Start Date: 7/10/2020 1:00 PM EDT
End Date: 7/10/2020 2:00 PM EDT
Webinar: JLWOP Resentencing and Participatory Defense
July 10, 2020, 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 60 minutes
Webinar Faculty: Haley Volpintesta and Fred Weatherspoon
About the Webinar: Nearly 1,000 people are currently incarcerated serving juvenile life without parole sentences (JLWOP), waiting for their resentencing hearings that have been further compromised given the COVID-19 pandemic. Fred Weatherspoon was a “juvenile lifer” sentenced to life without parole in 1993, when he was 17 years old. Fred and Haley met in 2015 when Illinois began resentencing hearings for JLWOP cases and The Sentencing Advocacy Group of Evanston (SAGE) was hired by the Cook County Public Defender’s Office as the mitigation practice for Fred’s case. For two years Fred and Haley worked together to complete the mitigation investigation in preparation for Fred’s hearing. In December 2016 Fred was resentenced to 50 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and was released from prison in April 2018. In this webinar, Fred and Haley reflect on their experience, discuss the mitigation investigation, and share participatory defense strategies that family and community members can take while their incarcerated loved ones are awaiting sentencing.
About the Faculty: Fred Weatherspoon was born and raised on the Westside of Chicago, where he was exposed to gang violence and the drug economy. When Fred was 17, he was involved in a crime that led to a JLWOP sentence. During the 25 years Fred was incarcerated, he became a community leader and an advocate for incarcerated people. Fred led a cognitive behavioral program inside, earned his GED, and continued his education. After his release, Fred received a certificate in carpentry and continued his advocacy in the community. Fred currently works with the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation’s mentorship program. He is also a member of Communities and Relatives of Illinois’ Incarcerated Children where he works on juvenile justice reform.
Haley Volpintesta has been a mitigation specialist with the Sentencing Advocacy Group of Evanston (SAGE) for six years, and has contracted on state and federal cases, including federal death penalty and sex trafficking cases, JLWOP and juvenile transfer cases, state murder cases and cases that involve criminalized survivors of domestic violence. Haley is also a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she studies race, gender, sexuality, and the law and is a member of the Policing in Chicago Research Group. Before her work with SAGE, Haley was a legal advocate and direct service provider for youth and adults in the commercial sex trade.