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Communication, Membership & Services Division

Co-Executive Directors:

Paula Edgar, Andrea Alabi

Awards Committee

Co-Chairs Elizabeth Kelley, Melba Pearson

The Awards Committee oversees the nomination, selection and presentation processes of our six awards – The Charles R. English Award, The Frank Carrington Crime Victim Attorney Award, The Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award, The Curtin-Malign Minister of Justice Award, The Raeder-Taslitz Award, The Albert J. Krieger Champion of Liberty Award. To engage ABA Committees in actively submitting nominations, diversifying the pool of nominations. 

See CJS Awards page.

Book Board

Co-Chairs: George Donnini, David Seide

The board's  overall goal is simple: To publish practical, timely, and topical books in the area of Criminal Justice that will aid the work of all who practice in the field. . In addition, the income from Book Board projects is used to support the section’s programs and advance its overall mission.

The board seek to capitalize on the special strengths and imprimatur of the ABA in considering which books to publish. The Book Board will work to develop a long-term strategy to develop new projects and update current publications to meet the needs of Criminal Justice practitioners, legal scholars and law students, judges, and others.

The board will seek input from all members of the Section, especially committee members who focus on particular areas of need. Our members will assist with prospective authors and those working on books to put out the best publications to serve the needs of the profession.

Goals: Continue to meet regularly, striving to maintain the highest level of excellence in the Criminal Justice Section’s library. Our goal is provide a broad-based offering of thoughtful and helpful scholarship to all involved in the area of criminal law. 

View CJS Books.

Criminal Justice Magazine Editorial Board

Chair: Justin Murphy; Vice Chair: Donna Elm

The Editorial Board oversees the selection of articles for publication in Criminal Justice magazine, and promotes helpful and interesting topics for criminal justice practitioners. Attempts to identify prospective authors for articles or regular columns, and invite all who are interested in writing for the magazine to submit their articles. Coordinates the selection of the William Greenhalgh Student Writing Competition winner.


·         Continued publication of the flagship Criminal Justice Section publication, CJ (digital and hard copy), within-budget and on-time on a quarterly schedule, with Board members developing article and symposium ideas and topics, soliciting authors and reviewing all articles to ensure quality and accuracy.  Specifically solicit and assign 30-40 articles plus 40+ columns per bar year. 

·         Continued provision of a valuable resource for the Criminal Justice Section’s diverse membership, as well as for law libraries and criminal justice professionals, with a mix of timely practice-oriented articles and policy pieces that provide a wide variety of perspectives on cutting-edge legal issues, recent developments, and other important issues impacting criminal justice;

·         Continued provision of a forum to highlight new Section reports, Section committee projects and publications, standards, policy positions and resolutions of the Section and the ABA that are of interest to the Section’s members and, in particular, to provide a vehicle for Section members and others to publish articles that may be useful to their colleagues;

·         Continued publishing at or under the established budget;

·         Plan issues for FY2023-2024 (and beyond);

·         Hold several virtual meetings throughout the year, including our annual “face-to-face” meeting virtually this fall.  During these meetings, the editorial board and staff discuss the administration of the Magazine and upcoming article/column ideas, topics, and authors;

·         Continued publication of columns in specialized areas of interest to the Section’s membership, including scientific evidence, trial tactics, technology, ethics, juvenile justice, white collar crime, women in criminal justice, mental health, issues targeting new criminal justice lawyers, immigration, courageous leadership, rules of criminal procedure, and other developing areas of the law as well as reviews of new books and alerts regarding cases before the U.S. Supreme Court; and

·         Continued administration and judging of the William Greenhalgh student writing competition, including publication, if appropriate, of winning entry.

View Criminal Justice magazine.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Co-Chairs: Tiffani Collins, Faraz Mohammadi

The Committee promotes diversity as a strategic component in individual and organizational success through the coordination of programs, partnerships, and resources for the Criminal Justice Section. In addition, this Committee is responsible for implementation of the Section’s Diversity Plan.

Our committee is interested in testimony, written comments on pending legislation, ABA policy, conferences student participation and articles.


For the 2023-2024 term, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee will continue to expand the Criminal Justice Section (“CJS”) membership by building relationships with diverse local and national bar associations and law school affinity groups.  The Committee will also expand the Section’s social media presence by encouraging members and Section leadership to engage with CJS social media platforms (i.e., Instagram, LinkedIn) and work with the new hosts of the CJS podcast, the JustPod, to increase the volume and diversity of podcast programming.  The Committee will also continue to mentor and provide guidance to the 2022-2024 CJS Diversity and Inclusion Fellows as they continue to work on their fellowship projects.  

Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program

Meeting Minutes: Spring 2023

DOJ Dialog Committee

Chair: James Felman

The primary purpose of the DOJ Dialogue Committee is to conduct on a regular basis an ongoing informal dialogue with the Attorney General of the United States and other Department of Justice leadership concerning criminal justice issues of interest and importance. Another purpose of the Committee will be to suggest to the Attorney General and other DOJ leadership possible steps which might reform certain policies and practices of the DOJ and to discuss any concerns raised by the DOJ concerning practices of the criminal justice bar. The Committee will report back to the CJS leadership about informal discussions which may be of benefit for other CJS purposes.

Legislative and Policy Committee

Chair: Hillel Hoffman

Works with the ABA Governmental Affairs Office as it works with Congress and state legislatures to address expanded reliance on alternatives to incarceration, support for re-entry programs and amelioration of collateral sanction, and development of criminal records policy.


