellowship project is to dismantle the practice of placing children on sex offender registries in the U.S. Nicole received a JD from Tulane Law School and a BA from Duke University.
Dana B. Wolfe
Soros Justice Fellow, New York Civil Liberties Union
Dana B. Wolfe is a Soros Justice Fellow at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she focuses on litigation and advocacy to address re-entry issues faced by people registered for sex offenses, and other criminal justice and civil liberties issues.
During law school, Wolfe provided individual representation to street vendors challenging tickets and people seeking unemployment benefits and interned for a federal judge. Prior to law school, Wolfe designed and managed philanthropic giving programs, and was an AmeriCorps member at a Harlem-based microcredit organization. Wolfe graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in political science from Trinity College, and received her J.D. cum laude from Brooklyn Law School in 2012, where she was a Sparer Public Interest Law Fellow and member of the Moot Court Honor Society.
Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Elizabeth Letourneau is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Heath at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she directs the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. For the past 25 years, Dr. Letourneau has conducted research on the evaluation of sex offender public policy effects, as well as the development and evaluation of assessment instruments and clinical interventions addressing youth and adult sex offending behaviors. She has authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed studies on these subjects, including the largest randomized controlled trial to date evaluating interventions for youth who have sexually offended, and she has received numerous honors for her work, including the 2008 award for outstanding research article from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. Dr. Letourneau has also conducted research related to nonsexual risk behaviors, such as substance abuse and failure to adhere to HIV medication regimens. She holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Northern Illinois University.
Professor, University of Michigan Law School
J.J. Prescott is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, where he co-directs the Empirical Legal Studies Center and the Program in Law and Economics. Prof. Prescott has been studying the consequences of post-release sex offender laws for years, and has published peer-reviewed empirical articles as well as analytical and review pieces on the topic. The focus of his work has been on identifying original and rigorous ways to measure the effects of sex offender laws, particularly registration and notification, and on how best to interpret the results, in light of the assumptions about how these laws work and what drives offender behavior. Prescott has also served as an expert witness in litigation involving the constitutionality of sex offender laws.
More broadly, Prescott’s research interests revolve around criminal law, sentencing law and reform, employment law, and the dynamics of civil litigation, particularly settlement. Much of his work is empirical in focus. Current projects include a study of the socio-economic consequences of criminal record expungement, an evaluation of the effects of prosecutorial discretion and decision-making on short- and long-term defendant outcomes, and an investigation into the nature and repercussions of partial settlements in civil litigation. In addition, Prof. Prescott is the principal investigator of the U-M Online Court Project, which uses technology to help people facing warrants, fines, and minor charges resolve their disputes with the government and courts online and without the need to hire an attorney. Prof. 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 for the D.C. Circuit, he went on to earn a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006.
Tamara Rice Lave
Associate Professor, University of Miami School of Law
After graduating from Stanford Law School, Professor Lave was a deputy public defender for ten years in San Diego, California. As a public defender, she handled a variety of cases including possession of a spiny lobster out of season, torture, child molestation, rape, and murder. In 2005, Professor Lave left the public defender’s office to start a doctoral program in Jurisprudence and Social Policy – an interdisciplinary law and society program – at the University of California, Berkeley. While there, she was a graduate student fellow at the Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs. Lave’s primary teaching areas and interests include: criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and the punishment and control of sex offenders. She is a fellow at the Institute for Legal Research at UC Berkeley. Lave is also a criminal law consultant at the Legal Education, ADR, and Practical Problem-Solving (LEAPS) Project of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Law Schools Committee. LEAPS is designed to help law faculty incorporate practical problem solving into their instruction.
Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union’s Criminal Law Reform Project
Brandon Buskey is a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Criminal Law Reform Project (CLRP), where he is lead counsel on Doe v. Miami-Dade County. That case challenges Miami-Dade’s residency restrictions, which have left hundreds of former sexual offenders homeless or transient. Brandon’s other work involves impact litigation and policy advocacy to combat prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate indigent defense systems, racial disparities in criminal justice practices, and the excessive sentencing of youth. Prior to CLRP, Brandon worked for the Civil Rights Bureau (CRB) of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. At CRB, Brandon developed enforcement litigation to address discrimination against individuals with criminal backgrounds, immigration services fraud, and he was also a member of an inter-agency task force on human trafficking. Before the AG’s office, Brandon was a staff attorney with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama. At EJI, he represented indigent defendants on death row in Alabama and juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment without parole nationwide. Brandon is 2006 a graduate of New York University Law School and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Janet Hall of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Co-founder, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel, Juvenile Law Center
Marsha Levick is the co-founder, deputy director and chief counsel of Juvenile Law Center, America’s oldest public interest law firm for children. Since 1975, Marsha has been an advocate for children’s and women’s rights and is a nationally recognized leader in juvenile law. She has co-authored many briefs before the US Supreme Court as well as other federal and state courts, in cases such as Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, JDB v. North Carolina and Miller v. Alabama, all of which established separate sentencing practices and other criminal justice polices for children. Marsha spearheaded the Juvenile Law Center’s work in the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, “kids for cash” judges’ scandal, and argued the recent successful challenge to Pennsylvania’s juvenile sex offender registration statute before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Marsha has received numerous awards for her work, including the Citizen of the Year award from the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2009. Marsha is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University School of Law, and she is also an adjunct professor at both the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Law Schools.
Professor of Law, Florida State University College of Law
Wayne Logan, Gary and Sallyn Pajcic Professor of Law at Florida State University, is one of the nation’s leading legal authorities on sex offender registration and community notification laws. His work has appeared in the nation’s leading law journals, including the Georgetown Law Journal, the Michigan Law Review, the Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Vanderbilt Law Review, and he is the author of the foremost scholarly monograph on “Megan’s Laws,” Knowledge as Power: Criminal Registration and Community Notification Laws in America (Stanford University Press, 2009), cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Kebodeaux (2013). Professor Logan is an elected member of the American Law Institute and past chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools. Before entering full-time teaching, Professor Logan served as a law clerk, first on the North Carolina Supreme Court and then the Eastern District of Virginia, and practiced law in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Executive Director, Ohio Justice & Policy Center; Assistant Professor, NKU Salmon P. Chase College of Law
David A. Singleton is an attorney, an assistant professor at NKU Salmon P. Chase College of Law, and executive director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC). The OJPC is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public interest law office based in Cincinnati, which aims to reform Ohio’s justice system. OJPC has filed numerous lawsuits and amicus briefs with the goal of reforming sex offender residency restrictions, including in the Ohio Supreme Court case of Hyle v. Porter (2008), which established that an Ohio residency restriction statute did not apply retroactively. Mr. Singleton has written several articles on the subject, including Sex Offender Residency Statutes and the Culture of Fear: The Case for More Meaningful Rational Basis Review of Fear-Driven Public Safety Laws, 3 U. St. Thomas L.J. 600 (2006); Kids, Cops and Sex Offenders: Pushing the Limits of the Interest-Convergence Thesis, 57 How. L.J. 353 (2013); and What is Punishment? The Case for Considering Public Opinion under Mendoza-Martinez, which is forthcoming in the Seton Hall Law Review (Spring 2015).
Mr. Singleton received his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1991, and his A.B. in Economics and Public Policy Studies from Duke University in 1987. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Singleton received a Skadden Fellowship to work at the Legal Action Center for the Homeless in New York City, where he practiced for three years. He then worked as a public defender for seven years, first with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and then with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
Furman Fellow, NYU School of Law
Sandra Mayson is a Furman Fellow at NYU School of Law. She received a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Yale University, summa cum laude, in 2003, and graduated from NYU School of Law, magna cum laude, in 2009. Following law school she practiced as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and trial attorney at Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she represented indigent clients in criminal proceedings and trained defenders statewide on the immigration consequences of criminal conviction. She clerked for Judge Dolores K. Sloviter on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and for Judge L. Felipe Restrepo in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on criminal law and criminal law theory.
As a public defender, Ms. Mayson litigated various aspects of Louisiana’s sex offender registration law in state court. That experience, along with her immigration work, galvanized her interest in the “collateral consequences” of criminal conviction. Her current article, Collateral Consequences and the Preventive State, is forthcoming in the Notre Dame Law Review.