#BLACK LIVES MATTER: ARE POLICE BODY-WORN CAMERAS THE SOLUTION?

Lelia A. James*

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Introduction

There is a need for police reform here in the United States. The violent policing of Black men, women, queer, trans, disabled, undocumented, etc. is an example of how Black lives are continuously disvalued. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter gained mass public awareness after the police killed the unarmed Black men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, MI,[1] Freddie Gray in Baltimore, MD,[2] and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY.[3] Black Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be killed by police officers.[4] The #BlackLivesMatter chapter-based organization is creating a movement that aims to put an end to disvaluing Black lives. They have a ten-point plan called “Campaign Zero.”[5] Campaign Zero is a police reform campaign that recommends policies and proposals different state legislatures should consider and enact.[6] One of the tools listed to help end violent policing is the use of body cameras on police officers while they are on duty.[7]

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WHEN CAUSATION IS TOO “ROBUST”: DISPARATE IMPACT IN THE CROSSHAIRS IN DE REYES


Nick Bourland
*

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Introduction

As Justice Kennedy recently noted, “[d]e jure residential segregation by race was declared unconstitutional almost a century ago, but its vestiges remain today, intertwined with the country’s economic and social life.”[1] In order to effectively combat the full range of contemporary housing discrimination, including its more evolved forms, such as predatory lending[2] and discriminatory rezoning plans,[3] plaintiffs must be able to plead Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) claims under the disparate impact theory.[4]

After decades of use nationwide, disparate impact was definitively endorsed by the Supreme Court for FHA claims in 2015.[5] However, the endorsement came with a caveat—a poorly defined “robust causality requirement.”[6] As detailed below, this heightened causation standard haphazardly blurs the line between disparate impact and disparate treatment, leaving plaintiffs’ well-plead FHA claims in jeopardy of dismissal.

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FRIEDRICHS V. CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: A PYRRHIC VICTORY FOR UNIONS

Matthew T. McDonough

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Introduction

The U.S. Supreme Court’s March 29, 2016 per curiam decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association means that, for a time, unions have won the battle.[1] But the question concerning the lawfulness of fair share fees, crucial to the feasibility of collective bargaining, will undoubtedly return to the Court. Spearheaded by the Center for Individual Rights and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund, two conservative non-profit law firms,[2] union opponents are dedicated to stripping public unions of their right to charge non-members for collective bargaining negotiation and other services rendered.[3] This jeopardizes thousands of collective bargaining agreements across the country and not just those in the public sector.[4]

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A ROBUST DEFENSE: THE CRITICAL COMPONENTS FOR A REIMAGINED FAMILY DEFENSE PRACTICE

Kara R. Finck[1]

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At its core, family defense protects the legal relationship between a parent and their child, one of the most intimate, complicated, and nuanced relationships in practice and under the law. Family defenders represent parents and caregivers accused of neglect or abuse of their children in family and dependency courts. While the process of individual representation may appear straightforward, the ideals of family defense incorporate an explicit recognition of the social determinants that bring families into the child welfare system in the first place, including poverty, substance abuse, and untreated mental health issues. Although much of the attention paid to the child welfare and family court systems is focused on children and their placement in foster care, family defenders understand that any intervention by the child welfare agency and family court system has a profound impact on children and families. Often referred to as attorneys for parents, in literal contrast to attorneys for children, family defenders advocate beyond the direct representation of an individual client. Even the act of renaming lawyers for parents in abuse and neglect proceedings as “family defenders” as opposed to “parents’ attorneys” highlights the potential impact and scope of this work. Inherently, family defense practice incorporates legal advocacy that supports, strengthens, and stabilizes the client’s family, consequently promoting better outcomes for children.

This article posits that there are three critical components which should be included in any family defense practice model designed for advocating for parents and children in the child welfare and family court systems. A robust family defense is defined not only by its commitment to the zealous defense of clients, including all of the legal tools available in litigation, but also by its recognition of the unique context of family defense, which incorporates social services, community engagement, and anti-poverty lawyering into a comprehensive response for parents in family court.

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Family Defense in the Age of Black Lives Matter

Erin Cloud, Rebecca Oyama & Lauren Teichner[1]

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One hundred years from now, today’s child welfare system will surely be condemned as a racist institution—one that compounded the effects of discrimination on Black families by taking children from their parents, allowing them to languish in a damaging foster care system or to be adopted by more privileged people. School children will marvel that so many scholars and politicians defended this devastation of Black families in the name of protecting Black children. The color of America’s child welfare system is the reason Americans have tolerated its destructiveness.

Dorothy Roberts, Shattered Bonds (2012)

“Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)

Introduction[2]

All families have a constitutional right to be together, free from the unwarranted interference of third parties, particularly the state. This is an intrinsic human right that encompasses the right of parents to the “custody, care and nurture of [their] child[ren]”[3] and the parallel right of children to be raised by and live with their parents.[4] This fundamental right recognizes the inherent value in family ties, which provide a connection to culture and identity, and serve as a protective social bond. Of course, the government must be permitted to pursue measures to ensure the protection – and even the adoption – of children for whom it is ultimately deemed too unsafe to return home. But any such interference into the family structure, particularly the drastic step of taking children from their families, should be the exception to the rule and not the norm of child protective practices.

