1 n a t i o n a l l a w ye r s g u i l d 2009 ANNUAL REPORT
2 Design Paige Cram Photo Credits Cover photo: Daniel Gundlach Page 1: Courtesy of David Gespass; Page 2: Patty Maxfield; Page 3: Copyright 2003, TheWashington Post. Photo by Dudley M. Brooks. Reprinted with permission; Page 4: Megan Books; Page 7: Carlos Villarreal; Page 10: Mike Lee; Page 12: Tova Perlmutter; Page 17: Roxana Orrell; Page 21: Geoff Brady; Page 22: Jennifer Lai; Page 23: Jenny Sang; Page 25: Eric Sirotkin
3 Letter from the President Since its founding in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild has adhered to two related principles enshrined in our constitution. The first is that we act in service to the people. By people we do not mean the wealthy and well-connected wielders of economic and political power. We mean the poor, exploited workers and oppressed peoples of color, one paycheck away from homelessness. We mean the same people that the Black Panther Party referred to when it coined the radical demand: Power to the People. I will not dwell on the irony that in what is billed as the world s greatest democracy, the Panther demand was invariably labeled radical. As the world shrinks and the U.S. more and more actively spreads its tentacles as the only superpower, the people we serve are no longer limited to those within our borders. The second principle we adhere to is that human rights are more sacred than property interests. In recent years, the human rights framework has emerged as another radical concept. The idea that all human rights economic, social, political, cultural are fundamental and indivisible represents an enormous challenge to any economic and political system that deems as a human right ownership of such vast property holdings that it allows one to live large through the sweat and toil of wage slaves oops, I mean employees. The Guild has always recognized that property ownership is an interest that must serve the greater good, not a fundamental right to be used by the few to exploit the many. David Gespass, President This annual report is a measure of how well the Guild has adhered to its principles and a reflection of the many ways in which we seek to put those principles into practice in order to transform the lives of the people we serve and place power where it belongs: in their hands. 1
4 Letter from the Executive Director Through our work, each year the Guild reaffirms the original values on which we were founded. Similarities abound between our current priorities and the challenges we faced decades ago. Not much has changed since Arthur Kinoy argued in United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972) that President Richard Nixon had no inherent power to suspend the Fourth Amendment and engage in warrantless wiretapping of domestic political organizations. Our efforts to stave off unlawful government spying, infiltration and disruption of politically-active individuals and groups remain at the forefront of our activities. Our work in this area was especially relevant with the establishment of a number of congressional investigating committees, from the Dies Committee in the 1930s and continuing in the post-world War II period with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and the McCarran Committee in the Senate. The Guild was unwavering in its opposition to these committees attempts to investigate the viewpoints and associations of private individuals. We also condemned the infringement of First Amendment rights by the Truman administration s federal loyalty program. We opposed the Smith Act prosecutions of the leaders of the Communist Party (later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court) and the requirement for registration of alleged subversive organizations under the Internal Security Act, also later declared unconstitutional. The Guild fought FBI abuses of individual rights such as wiretapping, mail tampering, illegal searches and prying into citizens beliefs and associations. During the Mc- Carthy period Guild members defended many of the men and women who were subpoenaed by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Now, as then, the Guild s work is still under scrutiny largely because we ve been so successful at it. We thank all Guild members for continuing our tradition of using the law in the service of the people. To derive ongoing inspiration in our quest to right the manifold government injustices confronting us, we are fortunate in that we need look no further than our own history. Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director 2
