Represent Justice Ambassador and Deputy Director of the Louisiana Parole Project
Kerry is an award winning journalist and Deputy Director of Louisiana Parole Project, a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation and residential reentry services to parole eligible persons sentenced to life in prison while children, other eligible life-sentenced persons, and those who have been incarcerated 20 years or more with demonstrable records of rehabilitation. The organization has served more than 150 clients in its nearly four years of operation who have gone on to become productive members of their communities.
In April 1990, Kerry was convicted at a trial riddled with misconduct and since-discredited expert testimony and sentenced to life without parole for second degree murder. Kerry, the victim’s family, and the investigating detective, among others, steadfastly maintained his innocence. After fighting for exoneration for 27 years, Kerry was unanimously recommended for commutation and immediate release by the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole in September 2013. Then-governor Bobby Jindal left office in January 2016 without taking action on his and dozens of other recommendations. Ten months later, on October 15, Kerry received a second unanimous recommendation, and, on December 21, 2016, it was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards and he was freed.
While incarcerated, Kerry edited the national award-winning Angolite magazine. For its coverage of the death penalty, children sentenced to life without parole, and criminal justice reform issues, he was recognized with the 2007 Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award, the PASS Award for Journalism in 2011, and three APEX Awards of Excellence for Magazine and Journal Writing. In October 2020 his feature article, “View From A Windowless Room,” was recognized by the Press Club of New Orleans.
Kerry is also contributing author on the 2019 critically-acclaimed “The Meaning of Life,” with Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis of the Washington, D.C.-based policy group, The Sentencing Project. He has guest lectured at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communications and the University of Michigan Law School, and has spoken extensively on justice issues and the media. His articles have been published by the Marshall Project, the Bayou Brief, 64 Parishes and others. He continues to consult, write and speak nationally about justice issues.
“To me, justice is the law mixed with mercy, fairness and equity. A lost ethos that we have to relearn to do.”