Our Team

Prosecutorial Performance Indicators

The Team

Besiki Luka Kutateladze

Florida International University

About Besiki
Dr. Besiki Luka Kutateladze is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Dr. Kutateladze specializes in performance indicators and prosecutorial discretion. He is currently managing three large projects funded by the National Institute of Justice, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Koch Foundation. His research has been published in journals such as Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Crime & Delinquency, Cardozo Law Review, Social Indicators Research, and Law & Human Behavior. He was named a 2019 FIU Top Scholar for Research by the Provost.

Prior to his appointment at FIU, Dr. Kutateladze was the founding research director at the Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) of the City University of New York. Before that, Dr. Kutateladze served as the research director for the Prosecution and Racial Justice Program of the Vera Institute of Justice. From 2008 to 2013, he played a crucial role in the development of the United Nations Rule of Law Indicators and their field testing in Haiti and Liberia. Before joining the Vera Institute, Dr. Kutateladze taught courses on comparative criminal justice and statistics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and lectured and conducted research on criminal procedure at Tbilisi State University.

In 2002, Dr. Kutateladze was the U.S. State Department Fellow from the Republic of Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the CUNY Graduate Center and a law degree from the Republic of Georgia.

Education:

PhD, Criminal Justice, 2008

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

MA, Criminal Justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2005

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

PhD / ABD, Criminal Procedure Law, 2002

Tbilisi State University, Republic of Georgia

Jurist Degree, 1999

Kutaisi State University, Republic of Georgia

Don Stemen

Loyola University Chicago

About Don
Dr. Don Stemen is an Associate Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and a member of the Graduate Faculty at Loyola University, Chicago. Dr. Stemen received his PhD in Law and Society from the Institute for Law and Society at New York University in 2007. Before coming to Loyola, Dr. Stemen was the Director of Research on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he worked with state and county governments to reform criminal justice policies.

Dr. Stemen’s research focuses on prosecutorial decision making, exploring contextual factors affecting prosecutorial outcomes, and sentencing and corrections issues, examining the innovation and diffusion of sentencing and corrections policies across the United States. His research has been supported through grants from the National Institute of Justice, the National Institute of Corrections, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Open Society Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His current project – Prosecutorial Attitudes, Perspectives, and Priorities – with Besiki Kutateladze from Florida Internation University is supported under MacArthur’s Safety and Justice Challenge.

Education
PhD, Law and Society, 2007

New York University

MA, Criminal Justice, 1997

University of Illinois, Chicago

BS, Mathematics

Twitter

Rebecca Richardson

Florida International University

About Rebecca
Rebecca Richardson is an assistant professor in the FIU Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Center for the Administration of Justice.

Dr. Richardson’s research focuses broadly on courtroom decision making, with a current emphasis on prosecutorial discretion and sociodemographic disparities in case processing outcomes. Her work at the Center for the Administration of Justice focuses on data-informed prosecution and helping State Attorney’s Offices become more effective and fair through the improvement of data and analytical capacity. She previously worked on research related to evidence-based sentencing, including a two-year project which evaluated the potential impacts of evidence-based sentencing on punishment decisions and social inequality in partnership with the State of Connecticut. Dr. Richardson’s research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency and Criminal Justice Policy Review. Her current work is funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Koch Foundation, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Dr. Richardson received her B.A. in Psychology and Economics from Wellesley College and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland.

Melba V. Pearson, Esq.

Florida International University

About Melba

Melba Pearson is a civil rights and criminal law attorney who works in the Center for the Administration of Justice. She serves as the Center’s Policy Director overseeing technical assistance, training, and community engagement efforts. Her primary assignment is the MacArthur Foundation-funded Prosecutorial Performance Indicators’ project, which aims to improve prosecutorial offices’ efficiency, effectiveness and fairness through research, technical assistance, and communications support.

Before joining FIU, Melba served as the Deputy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida for three years. She was part of the leadership team who helped pass Amendment 4 in 2018 – the historic voting rights amendment which re-enfranchised people with felony convictions in Florida. Additionally, she worked heavily on criminal justice reform legislation, policing, and expanding voting rights. Before joining the ACLU, Melba was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County for 16 years. After prosecuting a variety of crimes, she was selected to join the Domestic Crimes Unit, focusing on serious domestic violence crimes as well as homicides for close to four years. In her next assignment, Melba was integral to the re-launch of the Community Prosecution Unit, whose goal is partnering with the community to find creative solutions to prevent crime and provide outreach. She ended her prosecutorial career as the Assistant Chief in the Career Criminal/Robbery Unit, supervising junior attorneys while prosecuting homicides. In 2020, Melba was the progressive candidate for Miami-Dade State Attorney, garnering close to 154,000 votes as a first-time candidate from across party lines.

Melba is a frequent guest lecturer on a wide array of law enforcement concerns. She lectured nationwide to prosecutors on behalf of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA). She also served as adjunct faculty for the University of Phoenix and Bryant and Stratton College, teaching law to undergraduate as well as master’s students. A prolific writer and blogger, she has published numerous popular and scholarly articles on topics including police encounters, domestic violence, crimes against women, criminal trial procedure, along with everyday legal issues. Publications that have profiled, featured or quoted her include The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, Essence Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Miami Herald, and Ebony Magazine. She has also been a guest on national media regarding legal trends. Melba is a highly sought-after public speaker known for her lively and engaging speaking style at corporate, industry and academic events. She has spoken on and moderated panels for the American Bar Association, the National Black Prosecutors Association, the (Miami) Dade County Bar Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. In 2020, Melba edited and authored the book “Can They Do That? Understanding Prosecutorial Discretion” (ABA Book Publishing). Lastly, she is the author of a blog on the topics of real life and the law at The Resident Legal Diva.

