News Release ~ 02/14/2012

National Task Force to Hold Hearings in Miami On the Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction

Washington, DC¬ (February 14, 2012) – With more than 65 million Americans possessing a criminal record, the consequences of conviction – specific legal barriers, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – have become more numerous and severe, more public, and more permanent. These restrictions affect jobs and licenses, housing, public benefits, judicial rights, parental rights, interstate travel, and even volunteer opportunities. Moreover, the legal mechanisms relied on in the past to restore rights and status for formerly convicted individuals have atrophied or become ineffective, with the result that a significant percentage of the American public is permanently consigned to second class citizenship.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL) Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction will hold its second hearing to undertake an inquiry into how legal mechanisms for relief from the collateral consequences of conviction are actually working, in state and federal systems on Thursday and Friday, February 16-17, 2012, in Miami, Florida.

The Task Force’s inaugural hearing was held in Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 20 and 21, 2011. Witnesses shared a range of personal and professional experiences, perspectives and expertise on the important practical issues surrounding barriers to re-entry and the collateral consequences of a criminal record. Witnesses included Judge Paul Biebel, Presiding Judge, Cook County Circuit Court, Criminal Division, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis and John Schomberg, General Counsel, Office of the Governor of Illinois. Illinois has been working diligently to ensure that clemency applications are reviewed as timely as possible, creating the possibility for individuals to live without the burden of a conviction on their record.

The approximately two dozen witnesses in Miami will include representatives from community organizations, defense lawyers, researchers, civil rights advocates and treatment providers, as well as invidivudals with convictions who themselves confronted barriers to re-entry. The Task Force is particularly interested in Florida due to their recent changes in clemency rules and subsequent backlog of applications.

A schedule and witness list follows this message.

WHEN: Thursday, February 16, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday, Friday, February 17, 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.  

WHERE: Carlton Fields
Miami Tower
100 S.E. Second Street
Suite 4200 (42nd Floor)
Miami, FL 33131-2113

If you are interested in attending part or all of these hearings, please contact NACDL’s State Legislative Affairs Director Angelyn C. Frazer at afrazer@nacdl.org or at (202) 213-9302 (mobile) by the close of business on Wednesday Feb. 15, 2012.

Contact: Ivan Dominguez, Deputy Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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