March 28, 2019

First Step Act, cash bail systems, implicit bias hot topics at ABA criminal justice meeting

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2019 — Mass incarceration, the new First Step Act signed into law in December by President Donald Trump, criminal justice reform, cash bail systems and how implicit bias impacts women in the criminal justice profession will be among the topics of discussion at the American Bar Association 2019 Spring Meeting, April 4-7 in Nashville, Tenn.

What:  
2019 Spring Meeting
Sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section

When: 
Thursday-Sunday, April 4-7

Where:
Hilton Nashville Downtown
121 4th Avenue South
Nashville, Tenn. 37201

On Friday, April 5, Joseph Williams, director of external affairs for Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, will deliver a keynote address at 2:45 p.m. on “A System of Justice that Lives Up to Its Name.”

Other program highlights of the meeting, which features a special day of women in criminal justice programming and a meeting of the Women in Criminal Justice Task Force, include:

“Shatter the Glass: A Candid Conversation about the Challenges Facing Women in Criminal Justice” — This session will discuss the barriers faced by women in criminal justice and how they have overcome those issues in their career. Speakers include Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur, assistant U.S. attorney, Nashville; Mariah Wooten, first assistant federal public defender, Nashville; and Justine Luongo, chief defender, Legal Aid Society of New York.

Thursday, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

“Confronting Implicit Bias” — This session will discuss how implicit bias impacts women in the criminal justice profession. It will be followed by a session on “Confronting Implicit Bias and Shattering the Glass Ceiling.” Speakers include Judge Bernice Donald, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Sarah Redfield, professor of law, University of New Hampshire Law School; Kim Parker, Kansas County and District Attorneys Association; and April Frazier Camara, National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Thursday, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

“White Collar Crime Town Hall: Women & Leadership: Evolution & Revolution” — This panel, including U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger, Middle District of Tennessee, will explore the significant strides that women have made to become leaders in all aspects of the legal profession while also discussing the very critical work that remains to be done.

Thursday, 4-5:30 p.m.

“Plenary Session I – The Role of the Bench in Criminal Justice Reform: Do Cash Bail Systems Undermine Justice and Democracy?” — A centerpiece of criminal justice reform must be bail reform. This session will address reforms in the state system, alternative measures to replace money bail, strategies to achieve success and considerations of fairness and due process in bail systems. Speakers include moderator Judge Bernice B. Donald, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Chief Judge Jeff Bivins, Tennessee Supreme Court; Chief Judge John Minton, Kentucky Supreme Court; and Julie Warren, Right on Crime.

Friday, 9:15-10:30 a.m.

“Plenary Session II – Prosecutors as Agents of Change 2.0 – Conviction Integrity Units” —Prosecutors nationwide have begun to embrace Conviction Integrity Units as their role continues to expand beyond simply seeking convictions. Conviction Integrity Units seek to review convictions and ensure justice is served, even if that means requesting convictions be overturned. This panel discussion will describe what Conviction Integrity Units are and aren’t; provide insights on how prosecutor offices can form units; describe how Conviction Integrity Units work with law enforcement, victims of crime and prosecutors who are wary of their purpose. Moderator Justin Bingham, city prosecutor for Spokane, Wash., will be joined by Patricia Cummings, Conviction Integrity & Special Investigations Unit District Attorney’s Office, Philadelphia; Kevin Curtin, senior appellate counsel, Middlesex District Attorney; and Mark Dupree, Wyandotte County District Attorney, Kansas.

Friday, 10:45 a.m.-Noon

“Plenary Session IV – From Diversion to Reentry: Innovations in Criminal Justice Reform” Hear from three panelists who used innovation to approach challenges at various touch points within the criminal justice system. From creating a new diversion program with treatment to re-envisioning the way returning citizens come home, the panelists will share their approaches to changing what justice means in the 21st century and beyond. Moderator Melba V. Pearson, deputy director, ACLU of Florida, will be joined by Sheriff Daron Hall, Davidson County, Tenn.; Sam Harden, Florida Justice Technology Center, Tallahassee, Fla.; and Bettie Kirkland, executive director, Project Return, Nashville.

Friday, 3:15-4:30 p.m.

“Plenary V – Mass Incarceration and the First Step Act” — Mass incarceration has become a uniquely American crisis. This panel — led by moderator Judge Tracie Todd, 10th Judicial Circuit, Alabama — will focus on the issue of and consider the impact of the First Step Act, a landmark, bi-partisan criminal justice reform legislation aimed at reducing incarceration rates. Varying perspectives will be offered by a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a member of the Cyntoia Brown defense team and two panelists who have conducted extensive research in the area.

Friday, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The complete schedule can be viewed online.

This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at Robert.Robinson@americanbar.org

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