chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Equal Justice Division

Co-Executive Directors

Janet Fink, Denise Langford Morris

Juvenile Justice Committee

Co-Chairs: Ernestine Gray; Brittany Mobley

The Committee develops CLE programs for juvenile justice practitioners, develops policies to further national juvenile justice reform, and coordinates selection of the Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award.

The Juvenile Justice Committee will continue to partner with other ABA entities as well as national juvenile justice agencies, as appropriate, to address issues affecting youth in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

The Committee will meet at least three (3) times during the 2023-24 bar year either in-person or virtually.  Meetings are most likely to occur at or near the Sections' Fall, Spring  and Mid-year meetings.  For each meeting, the agenda will include guest speakers on a topic of concern and an update from the Office of Governmental Affairs on the status of pending Congressional legislation.  When appropriate opportunities are presented, with the assistance of the ABA President's Office and the Governmental Affairs Office, draft letters of support for proposed Congressional legislation based on ABA policy.


1.  Seek opportunities to collaborate with other ABA entities to promote programming pertaining to youth in the juvenile and criminal justice systems

2.  Collaborate with the Re-Entry and Collateral Consequences Committee to plan an event for Reentry Month in April, 2024

3.  Continue policy development:

a.  Mandatory Minimums for juveniles (Amendment of 2017AM10B)

b.  Prohibiting police lying to juveniles during interrogations

4.  Make recommendations for the Livingston Hall Award

5.  Submission of article(s) for the CJS Newsletter and the Criminal Justice Section Magazine

6.  Form a committee to follow Congressional legislation relevant to the committee

7.  Continue discussions with NDAA on topics of mutual concern –current NDAA Juvenile Justice Initiatives

8.  Work with the Appellate and Habeas Committee on ensuring appellate representation for youth

9. Explore thoughts/recommendations on juvenile curfews

The Chairs will continue to work with the Section's Juvenile Justice Task Force on updating Juvenile Justice Standards and be active participants in CJS Committee Leadership meetings.

Finally, the outreach to new members will continue with a welcome letter from the chairs inviting them to attend meetings and to advise of items of interest that they may want to bring to the attention of the committee and the Section.

ResourcesView IJA-ABA Standards for Juvenile Justice

Podcast: "Jones v. Mississippi"

LGBT Committee

Co-Chairs: Matthew Halverson; Faraz Mohammadi

The Committee considers issues such as selective enforcement of the law, “gay panic defense”, juror selection, domestic violence in LGBT relationships, hate crimes and other issues as it relates to the LGBT community.


For the 2023-2024 term, the LGBT Committee will continue to expand the Committee’s membership among current Criminal Justice Section (“CJS”) members, new attorneys, and law students by collaborating with other CJS committees and LGBTQ+ bar associations and law student groups.  The Committee will also identify opportunities to publish articles and draft resolutions on trending criminal legal issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, including the criminalization of gender affirming care (“GAC”), criminalization of abortion access, and denial of access to GAC and HIV preventative care and treatment in carceral settings.  The Committee will hold quarterly videoconferences with members to discuss, among other topics, developments in, and processes for CJS to comment on, LGBTQ-related federal and state legislation and policies. 

Mental Health Committee

Co-Chairs: Guy Arcidiacono, Steven Leifman, Virginia Murphrey

This Committee serves as a resource on issues related to people who are both living with mental illness and involved with the criminal justice system, including: the rights and protection of inmates and pre-trial detainees with mental illness, issues surrounding voluntary and involuntary treatment; resources available in the prosecution and defense of persons with mental illness; the role of judges in cases involving persons with mental illness; and advocating for diversion and re-entry programs where appropriate for offenders with mental illness. Work with other CJS committees and ABA entities such as the Commission on Disability Rights and Section of Health Law as they relate to the arrest, detention, treatment, sentencing, and release and re-entry of persons with mental illness.

Goals: · 

The fledgling Mental Health Committee continues to grow.  For the coming 2023-2024 year, we anticipate the following goals.

·         To complete and promote the dissemination of the ABA Mental Health Standards in Criminal Cases.  Although the standards were completed in 2014, and adopted in approximately 2016, the commentaries to the standards have not yet been completed.

·         Host a seminar on competency and ethics issues in Criminal Cases

·         Discuss the efficacy of new so-called Red Flag Laws

·         Work with Law Enforcement and Mental Health Professionals in addressing the safest and most effective way to respond to people in need of emergency psychiatric care, before these needs escalate to require intervention by the Criminal Justice system.

Military Justice Committee

Chair: Eric Carpenter

Vice-Chair: Susan Upward           

The Committee provides advice, recommendations and expertise on military justice matters coming before the Section. Promotes a greater understanding of the U.S. military justice system among Association members, the profession, and the public. Prepares comments on the proposed Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), under consideration by Congress and the Department of Defense.


