This Forum event spotlighted the book, Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court , by Amy Bach and featured a panel of women who spoke on the subject of injustice in the American judicial system.
Panelist Biographies (in alphabetic order)
Amy Bach has been the Executive Director and President of Measures for Justice since 2011. She founded the organization as a follow-up to her acclaimed book, Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, which won the 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. In June 2011, Echoing Green, a premier seed investor for social entrepreneurs, selected Amy as a Fellow out of 3,000 candidates worldwide to support the launch of Measures forJustice. Following that, she was named a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur. For her work on Ordinary Injustice, Amy received a Soros Media Fellowship, a special J. Anthony Lukas citation, and a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University. Amy was a Knight Foundation Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School and is a graduate of Stanford Law School. In 2012, she taught Criminal Law during the spring semester at the University of Buffalo Law School as a Visiting Professor. In 2019, she won the Academy of Criminal Justice Science’s Leadership and Innovation Award and the Charles Bronfman Prize. Amy lives in Rochester, NY, where the organization is based.
To find out more about Measures for Justice, and Amy’s work, visit their website, here.
Sarah Deer: (2019 NWHF Inductee) A citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, Sarah Deer is a legal scholar, a university professor, and an engaged activist for indigenous women. Ending violence against women is Deer’s life’s goal. A lawyer by training but an advocate in practice, her scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims’ rights, using indigenous feminist principles as a framework.
Deer is a co-author of four textbooks on tribal law and has been published in a wide variety of law journals. Her 2015 book, The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America, is the culmination of over 25 years of experience working with survivors, and has received several awards, including the Best First Book award from the Native American Indigenous Studies Association.
Deer has testified before Congress on two occasions regarding violence against Native women and was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to chair a federal advisory committee on sexual violence in Indian country. Her work to end violence against Native women has received national recognition from the American Bar Association and the Department of Justice, and she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2014.
Deer currently teaches at the University of Kansas (her alma mater), where she holds a joint appointment in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs and Administration. Deer is also the Chief Justice for the Prairie Island Indian Community Court of Appeals.
Shani C. Mitchell was born and raised in southwest Rochester, NY. She matriculated through the Rochester Public Schools. In 1991, she graduated from Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School. In 1995, she graduated from Spelman College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. She continued her education, after college, by obtaining her law degree from Florida State University College of Law, in Tallahassee, Florida. After graduating from law school, she joined the Office of the Fulton County District Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, where she prosecuted felony crimes for seven years. While in this office, she was awarded the Ahmed Dabarran Community Service Award for her commitment to serving the community.
After leaving the District Attorney’s Office, she opened her own law practice. Her law practice included the practice of criminal defense, family law, and personal injury. While in private practice, she obtained her Master’s in Criminal Justice from Boston University (2009). After two and a half years of private practice, she realized that her heart lied with prosecution. Thus, she returned to prosecution by joining the Office of the Clayton County Solicitor General, in Jonesboro, Georgia (southern suburb of Atlanta).
While in private practice, she began teaching part-time (Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Georgia). When an opportunity arose, she decided to try her hand at teaching full-time. First, as paralegal instructor, Atlanta Technical College. Then, as a professor of criminal justice at SUNY Canton for more than three years.
Her desire to return to her hometown of Rochester, NY, led her back to her first love of prosecution. At 40 years old, in February 2013, I sat for the New York State Bar Exam. She spent more than five years as an Assistant District Attorney for the Office of the Monroe County District Attorney. First, prosecuting misdemeanors, then as sole prosecutor of the office’s auto theft and insurance fraud cases under its grant program. Currently, she is a Municipal Attorney with the City of Rochester.
Shani is married and is the mother of a seventeen-year-old son, and a bonus mother to four wonderful daughters. She has been past-President of the Rochester Black Bar Association, an organization that supports the efforts of African-American and other minority attorneys in Monroe County. Currently, she is a member of the Foundation Board of the Monroe County Bar Association. In 2018, she received the Daily Record’s Women in Excellence Award for her work in law and the community. She and her family worship together at First Genesis Baptist Church.
Mridula Raman is currently the Clinical Supervising Attorney in Berkeley Law School’s Death Penalty Clinic, where she works with law students to represent death-sentenced individuals in a number of states. Previously, she served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona. There, she represented death-sentenced prisoners in Arizona and Texas in federal habeas and state post-conviction proceedings. Ms. Raman clerked for the Honorable Mary H. Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Neil V. Wake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. She graduated from Yale Law School in 2012 and from Harvard College with an A.B. in economics.