California Bar Foundation's curated briefing on what's driving the social justice conversation
in California and across the country.
California Bar Foundation's curated briefing on what's driving the social justice conversation
in California and across the country.
TOP NEWS San Francisco judge issues DACA injunction, forces Administration to continue accepting applications
The order issued late Tuesday by U.S. District Judge William Alsup says safeguards against deportation must remain in place for the nearly 690,000people in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while a legal challenge to ending the program proceeds.
It remained unclear Wednesday when the DACA recipients, who were brought to this country illegally as children and are known as “dreamers,” could resume applying for renewals of their work permits as a result of the California ruling, which Alsup said should apply nationwide. Advocates said it would depend on the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the program.
The Trump administration has vowed to challenge Alsup’s ruling.
“They can’t go back and renew today,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “We expect there to be a lot of confusion in communities about what that means.”
Alsup did not rule on the merits of the case, but he said that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on their claims that the decision was “arbitrary and capricious” and would suffer irreparable harm — immigrants could lose their jobs, and companies and universities could lose valuable students and workers — if the Trump administration ended DACA before the legal dispute is resolved.
“Plaintiffs have clearly demonstrated that they are likely to suffer serious irreparable harm absent an injunction,” Alsup wrote. “Before DACA, Individual Plaintiffs, brought to America as children, faced a tough set of life and career choices turning on the comparative probabilities of being deported versus remaining here. DACA gave them a more tolerable set of choices, including joining the mainstream workforce.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra brought the San Francisco lawsuit, joined by the attorneys general for Maine, Maryland and Minnesota, as well as the University of California, DACA recipients and others. California is home to the largest group of DACA recipients — about 200,000 people.
Alsup’s ruling is “an affirmation of the principle that no one is above the law,” Becerra said in a telephone interview. “We said it from the very beginning: Donald Trump and this administration did not follow the rules in trying to abandon the DACA program.”
Article by Washington Post. Read More Here>>>
Speaking of… Throwing out 200,000 Salvadorians is shortsighted and cruel
The following editorial as written by Raul A. Reyes, an attorney and member of the USA Today board of contributors
Time's up, start packing. That's the message the Trump administration announced on Monday for nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador who have been living here under a humanitarian program known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS -- some for almost 17 years.
TPS allows people who are already in the United States to work and enjoy temporary legal status because of war, natural disasters or epidemics in their home countries.
Salvadorans qualified for this designation after a pair of devastating earthquakes rocked their country in 2001.
To be clear, the Salvadorans affected by this decision are not undocumented immigrants. They have a right to be here, thanks to a decision by then-President George W. Bush that they qualified for TPS protection in 2001. These protections have since been renewed several times.
The reasoning behind TPS is that it protects people from having to return to countries that are in crisis. Other countries that have qualified for TPS over the years include ravaged locales likeBosnia, Somalia and Kuwait. Salvadorans who benefit from the program now have until September 2019 to find a way to adjust their status, or they must leave the country.
One difficulty facing Salvadoran TPS recipients is that, because their protections have been renewed for so long, they now have roots here. A 2017 University of Kansas survey of 261,000 Salvadoran, Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS recipients found that most were contributing to the United States as taxpayers, business owners and homeowners. And 83.2% of men and 54.9% of women were working full time.
And to complicate matters, after almost two decades in the United States, Salvadoran TPS recipients are parents to about 190,000 US-citizen children. Now these Salvadoran parents face a wrenching decision. Do they make arrangements to leave the United States without their kids, or do they take them back to El Salvador, a country they have never known?
The decision to end TPS for Salvadorans will likely have tragic, unintended consequences as well. If families decide to return home, their children will be in grave danger. Young men in El Salvador are frequently targeted for recruitment by brutal gangs, while young womenface the danger of sexual violence (for the past few years, El Salvador has been listed as one of the deadliest places in the world for women).
Congress could address this problem, passing legislation to create a path to citizenship for these Salvadorans. But in the current political climate, this seems unlikely. Just consider that the Trump administration has already ended TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans, and terminated DACA for immigrant youth last year -- and Congress, though in negotiation with the President -- has yet to successfully act on behalf of any of these groups.
