Faculty Director

Rachel Barkow is Faculty Director of the Center. She is also Vice Dean and the Charles Seligson Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. Barkow is the author of Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration and numerous articles on criminal justice policy. She is also the co-author on one of the country’s leading criminal law casebooks and is recognized as one of the country’s leading experts on criminal law and policy. Barkow previously served as a Commissioner on the United States Sentencing Commission from 2013-2019. She has worked on sentencing and clemency reform and has been asked to testify before Congress numerous times on these topics. You can follow her on Twitter @RachelBarkow. 

Executive Director

Courtney Oliva is Executive Director of the Zimroth Center. In that capacity, she has worked with organizations dedicated to criminal legal reform, including prosecutor reform groups, on issues relating to conviction integrity units, sentencing reform, executive clemency, mental health reforms, and prosecutorial culture change. She recently served as a member of the Justice 2020 committee for Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and has co-taught a seminar on criminal legal reform and the district attorney’s office. Courtney has experience as both a federal and state prosecutor and investigated a variety of federal and state crimes, including violent crime and drug offenses, theft of government funds, grand larceny schemes to defraud Medicaid, and endangerment and criminally negligent homicide. Prior to government service, she spent several years in private practice representing individual and corporate clients in government, regulatory, and internal investigations, and securities litigation. She received her BA from Brown University and her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.


Research Fellows

Patricia Cummings is currently a Research Scholar with the Zimroth Center. She has practiced criminal and juvenile law for over 30 years and has been board-certified in both specialties for over 20 years. Over the course of her career, she has served in almost every role of the criminal legal system – from a brief stint as a juvenile judge and executive director of a non-profit to a prosecutor, defense attorney, policy specialist and teacher.

In 1991, Patricia began her career as a briefing attorney for the Eighth District Court of Appeals in El Paso, Texas. She then went to work for the Williamson County Attorney's Office in Georgetown, Texas as the County Juvenile Prosecutor. Patricia next transitioned into private practice where she focused her attention on criminal and juvenile defense. From 2002 to 2014, she taught at the Criminal Defense Clinic at the University of Texas, School of Law.

She has since become a national leader in the exoneration and conviction integrity arena, most recently serving as Supervisor of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit. Prior to that, she was Special Fields Bureau Chief of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit, Director of Policy and Litigation for the Innocence Project of Texas and General Counsel for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Patricia also helped secure criminal discovery reform in Texas with the passage of the Michael Morton Act in 2013 after having served as a pro bono member of Michael Morton’s legal team.

Patricia grew up in El Paso, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas and the University of Houston Law Center.