The NLG’s National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) celebrated a victory this week, when a team of their San Diego lawyers won a recent wrongful death suit that took nearly 5 years from inception to completion.
Kevin Brown, pictured with his wife, Rebecca, died by suicide in October of 2014 after a nearly year long investigation into his involvement in a murder from 1984 upended his family’s life. In February, a jury ruled in favor of Rebecca, awarding her $6 million in compensatory damages, as well as $40,000 in punitive damages from the detective who insisted on continuing the investigation despite an absence of any meaningful evidence against Kevin. Read more about the case: https://www.nlg-npap.org/project/brown-suit/
Friday, May 22, 2pm-3pm ET
This FREE one hour program by the NLG’s National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) will discuss how to present damages at settlement and trial after a catastrophic event.
Register for the webinar here.
We are deeply saddened to report the passing of long-standing member Alan Hirshman from complications of COVID-19. Alan joined the NLG NYC Chapter in 1952, while a student at Brooklyn Law School. At almost 90, Alan remained an active member and attorney, running a Brooklyn-based law practice for over 60 years.
“A proud and active National Lawyers Guild member since 1952, he defended anti-war protesters, political prisoners, confronted housing discrimination, and proudly represented disenfranchised and wrongfully accused people,” stated his obituary in the New York Times.
Rest in power, Alan. We’ll miss you.
The Military Law Task Force of the NLG has issued the following statement regarding the U.S. government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic:
The NLG Military Law Task Force is outraged that the Commander in Chief apparently ignored direct warnings from the National Center for Medical Intelligence and other agencies of an impending pandemic. As a result, servicemembers around the world are in real danger. The Department of Defense was similarly slow in its response. The DoD has made conflicting statements and issued conflicting policies concerning the virus as have the individual services. Those statements that suggest that military readiness is more important than protecting its people are offensive. The recent events concerning the U.S.S. Roosevelt with nearly 600 infected and one dead demonstrate that the military needs to vastly improve its response to this crisis and protect its enlisted sailors, soldiers and marines. The MLTF stands ready to support servicemembers who are affected by DoD’s policies on COVID-19. Servicemembers and their families who are denied appropriate medical care or personal protective equipment are encouraged to contact the MLTF at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 463-2369.
MLTF will be publishing a memo on the U.S. Military’s COVID-19 policies, which can be read/downloaded by the public without charge. For future updates or new MLTF material on this matter, check this site’s COVID-19 tag page.
The NLG Amicus Committee is accepting proposals for amicus briefs to be submitted on behalf of the Guild!
This form is for NLG members, chapters, committees, and projects to propose cases well-suited for Guild involvement, and to help us identify who in our membership might assist in drafting and reviewing briefs: Amicus Proposal Form for NLG Members. Please answer the questions in as much detail as possible.
If you would like to request that the NLG sign onto a brief from another organization, please fill out the NLG Amicus Form for Outside Organizations.
After a proposal has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the NLG Amicus Committee and sent to the Executive Council of the NLG National Executive Committee for final approval. Because of time and monetary restraints, we may not be able to accept all proposals, but we will do our best to represent the interests of our members and entities.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com. Please allow 2-3 weeks for the Amicus Committee and EC to review the proposal and respond.
The NLG is proud to be one of 101 organizations that signed onto this letter organized by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, calling for robust funding for the US Postal Service in the next coronavirus response package.
“Congress must act now to save the USPS, the hundreds of thousands of jobs included in its diverse workforce, and the communities that depend upon this critical federal agency. A vote against adequate, timely funding for the USPS is an anti-civil rights vote,” the letter stated. Read the full letter here.
As three deportees to Haiti and 75 deportees to Guatemala test positive for coronavirus, 164 organizations from the U.S. and Haiti declare deportations to be Trump’s cruel, and usual, punishment of Haitians in an open letter.
“Rather than be deported where they face serious harm if they fall ill and risk infecting thousands of others, they should be released from detention into the care of their friends and families so that they may safely quarantine, especially those who are more vulnerable to serious complications from the virus due to age, medical condition or other factors,” the letter stated. Read the letter here, and coverage about it in the Haitian Times.