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A HYBRID MODEL FOR FAMILY DEFENSE: COMBINING A PUBLIC INTEREST LAW FIRM, A LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM AND A POWERFUL PRO BONO NETWORK TO FORGE CUTTING-EDGE LEGAL ADVOCACY FOR FAMILIES IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

Diane L. Redleaf[1]

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A. Introduction to the Family Defense Center’s Model for Family Defense

This article discusses the key ingredients to the success of an unusual family defense organization, the Chicago-based Family Defense Center (the “Center”), which I founded in 2005 after a long career at both a legal services office and a public interest law firm. The Center uses a hybrid public interest law firm/legal services/pro bono network model, along with a sliding scale fee-for-service program, to fulfill its mission of advocating for justice for families in the child welfare system. The Center is devoted to addressing the needs of families, especially families who are targets of child protection investigations. By design, the Center works in a unique and highly specialized niche. But because child protection investigations arise from a wide range of allegations against family members, from domestic violence, to medically complex cases involving fractures and head injuries, to claims of sexual abuse, the practical and substantive expertise of the Center is very broad.

In addition to representing family members in 400 to 600 individual direct service cases each year, the Center has been counsel in over a dozen federal civil rights cases and has won many precedential appellate cases.[2] Center-created precedents have tightened vague definitions of child neglect, set limits on the removal of children based on constitutional grounds, limited presumptions of abuse in medically complex cases, created strong due process rights limiting child abuse and neglect findings against parents and family members, and protected people who work with children from the blacklisting that follows from a wrongful child abuse or neglect finding.[3] Thousands of families have benefited from the Center’s systemic reform work, including the direct exoneration of over 26,000 people from the Illinois Child Abuse Registry through a 2013 Illinois Supreme Court decision and a class action suit that followed it.[4] The Center’s overall individual hearing win rate is approximately 80%.[5]

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Medical Marijuana Post-McIntosh

Robert L. Greenberg[1]

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Introduction

On August 16, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision on a series of cases relating to businesses and individuals in the state-legal cannabis business. In United States v. McIntosh,[2] the Court heard ten cases challenging the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution of medical marijuana patients. These cases involved criminal defendants who were charged with violations of federal narcotics laws while ostensibly in compliance with the laws of their respective states.[3] The court determined that federal law prohibits the prosecution of these cases when the defendants are otherwise in compliance with state law. The impact of this decision is discussed infra.

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WHAT PUBLIC DEFENDERS DON’T (HAVE TO) TELL THEIR CLIENTS

Steven Zeidman[1]

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Introduction

New York State courts, like many other state and federal courts, have seen an increase in cases that pit lawyer versus client; where the lawyer wanted to proceed in one way and the client wanted to go in another direction. The resulting decisions, often inconsistent and irreconcilable, reflect the difficulties in navigating the lawyer-client relationship.

Recently, the New York Court of Appeals again waded directly into the muddy waters of attorney versus client decision-making.[2] On the face of it, the Court was deciding whether counsel needed his client’s consent before telling the prosecutor that his client would not exercise his statutory right to testify in the Grand Jury.[3] However, lurking beneath the surface are the larger and related questions of who, between lawyer and client, has ultimate decision-making power, and what information lawyers must provide clients about their rights.

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Morales-Santana Before the U.S. Supreme Court: Gender Discrimination in Derivative Citizenship with Consequences for Gender Equity, Parental Responsibility and Children’s Well Being

Professor Janet Calvo[1]

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On November 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Lynch v. Morales-Santana.[2] The case directly addresses the constitutionality of gender differences in the acquisition of U.S. citizenship by statute through parentage.[3] But the case is infused with issues about the historical record of discrimination based in gender, non-marital birth, race and imperialism in U.S. law. The outcome of the case will be legally and socially significant because of the standards the Court may apply to gender discrimination and to a remedy for discrimination in the context of citizenship and because of the societal message sent regarding parental responsibility for non-marital children grounded in gender stereotypes.

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THE MANY MEANINGS OF MONTGOMERY V. LOUISIANA: HOW THE SUPREME COURT REDEFINED RETROACTIVITY AND MILLER V. ALABAMA

Brandon Buskey*

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Introduction

Henry Montgomery has survived the remarkable arc of the Supreme Court’s evolution juvenile sentencing. In 1970, Louisiana sentenced him to die in prison for the murder of a police officer, a crime he committed when he was seventeen years old.[1] The sentence was mandatory, and it was perfectly legal. At that time it was also perfectly legal to execute juveniles. A generation later, the Supreme Court barred the execution of children under age sixteen in 1988,[2] but the next year refused to extend the bar to all juveniles.[3] Not until 2005 did the Court exempt all juveniles from the death penalty.[4] In half a decade, the Court ruled that juveniles could not be imprisoned for life without any possibility of release for non-homicides.[5] A mere two years later, yet forty-six years after Mr. Montgomery’s conviction, the Court declared, in Miller v. Alabama,[6] that mandatory life sentences like Mr. Montgomery’s were unconstitutional.

Miller confirmed the lessons of these prior decisions that children’s youth and immaturity make them categorically different for sentencing purposes, and that life imprisonment without parole is akin to the death penalty for juveniles. Thus, automatically sentencing children to a lifetime of imprisonment “poses too great a risk of disproportionate punishment.”[7] The Eighth Amendment’s protection against “cruel and usual punishments” therefore prohibits such sentences.

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