Specialized Practice Division

Co-Executive Directors

Marissel Descalzo,  Anthony Musto

Amicus Review Committee

Co-Chairs: Mark Dwyer, Rory Little, Daniel Harawa, Matthew Redle, Marisa Chun

The Amicus Committee makes every effort to respond to the increasing number of requests for Criminal Justice Section applications for ABA amicus briefs.  The Committee monitors pending Petitions for Certiorari and notes cases where the ABA might want to file a brief. As it has in the past, the Committee will consider such requests:

·       in light of the importance of the issue and its significance to lawyers, the legal profession or compelling public interest;

·       applicable ABA policy;

·       the court in which the case is pending;

·       the timeline for submission of the brief; and

·       identification of a qualified brief writer. 

Based on its review, the Committee will make recommendations to the Section Council or its Executive Committee.  Upon Section approval and to the extent necessary and appropriate, the Committee will assist in drafting the application to the ABA Standing Committee on Amicus Curiae Briefs and, if the application is approved by the Board of Governors, in editing the draft brief.

Please make sure that a request to the Amicus Committee includes a summary of the record, including a copy of the Circuit Court opinion, any District Court findings and orders, and a summary as to how ABA policy supports the issues on appeal.

Goals for 2020-2021:

  • The Amicus Committee applauds the appointment by ABA President Trish Refo of CJS member Rory Little to the ABA Amicus Committee.  The ABA Amicus Committee reviews applications for amicus briefs, oversees the writing of briefs and recommends filing of briefs to the ABA Executive Committee. 
  • The Amicus Committee also welcomes new member A. Marisa Chun as a new co-chair of the Committee.  Marisa is a lawyer with Crowell and Moring LLP and wrote two amicus briefs for the ABA in Taylor v. Pima County (2020), and in Lee v. United States (2017).
  • In May 2020, the Amicus Committee recommended filing of an amicus brief in Jones v. Mississippi, which was granted cert by the US Supreme Court after Mathena v. Malvo was dismissed by stipulation by the parties in February 2020.  The ABA amicus brief in Jones  was written by Larry Wojcik, Chris Murphy and their team at McDermott Will & Emery and filed in June.  Oral argument is set on November 3, 2020.
  • The Committee is already considering application for the filing of an amicus brief in two other cases which were decided in the beginning of September: Jones (Raysor) v. Florida, which challenges as unconstitutional requirements by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that those convicted of crimes must complete payment of all court fees, costs, fines and restitution before they will be allowed to vote; and Al Hera v. Trump, which, after a decision by a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, presents questions about whether petitioners, who are detainees at Guantanamo Bay,  are entitled to due process in federal habeas hearings.  As other cases present themselves to the Committee, the Committee will work to determine whether each is appropriate for application to the ABA Amicus Committee for filing of an amicus brief.
  • The Committee will also work to implement possible expansion of the committee in order to better preview cases for possible amicus briefs, to enlarge the roster of lawyers willing to write amicus briefs, and to broaden relationships with other organizations that are aware of cases moving up the appellate ladder.

View Amicus Brief page.

Appellate & Habeas Committee

Co-Chairs Rebecca Brown, Jessica Langsam,

Explores habeas reform, studies current use of material witness warrants and procedural protections related to the issuance and continued detention of individuals under such warrants; makes recommendations regarding appropriate policy statements.

Seeks improvements in post- conviction remedies in State and Federal jurisdictions.

Considers existing or proposed measures that would enable heirs or family members of executed defendants, who had maintained their innocence, to try to establish their actual innocence through DNA evidence or other means. The same remedies would likewise be available for heirs of convicted defendants who had died of natural causes.

Goals for 2020-2021:

Streamlining the process of presenting post-conviction claims, Improving access to post-conviction forensic testing. (Potential creation of a model resolution for the Board of Governors.)

Webinars appellate & Habeas Practice would like to undertake

1.     Supporting legislation regarding access to post-conviction forensic testing

2.     Overcoming roadblocks in the presentation of claims of factual innocence - improving access to information, timely presentation of claims, and funding for forensic testing

Cyber Crime Committee

Co-Chairs: Matthew Esworthy, Jason Gonzalez, Jody Westby

Studies various crimes committed via computer such as internet fraud, hacking, intellectual property theft, e-mail threats, child protection, etc.

