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Breonna Taylor Symposium 2021

October 16, 2021

9:00 am

Grand Court Room

University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law 

Join us for a conversation with Law Professors, Criminal Justice Scholars, Judges, Attorneys, Journalists and Activists as we discuss the validity of the search warrant in the Breonna Taylor case. Each panel will be asked an hour of pre-selected questions followed by 25 minutes of audience Q&A. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP and access livestreaming via the Facebook page, which can be found by clicking here

For a law review article that addresses the problems in the search warrant that lead to Breonna Taylor's death, please press here.


For a law review article that addresses the problems in the search warrant that led to Breonna Taylor's death, please press here:

The Panels: 

Legal Scholars (9:30am-10:55am)

Samuel Marcosson (University of Louisville)

Michael Mannheimer (Northern Kentucky University)

Jennifer M. Kinsley (Northern Kentucky University)

Chris Bryant (University of Cincinnati)

Moderator: Blake Sims (2L)

Criminal Justice Scholars (11:00am-12:25pm)

Dr. Philip Stinson (Bowling Green State University)

Dr. Ebony Ruhland (University of Cincinnati)

Dr. Peter B. Kraska (Eastern Kentucky University)

Moderator: Kennedy Weathers (3L)

Judges & Attorneys (1:00pm-2:25pm)

Judge Denise Clayton (Kentucky Court of Appeals)

Judge David Tapp (US Court of Federal Claims)

Sam Aguiar (Breonna Taylor Attorney) 

Jason Rothrock (Director of Prosecution: Fayette County) 

Moderator: Sarah Byres (2L)

Journalists & Activists (2:30pm-3:55pm)

Bailey Loosemore (Louisville Courier Journal)

Chanelle Helm (BLM Louisville Organizer)

Tim Findley (Louisville Mayoral Candidate) 

Moderator: Bennett Tuleja (2L)


The Panelists


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Dean Mary Davis

 Dean of University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law 

Mary J. Davis has been on the UK Law faculty since 1991. She joined the faculty after six years of a products liability litigation defense practice for the law firms of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and McGuire, Woods, Battle, & Boothe in Richmond, Virginia. Her experience, which involved management of nationwide litigation, has informed her scholarship in the field of products liability.

Legal Scholars Panel

Jennifer M. Kinsley

Associate Dean of Professional Development

Professor of Law

Northern Kentucky University

Prof. Jennifer Kinsley is one of the nation’s leading Constitutional law scholars and practitioners.  Her research, which has been widely cited and is included in leading Constitutional law textbooks, focuses on the First Amendment right of free expression, particularly as it is applied within the context of criminal cases, and related criminal justice reform.  Prof. Kinsley’s research on the intersection of psychology and speech and the criminalization of speech has been published in leading law reviews, including the Emory Law Review, the Cincinnati Law Review, the Richmond Law Review, the Louisville Law Review, the New Mexico Law Review, the Loyola Chicago Law Journal, and the Vanderbilt Entertainment Law & Technology Law Journal.  In the field, she has successfully represented thousands of clients whose free speech and civil rights have been persecuted by the government, including Black Lives Matter protestors, artists, filmmakers, adult businesses, human trafficking survivors, juveniles sentenced to life in prison, and those facing the death penalty.  Her work is regularly featured in the national news, including on NBC Nightly News, in the New York Times and Washington Post, and as part of Kim Kardashian West’s The Justice Project documentary on the Oxygen Network.  In addition, Prof. Kinsley regularly submits amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals on important issues of constitutional and criminal law.  She has lectured around the world on matters of free speech and legal reform, including at the Supreme Court of Turkey and to aspiring civil rights lawyers in Russia.  In her spare time, Prof. Kinsley is an active community volunteer.  She serves on the Board of Trustees for Contemporary Dance Theater, a Cincinnati-based arts organization that presents modern dance companies from around the world, and feeds persons experiencing housing and food insecurity once a month through the Sunday Light Live program in Covington, Kentucky.  She enjoys distance running, word games, college sports (Go Gators!), and spending time with her husband and five busy children.

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Police Panel


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Michael Mannheimer

Professor of Law

Salmon P. Chase College of Law

Michael Mannheimer is a Professor of law at Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law, where he has taught since 2004. His scholarship has appeared in such journals as the Columbia Law Review, Texas Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Emory Law Journal, Indiana Law Journal, and Iowa Law Review. He was the winner of the 2010 AALS Criminal Justice Section Junior Scholar Paper Award. He is currently working on a book entitled THE FOURTH AMENDMENT: ORIGINAL UNDERSTANDINGS AND MODERN POLICING (under contract with University of Michigan Press). Following law school, he clerked for the Hon. Sidney H. Stein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the Hon. Robert E. Cowen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Before entering academia, he practiced at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and the Center for Appellate Litigation, both in New York City. He received his B.A. in 1991 from SUNY-Binghamton (now Binghamton University) and his J.D. in 1994 from Columbia Law School.


