Candace Ray Jackson-Akiwumi is President Biden's nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The court's area of authority includes Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. This profile is based on the completed Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees Jackson-Akiwumi submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is expected to appear Wednesday, April 28, before the committee for a hearing.
Name: Candace Ray Jackson-Akiwumi
Nominated to: Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Nomination date: March 30, 2021
Law School – Yale Law School
Undergrad – Princeton University
High School - None listed
2020-present Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, Washington, D.C.
2010-2020 Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois, Inc.
American Bar Association
Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago
Federal Bar Association
National Association of Federal Defenders
Women's White Collar Defense Association
Chicago Coalition for Law-Related Education Volunteer Mock Trial Coach
(2009, 2010, 2015)
Diaspora! Rhythms (art collectors' organization) (2013 - 2020)
Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom Volunteer (2005 -2006)
Election Protection Chicago Legal Committee (2008)
Ladies of Virtue (girls' mentoring organization) Annual Fundraiser Host Committee (2017, 2018)
Princeton Club of Chicago (Various positions, 2006-2020)
Princeton Club of Washington (2020-present)
Princeton University Alumni Council (Various positions, 2015-2020)
Princeton University Class of 2000 Millennial Lecture Series Committee (2010)
West Point Missionary Baptist Church (Legal ministry, 2013-2019; writer, "The Point" (2013-2014)
Yale Law School Association of Illinois Steering Committee (2008-2020)
Yale Law School Class of 2005 (Reunion social chair, 2020; reunion co-chair, 2010)
Yale Law School Executive Committee Term Member (2019-12)
Yale Law Women Summer Alumni Mentor (2013 - 2015)
Judicial offices held: 0
Previous public office, political activities, and affiliations: None
Previous involvement in political campaigns:
On one occasion in 2008, I volunteered at a phone bank for Barack Obama's campaign for President of the United States. My responsibility was to call voters. I did not have a title.
Legal experience as an advocate in criminal litigation, civil litigation, administrative proceedings:
Engaged in complex civil litigation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which she joined in 2007.
My billable matters involved contracts, tax, privacy, securities, and patent infringement. My pro bono matters involved adoption, civil rights, criminal law, tort law, and immigration at the trial and appellate level, in federal and state court, and before administrative bodies....
During my decade as a federal defender, I represented over 400 clients accused of federal crimes at every stage of the process, from investigation to trial and pre-trial proceedings,
sentencing, and appeal, including petitions for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. In case types ranging from fraud to firearms, I successfully advised grand jury witness appearances, negotiated pleas, and achieved hundreds of mitigated sentences. I tried
seven federal jury trials. I briefed and argued five more appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit....
Handles civil and criminal cases at Zuckerman Spaeder.
Percent of practice in: Federal courts, 80%; state courts, 17%; other courts, 0%; administrative agencies, 3%
Percent of practice in: Civil proceedings, 34%; criminal proceedings, 66%.
Number of cases tried to verdict: Eight, all jury trials.
Describe the 10 most significant litigated matters you handled (WJI is picking the first four listed. All four originated in the Northern District of Illinois):
1. United States v. Brown, No. 12 CR 632-1
From 2012 to 2018, I represented Mr. Brown, who was charged with, among other things, conspiracy to rob a fictitious drug stash house. In 2013, I and two attorneys in a related case began challenging the pattern of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in bringing these cases largely against African-American and Latino defendants. The groundbreaking discovery litigation we initiated attracted the attention of the University of Chicago's Federal Criminal Justice Clinic. In 2014, the clinic joined the effort and spearheaded (1) the filing of a Motion to Dismiss for Racially Selective Law Enforcement in 12 pending cases on behalf of 43 defendants and (2) the retention of an expert statistician to support defendants' position and testify at an unprecedented nine-judge evidentiary hearing in 2017. In 2018, the
district court denied defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Nonetheless, the course of events
resulted in favorable plea offers to all defendants and my client was sentenced to time
served. The litigation also resulted in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois no longer charging fictitious stash house cases.
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