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April 01, 2022

Racial justice, courts amid COVID, and lawyer wellness hot topics at ABA criminal justice meeting

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2022 — The stresses of criminal law professionals, the challenges of COVID and prosecution in the age of racial reckoning will be among the topics discussed at the American Bar Association 2022 Criminal Justice Section Spring Meeting, Friday, April 8, in Savannah, Georgia.

The meeting will focus on the evolving issues in criminal justice, from rule of law to race and gender. Also, five criminal justice champions will be honored for their contributions to the legal profession at the Criminal Justice Section Awards Luncheon at 12:30 p.m.

2022 Criminal Justice Section Spring Meeting
Sponsored by the ABA Criminal Justice Section

Friday, April 8

Mansion on Forsyth Park, Kessler Collection
700 Drayton St.
Savannah, Georgia

Other program highlights include (all times are EDT):

“Well-Being Challenges (and Solutions!) for the Criminal Law Professional” — Over the past years, the legal profession has taken a serious look into the well-being of lawyers and law students and, more recently, of judicial officers. Research findings show high rates of substance use and mental health issues, as well as consistent reports of a significant disenchantment within the ranks. How do these individuals fare as criminal law professionals? How can they best address the growing concerns? Panelists: Lynn S. Garson, counsel, Baker Hostetler, and chair, Lawyer Assistance Program State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta; Wayne McKenzie, general counsel, New York City Department of Probation, New York; and Melba Pearson, civil rights and criminal law attorney, Center for the Administration of Justice at Florida International University, Miami.
9:15–10:45 a.m.

“COVID-19: Challenges, Opportunities and the Courts” This session will examine the ways courts have changed to adapt to the pandemic as well as what the future should look like. What changes should remain? Are there opportunities to promote transparency and equal access as a result? Panelists: Shalena Cook-Jones, district attorney, Chatham County, Georgia; April Frazier Camara, president, National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Washington, D.C.; Michael Moore, elected prosecutor, Beadle County, South Dakota, and past president, National District Attorneys Association; Judge Louis Sands, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia, Albany, Georgia.
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

“Prosecution in the Age of Racial Reckoning” — High-profile cases involving police and people of color have dominated the headlines for the last decade. What does it mean to be a prosecutor in these times? How can prosecutors push for justice and accountability for all? Panelists: Justin Bingham, prosecutor, Spokane City Prosecutor’s Office, Spokane, Washington; Allison Green, president, National Black Prosecutors Association, and supervising district attorney, Bronx County (New York) District Attorney’s Office; Wendell Taylor, partner, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, and former federal prosecutor.
2–3:30 p.m.

The complete schedule can be viewed online.

This event is open to members of the press. For media registration, please contact Barbranda Walls at [email protected]. Note: All attendees are required to provide proof before entering the event that they are fully vaccinated and boosted or have had a negative COVID test (within one day for antigen tests or two days for PCR tests) prior to entry.

The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.