Symposium Speakers

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Symposium Speakers

JENNIFER A. BROBST, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for Health Law and Policy at Southern Illinois University School of Law  

For over 10 years, Prof. Brobst's teaching and scholarship have focused on matters related to criminal law, mental health law, scientific evidence, and crime victim rights. She formerly served for eight years as Legal Director of the Center for Child and Family Health, a medical-legal partnership from Duke University, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing on evidence-based child traumatic stress and abuse prevention. In addition, she has worked as a child forensic interviewer and felony prosecutor in South Bend, Indiana, and was the first Clinical Supervising Attorney for the NCCU Domestic Violence Clinic, and the first statewide Training Institute for the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She is currently licensed, in inactive status, in California, Indiana, North Carolina, and before the United States Supreme Court. Prof. Brobst has received degrees from the University of Cape Town, South Africa (B.A. with honors in archaeology and social anthropology), University of San Diego (J.D.), and Victoria University at Wellington in New Zealand (LL.M. by thesis in international comparative law on the reasonable discipline defense to physical child abuse).


RONALD L. DAVIS, Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ)

The COPS Office is responsible for advancing community policing nationwide and supporting the community policing activities of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. In December 2014, President Obama appointed Director Davis to serve as the Executive Director of the newly created President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Prior to serving as COPS Director, Davis had a distinguished career in law enforcement serving eight years as Chief of Police of East Palo Alto (CA) and 20 years with the Oakland (CA) Police Department. Davis was recognized for his innovative community policing efforts and for working collaboratively with the community to dramatically reduce crime and violence in a city once named as the murder capital of the United States. Davis also worked closely with the DOJ in the past, serving as a policing expert for the department’s Civil Rights Division. While in this capacity, Davis served on two federal monitoring teams with oversight of police-reform consent decrees between the DOJ and the Washington, D.C., and Detroit Police Departments. Davis is the co-author of the Harvard University and National Institute of Justice publications, "Race and Policing: An Agenda for Action," and "Exploring the Role of the Police in Prisoner Reentry."


RICHARD G. DUDLEY, Jr., M.D., Executive Session member, Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety 

Richard G. Dudley, Jr. received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 1972, and then completed his internship and residencyin psychiatry at Northwestern University School of Medicine. He was formerly Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation & Alcoholism Services, and then Medical Director of the Washington Heights-West Harlem Community Mental Health Center. He was also previously a Visiting Associate Professor and Acting Chairmen of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at CUNY Medical School, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU School of Law. Since 1984, Dr. Dudley has maintained a private practice in both clinicaland forensic psychiatry;he has testified as an expert in psychiatry in civil and criminal cases in both State and Federal courts throughout the United States; and he is perhaps best known for his work in capital Habeas Corpus cases, some of which have advanced to the highest courts in the land, resulting in significant changes in or refinements of the law. He is frequently invited to lecture to both mental health and legal professionals on the performance of ethno-culturally competent mental health evaluations; he has been a participant on commissions, study groups and monitoring teams focused on the provision of mental health services in correctional facilities; and he has also consulted with other sectors of the criminal justice system, including police, prosecution and defense attorneys, the courts, and alternatives to prosecution and/or incarceration.

Throughout his career and as part of all of the above noted activities, Dr. Dudley has been particularly focused on the mental health needs of young men of color. In so doing, he has examined the mix of traumas that so many of these young men have endured; he has described the impact of such traumatization; he has attempted to help dispel some of the false assumptions and myths that surround these young men; and he has attempted to describe more appropriate alternatives for working with these young men.


ROBETTE DIAS, Executive Co-Director, Crossroads AntiRacism Organizing and Training

Robette Ann Dias has been the executive director of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training since 2002. In her work with Crossroads, Robette has had the opportunity to work with institutional partners across a broad spectrum of human services, governmental, religious, educational and community-based organizations all over the United States. Recently she was invited to participate with groups of indigenous women in South America, the Caribbean and the Philippines as they developed models to educate their own people about the historic origins and ongoing impacts of racism, colonialism, and neocolonialism. Robette is a graduate of the University of California, Davis and holds degrees in Psychology and Native American Studies. She is proud of her heritage as a descendent of the Karuk Tribe of California and it is her American Indian identity and world-view that shapes her passion for racial justice and equity. 


HON. JEFFREY B. FORD, Circuit Judge, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Illinois, and President, Illinois Association of Problem-Solving Courts 

Judge Ford has served as Circuit Judge in Champaign County since 2005. He served as an Associate Circuit Judge in the Sixth Circuit from 1985 -2005. He presides over the Champaign County Drug Court and presided over the Mental Health Court which he established in 2011. He currently serves as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning. He is past president of the Illinois Association of Drug Court Professionals, and has served as president of the Illinois Association of Problem-Solving Courts since 2013. His many awards and honors include: National Association of Social Workers – 2012 National Public Citizen of the Year; University of Illinois Police Training Institute – 2013 Distinguished Service Award; National Association of Drug Court Professionals – 2014 Stanley M. Goldstein Hall of Fame Award for Preeminent Contributions to the Drug Court Field; and the Champaign County Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution - 2015 Law Enforcement Commendation Medal. Prior to his service in the judiciary, he worked as an attorney in private practice from 1980-1985, and as Assistant State’s Attorney, Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office, 1976 – 1980. He received his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1976.