The Legislative and Policy Committee will continue its focus on Red Flag Laws (Extreme Risk Protection Orders), which are designed to remove guns from persons who are a danger to themselves or other people. The laws are designed to prevent suicides, domestic violence homicides and mass shootings. The Committee will provide updates on new laws and further developments as these laws become more significant in combatting gun violence. During the past year Minnesota became the 20th state to adopt a Red Flag Law, effective January 1, 2024. Previously, New York and Connecticut expanded their Red Flag Laws to include mental health practitioners as petitioners, which raises issues involving the confidentiality of medical and mental health information and the impact of these laws on persons experiencing mental health problems. Congress has made Red Flag Law programs eligible for federal funding under the Byrne grant program. The President has created an Office of Gun Violence Prevention to be overseen by the Vice-President, which may affect the implementation of Red Flag Laws. The United States Supreme Court will decide whether to affirm or reverse a decision of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (United States v. Rahimi), which invalidated a federal gun restraining order in a domestic violence case.

The Committee will also focus on the Illinois Safe-T Act which made Illinois the first state to completely eliminate cash bail in all cases, but permits the state to move for pre-trial detention in cases involving violent felonies and other serious crimes. Previously, New Jersey and New York eliminated bail for a broad category of offenses, but permitted the courts to impose bail or pre-trial detention in cases involving serious offenses or crimes that posed a threat of harm to a person or other persons.

View CJS Policies page. 

Long Range Planning Committee

Co-Chairs: Bernice Donald, Janet Levine,Ann Macy, Kim T. Parker

The CJS Long-Range Planning (LRP) Committee will continue its work to develop a comprehensive LRP for the Section, focusing on membership growth; serving the policy and programmatic needs of constituents, strengthening communications, involving committees, creating transparency, and enhancing relationships with other ABA sections and entities.  


The CJS Long-Range Planning (LRP) Committee will continue its work to develop a comprehensive LRP for the Section, focusing on membership growth, serving the policy and programmatic needs of constituents, strengthening communications, involving committees, creating transparency, and enhancing relationships with other ABA sections and entities.  The LRP committee will:

1.      Review data from previous long-range planning meetings

2.      Organize data around prioritized goals.

3.      Prepare Executive Summary of CJS Long-Range Plan

4.      Zoom Meeting: Develop and reduce plan to writing with targeted goals and strategies.

5.      Circulate plan for section member comments.

6.      Finalize plan.

7.      Present plan to CJS Council

Membership Committee

Co-Chairs: Mara Senn, Cynthia Hujar Orr

The Committee strives to improve Diversity and Inclusion within CJS Leadership, assists CJS in developing new programs to attract new members.


1.       Partner with CJS Young Lawyers Committee and Council young lawyer appointee to attract young lawyers by providing access, exposure, opportunity and support within criminal law.

2.       Attract experienced lawyers by providing networking opportunities, practice-related information and resources, and access to unique and high-profile programming.

3.       Identify and recruit ABA members within the criminal law field who are not Section members (e.g, outreach and partnership to Young Lawyers Division Criminal Justice Committee and Section of Litigation Criminal Litigation Committee).

4.       Identify and eliminate financial and other practical barriers to Section membership (e.g., outreach lawyers possibly unaware of ABA dues restructuring, explore possibility of cross-over membership with related organizations already affiliated with Section, such as NLADA, NDAA, NACDL).

5.       Affirmatively invite local firms and organizations to participate and incentivize membership.

Solo and Small Firm Committee

 Co-Chair: Xavier Donaldson; Vice-Chair: Cameron McBride

Concentrates on issues of management of a criminal practice whether for a prosecutorial or defense entity. Focuses on concerns to solo and small firm practitioners (2-10 persons) in the areas of law practice management and business expansion, technology, continuing legal education, and member benefits.

Young Lawyers / Law Student Development Committee

Co-Chairs: Daniela Donoso, Colby Moore

Works to serve the interests of young lawyers and law students in the Section, including providing practical career information, publishing, and speaking opportunities, networking, public service opportunities, activities to improve the criminal justice system and young lawyer/student participation in Section leadership.

The CJS Mentorship Program

The CJS Mentorship Program is open for participation. The Mentorship program aims to facilitate relationships between young lawyers and seasoned attorneys within the Criminal Justice Section. Participation in the program only requires one phone call or coffee meeting with your matched mentee. Please contact the YLC chairs if you have any questions.  

Issues of Interest:

·       Mentorship – reestablish the mentoring program to connect young lawyers with seasoned attorneys

·       Professional development – YLC will develop a variety of resources around professional development such as, potentially, career profiles of various lawyer leaders across the field, compiling non-proprietary resources that are readily available to be posted on the YLC webpage, etc.

·       Alternatives to incarceration and diversion – YLC will look to partner with the Alternatives to incarceration and diversion committee to co-present a webinar or brownbag introducing young lawyers alternatives to incarceration and the value of such practices in providing equitable access to justice

·       Collateral consequences of a conviction – YLC will look to host a webinar or develop materials for the YLC webpage describing collateral consequences of a conviction, how various legal roles (e.g., prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges) can reduce the impact of these consequences, and related resources/tools that lawyers can access

·       The overlap of homelessness and criminal justice involvement – YLC will explore options for focusing on the overlap of homelessness and criminal justice, such as potentially engaging subject-matter experts for programming, authoring a newsletter or magazine article on the topic, or other strategy on this subject matter

·     Mental illness – YLC will look to partner with the Mental Health Committee on an activity

View Young Lawyers and Law Students page.