I’ve previously discussed some of the difficulties convicted felons face when trying to restore their civil rights and reintegrate into their community. (See my previous post here. Well, as a member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, I’ve received notice that there is going to be an important hearing in Miami, Florida, on February 16 and 17, 2012. If you are a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who does any work in the area of restoration of civil rights, you may wish to attend.
The press release I received states,
National Task Force to Hold Hearings in Miami
On the Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction
Washington, DC (February 14, 2012) – With more than 65 million Americans possessing a criminal record, the consequences of conviction – specific legal barriers, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – have become more numerous and severe, more public, and more permanent. These restrictions affect jobs and licenses, housing, public benefits, judicial rights, parental rights, interstate travel, and even volunteer opportunities. Moreover, the legal mechanisms relied on in the past to restore rights and status for formerly convicted individuals have atrophied or become ineffective, with the result that a significant percentage of the American public is permanently consigned to second class citizenship.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL) Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction will hold its second hearing to undertake an inquiry into how legal mechanisms for relief from the collateral consequences of conviction are actually working, in state and federal systems on Thursday and Friday, February 16-17, 2012, in Miami, Florida.
The Task Force’s inaugural hearing was held in Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 20 and 21, 2011. Witnesses shared a range of personal and professional experiences, perspectives and expertise on the important practical issues surrounding barriers to re-entry and the collateral consequences of a criminal record. Witnesses included Judge Paul Biebel, Presiding Judge, Cook County Circuit Court, Criminal Division, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis and John Schomberg, General Counsel, Office of the Governor of Illinois. Illinois has been working diligently to ensure that clemency applications are reviewed as timely as possible, creating the possibility for individuals to live without the burden of a conviction on their record.
The approximately two dozen witnesses in Miami will include representatives from community organizations, defense lawyers, researchers, civil rights advocates and treatment providers, as well as invidivudals with convictions who themselves confronted barriers to re-entry. The Task Force is particularly interested in Florida due to their recent changes in clemency rules and subsequent backlog of applications.
A schedule and witness list follows this message.
WHEN: Thursday, February 16, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday, Friday, February 17, 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
WHERE: Carlton Fields
100 S.E. Second Street
Suite 4200 (42nd Floor)
Miami, FL 33131-2113
If you are interested in attending part or all of these hearings, please contact NACDL’s State Legislative Affairs Director Angelyn C. Frazer at email@example.com or at (202) 213-9302 (mobile) by the close of business on Wednesday Feb. 15, 2012.
Contact: Ivan Dominguez, Deputy Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.