TRACEY L. MEARES, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School

Meares has held the Walton Hale Hamilton Professorship since 2007. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as deputy dean of Yale Law School. Before joining the faculty at Yale, she served as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School from 1995 to 2007. She has served on the Committee on Law and Justice, a National Research Council Standing Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. She was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to serve on the inaugural U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Science Advisory Board. She also currently serves on the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation. Ms. Meares began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Harlington Wood, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She later served as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Ms. Meares received a BS from the University of Illinois and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.


TED R. MILLERPh.D., Senior Research Specialist, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

Dr. Miller has led more than 150 studies, including 25 surveys, dozens of statistical analyses of large data bases, and more than 50 economic analyses. His primary emphasis areas include health economics, injury prevention, substance abuse prevention, and in earlier years, housing, economic development, environmental, and public finance analyses. He founded the Children’s Safety Network Economics and Insurance Resource Center, which has worked since 1992 to forge child safety partnerships between insurers and advocates. Dr. Miller is an internationally recognized safety economist with over 200 publications. He is a leading expert on injury and violence incidence, costs and consequences, as well as substance abuse costs. His cost estimates are used by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Justice Department, and several foreign governments. Increasingly, Dr. Miller has extended his costing methods to analyze other health problems and societal ills. One recent study, for example, focused on the costs of youth problem behaviors including underage drinking, drug abuse, high risk sexual behavior, violence, and suicidal acts. He has estimated benefit-cost ratios for more than 160 health and safety measures. Dr. Miller was the 1999 recipient of the Excellence in Science Award from the American Public Health Association’s Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section and received the Vision Award from the State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association in 2005.


CHARLENE MOE, National Senior Program Coordinator, Center for Public Safety and Justice, University of Illinois – Chicago

Charlene Moe is an educator, instructor and curriculum developer skilled in translating research into practical application. She has authored or co-authored 16 nationally relevant curricula including a three-part COPS Office series on procedural justice: Procedural Justice for Law Enforcement: Organizational Change through Decision Making and Policy, Procedural Justice for Law Enforcement: Front-line Officers and the community/law enforcement workshop; Procedural Justice: A Dialogue-to-Change. Previously, as the Executive Director of the Springfield Community Federation, Charlene’s work supported improving the lives of disadvantaged and underserved youth. She also served as a State Program Developer for the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority providing technical assistance to youth violence prevention programs and was a Resident Service Coordinator for a public housing authority. At the Center for Public Safety and Justice, Charlene focuses on law enforcement, public safety and emergency response with an emphasis on building trust and community partnerships.


SEAN MICHAEL SMOOT, Director and Chief Counsel for the Police Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois (PB&PA) and the Police Benevolent Labor Committee (PBLC) 

Smoot began his career with PB&PA and PBLC as a staff attorney in 1995, before becoming chief counsel of both organizations in 1997. Since 2001, Mr. Smoot has served as the treasurer of the National Association of Police Organizations and has served on the Advisory Committee for the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Rights Center since 1996. From 2008 to 2009, he was a policy advisor to the Obama-Biden Transition Project on public safety and state and local police issues and was a member of the National Institute of Justice and Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety from 2008 to 2011. Mr. Smoot served as police commissioner of Leland Grove, Illinois, from 1998 to 2008. He received a BS from Illinois State University and a JD from Southern Illinois University School of Law.


DR. STEPHEN SOLTYS, Professor of Medicine & Chair of Department of Psychiatry, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Stephen Soltys joined the SIU faculty in April 2002 as a professor of psychiatry and director of the psychiatry residency training program. Soltys previously was a senior psychiatrist at Beckman Mental Health Center in Greenwood, S.C. (2000-2) and director at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health in Columbia (1997-2000). He was medical director for the children's psychiatric inpatient unit at the Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center in Columbia (1987-95) and twice served as the center's medical director. During this time, he also served as medical director for children's services for the Missouri Department of Mental Health (1994-97). He has been on the volunteer faculty at the University of Missouri (UM) in Columbia (1987-97) and the University of South Carolina (1997-2002). Soltys completed a two-year fellowship in child psychiatry at UM (1987). He completed his psychiatry residency and earned his medical degree at SIU School of Medicine (1984, 1980). He earned his bachelor's at the University of Illinois in Urbana (1976) and master's of public administration from UM (1995).


DR. HOWARD SPIVAKDeputy Director and Chief of Staff, National Institute of Justice

Howard Spivak joined NIJ - the scientific research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice – in October, 2014. A world-class expert in violence and violence prevention, Spivak was previously the Director of the Violence Prevention Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. He was responsible for CDC research and programs to prevent homicide, suicide, family, intimate partner and sexual assault, child abuse, and youth violence. He has published two books on youth violence. He started his career as a pediatrician and was an early pioneer in recognizing the link between violence and public health. He has published two books on youth violence: Murder Is No Accident: Understanding and Preventing Youth Violence in America and Sugar & Spice and No Longer Nice: How We Can Stop Girls’ Violence.


BRYAN STEVENSON, Founder and Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)

EJI is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to directing the EJI since 1989, he is a clinical professor at New York University School of Law. He previously has served as a visiting professor of law at the University of Michigan School of Law. Mr. Stevenson has received the American Bar Association’s Wisdom Award for public service, the ACLU’s National Medal of Liberty, and the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award Prize. Mr. Stevenson received a BA from Eastern College (now Eastern University), a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MPP from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption which was named by Time magazine as one of the "10 Best Books of Nonfiction" for 2014. It won the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.