Our America Initiative

Support Our Work on Over Criminalization!

  1. Ken Abraham

    Advisory Council Member
    Ken Abraham from 1974 to 1979 served as deputy attorney general for Delaware with statewide authority and jurisdiction to prosecute all criminal cases. A veteran of more than 400 jury trials and about 200 non- jury trials, Ken has handled thousands of cases tried throughout Delaware state courts, including representing the first person in the state to be prosecuted under a drug law requiring a mandatory minimum sentence. Ken is acutely aware of the dangers of drugs as a former addict who spent five years incarcerated. He as much as any lawyer on the planet knows about prisoner civil rights issues and other prison abuses, as well as post-conviction litigation, where he got a good look at the state of what America now calls its criminal justice system. He advocates also for a reformed system to legalize and regulate drugs. Ken is a graduate of the Penn State Dickinson School of Law and Kenyon College. He lives in Delaware, where after retiring he founded Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, a fast-growing nonprofit organization with an Adopt a Prisoner Church Reentry Program created to address the myriad problems plaguing today’s criminal justice system.
  2. Evan Bernick

    Advisory Council Member
    Evan Bernick is the Assistant Director of IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement. He joined the Institute in July 2014, and he works to educate the public and persuade judges about the need for a properly engaged judiciary that enforces all of the Constitution’s limits on government in every case. Before joining IJ, Evan was a Koch Associate and Visiting Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, where he focused on the problem of over criminalization—the use of the criminal law to target conduct that most reasonable people wouldn’t expect to be illegal in the first place. He chronicled stories of victims of over criminalization and wrote op-eds, issue briefs, and legal memorandums about constitutional law, sentencing policy, and police militarization, among other subjects. His work has appeared in such places as Time Magazine, Fox News.com, the Washington Times, the Chicago-Sun Times, and National Review Online. Prior to Heritage, he worked at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty as a legal intern and at the Cato Institute as a legal associate. Evan received his J.D. from the University Chicago Law School in 2011. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2008.
  3. John R. Lott

    Advisory Council Member
    John R. Lott, Jr. is the president of the newly formed Crime Prevention Research Center and he is an economist who has held research and/or teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, and Rice and was the chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. He has published over 100 articles in academic journals. He also is the author of eight books of which his newest is "Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench." His past books have included three editions of “More Guns, Less Crime” and “Freedomnomics.” Lott is a FoxNews.com columnist. Opinion pieces by Lott have appeared in such places as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune. He has appeared on such television programs as the ABC and NBC National Evening News broadcasts, Fox News, PBS's The NewsHour, and the Today Show. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984.
  4. Erik Luna

    Advisory Council Member
    Erik Luna is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University. He received his J.D. with honors from Stanford Law School. Upon graduation, he was a prosecutor in the San Diego District Attorney's Office and a fellow and lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. Among other professional affiliations, he is an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute and a member of the American Law Institute. He has served as the senior Fulbright Scholar to New Zealand, where he taught at Victoria University Law School (Wellington, NZ) and conducted research on sentencing alternatives. Luna has also been a visiting scholar with the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg, DE), a visiting professor with the Cuban Society of Penal Sciences (Havana, CU), a visiting professional in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (The Hague, NL), and a project director with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Prior to coming to Washington and Lee University, Luna was the Hugh B. Brown Professor of Law at the University of Utah and co-director of the Utah Criminal Justice Center. He has testified before Congress and the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and his commentary has appeared in major print and broadcast media. He teaches and writes primarily in the areas of criminal law and procedure.