The following are new or innovative resources we’ve heard about that we hope will be useful to practitioners. If you know of resources that you would like to be included in future eNewsletters, please send them to Rebecca Henry at Rebecca.Henry@americanbar.org.
Google Maps’ “Street View” Takes Confidentiality and Safety into Account
A new feature of Google Maps called “Street View” was recently released in five metropolitan areas (San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Miami, Denver, and Las Vegas). Street View allows users to see and navigate 360 degree street level photos of neighborhoods in Google Maps. Google plans to make this service available in as many cities as possible over time.
Before Google released this new product, they reached out to the Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) to help address victim safety and confidentiality concerns raised by this feature.
Each Street View imagery bubble contains a link to “Street View Help” where users can report objectionable images. From the Street View Help bubble, users can click the "Report Inappropriate Image" link and fill out the web form that appears. Survivors, shelters and advocacy programs requesting takedown can help prioritize their request for removal by selecting "This image presents safety concerns" when they fill out the web form.
For up to two weeks after a removal request, the image will be blacked out in the Street View feature, and will contain this message: "This image is no longer available." After that, the blacked out screen will disappear, and the Street View will just move seamlessly from one image to the next, completely omitting the image that was taken down.
Users who are concerned that the temporary blackened panorama will call more attention to their location should instead contact their state domestic violence coalition, or email SafetyNet@nnedv.org to discuss processing the takedown request in a different fashion.
“Court Responses to Batterer Program Noncompliance:
A National Perspective”
Center for Court Innovation
This study, conducted in collaboration with the social service agency VCS Inc., examines how criminal courts respond when domestic violence offenders fail to comply with a mandate to attend a batterers’ program. In particular, do courts hold such offenders accountable by imposing further sanctions, up to and including jail?
The study is based on a national survey of courts, batterer programs, and victim assistance agencies in all 50 states. The results demonstrate overwhelming support for the goal of "accountability" in theory, but also suggest a gap between theory and practice, as most courts indicated that they do not always or often impose sanctions on noncompliant offenders.
You can download a pdf of the study, free of charge, here.
National District Attorneys Association Hosts Evolving Outline of Post- Crawford Cases
The outline of post- Crawford cases was created by Allie Phillips, a former Senior Attorney with the National District Attorneys Association’s National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, and is updated approximately every 6-8 weeks by Assistant New Mexico Attorney General Joel Jacobsen. Every case that addresses Crawford is read and most, but not all, cases are included in this comprehensive outline. The outline is a cumulative compilation of cases that is easy to take to court.
NDAA maintains a private link to a secure Crawford web page where users can download the outline. Each time the Crawford outline is updated, users will receive an email notification including a username, password and hyperlink for immediate access to the updated outline.
Due to grant restrictions the outline may only be disseminated to prosecutors, judges, law enforcement and allied professional who assist crime victims. Eligible professionals interested in receiving the outline can submit their request to firstname.lastname@example.org for access and updates.
Congress Approves Loan Repayment Assistance for Legal Aid Lawyers
Source: US House Committee on Education and Labor
On September 7, both houses of Congress approved a bill that would authorize loan repayment assistance for civil legal services lawyers.
Section 401 of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act ( H.R. 2669) creates a new loan forgiveness program that would forgive the remaining balance on eligible federal loans for borrowers who, for ten years, have been employed by non-profit civil legal aid organizations and made every monthly payment on their loans. For attorneys with less than ten years of employment, one-tenth of the total loan will be forgiven for every year of employment.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA). U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has announced that President Bush will sign the bill into law. No money has been authorized to fund this program. For more information on the bill, click here.