Goals for 2020-2021:

The committee will consider the following issues (and host programming or podcasts on the first two topics):

·         The Cloud Act and its intersection with cybercrime investigations

·         Contact tracing and digital surveillance

·         Global cybercrime laws and substantive and procedural issues associated with  international cooperation in cybercrime investigations

·         Geofence warrants

Forensic/Investigative Practices Committee

Co-Chairs John Hanson, John Rollins

The Forensic & Investigative Practices Committee strengthens the Criminal Justice Section’s service to members working in the field of criminal justice and enhances the ability of the Section and its members to better understand and identify forensic and investigative resources supporting, relevant and necessary to their work. The Forensic & Investigative Practices Committee also represents the interests of its members to the Section and works with other Section Committees and sub-committees to better achieve their goals through joint CLE programs, policy development, issue(s) awareness & understanding, publications and task forces. Further, the Forensic & Investigative Practices Committee tracks and examines contemporary issues faced by professionals working in forensics and investigative practices.

Global Anti-Corruption Committee

Co-Chairs: Andrew Boutros, T. Funk, Preston Pugh, Mara Senn

The Committee plans, organizes and sponsors events and publications in the anti-corruption field; works closely with, among others, the International Section’s Anti-Corruption Committee and some of its constituents, as well as the ABA Corporate Social Responsibility and Forced Labor Task Force, and the ABA President's Task Force on Human Trafficking.

The Global Anti-Corruption Committee's principal purpose is to monitor, evaluate, and report on developments under trans-national anti-bribery instruments such as the United Kingdom Bribery Act, the German Anti-Corruption Act, the Japanese Unfair Competition Prevention Law, Russia’s National Plan for Counteraction to Corruption, South Africa’s Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, and the OECD Anti-Corruption Convention, among other anti-corruption analog apparatuses.

Visit Global Anti-Corruption Committee Page

Homeland Security, Terrorism & Treatment of Enemy Combatants Committee

Co-Chairs Arjun Sethi, Joe Whitley

This Committee serves as a resource to other ABA components, and to the public, on homeland security issues as they relate to the criminal justice system. These issues include: the legal issues associated with the prevention of terrorist attacks, the detection, apprehension and punishment of terrorists, the legal framework governing response to terrorist attacks, natural disasters or other emergencies, ensuring the continued functioning of the criminal justice system in response to terrorist attacks, natural disasters or other emergencies.

The Committee seeks to ensure that any and all policies relating to security, terrorism and treatment of enemy combatants respect the civil and human rights of all people. This is particularly important when these policies disproportionately impact communities of color. The Committee will continue to raise awareness about policies that exceed government authority and violate the spirit, even if not the black letter, of the U.S. Constitution. The Committee will pay special attention to new policies impacting undocumented immigrants at the border and inside the country, as these policies are increasingly justified on national security grounds. The Committee will continue to monitor military detention at Guantanamo Bay and urge that the United States set an example for all to follow. Finally, the Committee looks forward to collaborating with other CJS sections in their efforts to amplify diverse voices within the ABA and the field of law generally.

Immigration Committee

Co-Chairs: Holly Cooper, Jaime Hawk

Explores the interconnectedness between immigration issues and criminal law particularly in human trafficking and collateral consequences of felony convictions for non-citizens . Considers impact of immigration laws and policy on prosecution, judicial and defense functions.

International Committee

Co-Chairs: Tyler Hodgson, Bruce Zagaris

Studies developments in international criminal law, particularly as they affect the practice of law; explores methods of international cooperation through agreements and legislation; and works on projects with the ABA Section of International Law and Practice. The committee also monitors developments in international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Goals for 2020-2021:

1.      Continue to host informative CLE events on issues relating to international criminal law;

2.      Explore strategic partnerships with organizations/committees on issues of international justice and criminal law;

3.      Revive the Committee Newsletter;

4.      Continue to grow committee membership; and

5.      Bring policy issues on international criminal law to the attention of the Council for potential resolutions when appropriate.

International Committee Newsletter (Winter 2021)

International White Collar Committee

Co-Chairs: Mark Beardsworth, Patrick Hanes

This committee will bring together international and domestic practitioners to address the growing trend in cross-border investigations and prosecutions, as well as engage practitioners who have a practice tailored to international white collar crime, as opposed to solely domestic. The committee will go beyond the limits of anti-corruption (as addressed by the Global Anti-corruption Committee), but will have a narrower focus than the White Collar Crime Committee or the International Committee.

This committee will focus on a multitude of areas of international white collar, including cross-border money laundering and financial transactions, OFAC and ITAR compliance, corruption, international labor violations, customs fraud, offshore tax violations, corporate criminal liability, corporate human rights violations, market misconduct and manipulation, MLATs and international enforcement cooperation, and extradition. The Committee will also work in conjunction with the global white collar efforts of the Criminal Justice Section. It will also be a source of new membership, attracting international practitioners.