5 Civil Rights Victories in the Courts Through litigation and the filing of amicus briefs, Guild members defended constitutional rights on a number of fronts in Homeless Rights Victory In a victory for the homeless, the Los Angeles City Council approved a settlement in a multi-year suit that will restrict the Los Angeles Police Department s (LAPD) ability to infringe on the rights of homeless individuals. The suit was filed in response to the LAPD s notorious Safer Cities Initiative on Skid Row, in which the LAPD gave out 12,000 citations in its first year, twice the citywide average. The concentration of law enforcement officers was several times greater than in other parts of the city. Most of the infractions were for pedestrian violations such as jaywalking and littering. The settlement stipulates that officers will no longer be able to search individuals for jaywalking or sleeping on the street and will be subject to stricter rules regarding handcuffing of individuals and running warrant checks. Officers will undergo training about the constitutional requirements of searching and detaining individuals. The case, brought by the NLG and the ACLU of Southern California, was litigated by Carol Sobel for the Guild along with the law firm of Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick LLP. Landmark Win for Prisoners Rights In January the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a monumental 2008 decision that awarded $15.4 million to over 450 female inmates. The inmates had been sexually assaulted by male employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections over a five-year period. The defense team in- Checkpoints Ruled Unconstitutional Guild members Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo won a landmark victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled this summer that checkpoints in the District neighborhood of Trinidad were unconstitutional. The lawsuit challenged the military-style checkpoint program whereby police could surround a targeted neighborhood, interrogate people without suspicion, and prohibit entry to those persons who lacked a police-defined legitimate reason for driving into the neighborhood. The ruling is noteworthy because the program was the first of its kind and was seen as a potential model for other cities. 3
6 cluded NLG attorneys Deborah LaBelle, Richard Soble, Patricia Streeter, Molly Reno, Michael Pitt, Peggy Goldberg Pitt, Cary McGehee, Ronald Reosti and Ralph Sirlin. Evidence at trial included reports from the Department of Justice and Human Rights Watch, which were outraged at the dangerous conditions existing in Michigan s female facilities and the massive injuries caused by the conditions to scores of women. The Sixth Circuit described the problem of sexual abuse in Michigan s prisons as deplorable and rampant. As a result, 36 men were convicted of sexually assaulting female prisoners in custody. The trial team has been providing substantial litigation and social services to this group of women for more than 12 years and will continue to do so until all the cases are resolved. Single Army Mother Soldier Refuses Deployment The National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force (MLTF) assists those working on military law issues as well as military law counselors working directly with GIs. It trains and mentors counselors and beginning military law attorneys in all aspects of military law through training materials and direct communication. In a case that attracted world-wide media attention, MLTF member Rai Sue Sussman has been representing Specialist Alexis Hutchinson of Oakland, California who missed her plane to Afghanistan because she had no one to care for her 11-month old boy, Kamani. The Army arrested her, placed her child in the county foster care system and has maintained that she may be sent to Afghanistan for a special court martial. Hutchinson may face up to one year in jail. The Army had originally granted her an extension of time to find someone to care for her son after her ailing mother was unable to; a few days before her original deployment date arrived, the military retracted the extension. Sussman says: It is outrageous that they would deploy a single mother without a complete and current family care plan. She would like to find someone she trusts who can take care of her infant son, but she cannot force her family to do this. They are dealing with their own health issues. Anti-War Protesters Acquitted in Recruiting Office Action On the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, a group of anti-war protesters tried to enter a Minneapolis National Guard recruiting office. After finding the doors locked and police waiting, they remained in the hallway. Police arrested 16 for trespassing, seven of whom took their cases to trial. The defendants, who ranged in age from 27 to 78, each testified on their own behalf with the assistance of NLG attorneys Ted Dooley, Gena Berglund, Carla Magnuson, and Geneva Finn. They used a claim of right defense. Rai Sue Sussman became a Guild member in 2003, at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland. In 2004, the student chapter at Lewis & Clark founded the GI Counseling Project, and Rai Sue became involved in the Military Law Task Force. That summer, she received a 2004 Haywood Burns Fellowship to work at the East Bay Community Law Center on tenants rights and eviction defense. After earning her J.D. in 2006, she took the California bar, bicycled across country, and started practicing criminal defense and military law in San Francisco. She is on the legal defense team for the San Francisco 8 case. She has been on the board of the San Francisco NLG chapter since 2008, and has recently joined the MLTF steering committee.
