Change of Heart includes some fascinating people, distinctive characters of great accomplishment who played pivotal roles in the story I tell. I thought readers might want to know more about them.
Mark Osler is a law professor at the University of St. Thomas (MN) whose work advocates for sentencing and clemency policies rooted in principles of human dignity.
In 2014-2015, Osler's writing on clemency, sentencing, and narcotics policy has appeared or will appear in the New York Times and at least six law journals. His University of Chicago Law Review article (with Rachel Barkow) was highlighted in a lead editorial in the New York Times expressly embracing Barkow and Osler's argument for clemency reform.
A former federal prosecutor, he won the case of Spears v. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court, with the Court ruling that judges could categorically reject the disproportionately harsh 100-to-1 ratio for powder to crack cocaine to sentence drug defendants.
Osler's 2009 book Jesus on Death Row critiqued the American death penalty through the lens of Jesus' trial, and led to an improvised performance of that trial that has been conducted in 11 states, with Osler serving as the prosecutor.
He heads the Association of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, and held the Byrd Preaching Chair at St. Martin's-by-the-Lake Episcopal Church in 2012. He has given sermons in five states and for three different denominations. His current work on clemency and mercy is rooted in ideals of the Christian faith. In 2011, he founded the first law school clinic specializing in federal commutations, and he trained hundreds of pro bono lawyers for Clemency Project 2014.
He is the subject of profiles in Rolling Stone and The American Prospect.