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Pepperdine Law Review Hosts Annual Symposium on the Future of the Criminal Legal System

On Friday, March 29, the Pepperdine Law Review hosted its annual symposium: Crime and Punishment: The Future of Our Criminal Legal System. This was the first Pepperdine Law Review symposium solely dedicated to the criminal legal system. The event encompassed important discussions around four key topics: the Supreme Court’s criminal jurisprudence, capital punishment in the United States, state efforts to end racial discrimination in jury selection, and California’s criminal legal system. 

The symposium began with opening remarks from dean Paul Caron, symposium editor Max Lyster, and professor Jeff Baker. The Supreme Court panel included deputy solicitor general Eric Feigin, and renowned expert on the Supreme Court, professor Daniel Epps.

The death penalty panel, moderated by the Honorable Margo Rocconi, included professors Elisabeth Semel, Sarah Gerwig-Moore, and Sean Kennedy, each who have years of experience litigating capital cases, and Ron Wright, a death row exoneree.

Pepperdine Law Review Symposium 2024 panelists

The jury selection panel included the Honorable Steven C. González, Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court; the Honorable Peter B. Swann (Ret.) of the Arizona Court of Appeal; and Alameda County public defender Brendon Woods.

The final California panel included professors Michael Romano and Priscilla Ocen; former district attorney of San Francisco Chesa Boudin; and Ronald Broomfield, director of Adult Divisions at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The panelists highlighted how the criminal legal system works in practice and its shortcomings to hopefully give audience members the knowledge to forge a better path forward.

The event concluded with remarks from Sophie Nelson, Pepperdine Law Review’s editor-in-chief.

The 2024 Pepperdine Law Review Symposium was planned by symposium editor, Max Lyster. Lyster is a third-year student who will be clerking for the Honorable Margo Rocconi after graduation. He hopes to spend his career as a public defender.