Resnik has led the Liman Center since its inception in 1997. During this past year, she has continued to work on her book, Impermissible Punishments, supported by a 2018-2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. Much of this year was also focused on aiming to alleviate some of the harms of COVID for people in detention. In the spring of 2020, Bloomberg News ran her op-ed, "Protecting Prisoners in Pandemics Is a Constitutional Must," and she submitted a declaration in several jurisdictions about the availability of provisional remedies for judges responding to COVID litigation. One of her articles, "Preclusion and Inaccessible Arbitration: Data, Non-Disclosure, and Public Knowledge" (with Stephanie Garlock and Annie J. Wang) published in 2020 in a symposium in the Lewis & Clark Law Review, was the basis for a March 2021 op-ed, "Unlocking Courts: Ending Arbitration Mandates and Gag Orders" in Hearst media Connecticut news outlets. Other recent essays include "The Puzzles of Prisoners and Rights: An Essay in Honor of Frank Johnson" in a symposium in the Alabama Law Review; "(Un)Constitutional Punishments: Eighth Amendment Silos," "Penological Purposes," and "People’s 'Ruin,'” and "Constituting Security" and "Fairness: Reflecting on Charles Reich’s Imagination and Impact," both in the Yale Law Journal forum.
Law School Room J33
Taylor '10 was a member of the Prison Legal Services and New Haven Legal Assistance clinics while a law student, as well as a student co-convener of the Liman Workshop. Since graduating, she has worked as an attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama, representing incarcerated clients challenging their convictions, sentences, and inhumane conditions of confinement. Her clients have included men and women on death row and people sentenced to life without parole as children. Taylor also researched, wrote, and spoke as part of EJI’s public education project linking mass incarceration and American racial history. In addition, she contributed content and design to exhibits for The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Taylor holds a B.A. in comparative studies in race and ethnicity from Stanford University and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University. In addition to serving as primary editor, researcher, and contributing author of multiple EJI reports on racial history, she has published many law review articles and media pieces on race and law, and spent three months researching comparative criminal law in South Africa.
Director of Communications
Wilkes leads the Liman Center’s communications. Prior to joining the Liman Center, she worked as the director of communications for Yale’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. Wilkes graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in mass communication and earned an MBA from the University of New Haven, where she currently teaches a course on the principles of communication.
Gehring is the center coordinator for the Liman Center. Prior to joining the Center, she worked at New York University and the New York Academy of Medicine as an event specialist. In addition, she assisted in finding venture capitalists for Artificial Intelligence Innovations for startup company Global Decision Sciences. Gehring holds a B.A. in International Business from Fashion Institute of Technology, and a master’s in journalism from New York University.
Senior Liman Fellow in Residence
Kebriaei has worked on issues of civil and human rights for more than 20 years. A Senior Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), she joined that organization in 2007 as part of a project dedicated to providing legal representation to men detained without charge at the Guantánamo Bay prison. As the “war on terror” after 9/11 evolved, Kebriaei represented other victims, including in the “targeted killing” context; with attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union, she brought the first case to challenge the U.S. drone program. For the past 10years, her work has turned increasingly toward domestic prisons, including ending solitary confinement and other inhumane conditions and sentences, such as life sentences.
Kebriaei’s commentary and scholarship on human rights and incarceration have appeared in magazines and journals including Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and the Yale Law & Policy Review, and in edited volumes including Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict: Ethical, Legal, and Strategic Implications (University of Chicago Press, 2015).At the Liman Center, her research includes interdisciplinary work on the public health impacts of mass incarceration in the U.S. She also contributes to Liman Center research and public education projects on solitary confinement and co-teaches the Spring 2024 Liman Workshop. While a Liman Senior Fellow in Residence, Kebriaei continues as a part-time attorney at CCR. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Northwestern University and was a 2021–22 Practitioner-in-Residence Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is also the recipient of a Tulsa Arts Fellowship for 2024–26, which she will use to develop work on issues of incarceration in Oklahoma.
Curtis-Liman Clinical Fellow
Clarke works at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Connecticut, as well as Yale Law School. Her fellowship focuses on reducing the harms associated with federal supervised release for vulnerable populations, including individuals with substance use and mental health challenges. She is working with stakeholders across the District of Connecticut to develop less punitive and coercive supervision practices. As part of her partnership with the Liman Center, Clarke supervises students working on research and policy advocacy projects related to community supervision. Clarke received a B.A. in psychology from Cornell University. While at Yale Law School, she was a research assistant at The Justice Collaboratory and a member of the Criminal Justice Advocacy Clinic.