Editorial published by CNN. Read More Here>>>
Perspective Don’t let harassers like Kozinski off the hook just because they resign
The following editorial was written by Katherine Ku, a California Bar Foundation Board Member and partner in the Los Angeles office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. She clerked for Kozinski from 2003 to 2004 and for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from 2004 to 2005.
I clerked for Kozinski in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit 14 years ago and found his chambers to be a hostile, demeaning and persistently sexualized environment. I had anticipated an arduous apprenticeship with this brilliant jurist and writer. I did not expect how controlling he would be: wanting to approve the location of my apartment, complaining when his clerks wanted salad for lunch instead of whatever he was having. On one occasion, he crumpled up a printout of an email draft and threw it at me. He regularly diminished women and their accomplishments; when discussing newly selected Supreme Court clerks, he surmised, using a vulgar term, that one was lesbian. On another day, he gestured for me to come over to the computer in his office and asked me to look at a photo — unrelated to any case we were working on — of a nude man. For the rest of my year-long clerkship, I closed the door to my office and communicated with the judge as little as possible.
My experience was mild, though, compared with what other women have reported: how Kozinski showed them pornography on multiple occasions and wanted to know if it turned them on, asked them what people like them did for sex, encouraged them to exercise naked, propositioned them for sex and groped them even after they said no.
I’m glad to see him leave the bench. He should not be in a position to judge cases, including those involving sexual harassment.
Another part of me, however, is frustrated. With his immediate retirement, it appears that he has essentially shut down the federal judiciary’s investigation of his conduct and deflected further revelations in the press. That allows him to disappear, quietly receiving his pension, until the outrage dies down. It allows him a greater chance at redemption.
Have no doubt: Although the #MeToo movement is rightly being celebrated for bringing down men who have abused their power, many of these men are not at the end of their careers. Already, the process of salvage has begun.
It appears that Kozinski’s future in the legal profession almost certainly will be decided without the benefit of a robust investigation. At some point, a law school dean may have to weigh whether to place him in a position of trust over budding legal careers. Law firms may need to assess whether he’d be a fair mediator or arbitrator for their clients’ disputes. And the people making those decisions will have to do so without knowing the full scope of his misconduct.
In the absence of an official inquiry, few additional targets of, or witnesses to, Kozinski’s transgressions are likely to speak publicly. They may not want to be seen as piling on. They may think that the moment to speak is over.
Investigations are not only about defending the rights of the accused. They can be an important forum for victims to air their stories and for witnesses to share what they have seen. They can be critical for determining proportionate punishment and the suitability of redemption. They prevent us from falling back into collective silence.
Editorial published by Washington Post. Read More Here>>>
Top Tweet Kamala Harris becomes first Black woman to serve on Senate Judiciary Committee
#ChangeLawyer How to disrupt and re-imagine the role of a prosecutor
The following article was written by Courtney Oliva, the Executive Director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law @nyucrimlaw. She previously served for several years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of New Jersey and as a Special Assistant Attorney General with the New York State Office of the Attorney General. She graduated from Brown University and the University of Chicago Law School.
San Quentin State Prison is not the first place you’d expect to see San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon or any of the prosecutors who work in his office. But this is where they have quietly spent time over the last several years.
Gascon believes that prosecutors, who exercise a great deal of discretion about charging and sentencing, should hear directly from those serving time. As he explained to NBC Bay Area, “maybe we participated in locking you up, but when you come out, we want to facilitate you coming out and not going back again.”
What George Gascon is acknowledging is not new. Criminal justice reform advocates have long recognized the need to improve the re-entry process for people leaving prisons and jails. But, traditionally, prosecutors have not viewed their roles as extending to the rehabilitation of those they helped to put away. That traditional view is rapidly changing, at least in some District Attorney offices, with the growing national consensus that locking more people up does not necessarily keep the public safer. As Preet Bharara, former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, noted, it is time for prosecutors to move beyond the mentality of “catching bad guys and locking them up,” and instead think in terms of effectiveness; that is, how their actions can be effective at keeping the public safer.
