Sunday, January 29, 2012

St. Thomas Symposium to Explore Clemency

The University of St. Thomas School of Law Journal Spring Symposium will host a group of national scholars and legal professionals to discuss federal commutations on Friday, April 20 beginning at 8 a.m. in the Schulze Grand Atrium at the School of Law in downtown Minneapolis. Fittingly, the event will take place very near one of America's great landmarks to mercy, The Foshay Tower (left)

In an era of mandatory sentencing and budget shortfalls, sentence commutations may again become an important part of criminal justice according to University of St. Thomas School of Law Professor Mark Osler, the faculty advisor for the symposium. The University of St. Thomas Law Journal’s fall symposium gathers both those inside and outside of the criminal justice system who are working to help make sentence commutations an effective and appropriate tool in today’s legal atmosphere. This symposium brings together varying perspectives on the role of sentencing commutations, and combines them with a real-life story of giving and receiving a sentence commutation.

The keynote speaker for the symposium will be former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich. The former governor and congressman recently contributed the piece “A Broken System, And Too Few Pardons,” to the New York Times. Ehrlich is the author of the book, Turn This Car Around: The Roadmap to Restoring America.

The symposium will also feature panels of experts on a range of pardon related topics including the final panel of the day entitled, “One Commutation: Three Perspectives.” This panel will bring together The Honorable David S. Doty of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota along with Serena Nunn who was sentenced by Doty, and later received a commutation which was supported by the Judge. The prosecutor on the case, former Hennepin County Prosecutor The Honorable Denise D. Reilly will also participate in the panel.

The legal community and others are invited to attend. CLE credit will be applied for, and lunch will be provided for participants who pre-register. Registration information and a complete schedule can be found at

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