Speaker discusses need for criminal justice reform

Speaker discusses need for criminal justice reform


Shon Hopwood, author of "Lawman: A Memoir of a Jailhouse Lawyer" will speak on the need for reform in the criminal justice system at 10:20 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport.

Each fall, the St. Paul congregation hosts a community-wide Faith & Life Series, bringing people of national stature to the Quad-Cities to spark new ideas about what it means to live faithfully.

The 10:20 a.m. presentation is titled “Why we need grace in the criminal justice system” and the 4 p.m. presentation is “Criminal justice reform in an age of political unrest.”

The church is at 2136 Brady St.

Hopwood grew up in David City, Nebraska, and knows the criminal justice system through first-hand experience, first as an inmate convicted of armed robbery, and second as a lawyer and associate professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

His first experience began as a young adult. After trouble catching on to college, he found himself in a bar with a buddy and they began talking about robbing a bank. That turned into committing five armed bank robberies before being apprehended.

Sentenced to 10 years in the federal prison at Pekin, Illinois, Hopwood slowly taught himself criminal law and began to help fellow inmates.

He wrote one petition to the Supreme Court on a typewriter. It was chosen to be heard from over 7,000 other petitions submitted by the greater legal community that year. The justices voted 9-0 in favor of Hopwood’s petition when the case was finally heard.

What might have been considered luck by some was dispelled when a second petition from him was selected to be heard by the Supreme Court.

After Hopwood's release from custody in April 2009, he earned his bachelor’s degree, then was accepted to the University of Washington School of Law. He served as a law clerk for Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and passed the bar. He is now an associate professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

For more information, call 563-326-3547 or email to ann@stpaulqc.org.


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