Thank You, Rick Jones
They went there. Person after person discussed race in America, race in the criminal justice system, race in the practice of criminal defense. While I wasn’t able to be in Detroit this past fall for the Race Matters seminar put on by NACDL, many of you were there, some 200 or so in all. And those 200 people witnessed some of the best thinkers in the criminal defense community talking about race. They addressed what we as public defenders experience everyday: the endemic racism in the US, racist policing, the role of racism in the decision to detain someone prior to trial, overcriminalization and mandatory minimums, all leading to the explosion of mass incarceration.
Jeff Robinson, Deputy Legal Director at the National ACLU, who has led the criminal defense bar in numerous discussions across the nation, including an NAPD webinar, led off with the moving narrative of race in America. Song Richardson, Professor of Law at the University of California Irvine, spoke on the “Myth of Colorblind Justice,” and much much else. Brandon Buskey and Colette Tvedt presented on pretrial release. These are just some of the outstanding presenters. You can see all of these outstanding speakers when you open up the link below on MyGideon. There are presentations on arrest, charging decisions, voir dire, bond policy and practice, expert testimony, sentencing, challenging debtor’s prisons, and collateral consequences. The presentations will inspire you, inform you, and challenge you. I highly recommend that you begin to watch these videos.
Rick Jones, long-time Executive Director of the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem, NAPD Steering Committee member, and present President of NACDL, has graciously made available all of these presentations to NAPD for free. “I want to get them out there. That’s what this was for,” he said to me. They can be found on MyGideon at https://www.mygideon.org/Racial_Justice. And they are free to all NAPD members. I have watched most of them and they are terrific. So thank you, Rick and NACDL for making these available to all of us.