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ONU Law Review Symposium
Ohio Northern University Law Review
8:30 – 8:45 Introductory Remarks
8:45 – 9:45 Mark R. Fondacaro
9:45 – 10:45 Justice Stratton
10:45 – 11:00 Break
11:00-12:00 Judge Kathryn Michael
12:15 – 1:15 Lunch
1:30 – 2:30 Edward J. Latessa
2:30 – 3:30 Melissa A. Knopp
3:30 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 4:45 Sonya L. Harper
4:45 – 5:00 Closing Remarks & Program Evaluation
Symposium Speaker Bios
Mark R. Fondacaro
Mark R. Fondacaro is currently a Professor in the Psychology and Law Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY Graduate Center. Before joining the faculty at John Jay, he was an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida and an Associate Director of the Levin College of Law’s Center on Children and Families. He received a B.A. in psychology with an outside concentration in the biological sciences from Stony Brook University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Indiana University-Bloomington. He pursued post-doctoral training in social ecology at Stanford University before completing his legal training at Columbia Law School. His theoretical work focuses on the development of an “Ecological Jurisprudence” and his empirical research has focused on adapting legal concepts of due process and procedural justice to extra-legal contexts such as the family and the health care system. Professor Fondacaro has recently co-authored (with Christopher Slobogin) a book entitled “Juveniles at Risk: A Plea for Preventive Justice” that was published by Oxford University Press. He has authored numerous articles in both law reviews and behavioral science journals on issues of procedural justice, due process, family conflict resolution, and juvenile justice reform. He is currently working with a team of graduate student assistants in his Social Justice Laboratory on a series of empirical studies aimed at identifying defendant and situational factors that may bias judgments of criminal responsibility.
Professor Fondacaro’s innovative interdisciplinary scholarship and research have earned him national and international recognition and invitations to serve as a Visiting Researcher at Stanford University, a Visiting Scholar at New York University, and a Visiting Professor at Duke University. Professor Fondacaro currently serves as an editor for the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. In addition to his prior service on the editorial board of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, he has served as a peer reviewer for a wide range of interdisciplinary journals including Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Law & Society Review, Journal of Family Issues, Health Education and Behavior, Prevention in Human Services, Law & Human Behavior, Social Justice Research, International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, and Legal and Criminological Psychology .
Professor Fondacaro has taught courses in juvenile and criminal law, mental health law, scientific evidence and is teaching a seminar on law and neuroscience during the spring 2015 semester.
Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired
Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, retired from the Supreme Court of Ohio after 23 years in the judiciary to pursue criminal justice reforms, particularly as they relate to mental health, juveniles,
She came to the bench by a very different route. Born to missionary parents in Bangkok, Thailand, Stratton spent her childhood in Southeast Asia. She attended boarding school in South Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War and later in Malaysia, visiting America on occasion with her parents. At age 18, she returned to America alone with only a few hundred dollars in her pocket. Working her way through school, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University College of Law.
She began her legal career as a trial lawyer in the courtrooms of Central Ohio. In 1989, she was the first woman to be elected Judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where she became known as “The Velvet Hammer” for her approach to sentencing in serious felony cases. Her success on the trial bench led to an appointment in 1996 to the Supreme Court of Ohio, where she was elected to a third term in 2008.
Stratton believes that the courts, in partnership with the mental health system, can affect positive change in the lives of many defendants whose mental illness has led to criminal activity. To that end, she formed the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mental Illness & the Courts, which was composed of mental health, law enforcement and criminal justice professionals who were dedicated to mental health initiatives in the court system. That committee has now merged into the Attorney General Task Force on Mental Illness and Criminal Justice, and she still serves as co-chair along with Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Nationally, Stratton is a co-founder and former co-chair of the Judges’ Leadership
Initiative, a professional association that supports cooperative mental health programs in the criminal justice system. Her latest focus in Ohio and nationally is on establishing veterans courts to help those returning veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and other issues, whose problems may lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.
Since retiring from the bench, she works through EStratton Consulting, LLC on criminal justice reforms, particularly focusing on engaging the judges in different states in these reform efforts. She is also Of Counsel to a major Ohio law firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP.
Among her many honors are the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Angels Award, as well as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Adoption Excellence Award.
Additionally, in May 2008, Stratton received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a ceremony in New York City. Established in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, the Ellis Island Medals of Honor pay tribute to American citizens of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation and the world. Ranking among the nation’s most prestigious awards, recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.
Stratton is the wife of John A. Lundberg III, and the mother of two adult sons. She enjoys painting, Thai cooking, and fly fishing with her husband. But surely her most interesting accomplishment was her first-place finish in a college Stampede Girls Goat Tying Competition — a talent she later put to good use as a trial lawyer.
