January 17, 2017

Justice-system bias, Trump priorities among criminal justice highlights at ABA Midyear Meeting Feb. 1-6 in Miami

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 17, 2017 — Bias in the U.S. justice system and measures to mitigate it, criminal and civil enforcement priorities of the Trump administration, and death penalty developments following Hurst v. Florida are chief among criminal justice issues that will be explored at the 2017 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting Feb. 1-6 in Miami.

With several hundred top-quality legal programs and events, and presentations by the country’s foremost law experts and speakers, the ABA Midyear Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals.

The 589-member ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policy-making body — will meet at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6 in the James L. Knight Center (3rd Floor) of the Hyatt Regency Miami. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.    

Online registration is available for news reporters. Credential guidelines are here.  

Criminal justice programs include:

Friday, Feb. 3

“Fees and Costs: Barriers for Justice-Involved Youth and Young Adults” Miami-Dade Chief Assistant Public Defender Marie Osborne and Juvenile Division Director Rob Mason of the Jacksonville, Fla., public defender’s office, will be among panelists who will explore the impact of fees and other costs on youth and young adults in the criminal justice system.

9:15-10:15 a.m., Hilton Miami Downtown, Ballroom Level, Symphony Ballroom II

“Batson at 30: A Legacy of Partial Impartiality” At the 30th anniversary of Batson v. Kentucky, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that a prosecutor may not exercise peremptory challenges to exclude jurors solely on the basis of race, panelists – including Stephen B. Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights – will explore the reasons for and solutions to persistent bias in the justice system. 

1-2:30 p.m., JW Marriott Marquis, 5th Floor, Plaza 6

Enforcement Priorities in the Trump Administration Panelists – including Marcos Jimenez, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida– will forecast trends in criminal and civil enforcement under the Trump administration. Topics will include the investigation and prosecution of securities and health care fraud, immigration, terrorism, cybercrime, domestic and global tax offenses, as well as sentencing and drug policy.

3-5 p.m., Epic Hotel, 14th Floor, Metropolis Ballroom B

The Constitutional Crisis with Florida’s Death Penalty Post-Hurst and Its Implications for Additional States — A panel will examine the implications and developments following the Florida Supreme Court’s October ruling on Hurst v. Florida, which requires a unanimous jury for a death sentence, as other states such as Alabama and Delaware consider similar measures. Panelists will include Martin McClain, who litigated Hurst retroactively before the Florida Supreme Court, as well as retired Judge O.H. Eaton Jr. of the 8th Judicial Circuit of Florida and Karen Gottlieb, co-director of the Florida Center for Capital Representation.

3:30-5 p.m., Hyatt Regency Miami, 3rd Floor, Miami Lecture Hall

Saturday, Feb. 4

12th Annual Summit on Public Defense Improvement This all-day conference will review national developments in indigent defense. Among programs, Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez and Charlotte, N.C., Assistant Public Defender Toussaint C. Romain will lead a panel at 1 p.m. that will explore racial injustice in the criminal justice system and the impact of implicit bias and structural racism. The panel will also promote ways that chief defenders, line defenders, investigators and others can combat racial injustice. In another noteworthy session at 3:15 p.m., Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, author of the startling new book “Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court,” will discuss her decade working in and investigating criminal courtrooms in Cook County, Ill., and the lessons she learned that can improve criminal justice in America.

8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m., Miami Dade College (300 NE 2nd Ave.)

Miami Justice Hack: Strengthening Alliances between Law Enforcement & Communities of Color Through Technology & Innovation — A multidisciplinary team of community members, lawyers, law enforcement officers, programmers and others with technology expertise will collaborate to develop on site innovative and technology-based solutions that can help mitigate tension between law enforcement and communities of color.

9 a.m.-5 p.m., Venture Café (1951 NW 7th Ave.), 3rd Floor

“The Unintended Consequences of American Criminal Justice” — Experts will present research on the surprising ways in which the American criminal justice system operates in practice, including the effects of parental incarceration on children and application of the death penalty on people with mental disabilities.

2-4:30 p.m., JW Marriott Marquis, 5th Floor, Junior Ballroom B/C

“Is Florida the Canary in the Coal Mine? Environmental Justice in Front Line Communities” — Florida serves as the harbinger of environmental justice concerns on a national level. A panel, which will include representatives from the Sierra Club, Broward County Climate Change Response Group, the Environmental Justice Clinic at University of Miami School of Law and others, will examine environmental concerns in the state, including issues related to climate-change adaptation, water quality, nuclear emissions, coastal and inland floods, closure of state parks, Everglades conservation and water rights involving Seminole Indian tribes.

3:30-5 p.m., Hyatt Regency Miami, 3rd Floor, Miami Lecture Hall

During the Midyear Meeting, accredited journalists should register onsite or pick up their preregistered press credentials at the Hyatt Regency Miami (Riverfront Hall, Lobby Level), beginning at 2 p.m. on Feb. 1. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided at the Hyatt’s Riverfront Hall (lobby level), starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 2. 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. 6.

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