Fernandez is a Clinical Lecturer in Law and Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School, in addition to being Senior Liman Fellow in Residence. Her research focuses on questions of prosecutorial power, ethics, and accountability. Before joining Yale Law School, she was Senior Counsel at Holland & Knight, LLP, where she worked as a full-time member of the Community Services Team. Laura clerked for the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York, and was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown Law Center, where she obtained her LL.M. She holds an A.B. in Literature from Harvard College, a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Betts ’16 is a poet and lawyer. A 2021 MacArthur Fellow, he is the CEO of the Freedom Reads, an organization that transforms prison cellblocks into Freedom Libraries. A Senior Liman Scholar for more than 20 years, he has used his poetry and essays to explore the world of prison and the effects of violence and incarceration on American society. The author of a memoir and three collections of poetry, he has transformed his latest collection of poetry, the American Book Award-winning Felon, into a solo theater show that explores the post-incarceration experience and lingering consequences of a criminal record through poetry, stories, and engaging with the timeless and transcendental art of papermaking. In 2019, Betts won the National Magazine Award in the Essays and Criticism category for his NY Times Magazine essay that chronicles his journey from prison to becoming a licensed attorney. He has been awarded a Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Emerson Fellow at New America, and most recently a Civil Society Fellow at Aspen. Betts holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, was a Liman Fellow in 2016, and has been an affiliated Liman Research Scholar since 2020.
Senior Research Affiliate
Friedlander ’18 was the first Resnik-Curtis Fellow and then a staff attorney with the Rhode Island Center for Justice. There, she founded the Center’s criminal justice team and challenged unjust conditions of confinement, denial of healthcare, and other abuses in the criminal justice system. Now a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law, Associate Research Scholar in Law, and Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow at Yale Law School, her prior work includes Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. Friedlander holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, which recognized her with the Stephen J. Massey Prize for client advocacy and community service, and a B.A. from Brown University. Before law school, Natalia worked for several years in the field of domestic and international public health.
Senior Research Affiliate
Brian Highsmith’17 began work with the Liman Center as a Fellow in Residence in early 2020 at the end of a two-year Skadden Fellowship with the National Consumer Law Center that worked to challenge unaffordable financial obligations imposed on poor families as a result of their contact with the criminal system. He started a Ph.D. in government and social policy at Harvard in the fall of 2020, with a research focus on the fiscal pressures governments impose upon communities, and how those practices are often driven by local budgets that rely on regressive revenue sources such as fines and fees assessed through local policing and criminal systems. Highsmith has remained affiliated with the Liman Center, joining in organizing a series of Liman-hosted webinar sessions about the intersections of public finance and criminal punishment, as well as planning the 2023 colloquium, “Budgeting for Justice: Fiscal Policy and Monetary Sanctions.” For these projects, Highsmith has drawn on his experience working (both before and after law school) on domestic economic policy in Washington, D.C. — including as an advisor at President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the office of Sen. Cory Booker ’97. This fall, Highsmith began as an Academic Fellow with Harvard Law School’s new Program on Law and Political Economy. He remains an affiliate of the Liman Center and is writing his dissertation while preparing to go on the law teaching market.
Senior Research Affiliate
Petkun ’19 is an Associate Professor of Law at Duke Law School, where he teaches civil procedure as well as a seminar on access to justice. In his research, Jon uses his training as an economist to empirically study the legal and economic organization of large public institutions, especially federal and state courts and the U.S. military. With respect to courts, Petkun is interested in how court rules and norms affect litigants’ access. His current projects include a study of federal judicial administration—with an emphasis on the diversity of judges’ administrative roles and the enormous “off-the-bench” influence they wield in policy matters unrelated to any adjudication—as well as a study of the uses and limits of empirical research oncivil litigation and procedure. Petkun is a graduate of Yale Law School and holds a Ph.D. in economics from MIT. Prior to his start at teaching, Petkun served as a Senior Liman Research Affiliate (and continues that affiliation) and clerked for federal judges on the District of Connecticut and the D.C. Circuit. Before his academic career, Petkun served as a Marine in both Iraq and Afghanistan.