Attorney General Holder Highlights Criminal Justice Sessions at ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans

CHICAGO, Jan. 26, 2012— Indigent defense, pretrial diversion, juvenile justice, cybercrime and whistleblower cases are chief among criminal justice issues that will be explored at the 2012 _ Midyear Meeting, Feb. 1 – 6, in New Orleans.

High-profile speakers at the meeting include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (Feb. 4, 2 p.m.), Attorney General Eric Holder (Feb. 4, 1:30 p.m.), and lawyers Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, co-chairs of the ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, who will discuss measures to mitigate the impact of severe funding cuts to the nation’s courts (Feb. 4, 9 a.m.).

In addition to the more than 900 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates, the association’s policy-making body, will meet on Feb. 6 at the meeting headquarters, the Sheraton New Orleans, in the Grand Ballroom, 5th floor. Criminal justice issues will be among the topics considered for ABA policy adoption. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are at https://abanow.org/reporter-resources/media-credentials/.

Criminal justice programs include:

Feb. 3

Alcohol-Related Birth Disorders and the Law: How Attorneys and the Justice System Should Respond – Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are often of borderline intelligence, have poor judgment and weak impulse control, lack an understanding of the consequences of their actions and frequently get in trouble with the law. National legal experts on the disorder will discuss how lawyers should recognize and understand this disability in order to represent their juvenile and adult clients effectively and ethically.
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Napoleon Ballroom C1, 3rd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Pretrial Diversion: Best Practices to Ensure Fairness, Conserve Public Funds and Enhance Public Safety – Nationwide experts in pretrial services will identify potential policy and programming reforms, and examine current diversion reform efforts. Panelists will discuss challenges to implementing a fair, safe and accountable system of pretrial justice, as well as diversion’s impact on public safety, funds, reducing recidivism and racial disparity. Panelists include Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson.
10 a.m. – Noon, Teche/Belle Grove, 2nd Floor, Royal Sonesta

Cyber Crime in 2012 – A national panel of federal law enforcement officials, prosecutors and counsel will discuss that the biggest challenge for lawmakers, the judiciary, lawyers and businesses is to keep pace with emerging technologies, track and trace cyber criminals, and understand the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks. Panelists will offer practice tips on handling the inevitable cyber attack or data breach. Other topics will include social media as an instrument of crime and a source of evidence, and legislation on cyber bullying.
1 – 3 p.m., Royal Conti, Lower Level, Royal Sonesta

Crossover, Dual Jurisdiction and Multi-System Youth – Youth who are referred for minor misbehavior to the juvenile justice system by schools, child welfare agencies, mental health facilities or drug or alcohol treatment providers should be served by those systems, rather than by the juvenile court. A multi-system panel will discuss best practices within the draft ABA Standards on Crossover, Dual Jurisdiction and Multi-System Youth.
1 – 3:30 p.m., Teche/Belle Grove, 2nd Floor, Royal Sonesta

Ensuring Access to Justice When There’s No Money – What can courts, prosecutors, defense counsel, police and lawyers do to manage and provide access to justice to all with limited resources in the justice system? Panelists will also identify sources for new funding, and discuss ways to fashion collaborative strategies to effect policy and funding reforms at the national and state levels. Panelists include Martha Bermark (founding president/CEO, Mississippi Center for Justice), Sue Bell Cobb, (chief justice, ret., Alabama Supreme Court) and Jay Zainey, (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana).
2 – 4 p.m., Fleur de Lis C, Lobby Level, Royal Sonesta

The Legal Lives of Girls in the Justice System – Experts will address policies, practices and processes that impact girls throughout the juvenile justice system. They will focus on the complex legal and social issues girls in the justice system face including access to healthcare and other health law issues, sexual assaults and other exploitation, and conditions of confinement for girls.
3:30 – 5 p.m., Napoleon Ballroom C1, 3rd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Why is Qui Tam Litigation Often So Difficult to Resolve? – More qui tam (”whistleblower”) cases than ever are being filed, and they are more complex and far reaching. Experts will discuss the new paradigm and the practices and procedures for finding quicker, more efficient and more equitable settlements of appropriate cases.
3:30 – 5 p.m., Royal Conti, Lower Level, Royal Sonesta

Feb. 4

Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement – Experts will review national developments in indigent defense, such as new court decisions, legislation, funding, standards and federal actions that impact indigent defense. The final morning presentation will focus on Professor Norman Lefstein’s book, Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense. Attorney General Eric Holder will speak on the topic of indigent defense at approximately 1:30 p.m.
7:15 a.m. – 4 p.m., Balcony I/J/K, 4th Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System – Forty-two states have cut the budgets of their state courts in 2011, thereby reducing access to justice for millions of Americans. The ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System has studied the problem, hosting hearings in several cities across the nation. An in-depth forum that includes task force co-chairs Theodore B. Olson and David Boies will examine possible solutions, best practices and reform measures.
9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Napoleon Ballroom D3, 3rd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

A Conversation with Justice Scalia – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will address ABA members and answer audience questions. Reporters interested in attending this event should first contact ABA Communications & Media Relations at 202- for coverage guidelines.
2 – 3:30 p.m., Rhythms Ballroom I/II, 2nd Floor, Sheraton New Orleans

Prosecutorial Accountability in the Post-Connick v. Thompson Era – Twice in the past two years the alleged misconduct of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office has been the subject of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. A panel of prosecutors, ethics experts, a former death row prisoner and academics will discuss these important cases, whether and how prosecutors should be held accountable for misconduct, and possible reforms.
3 – 4:15 p.m., Founders Room, Louisiana State Bar Association, 601 St. Charles Ave.

Feb. 6 (House of Delegates)

The ABA House of Delegates will consider the following proposals for ABA policy (links to policies provided):

ABA Criminal Justice Standards on Law Enforcement Access to Third Party Records

Adopts the black letter ABA Criminal Justice Standards on Law Enforcement Access to Third Party Records, dated February 2012, which provide a framework through which legislatures, courts acting in their supervisory capacity, and administrative agencies can balance the needs of law enforcement and the interests of privacy, freedom of expression and social participation.

Pretrial Discovery Procedures Urges governments to adopt pretrial discovery procedures requiring laboratories to produce comprehensive and comprehensible laboratory and forensic science reports for use in criminal trials that include a number of identified criteria.

Equal and Uniform Access to Sentencing Alternatives Supports legislation, policies and practices that allow equal and uniform access to therapeutic courts and problem-solving sentencing alternatives, such as drug treatment and anger management counseling, regardless of the custody or detention status of the individual.

Clear Jury Instruction During Death Penalty Phase Urges federal, state and territorial courts to adopt jury instructions which are in language understandable by jurors untrained in law and legal terms, in the penalty phase of trials in which the death penalty may be imposed and such instructions should be provided to jurors in written form.

FBI Definition of Rape Urges the Federal Bureau of Investigation to expand the definition of rape in the Uniform Crime Reporting Summary Reporting Program to include all forms of non-consensual sexual penetration, regardless of gender, orifice penetrated, mode of penetration or presence of force. (Because of the Justice Department’s recent adoption of the new definition, this resolution is expected to be revised to emphasize implementation of the expanded definition.)

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Sheraton New Orleans, 2nd Floor, beginning Feb. 1. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided at the Armstrong Ballroom, 8th Floor, of the Sheraton New Orleans, starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 2. The room will open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Feb. 6.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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