Panel III

Economic Liberty in Criminal Justice: Business Crimes and Economic Sanctions

Although criminal justice is often associated with non-economic issues—such as those raised by violent crimes and long prison sentences—the system regularly implicates individual economic liberty. This is seen in the prohibition and prosecution of certain commercial and financial interactions, sometimes holding individuals strictly liable for their actions even in the absence of force, fraud, or direct harm. In turn, the government may impose a variety of economic sanctions for purported wrongdoing, with fines, fees, and forfeitures levied in legal processes which often seem bereft of basic procedural protections. This panel will explore these and other criminal justice issues and the implications for individual economic liberty. 


Moderator and Panelists


MODERATOR - Judge Elizabeth L. Branch (U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit)

On March 20, 2018, Judge Elizabeth L. Branch (Lisa) was sworn in as a United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.

Judge Branch attended and graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina (B.A., cum laude, 1990), and Emory University School of Law (J.D., with distinction, 1994).  After graduating from law school, Judge Branch served as a federal law clerk to The Honorable J. Owen Forrester of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia from 1994 to 1996. Following her clerkship, Judge Branch joined the litigation department of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP in Atlanta where she was first an associate and then a partner. 

From 2004-2008, Judge Branch was a senior official in the Administration of President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C. She served first as the Associate General Counsel for Rules and Legislation at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and then as the Counselor to the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the U. S. Office of Management and Budget.   She returned to Smith Gambrell in 2008 as a litigation partner.  Judge Branch then was appointed as the 77th judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia by Governor Nathan Deal, taking office on September 4, 2012, where she served until March 19, 2018.

Judge Branch is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Atlanta Lawyers Chapter for the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. She served on the Emory University Board of Visitors from 2015 through 2018 and currently serves on the Emory Law Advisory Board. She served on the Georgia Commission on Child Support from 2013 to 2017. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia's Appellate Practice Section and is a Master in the Lamar American Inn of Court and the Bleckley American Inn of Court. Judge Branch is a former Co-Chair of the Homeland Security and National Defense Committee of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association. She was selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers in 2012.

Relevant Articles, Cases, etc.:

  1. Coming soon!
  2. Coming soon!

PANELIST - Prof. Erik Luna (ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law)

Erik Luna is the Amelia D. Lewis Professor of Constitutional and Criminal Law in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Professor Luna teaches and writes primarily in the areas of criminal law and criminal procedure. Luna has received two Fulbright awards. In 2000, he served as the senior Fulbright Scholar to New Zealand at Victoria University Law School (Wellington, NZ). In 2016-17, he was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Birmingham (Birmingham, UK). Luna has also been a visiting scholar with the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg, DE), a visiting professor with the Cuban Society of Penal Sciences (Havana, CU), a visiting professional in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (The Hague, NL), and a research fellow with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn, DE). Prior to coming to ASU, Luna was the Sydney & Frances Lewis Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, and before that, he was the Hugh B. Brown Chair in Law at the University of Utah. Luna is a member of the American Law Institute and an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California and received his J.D. with honors from Stanford Law School. Upon graduation, Luna was a prosecutor in the San Diego District Attorney’s Office and a fellow and lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

Relevant Articles, Cases, etc.:

  1. “Mandatory Minimalism”, 32 Cardozo L. Rev. 1 (2010) (with Paul Cassell).
  2. “The Overcriminalization Phenomenon”, 54 Am. U.L. Rev. 703 (2005).

PANELIST - Prof. Beth A. Colgan (UCLA School of Law)

Beth Colgan is Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. Her primary research and teaching interests are in criminal law and procedure and juvenile justice. Prior to joining the Law School, she was a Thomas C. Grey Fellow and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School. Professor Colgan earned her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, where she was Note and Comment Editor of the Northwestern Law Review, a member of the National Moot Court Team, and the recipient of the Wigmore Key award. After law school, she worked as an associate for Perkins Coie LLP (2000-05), where she litigated a variety of matters in federal and state court and engaged in extensive pro bono work focusing primarily on access to competent indigent defense counsel in rural Washington and post-conviction representation of juveniles tried in adult criminal courts. From 2006-11, Professor Colgan worked as the Managing Attorney of the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services, representing juveniles and adults confined in prisons, jails, mental health facilities, and immigration detention in civil rights litigation, collateral appeals, and legislative advocacy. Professor Colgan has been recognized for her work on criminal and juvenile justice reform, including the Washington State Bar Association Thomas Neville Pro Bono Award, the Northwestern University Children & Family Justice Center Alumni Award, and the Stanford Law School Pro Bono Distinction Award. She continues to serve the criminal justice community as a consultant on issues related to punishment, access to counsel, and juvenile justice.

Relevant Articles, Cases, etc.:

  1. “The Excessive Fines Clause: Challenging the Modern Debtors’ Prison”, 65 UCLA L. Rev. 2 (2018).
  2. “Graduating Economic Sanctions According to Ability to Pay”, 103 Iowa L. Rev. 53 (2017).

PANELIST - Ms. Christina Sandefur (Executive Vice President, Goldwater Institute)

Christina Sandefur is Executive Vice President at the Goldwater Institute. She also develops policies and litigates cases advancing healthcare freedom, free enterprise, private property rights, free speech, and taxpayer rights. Christina has won important victories for property rights in Arizona and works nationally to promote the Institute's Private Property Rights Protection Act, a state-level reform that requires government to pay owners when regulations destroy property rights and reduce property values. She is also a co-drafter of the 40-state Right to Try initiative, now federal law, which protects terminally ill patients' right to try safe investigational treatments that have been prescribed by their physician but are not yet FDA approved for market. Christina is the co-author of the book Cornerstone of Liberty: Private Property Rights in 21st Century America (2016). She is a frequent guest on national television and radio programs, has provided expert legal testimony to various legislative committees, and is a frequent speaker at conferences. Christina is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law and Hillsdale College.

Relevant Articles, Cases, etc.:

  1. “Turning Homeowners into Outlaws: How Anti-Home-Sharing Regulations Chip Away at the Foundation of an American Dream”, 39 Hawaii L. Rev. 395 (2017).

PANELIST - Mr. Peter Wallison (Senior Fellow and Program Co-director, American Enterprise Institute)

Peter J. Wallison, a codirector of AEI’s program on financial policy studies, researches banking, insurance, and securities regulation. As general counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department, he had a significant role in the development of the Reagan administration’s proposals for the deregulation of the financial services industry. He also served as White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan and is the author of Hidden in Plain Sight (2015), and Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency (Westview Press, 2002). His other books include Competitive Equity: A Better Way to Organize Mutual Funds (2007); Privatizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks (2004); The GAAP Gap: Corporate Disclosure in the Internet Age (2000); and Optional Federal Chartering and Regulation of Insurance Companies (2000). He also writes for AEI’s Financial Services Outlook series.

He received his B.A. from Harvard University and L.L.B. from Havard Law School


  • Cochair, Financial Reform Task Force, 2009
  • Member, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, 2009
  • Member, Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, 1991-2009
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 2007-2008
  • Partner, Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, 1987-98, 1985-86
  • Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, 1986-87
  • General Counsel, U.S. Treasury Department, 1981-85
  • Partner, Roger & Wells, 1977-81
  • Special Assistant to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller; Counsel during Rockefeller’s Vice Presidency, 1972-76