NOW at 3pm on TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2020
AS CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, we are on the front line in a criminal system that tears apart Black communities through violence and incarceration, and we are uniquely situated to dismantle it. MACDL’s Racial Justice Task Force Meeting will be TUESDAY, JUNE 30th at 3pm. After a brief introduction, all participants will attend the breakout room of their choice.
The Breakout Rooms
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE Austin Tzeng and Aviva Jeruchim
Few institutions have greater power to create progressive social change than our legislature. But will they? What can we do? In this breakout session, we will discuss changes to the law to promote racial justice by demilitarizing the police, ending no-knock warrants, promoting law enforcement transparency, limiting the cases where police can make arrests, creating a right to counsel at clerk’s hearings, and lobbying our legislators to ensure they share our vision for a more just society.
COURT RULES AND REFORM Luke Ryan and Victoria Bonilla
Race neutral procedural rules and standing orders oblivious to racial realities perpetuate racial injustice. In this breakout session, we will explore possibilities for changing court rules and standing orders to combat racism in the wake of the SJC’s call for action, including in the areas of diverse venires, jury voir dire, summonses for arraignment, and others.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Christian Williams and Shira Diner
A commitment to working towards racial justice requires both internal reflection and an openness to learn from others. In this breakout session we explore both avenues by discussing what we as a defense bar can do internally to help dismantle white supremacy and how we work with community groups and other organizations to further our goals and those of our clients.
DATA COLLECTIONMona Igram and Ruth O’Meara-Costello
We have the ability to generate or obtain data about racism in policing and the justice system, and use that data to make change. In this breakout session we explore public records, Court Watch initiatives, publicly available data and studies. We will also focus on how MACDL can assist with data collection, dissemination, and use, by creating databases and by acting as a complainant in complaints against racist judges, prosecutors and others.
FEDERAL PRACTICE Jane Peachy and Bill Fick
At a time of mass protest about racial injustice in the criminal legal system, the Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office is doubling down on their prosecutions targeting people of color and often undermining progress being made in state courts. Change in federal court is slow and daunting but not impossible. In this breakout session, we will brainstorm sources of racial injustice in federal court including jury voir dire, decisions of detention, RICO prosecutions and gang databases, and others.
STRATEGIC LITIGATION Victoria Kelleher and John Swomley
In almost every case where our black clients are charged with assault and battery on a police officer or resisting arrest, our clients are the ones who have suffered violence at the hands of the police. In this breakout session, we will look at how we wish to effect change through strategic litigation of this and other race-based claims, including all motions needed to employ experts, obtain data and third party records, file Equal Protection claims and motions to dismiss, obtain diverse jury pools and jury voir dire, as well as how MACDL can assist with denials of motions and otherwise provide ongoing support.
The meeting is for criminal defense attorneys only and you will be required to sign in. Please join us to learn more about our initiatives, share ideas of your own, and decide together how we can build a powerful anti-racist coalition. For Zoom login information, contact me.