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Ezekiel Edwards

Former Special Counsel

ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project


Edwards was a Special Counsel in the ACLU's Criminal Law Reform Project. He was previously Director from 2012-2021. Edwards seeks to end overincarceration, overcriminalization and racism in the criminal legal system in the United States. Edwards has worked directly on cases and campaigns seeking to reform a wide variety of issues, including pretrial practices, unconstitutional policing, underfunding of public defense, excessive sentencing, prosecutorial misconduct, juvenile life without parole sentences, and drug prohibition, particularly threats to marijuana legalization laws. Edwards has worked closely with the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice, which seeks to reduce the incarcerated population by 50 percent. Edwards was the lead author on the ACLU’s groundbreaking national report Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests, which documented staggering racial disparities in the enforcement of marijuana possession laws across the country.

Edwards has been working on criminal justice reform for over 20 years. Before joining the ACLU, Edwards was a staff attorney at the Innocence Project and leading national expert on eyewitness identification reform, a public defender at the Bronx Defenders, a Criminal Justice Fellow at the Drum Major Institute of Public Policy and an investigator at the Capital Defender Office in New York.

Edwards’ expertise has been featured in news outlets across the country, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Vice News.

Edwards earned his J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Public Interest Scholar, and his B.A. with honors at Vassar College.