Symposium Materials

Justice on Trial: Stories of Race & Law

The Honorable James J. Gilvary Symposium on Law, Religion & Social Justice - 2016
In cooperation with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation

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Materials and Presentations


Speaker Bios

Mark A. Godsey

Daniel P. and Judith L. Carmichael Professor of Law and Director, Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project

Professor Godsey is an award-winning classroom teacher, one of the top scholars of his generation on the issue of police interrogation, and one of the leading attorneys and activists globally in the Innocence Movement. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at UC Law, Professor Godsey co-founded and directs the Ohio Innocence Project. The OIP is recognized as one of the most active and successful Innocence Projects in the world, and to date secured the release of 23 individuals on grounds of innocence who together served more than 400 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Professor Godsey and the OIP have also proposed several significant legislative reforms in Ohio, and worked tirelessly to get them passed into law. In 2010, for example, Governor Strickland signed Senate Bill 77, a law proposed and championed by the OIP that has been called "one of the most important pieces of criminal justice legislation in this state in a century," and a law that makes Ohio a "national model" on reforms to reduce and prevent the wrongful conviction of the innocent.


Cheryll Bennett

Assistant Federal Public Defender

Cheryll Bennett, appointed as the Federal Public Defender in 1999, provides attorney representation to individuals charged with federal offenses who are financially unable to retain counsel. Prior to this Bennett was an attorney with Gianuglou Dankof Caras & Skelton with a practice focusing on civil and criminal litigation. More.

Wil Haygood

Boadway Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence

Wil Haygood is the Boadway Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence in the Department of Media, Journalism & Film. Prior to joining the Miami faculty, he was a national and foreign correspondent at the Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and also where he was taken hostage in Africa by Somalian rebels. He joined the Washington Post in 2002, where he wrote the story, "A Butler Well Served by this Election," which became the basis for the award-winning film "The Butler," which starred, among others, Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Haygood was an associate producer of "The Butler."

Wil Haygood is a Fellow of the Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Alicia Patterson foundations. He is the author of seven nonfiction books. His latest book, "Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America," was awarded the 2016 Scribe Book Award from the American Society of Legal Writers, given annually since 1961 to the best book about American law. “Showdown” was also an NAACP Image Award nominee and an Andrew Carnegie Medal of Excellence nominee. Among Haygood's other books are "Two on the River," "King of the Cats: the Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell Jr." "The Haygoods of Columbus: A Family Memoir," "In Black and White: the Life of Sammy Davis Jr.," "Sweet Thunder: the Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson," and "The Butler."

Jeff Hobbs

Author of "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace"

Jeff Hobbs graduated with a BA in English language and literature from Yale in 2002, where he was awarded the Willets and Meeker prizes for his writing. Hobbs spent three years in New York and Tanzania while working with the African Rainforest Conservancy. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife. Hobbs is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Dayton Literary Peace Prize - 2015 Nonfiction Runner-Up, "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace."

"When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980's, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn't get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks."

Ricky Jackson

Longest Time Incarcerated Under Wrongful Conviction

Ricky Jackson was wrongfully convicted of murder in Ohio in 1975 and sentenced to death. Jackson's death sentence was commuted in 1977 due to a mistake in jury instructions where he then spent 39 years  in incarceration. Jackson was ultimately released on November 21, 2014. Authorities originally built their case against Jackson based on the testimony of a 12-year-old who later recanted his testimony saying he was coerced by the police into testifying against them. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, as of 2014, Jackson spent the longest time in incarceration among those who have been released on a wrongful conviction (39 years). 

Gilbert King

Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of "Devil in the Grove"

Gilbert King is the author of "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America," which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. A New York Times bestseller, the book was also named runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for non-fiction and was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. King is originally from Schenectady, New York. He has written about Supreme Court history and the death penalty for the New York Times and the Washington Post, and he is a featured contributor to Smithsonian magazine and The Marshall Project. His earlier book, "The Execution of Willie Francis" was published in 2008. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and a French Bulldog named Louis.

Kevin Moore

President & Artistic Director, The Human Race Theatre Company

A founding member and the first full-time employee of The Human Race Theatre Company, Kevin Moore leads the region as the longest continuing arts administrator. Serving 25 years as executive director, Moore was appointed president and artistic director in 2011 after the death of longtime Artistic Director Marsha Hanna. Together, they received the Governor's Award for Arts Administration in 2010 - the first to an Ohio producing theatre company. Moore's 16 year focus on developing new musicals has now been expanding to include new play development. He has directed numerous productions for The Human Race Theatre Company, both on the intimate Loft Theatre stage and the larger Victoria Theatre. He has served as a national board member of National Allliance for Musical Theatre where he co-chaired two national New Musical Festivals as well as serving on state and regional boards and panels.

In the spring, Moore will be producing Thurgood, a one-man play about the life of Thurgood Marshall.

Christopher Riano

Administrative Law Judge and Columbia University Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Government

Christopher Riano is an Administrative Law Judge for the State of New York as well as a Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Government at Columbia University, with a focus on legal teaching, research and scholarship on Constitutional Law, International Comparative Political Theory, and Higher Education Law. His first book, co-authored by William Eskridge of Yale Law School, on the history of the marriage movement in the United States is forthcoming from Yale University Press. Riano is also the Founder and CEO of The Riano Group, LLC. Previously, he served as Special Counsel, and then Partner, at Drohan Lee LLP from 2013-2016. More.

Hon. Walter H. Rice

Senior Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio

Judge Rice began his law career as an Assistant County Prosecutor for Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1964. He left that position in June, 1966 and became an associate with the law firm of Gallon & Miller. In June, 1969, Judge Rice returned to the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office as its First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

He was elected Judge of the Dayton Municipal Court in November, 1969, and served in that position until July, 1971, when he was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, Ohio. He was re-elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 1972 and in 1978.

On June 4, 1980, Judge Rice was sworn in as Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, at Dayton, having been appointed to that position by President Carter. he then served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio from October 13, 1996 to October 12, 2003.

Judge Rice was the recipient of the Thomas J. Moyer award for judicial excellence in 2014. More.

Rob Streck

Chief Deputy Sheriff of Montgomery County, Ohio

Chief Deputy Rob Streck joined the Montgomery County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office in 1996 as a corrections officer in the Jail Division. Promoted to the rank of Deputy Sheriff, Streck served in the operations division as a patrol deputy in Harrison, Jefferson, and Washington Townships. During this time he served as a field training officer and in 2002 became a full-time law enforcement trainer. Later he was assigned as a detective in the Inspectional Services Unit, where he was responsible for conducting internal investigations. Streck also served as a member of the SWAT team and was later promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2004 and worked in the county jail, court services, and inspectional services unit. During 2005 and 2006, he also served as the Sheriff's Office Accreditation Manager for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

Chief Deputy Streck was promoted to the rank of Captain on October 13, 2006, and was assigned as the Assistant Division Commander of the Support Services Division. As the Assistant Division Commander, he was tasked with overseeing the creation and implementation of the Regional Dispatch Center. In 2008, he was assigned as the Commander of the newly created Dispatch Center. In 2007, Streck joined the Police Athletic League where he currently serves as the Vice President. He was promoted to the rank of Chief Deputy on January 1, 2013, where he oversees the day to day operations of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. More.

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