Annually, nearly 650,000 people are released from prison, while over 11 million are released from jails. If prosecutors’ foremost responsibility is public safety, then they should be accountable for how their actions and decisions affect the ability of recently released individuals to successfully re-integrate into their communities. As Kim Ogg, District Attorney of Harris County, Texas, stated, prosecutors “hold the key to the front door of the courthouse and the back door of the jail.”
For example, district attorney offices can encourage line prosecutors to consider creative sentencing options, such as non-custodial and/or suspended, delayed, or split sentences — rather than merely pursuing the harshest sentence available.
Prosecutors should also stop unfairly punishing people who are poor — by supporting individualized bail determinations over bond schedules, and by advocating for abolition of cash bail for low- to-moderate risk defendants. This is exactly what prosecutors are doing in Harris County, Texas, for example, where District Attorney Kim Ogg has gone on record as supporting efforts to reform the County’s bail system.
Finally, prosecutors must use their bully pulpit to raise awareness about the difficulties that formerly incarcerated individuals face. Just speaking out can make a big difference. As the NYU report explains, efforts such as these will help remove barriers to re-entry, reduce the likelihood of recidivism, and, in the process, help to make “America’s cities and towns safer, more vibrant places to live.”
Article by In Justice Today. Read More Here>>>
Second Chances Supreme Court allows Black death row inmate to appeal after discovery of juror’s racist comments
The Supreme Court on Monday gave a black death row inmate in Georgia a chance to challenge his death sentence because a white juror in his case later used a racial epithet in an affidavit and questioned whether black people have souls.
The justices stayed the execution last fall of Keith Leroy Tharpe, who was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of his sister-in-law, Jaquelin Freeman.
Years after his conviction, Tharpe’s attorneys interviewed one of the jurors in his case, Barney Gattie. Gattie told them in a signed statement “there are two types of black people: 1. Black folks and 2. N-----s.”
The Freeman family was in the former category, according to Gattie’s statement. But Tharpe “wasn’t in the ‘good’ black folks category in my book, should get the electric chair for what he did,” he wrote. He added that after “studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls.”
Lower courts turned down Tharpe’s appeals based on Gattie’s statement, which he said had been taken after a long day of drinking. He signed a second affidavit saying race did not enter into his or other jurors’ decision-making, and courts found the jury had not been prejudiced against Tharpe.
The Supreme Court, in an unsigned 6-to-3 opinion, said Tharpe deserved another chance in court.
“Gattie’s remarkable affidavit — which he never retracted — presents a strong factual basis for the argument that Tharpe’s race affected Gattie’s vote for a death verdict,” the court wrote.
“At the very least, jurists of reason could debate whether Tharpe has shown by clear and convincing evidence that the state court’s factual determination was wrong.”
The justices said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta “erred when it concluded otherwise.”
Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s only African American member, objected and was joined by Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch.
Article by Washington Post. Read More Here>>
Fellowship Opportunity KIND hiring legal fellow to represent unaccompanied minors
With support from California Bar Foundation Legal Fellowship Program, KIND seeks a full time Legal Fellow to provide representation to unaccompanied immigrant children living in the Central Valley (primarily Fresno, Kings, Merced, Madera, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Tulare counties).
Fellowship Opportunity Transgender Law Center hiring legal fellow
The Legal Services Project Staff Attorney, a position made possible by California Bar Foundation Legal Fellowship Program, will provide direct legal services to transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people.
Scholarship Opportunity $5000 cash award for 3Ls taking the bar exam
California Bar Foundation is now accepting applications from 3Ls planning on taking the bar exam in February & July of 2018. The scholarship includes a $5000 living stipend.
Job Opportunity California Bar Foundation hiring re-entry Development Officer
At California Bar Foundation, we believe that a state as diverse as California needs a justice system led by advocates of all races and ethnicities. That’s why we invest in the next generation of bright, diverse scholars so that they have the opportunity to enter and succeed in the legal profession—and change the world!
Job Opportunity Root & Rebound hiring re-entry attorney
Root & Rebound’s (R&R)’s mission is to increase access to justice and opportunity for people in the process of reentry from prison and jail, and to educate and empower those who support them, fundamentally advancing and strengthening the reentry infrastructure across the state of California and the country.