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.
Apr 9, 2015
Walter Scott’s Killing Is a Direct Result of the Current State of Policing in America Today
Mar 6, 2015
The DOJ Ferguson Report Isn’t Just an Indictment of Ferguson Police, but of American Policing Writ Large
Sep 12, 2013
Police Abuse of Power, Plain and Simple, in Etowah County, Alabama
Sep 4, 2013
Drug Agents Have an NSA-Style Spying Problem
Aug 8, 2013
The Director of "How to Make Money Selling Drugs" on Ending an Embarrassingly Racist War
Jun 6, 2013
End the Numbers Game: Police Should Not Be Rewarded for Making Marijuana Arrests
Jun 4, 2013
NEW REPORT: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests
Mar 18, 2013
Too Many Still Wait to Hear Gideon's Trumpet
Oct 4, 2012
The House I Live In: Documentary Goes Inside the Failed War on Drugs
Sep 5, 2012
It's Time to Discuss Criminal Justice Reform