Melba is extensively involved in various community groups, and has taken every opportunity to spread the messages of the dangers of domestic violence, as well as the importance of self-empowerment. She has taken on a leadership/mentoring role in several charity organizations. She is the Past President of the National Black Prosecutors Association (NBPA), and President of the NBPA Foundation; Co-Chair of the Prosecution Function Committee of the American Bar Association; as well as Past President of the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association in South Florida.

A New York native, Melba has called Miami home for over 20 years. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Metropolitan Studies at New York University, she completed her studies at Hofstra University (now Maurice Dean) School of Law.

Twitter

Ana Carazo

Florida International University

About Ana
Ana Carazo Johanning is a graduate in law from the Law Faculty of the University of Costa Rica, with a Master’s in International Criminal Law and Justice Administration from the Washington College of Law, American University in Washington, DC. Before joining the CAJ, she served in the Costa Rican Public Defender’s Judiciary Department for nine years.

She has served as Deputy Director of the Center for the Administration of Justice since 1992. In this capacity, Dr. Carazo has been responsible for the administration and supervision of projects implemented by CAJ in the field of administration of justice in diverse Latin American countries

Lin Liu

Florida International University

About Lin

Dr.Liu’s research and expertise revolves around criminal justice actors’ focal concerns, criminal offending trajectories, the heterogeneous needs of released prisoners, and quantitative methodologies. Her research has appeared in such journals as Crime & Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, and Sociological Inquiry. Prior to earning her Ph.D., Dr. Liu served seven years as a prosecutor in Beijing, China.

Education
PhD, Criminology, 2020
University of Delaware, Delaware, USA

MA, Criminology, 2016
University of Delaware, Delaware, USA

MS, Statistics, 2020
University of Delaware, Delaware, USA
MA, Law, 2007
University of Science and Technology Beijing, China
BA, Law, 2001
Hebei University of Technology, China

Twitter

Branden DuPont

Medical College of Wisconsin

About Branden
Branden DuPont is a data analyst at the Medical College of Wisconsin. His work revolves around using analytics to address social problems with a focus on criminal and civil justice policy. Current and completed projects include building a statewide database of Wisconsin Criminal Cases, applying NLP methods to analyze sentencing, and developing a method to evaluate statewide recidivism. He also built out a project tracking evictions in the City of Milwaukee which has been featured by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Next City, and the Sunlight Foundation. You can view the project here.

He resides in Riverwest, Milwaukee and more often than not bikes to work – even during the harsh and unforgiving Wisconsin winters.

Education
BA, Political Science, 2013

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Twitter

David Olson

Loyola University Chicago

About David
David Olson is a Professor in the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also the Graduate Program Director, and is also the Co-Director (with Diane Geraghty, Loyola School of Law) of Loyola’s interdisciplinary Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice. Previously Dr. Olson served as the Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and as Director of Loyola’s interdisciplinary Forensic Science Program. Dr. Olson currently serves as the Chairperson for the advisory boards of the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice through separate gubernatorial appointments. In 2015, David was appointed as a Commissioner to the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform

For nearly 20 years, Dr. Olson worked at the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, where he was the director of Illinois’ Statewide Drug and Violent Crime Control Strategy Impact Evaluation Program and was responsible for overseeing the evaluation and monitoring of federally funded drug control efforts in the State of Illinois. For six years, Dr. Olson served as a Special Assistant to the Cook County Sheriff through a cooperative agreement between Loyola and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. David has served as staff to the Illinois Governor’s Task Force on Crime and Corrections (1992-1993), the Illinois Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice (1994-1996), the Illinois Truth-in-Sentencing Commission (1996-1998), the Illinois Governor’s Community Safety and Prisoner Re-Entry Management Workgroup/Commission (2004-2006), and the Illinois Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee (2007-2010), and in 2015 was appointed as a Commissioner to the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. Dr. Olson has worked with a variety of federal, state and local agencies to develop and evaluate programs and policies, particularly in the area of community and institutional corrections, during his 29 years in the field of criminal justice.

Dr. Olson has published more than 100 articles, research bulletins and research reports, and has made more than 100 presentations at professional conferences and training symposia. Some of David’s most recent research has been published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, Women and Criminal Justice, and Justice Research and Policy. David currently serves as the editor for the Justice Research and Statistics Association’s peer-reviewed journal, Justice Research and Policy. Dr. Olson received his B.S. in Criminal Justice from Loyola University Chicago, his M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Political Science/Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was the recipient of the Assistant United States Attorney General’s Graduate Research Fellowship. In 2015 Dr. Olson received the John Howard Association Outstanding Research Contributions Award, and in 2011 he received the Hans W. Mattick Award for outstanding accomplishments in the field of criminology and criminal justice research from the Illinois Academy of Criminology.

Education
PhD, Political Science/Public Policy Analysis, 1996

University of Illinois, Chicago

MA, Criminal Justice, 1991

University of Illinois, Chicago

BS, Criminal Justice, 1988

University of Illinois, Chicago

© 2020 Prosecutorial Performance Indicators. All Rights Reserved.

Website by Pinnacle Graphics