The primary goal for the Military Justice Committee in 2023-24 is to revitalize participation in the committee.  We aim to accomplish this by creating broader awareness about military justice issues in order to attract attorneys interested in, or currently working in, military justice arenas to participate both in the committee and the section.  Our plan is to draft one or more articles for the CJ Magazine and/or section newsletter covering current military justice topics, especially those cases that seem likely to, or already have been, granted a writ of certiorari by the Supreme Court.  We would also like to send articles of interest out to current committee members on a regular basis via Listserv or similar methodology, and host a committee meeting via Zoom to gauge interest in future projects.  Finally, we would like to host a CLE program at the Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL next year – potential topics include current cases in the military justice system, the military “carve-out” in the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, or collaborating with the Standing Committee on National Security Law to present a panel on the intersectionality of military justice issues and national security.  The annual meeting is the most advantageous time to host a committee meeting and/or a CLE program because it aligns with other ABA committees that will meet in person and host military members, including the Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law and the Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel.

Racial Justice and Diversity Committee

Co-Chairs: Keri Nash, Theresa Coney

The Committee examines the causes of disproportionate representation of minorities in the criminal justice system and develops proposed solutions; engages in activities concerning the role of minority lawyers and oversees the Section’s efforts to reduce discriminatory conduct affecting racial and ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system.


The Racial Justice and Diversity Committee seeks to improve membership diversity and engagement by including an informational and collaborative agenda during quarterly committee meetings, thereby providing both substantive and wellness support for committee members and others engaged in and supportive of the work of Racial Justice and Diversity. 

We will encourage committee members to provide at least one submission to the Criminal Justice Section Newsletter and/or Magazine. 

We will engage speakers for the mid-year and/or annual conferences and/or submit a nomination for at least one potential awardee. 

The Committee will also continue our policy efforts and look for additional opportunities to expand policy initiatives.

See Racial Justice Improvement Project.

Tribal Lands Committee

Co-Chairs: Barbara Creel, Aubony Burns

The Tribal Lands Committee explores issues related to indigenous peoples and the intersection of justice and sovereignty, tribal lands, political status, and individual rights.

It develop policy initiatives and resolutions to: recognize and protect the rights of Native Americans by promoting the rule of law; effectively intervene with and restore those victimized by child abuse on Tribal Lands; effectively intervene and restore all victims on Tribal Lands of sexual assault, domestic and all other forms of criminal violence, human trafficking and exploitation; intervene with, rehabilitate and restore to their communities those who have committed such acts on Tribal Lands; and promote the right to counsel on Tribal Lands.

The TL Committee will propose to host a meet and greet for the committee leaders of the Section of Environment, Energy, And Resources (SEER) Native American Resources Committee; the Civil Rights and Social Justice (CRSJ) Native American Concerns Committee; and the Judicial Division Tribal Courts Council.


Host a CLE – online or an Annual meeting in person

a.       Support and Training for Tribal Public Defenders

b.      Tribal Criminal Justice and Jurisdiction – What is the Role of  Prosecution and Defense in Promoting Tribal Sovereignty

Draft an article on progress to date on how to create a network of support for tribal criminal justice practitioners

Victims Committee

Chair: Caroline Laporte; Vice Chair: Ronald S Bey

The Committee examines developing issues that affect crime victims, including those related to domestic violence. Examines ways of ensuring the fair treatment of victims by the criminal justice system.

Goals: The Victims committee will host committee meetings to develop useful practices to improve the experiences of crime victims in seeking justice, especially centering marginalized communities and individuals. The committee will also participate in a joint project with the Alternative Dispute Resolution & Restorative Justice Committee to develop a policy resolution on the victim’s right to restorative justice. 

Women in Criminal Justice Committee

Co-Chairs: Maryam Ahranjani, Rachel Pickering

This Committee explores issues of concern to women attorneys (defense, prosecution, etc.), judges, other allied to the criminal justice field, and the needs of women as victims, witnesses and defendants. Promotes networking and career opportunities for women.


During the 2023-2024 term, the Women in Criminal Justice Committee will focus on the implementation of Resolution 501 (Ten Principles to Achieve Gender Equity in the Criminal Legal Profession) through the following efforts:

  • Training and education - to include at least one or two webinars
  • Publishing - supporting various members efforts to publish about our work 
  • Creating and publicizing a speakers’ bureau on the WCJ TF website
  • Creating a media response team to work with other Sections, Centers, and leadership to respond to attacks on women lawyers of color 
  • Replicating our work and building alliances  
  • Mentoring by creating a leadership summit for women law students and new lawyers in conjunction with the CJS Fall Institute (Fall 2024) 
  • Spotlighting women practitioners through webinars, publishing, etc.