Judge Kathryn Michael
Judge Kathryn Michael was elected as an Akron Municipal Court Judge in 2005, and re-elected in 2011. Her community involvement spans over 25 years.
She has been the Presiding Judge of the Family Violence Court since 2009 where she expanded the program from an intimate partner court, to include adult parent, adult child, and adult sibling offenders and a specialized track of treatment for female offenders. The program includes management review meetings with all community providers, and case management meetings to discuss specific offenders and individualized courses of treatment.
In January of 2014, Judge Michael and her team implemented a two tiered approach to Domestic Violence offenders: 1) Family Intervention Court, a state certified specialized docket for higher risk, higher need offenders, and 2) Family Intervention Program, for lower risk offenders.
Edward J. Latessa
Edward J. Latessa received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1979 and is Director and Professor of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Latessa has published over 150 works in the area of criminal justice, corrections, and juvenile justice. He is co-author of eight books including What Works (and Doesn’t) in Reducing Recidivism, Corrections in the Community, and Corrections in America. Professor Latessa has directed over 150 funded research projects including studies of day reporting centers, juvenile justice programs, drug courts, prison programs, intensive supervision programs, halfway houses, and drug programs. He and his staff have also assessed over 600 correctional programs throughout the United States, and he has provided assistance and workshops in over forty-five states. He has also received numerous awards and in 2013 he was identified as one of the most innovative people in criminal justice by a national survey conducted by the Center for Court Innovation in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Melissa A. Knopp, Esq.
Melissa A. Knopp is a licensed attorney originally from West Chester, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wittenberg University and her Juris Doctorate from Western New England University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Ohio and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Melissa is a Certified Court Manager and Certified Court Executive from the Institute for Court Management of the National Center for State Courts.
From law school, Melissa worked at the Butler County, Ohio Criminal Justice Planning Board. She then served as a magistrate for the Butler County Probate Court and was the first coordinator for the county’s drug court program. Melissa joined the Supreme Court of Ohio in 1998 as staff counsel to the director of Legal and Legislative Services.
In 2001 Melissa was named the manager of the newly created Specialized Dockets Section at the Supreme Court of Ohio where she served in this role for twelve years. As manager of this section, Melissa supervised a staff of four employees in addition to providing technical assistance to trial courts in planning, implementing, and operating specialized docket programs focused on adult offenders. During her tenure, Melissa oversaw the growth of specialized docket programs in Ohio from seven drug courts to 155 programs, which encompassed both adult and juvenile drug, family dependency treatment, OVI/DUI, mental health, SAMI, domestic violence, reentry, child support enforcement, sex offender, and Veterans courts. Melissa served as the secretary to the Commission on Specialized Dockets and was instrumental in developing and implementing the Supreme Court’s certification process for Ohio specialized dockets.
In the fall of 2013, Melissa partnered with Shelley Hearld to create Court Management Services, LLC, which provides technical assistance, training, and consulting services to justice system service partners regarding court processes, offender supervision, and treatment issues. Court Management Services, LLC, joined with American Court Services to develop i-onTrack, a web-based, supervision and behavioral management system designed to meet the unique needs of treatment courts.
Throughout her career, Melissa has served on numerous national and state advisory boards, including the Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center, which functioned as the regional advisory board to the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; the Mental Health Court Advisory Committee and the Mental Health Court Curriculum Committee of the Council of State Governments Justice Center; the Ohio Family Violence Prevention Center; the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections; the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Advisory Board on the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS); and the Ohio Attorney General’s Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness.
Melissa has provided consulting services for the Council of State Governments Justice Center in Virginia, Idaho, and Nevada on criminal justice issues and is featured on their training website, Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum, http://learning.csgjusticecenter.org/. She has presented at international and national conferences sponsored by the International Academy of Mental Health and the Law, National GAINS Center, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, National TASC Association, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Melissa and her husband, Eric, live in Columbus, Ohio.
Sonya L. Harper, MPA, CSAC
Sonya L. Harper is a Project Director with the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) in Alexandria, Virginia. Ms. Harper oversees a variety of training and technical assistance projects including NDCI’s online drug court clearinghouse; the National Drug Court Resource Center. She previously served as the Director of Drug Treatment Courts for the Tenth Judicial District of North Carolina. In this capacity Ms. Harper was responsible for the overall administration of drug court activities in Wake County, North Carolina. She also served as a facilitator for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts assisting with the development and delivery of trainings throughout the state. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Master of Public Administration degree from Appalachian State University. Ms. Harper is also a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. In addition to her work with drug courts, Ms. Harper’s experience includes work as a substance abuse program manager, probation/parole officer, substance abuse counselor and case manager for persons under community supervision.
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