Chris Bryant

Professor of Law 

University of Cincinnati 

Since joining the College of Law faculty in 2003, Professor A. Christopher Bryant has been a prolific scholar and an exceptionally skilled and award-winning teacher of constitutional law.

Professor Bryant’s numerous published articles and essays reach a wide range of issues of contemporary constitutional importance, including the separation of powers, judicial review, and the roles of the various branches of the national government in constitutional interpretation.  He is a recognized expert on the scope and exercise of national legislative power and the respect that Congressional action is owed from the federal judiciary, with leading articles on the subject published in the Cornell Law Review, George Washington Law Review, BYU Law Review, Notre Dame Journal of Legislation, and William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal.  Professor Bryant’s research in federalism and unenumerated rights include a co-authored book, “Powers Reserved for the People and the States”: A History of the  Ninth and Tenth Amendments (Greenwood Press 2006), as well as articles in the Georgia Law Review and the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, to name only a few.  He authored thirteen essays on landmark constitutional cases for the Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States(Macmillan 2008), and is a frequent speaker on the Constitution, the Congress, and the federal courts at symposiums, conferences, and public programs.

Professor Bryant is a member of the America Society for Legal History and the Federalist Society and also serves as faculty advisor to the College’s Federalist Society chapter.

Professor Bryant previously was a law professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he taught in the areas of federal courts, legislative process and statutory interpretation, criminal law, and conflicts.

Before beginning his academic career, Professor Bryant served as Assistant Senate Legal Counsel in the U.S. Senate Office of Legal Counsel and as an associate at Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C. After earning his JD, Professor Bryant clerked for the Hon. James L. Buckley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Samuel Marcosson

Professor of Law

University of Louisville

Professor Marcosson graduated from Yale Law School in 1986. After clerking for Judge George C. Pratt on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, he joined the appellate staff at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C., where he spent the next eight years briefing and arguing cases in the federal courts of appeals.


From 2004-2006, he served as the School of Law's Associate Dean for Student Life.  From 2005 through 2011-12, Professor Marcosson chaired the law school's Admissions Committee. Professor Marcosson teaches Constitutional Law, Sexual Orientation and the Law, Employment Discrimination and Criminal Law.

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Timothy E. Findley 

Pastor & Louisville Mayoral Candidate 

Pastor Timothy E. Findley Jr. is the Senior Pastor of Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center and the CEO of Life Development Corporation, the only minority-led community development program to provide HIV and AIDS support services. For over a decade, he has remained committed to his mission of advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by faithfully serving his church and community through sound preaching, discipleship, outreach, social justice, advocacy, and empowerment in Louisville, Kentucky.

As a candidate for mayor, Pastor Findley’s vision is to cultivate a Louisville that uplifts the voices of all people, where every person is seen and heard, respected, and valued. He believes Louisville deserves a government that invests in and defends all of its people. His goals include making affordable homeownership and rent accessible for all; promoting urban revitalization without gentrification; eradicating our homelessness crisis; transforming policing; attracting and cultivating talent; boosting our small business community; and promoting solutions that address the social determinants of health for poor and working-class people.


Criminal Justice Scholars Panel

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Dr. Philip Stinson

Professor of Criminal Justice

Bowling Green State University 

Philip Matthew Stinson, Sr., J.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Excellence in the Criminal Justice Program at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Stinson also engages in consultancy projects, outside scholarship, and other professional activities outside the University that contribute to his professional development, and has been retained as an expert witness in numerous civil and criminal cases across the United States.  


Dr. Stinson's primary areas of research are police behaviors, including police crime, police corruption, and police misconduct. His research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Criminal Justice Policy Review, Criminal Justice Studies, International Journal of Police Science and Management, Journal of Crime and Justice, Police Practice and Research, Police Quarterly, Sociology Compass, and Victims & Offenders. He is the author of the book Criminology Explains Police Violence (2020) published by University of California Press.  


His current ongoing research project is funded by the Wallace Action Fund of Tides Foundation to support the Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database at BGSU. Previously, Dr. Stinson was principal investigator on a research project funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) at the U.S. Department of Justice to study police crime.  


Dr. Stinson’s research has been featured in many news publications, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. He has appeared numerous times on CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, PBS, NPR, CBC, BBC, and many other media outlets worldwide. His research has also been featured on television in the documentary Abused by the Police? (BBC) and the program Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO). 

