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Juvenile justice, criminal use of virtual currency among criminal justice highlights at American Bar Association meeting Feb. 5-10 in Chicago


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Juvenile justice, criminal use of virtual currency among criminal justice highlights at American Bar Association meeting Feb. 5-10 in Chicago

By John Glynn

CHICAGO, Jan. 23, 2014 — The role of bitcoin currency in criminal operations and juvenile justice are chief among criminal justice issues that will be explored at the 2014 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 5-10 in Chicago.


Expert panelists at the meeting include Anne Burke, justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, who will discuss ethical issues when dealing with crime victims. Other subject-matter experts include Frederick Reynolds, deputy director of FinCEN, and Marsha Levick, deputy director and chief counsel for the Juvenile Law Center.

In addition to the nearly 750 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will gather at 9 a.m. Feb. 10 at the meeting headquarters, the Hyatt Regency Chicago, in the Grand Ballroom, Gold Level, East Tower. 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

Criminal justice programs include:

Friday, Feb. 7

“Ethical Choices in Dealing with Crime Victims: What Is a Prosecutor, Defender and Judge to Do?” Panelists — including Illinois Justice Anne Burke and Northwestern University Associate Professor Bernardine Dohrn, former leader of the Weather Underground — will provide ethical insight and guides to assist prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in cases that involve child victims, trafficking victims and victims of violent crimes.  

9 − 10:30 a.m., Montreux 1, 2nd Floor, Event Centre, Swissotel

“A Town Hall Forum on the School-to-Prison Pipeline: What Are the Problems? What Are the Solutions?” — Join a dynamic open town hall forum that will bring together those who live in and along the school-to-prison pipeline, bar leaders, leaders interested in implicit bias, experts who have developed successful programs across the country to address pipeline issues and individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds that are working to address this issue.

9 – 11 a.m., Toronto, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago   

“Poverty and State/County Family Intervention Due to Alleged Child Abuse and Neglect” There is substantial evidence that families living in poverty are disproportionately subject to government intervention, under state child abuse and neglect laws, for allegedly abusing, or far more frequently neglecting, their children. A panel of attorneys and public policy experts will explore how changes in our laws might better address poverty-child protection.

10 a.m. − noon, Grand Suite 3, Gold Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago


“Virtual Currencies: Bitcoin and the Role of New Currency in Criminal Enterprise” — Panelists — including Frederick Reynolds of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — will explore the uses of virtual currencies in both white collar and street crime operations, with a focus on money laundering, tax and other potential violations and implications.
10:45 a.m. − 12:15 p.m., Montreux 1, 2nd Floor, Event Centre, Swissotel

“The Post-Miller v. Alabama World — Redefining Juvenile Justice and Life Without Parole” Panelists — including Marsha Levick of the Juvenile Law Center — will discuss the state of juvenile law practice since Miller v. Alabama was decided. Experts will explore the retroactivity of life without parole sentences for cases before the decision, implications of adult transfer, evidence that should be considered during hearings of such cases and more.

12:30 – 2 p.m., Montreux 1, 2nd Floor, Event Centre, Swissotel

Saturday, Feb. 8

Ninth Annual Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement” — This all-day conference will review national developments in indigent defense, such as new court decisions, legislation, funding and federal actions. In one program, lawyers from the Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions and exoneree Terrill Swift will recount the critical need for effective assistance of counsel (3 – 4:30 p.m.). Also at the summit, presenters will introduce a new study that will help public defender offices develop maximum workload standards and staffing requirements.

7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., 321 N. Clark Street, ABA Headquarters

“Critical Cyber Issues Affecting you Today” — Recent data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus underscore the importance of cybersecurity to the private sector. In the wake of the Snowden and Manning incidents, it is increasingly harder for both the government and the private sector to protect its assets and secrets. Panelists will discuss these breaches as well as current cyber threats, applicable laws and the relevant ethical standards.

9 – 10:30 a.m., Plaza Ballroom A, Lobby Level, East Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register on-site at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Ballroom (Gold Level, East Tower), beginning at 2 p.m. on Feb. 5. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided in the hotel’s Riverside Center (Purple Level, East Tower), starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6. The room will be open daily thereafter from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Feb. 10.

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