The Philadelphia Citizen, 01/15/24: “When A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. was just 17, he started college. When Robert Saleem Holbrook was just 17, he started a life sentence in prison for a crime he committed when he was 16.
Higginbotham went on to become chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, an adjunct professor at Penn and an international civil rights champion.
Holbrook went on to spend the next 27 years in prison, including 10 years in solitary confinement. It wasn’t until 2018, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled life sentences for minors unconstitutional, that Holbrook was released.
In a fitting crossing of paths, Holbrook thinks about Higginbotham every time he comes to work at Penn Carey Law School, where he passes Higginbotham’s portrait on his way to teach a course in Community Lawyering and the Fight to End Mass Incarceration.”