Dr. Ebony Ruhland

Professor of Criminal Justice 

University of Cincinnati 

Dr. Ebony Ruhland received her Ph.D. from the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on how criminal justice policies and practices impact individuals, families, and communities. Through her research, Dr. Ruhland hopes to find ways to improve criminal justice and corrections policies to reduce mass incarceration, racial disparities, and collateral consequences while at the same time maintaining public safety.


Dr. Peter B. Kraska

Professor of Justice Studies


 Judges & Attorneys Panel

Dr. Pete Kraska is a professor in the School of Justice Studies. He has distinguished himself as a leading scholar in the areas of police militarization and criminological research methods, publishing numerous books and influential academic journal articles. He has testified at the U.S. Senate and in numerous congressional hearings in various states. His work is routinely featured in media outlets such as 60 Minutes, The Economist, Washington Post, BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio. He recently developed model “No-Knock” legislation on no-knock police raids with Campaign Zero, and is helping to pass this legislation in over 60 state and local legislative bodies.

Judge Denise Clayton

Chief Judge

4th Appellate District, Division 2

Kentucky Court of Appeals

Judge Denise G. Clayton began serving as chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals on June 1, 2018, after being elected to that position by her fellow Court of Appeals judges. The chief judge provides administrative oversight to the Court of Appeals and serves for a four-year term. She had been chief judge pro tem since July 2016. 

Judge Denise Clayton became the first black woman to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals in October 2007. She serves the 4th Appellate District, Division 2. 

Prior to her appointment and election to the Court of Appeals, Judge Clayton was chief circuit judge for Jefferson County, where she had been a circuit judge for nearly seven years. She was the first black woman to be a Kentucky Circuit Court judge. She was also chief regional circuit judge for the Metro Region for several months before serving on the Court of Appeals. Judge Clayton previously served in Jefferson County as a judge for District Court, Family Court and Drug Court. 

Judge Clayton began her legal career as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. She also worked at the University of Louisville as the director of student legal services and maintained a private practice. She was the Legal Aid Society of Louisville’s associate director before becoming a Jefferson County District Court judge in 1996. 

Judge Clayton graduate cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. 

She is the chairwoman for the Chief Justice’s Commission on Racial Fairness for Jefferson County’s courts and is a member of the Louisville Bar Association, Louisville Black Lawyers Association and Women Lawyers Association. She has also served on several community and civic boards.​ 

Among her awards, Judge Clayton was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Judge Award by the Kentucky Bar Association. Judge Clayton has also received the Public Advocate Award from the state’s Department of Public Advocacy, the Distinguished Alumna Award from Brandeis School of Law, the Alumni Achievement Award from Defiance College, the Community Service Award from the Optimist Club of Louisville, the Louisville Bar Association Justice William E. McAnulty, Jr. Trailblazer Award, the Louisville Chapter NAACP Meritorious Service Award, the “Interesting Personality” Award from Who’s Who in Black Louisville, the Champion for Children Award from Shawnee High School in Louisville.


Judge David Tapp

Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims

Judge David Tapp served fifteen years as Judge of the 28th Circuit for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a court of general jurisdiction, and as a limited jurisdiction judge within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He now serves as a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington D.C. The Court hears cases for monetary damages arising under the U.S. Constitution, statutes, regulations, and contracts with the United States as well as Congressional reference cases. The Court has nationwide jurisdiction.


Judge Tapp has served in numerous advisory capacities for justice-involved organizations including the National RX Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, the United States Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative, and Kentucky’s Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council. For many years, he also directed  judicial education for all of Kentucky’s general jurisdiction and family court judges. He has written and taught on diverse topics including the Fourth Amendment, bail reform, electronically stored information, and substance abuse. As a law enforcement officer, litigation support specialist, defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge, he has been involved in drafting, executing, litigating, and reviewing search warrants spanning three decades.

Sam Aguiar


Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers 

Sam was born and raised in East Providence, Rhode Island. In 1995, he moved to western Kentucky, graduating high school from Murray High and college from Murray State. After completing his 1L year at Tulane Law School, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, prompting Sam to transfer to the University of Louisville. He graduated there with his JD in 2007.              

In 2020, Sam had the honor of representing the family of Breonna Taylor. Less than four months after filing a lawsuit on the case, he recovered one of the largest police shooting settlements in the history of the country. While the monetary recovery was an incredible result, Sam is more proud of the reform measures negotiated out of the settlement. Amongst the many reform measures were search warrant policy overhauls, mandatory monitoring of police officer red flags, incentives for officers to live in Louisville and do community service and the requirement that internal investigations into officers continue if they officers leave the department.

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Jason Rothrock

Director of Prosecution

Fayette County Attorney's Office

Jason Rothrock graduated in 1994 from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce without distinction. He graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1999 with even less distinction. He formerly was an Assistant Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney and is currently Director of Prosecution at the Fayette County Attorney’s Office. His most prized possession is his private pilot license. He has been married for almost twenty years to his first and only wife, Lexington attorney Katherine “Kit” Hornback. They have a fifteen year old son and a six year old daughter.

