2012/2013 JUSTICE CENTER PROGRAMS
Under the leadership of Hon. George Bundy Smith as chair and Hon. Joseph Kevin McKay as vice chair, the dedicated Justice Center Advisory Board continued to make substantive contributions to issues such as civics education and access to justice.
High School Essay Contest
The High School Essay Contest has been sponsored for many years by the Law-Related Education Committee, chaired by Hon. Richard Lee Price. In May, the Committee presented cash prizes and certificates to public high school students who wrote essays on the 2012 topic: You caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit ball and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball has written you a letter asking you to turn the ball over to him. What are the arguments in support of keeping and turning over the ball? What would you do and why?
2013's topic is: Should a sports team be punished for the improper conduct off the field of its players or coaches?
Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System
On the recommendation of Justice Center Advisory Board member Justice Marcy S. Friedman, a planning committee developed a a major conference on racial disparities in the New York City criminal justice system, focusing on all aspects of the criminal justice process, from plea negotiations to trials and sentencing. The two-day conference at NYCLA in October 2012 was co-sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions. The conference brought together prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, scholars, community leaders, law enforcement officials and formerly incarcerated advocates to develop a menu of practical reforms to reduce racial disparities at different stages of criminal proceedings from arraignments through sentencing.
The Justice Center is focused on the issue of local, national and international trafficking of women and girls for commercial sex purposes. Over the past year, representatives of NYCLA as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at the United Nations, including Barbara T. Rochman, Justice Center Advisory Board member, and Marilyn J. Flood, counsel to NYCLA, have served on the Stop Trafficking in Persons Committee (STIP) and attended programs, such as the annual Commission on the Status of Women session at the U. N., and briefings on the issue of trafficking, at the U. S. Mission to the U. N.
In October 2012, the Justice Center co-sponsored, with the Feerick Center for Social Justice, a conference at Fordham Law School to assess the effectiveness of various anti-trafficking laws and programs and recommend reforms to strengthen them. The conference produced recommendations for enhancing enforcement of current laws against traffickers, as well as services for victims. The opening panel at the conference focused on New York's 2008 law against sex trafficking and how it is being implemented. A second panel discussed innovations in programs and policy. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman made opening remarks.
The Justice Center will also co-sponsor a CLE featuring Kate Mogulescu of The Legal Aid Society on March 20 on the subject of sex trafficking.
Youth Law Education Project
In partnership with Hon. Richard Lee Price, chair of the NYCLA Law-Related Education Committee, and Debra Lesser, executive director of the Justice Resource Center, the NYCLA Justice Center hosted its fifth high school student conference utilizing the NYC Youth Law Manual, published by NYCLA. Hosted by New York Law School, the conference featured skits illustrating confrontations with school safety officers and the police and engaged students in small group discussions about social justice issues and careers in the law. One hundred thirty students participated from eight high schools throughout the city. NYCLA is indebted to the volunteer lawyers and judges who generously donate their time to educating young people about their rights and responsibilities.
Forum on the Status of Women in Afghanistan
The Justice Center will co-sponsor a forum on March 11 on the current and future status of women in Afghanistan, featuring Women for Afghan Women Executive Director Manizha Naderi. Women for Afghan Women runs shelters in Afghanistan and is in the forefront of services to women and girls who are the victims of violence.
50th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright
On March 18, the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright will be marked at NYCLA with a film on the case and a panel of federal and state prosecutors and defenders on what remains to be done to fulfill the promise of Gideon. The Justice Center will co-sponsor the event.