“A federal judge on Tuesday ordered New York to reinstate its June 23 presidential primary that had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.” US District Judge Analisa Torres ruled that “canceling the primary deprived both delegates and voters of their constitutional right to influence the party platform.”
“Sanders’ delegates are represented by J. Remy Green and Elena Cohen of Cohen Green PLLC, Arthur Z. Schwartz of Advocates for Justice, and Jonathan Wallace of Ratschko Wallace PLLC”—all NLG-NYC members!
Even during a global pandemic, racialized police violence continues. An NYPD officer has been placed on modified duty after a video showing him punching a bystander to the ground, who was witnessing the arrest of two other people in NYC’s Lower East Side on Sunday, went viral. NLG-NYC member Dave Rankin is representing the bystander, Mr. Donni Wright.
“David Rankin, a civil rights lawyer representing Mr. Wright, said the arrest fit within the police department’s long history of violating people’s rights to observe an arrest and called on the officer to be investigated ‘fully, quickly, and thoroughly.’ … ‘The idea that he is doing this without any gloves and no masks, and using profanity and racially charged language, is just completely unacceptable,’ he said.”
“There are now more COVID-19 cases among the employees and detained immigrants at the Stewart Detention Center than there are in all of Stewart County. These numbers are gross underestimates as jails and prisons across the country are reporting lack of testing, and ICE has only tested 1,285 out of the 32,000 immigrants currently in its custody…The lives of thousands of individuals are on the line,” writes past president Azadeh Shahshahani in this op-ed, co-authored with Priyanka Bhatt.
“Trump’s approval is key to Israel’s ability to commit the war crime of annexation with impunity. The U.S. government bankrolls Israel’s illegal occupation to the tune of $3.8 billion annually. In fact, the Netanyahu-Gantz unity deal requires that Trump assent to its terms, which is all but certain,” writes NLG past president Marjorie Cohn in this Truthout op-ed. Read the full article here.
The NLG National Office is thrilled to announce that we’ll be holding the first-ever all digital convention this fall, September 21-October 4! Unlike our usual five-day format, we’re spreading out events over two weeks to allow participants across multiple time zones to attend as many events as possible. Even if attendees aren’t available to join every event live in real time, registrants will be able to access video recordings of programming to watch and engage with at their convenience. As always, we will offer sliding-scale registration, with waivers available upon request, and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
One of the most treasured aspects of the convention is the community and relationship building that takes place in between programming. That’s why in addition to workshops, major panels, meetings, CLEs, and governance, we will be sure to include online social events and other ways our attendees can connect with each other. Read the full announcement here, and RSVP at the Facebook event.
Recap: May Day / International Workers’ Day 2020
NLG Mass Defense Director Tyler Crawford wrote this important piece on how the pandemic is shaping protest tactics and solidarity demands.
“Workers, immigrants, and tenants are finding new forms of resistance and activism that are safe and socially distant, from vehicle caravan protests to virtual town halls,” said Kath Rogers, Executive Director of NLG-LA. “We want to make sure people’s right to organize, build collective power, and express themselves is respected because that is our best hope of creating a more just and equitable future out of this time of great suffering.”
Read this statement by the NLG Labor & Employment Committee: “This May Day the working class is immersed in a crisis of historic magnitude. The COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic crisis have revealed the incompatibility of the capitalist system with basic human rights. The profit-driven economy laid the foundation for the loss of income by billions around the world, pushing communities into deeper precarity even as the wealthy continue to grow their wealth in a new stage of disaster capitalism.”
For May Day, the NLG New Hampshire and Vermont Chapters participated in a coalition with other community groups iin a three-stop “quarantine caravan.” The NH and VT NLG also sent a joint letter to urge the states’ governors to decarcerate.
“In this pandemic, people who are incarcerated and in immigration detention in Vermont and New Hampshire face a potential death sentence,” said Hartford resident Asma Elhuni of the National Lawyers Guild New Hampshire. “Our message is: ‘Care, Not Cages.’”
Are you searching for a movement related legal or organizing job OR internship?
A reminder that all current NLG members have access to our Members-Only job board! This resource includes open positions for attorneys, paralegals, organizers, legal workers and law students.
Check it out at nlg.org/job-board (NOTE: you must be logged in with your nlg.org account to view this page). Have a job or internship listing you’d like to share with fellow Guild members? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.