Journalists & Activists Panel

Organizers & Moderators


Chanelle Helm


Louisville Black Lives Matter

Chanelle Helm is a mother, Black Lives Matter Louisville organizer, community weaver for Black Liberation and political activist focused on defunding police. She has collaborated with thousands of advocates and hundreds of collectives worldwide to push for freedom for #AllBlackLives.


Organizers and Moderators 


Sarah Byres

Symposium Organizer

University of Kentucky

Sarah Byres is a 2L at the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law. She is a member of the Trial Advocacy Board and a research assistant for Professor Blanche Bong Cook. Sarah was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, and graduated from the University of Florida in May of 2020 with a bachelors in Criminology. Sarah's current legal interests are in criminal defense litigation. She is passionate about the Jacksonville Jaguars, spicy food and her dog Beau.

Bennett Tuleja

Bennett Z. Tuleja is a 2L at the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law from Palos Verdes Estates, California. He is a Staff Editor on the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Law (KJEANRL), a member of Phi Alpha Delta, serves as a Research Assistant to Professor Blanche Bong Cook, and is involved in the Student Bar Association within the College of Law. Before coming to UK for law school, Bennett attended Chapman University where he double majored in Political Science and Peace & Conflict Studies.  

Symposium Organizer

University of Kentucky

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Kennedy Weathers


University of Kentucky

Kennedy Weathers is currently a 3L at the College of Law. She was born and raised in Lexington and is a proud alumna of the Spanish Immersion Program. Kennedy attended the illustrious Spelman College where she earned dual degrees in International Studies and Spanish. After graduating from Spelman in 2019, she returned home to attend law school. Kennedy is an active member of the J. David Rosenberg College of Law Community as she currently serves as the President of BLSA, a staff editor of the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture and Natural Resources Law, and the trial advocacy board. This past summer, Kennedy interned with the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative at the Southern Poverty Law Center working to provide free representation to individuals in immigration detention in Georgia. Upon graduation, Kennedy plans to practice immigration law.

Blake Sims


University of Kentucky

Blake Sims is a 2L student from Midway, Kentucky. Prior to law school, Blake graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Business Administration and worked in the thoroughbred industry. Blake is a member of UK’s Trial Advocacy Board, a Staff Editor for the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture and Natural Resources Law, and is a member of the 2022-2023 National Moot Court Competition team.


Professor Blanche Bong Cook

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Symposium Organizer 

University of Kentucky 

    Professor Blanche Bong Cook is the Robert E. Harding Jr. Associate Professor of Law. Before joining the University of Kentucky College of Law, she was a tenured Associate Professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan.

Professor Cook earned her B.A. from Vassar College and J.D. from the University of Michigan. Her primary areas of expertise are criminal law and procedure, evidence, appellate practice, federal courts, trial advocacy, employment discrimination, critical race theory, critical race feminist theory, and sex trafficking.

   Before joining the academy, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney with the Department of Justice, where she specialized in large-scale drug and sex-trafficking prosecutions. As a federal prosecutor, she briefed and/or argued more than 44 federal appeals.

   Professor Cook clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She was also an associate at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone in Detroit and Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, where she specialized in employment discrimination, labor law, and sexual harassment litigation and prevention training.

   Professor Cook has established herself as a leading expert on sex trafficking by problematizing the entire spectrum of sex-trafficking prosecutions and the commercialization and exploitation of women and girls. She is actively involved in shaping the emerging nationwide discourse on sex trafficking and victims' rights as it relates to evidentiary issues, race-class-gender profiling, victim blaming, and sex-trafficking statutes. She writes in the areas of sex trafficking, victims’ rights, police violence, implicit bias, criminal procedure, critical race theory, human rights, race and gender discrimination, black feminist legal theory, womanist thought, and the normative gaze of identity.


Bailey Loosemore


Louisville Courier Journal

Bailey Loosemore is a reporter at The Courier Journal in Louisville. She began working at the paper in 2013 and currently writes about housing and other social justice issues. She played an integral role in covering racial justice protests through 2020 and received two Pulitzer Prize nominations for her work. She took up sewing during the pandemic.


OCT 16


Opening Statements: Dean Mary Davis, 2L Sarah Byres


Legal Scholars Panel


Criminal Justice Scholars Panel





Judges & Attorneys Panel


Journalists & Activists Panel


Closing Remarks: Professor Blanche Cook


Our Sponsors

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Breonna Taylor Symposium 


9:00 am

October 16th, 2021



University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law 

Grand Courtroom 

620 S Limestone

Lexington, KY