Shon Hopwood, "Unnecessary Imprisonment and the Need for Sentencing Reform"

With Commentary by Richard McAdams

Shon Hopwood’s unusual legal journey began prior to him attending law school. In 1999, Shon stood before a federal judge and was sentenced to over 12 years in federal prison for his role in five bank robberies. While in prison, he learned the law and began writing legal briefs for other prisoners. Two of the petitions Shon prepared were granted by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he won cases for prisoners in federal courts across the country.

Upon his release, Shon earned a J.D. as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar from the University of Washington School of Law, before serving as a law clerk for Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. He is now a teaching fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Appellate Litigation Program.

His legal scholarship has been published in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties, Washington, and Fordham law reviews, and in the Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure. His writing has also been published in the Seattle Times, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, and SCOTUSblog. And he co-wrote his memoir, Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption, which was published by Crown Publishing at Penguin Random House.

Richard McAdams is the Bernard D. Meltzer Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He writes on criminal law and procedure, social norms, the expressive function of law, inequality, and law and literature. He is the author of The Expressive Powers of Law (Harvard University Press 2015) and co-editor of Fairness in Law and Economics (Edward Elgar 2013). He has served as a member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Panel for Law & Social Sciences, the editorial board of the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, and the Board of Directors of the American Law and Economics Association.

Before joining the Law School in 2007, McAdams taught on the law faculties at the University of Illinois, Boston University, and IIT Chicago-Kent. He was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and the Yale Law School and a visiting fellow at Australian National University. McAdams received his BA from the University of North Carolina and his JD from the University of Virginia. After graduation, he clerked for Chief Judge Harrison L. Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and spent three years as an associate with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Philadelphia. McAdams teaches primarily in the areas of criminal law and procedure.

Presented by the Christian Legal Society, the American Constitution Society, Defenders, and the Federalist Society on February 16, 2017.

Participating faculty: 
Richard H. McAdams
Student organization presenters: 
Christian Legal Society
Student organization presenters: 
American Constitution Society
Student organization presenters: 
Student organization presenters: 
Federalist Society