7 The defendants pointed out that preemptive war is illegal under international law and that Article 6 of the Constitution compels the U.S. government to uphold international treaties as the supreme law of the land. After a two and a half day trial, the jury declared all seven defendants not guilty of trespassing. Katrina Plotz, an activist who observed the proceedings, called the verdict a decisive victory for the anti-war movement. Amicus Briefs in Cuban Five Case National Lawyers Guild attorneys wrote four of twelve amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 1, 2009 in the case of Ruben Campa, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez and Luis Medina v. U.S., On Petition for Writ of Certiorari. The briefs urged the High Court to review the Miami convictions of these five Cuban political prisoners. The Guild s brief, which was filed with the National Conference of Black Lawyers, criticized the Court s tolerance of racially-biased jury selection process, arguing that it undermines the integrity of the legal system and the appearance of justice. Amicus Brief on Prisoners First Amendment Rights In a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) ban on person-to-person meetings between reporters and prisoners held in special confinement, Attorney General Ashcroft said that the ban was to prevent death row inmates from influencing our culture by in effect glamorizing a culture of violence. In an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Hammer v. Ashcroft, et al., the Guild wrote that selective proscription of in-person communication between certain inmates and members of the press is an affront to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution if such proscription is based on the anticipation that such speech will be offensive to government officials. As important, the public has a right to hear of accurate and current conditions in prison, especially if unsafe patterns of abusive behavior exist that may otherwise not be brought to light. Selective Terrorism Prosecutions: New NLG Booklet Released Luis Posada Carriles: Notes from a Tribunal, contains the proceedings of a forum held at New York University Law School, featuring several authorities on Cuba: Jane Franklin, renowned historian; Wayne Smith, professor at Johns Hopkins University and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C.; and Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. New York attorney and author Michael Steven Smith moderated the event. The National Lawyers Guild published Luis Posada Carriles: Notes from a Tribunal to educate the public about the crimes of Posada Carriles and about this nation s selective terrorism prosecutions. The booklet is available in both print and electronic formats. 5
8 Defending the Right to Dissent The National Lawyers Guild s mass defense initiative this country s oldest and the most comprehensive vigorously defends the rights of protestors and others to express political beliefs free of governmental interference. Our credibility among activists, grassroots political groups, and established civil rights organizations, combined with our on-the-ground presence at hundreds of protests annually, enables us to identify new threats as they emerge. We are in a unique position to collect evidence on police practices that violate the rights of protestors and draw on the collective legal expertise of our members to defend the First Amendment. Our work documenting abuses of constitutional rights, providing legal defense to arrestees and seeking redress for those violations continues the Guild s 40-plus year tradition of defending the right to free speech and free expression. May Day Melee Suit Results in Record $12 Million Plus Settlement in Los Angeles In the single largest settlement in a demonstration case anywhere in the country, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in February to approve a settlement in favor of 300 plaintiffs who were injured by police at a permitted rally at MacArthur Park on May 1, Hundreds of marchers and journalists were injured by police batons and shot at with approximately 12 dozen rubber bullets, even though no order to disperse had been given. Seventeen police officers were eventually disciplined for their actions during what came to be known as the May Day Melee. The settlement provides for $12,850,000 to be paid to the plaintiffs and provides a pool of funds for claims by unnamed class members. It accounts for a large portion of the 300-plus May Day-related claims against the city. NLG attorney Carol Sobel and others worked with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Guild s National Police Accountability Project to obtain these results. RNC Class Action On the one-year anniversary of the 2008 Republican National Convention this past September, 27 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court charging that the St. Paul Police Department violated their constitutional rights. The lawsuit alleges that police officers illegally detained more than 200 people and suppressed their free speech rights; some allege they were subjected to tear gas and flash-bang grenades for no apparent reason. The group maintains that police never issue orders to disperse prior to surrounding and arresting them in a park on Shepard Road along the Mississippi River. Guild members Bob Kolstad and David Shulman are representing the plaintiffs, along with Travis Snider, and say that the City has admitted that they arrested individuals preemptively and out of fear of what actions they might take in the future. None of the named plaintiffs were convicted of any crimes. Defending Food Not Bombs Around the country members of Food Not Bombs (FNB) have been subject to arrest and harassment because they display political signs while serving free vegan meals to the needy. In most cases, cities have cited local ordinances related to where the meal sharing occurs, such as a public park, sidewalk or across the street from a restaurant. They have also enforced local ordinances barring group feeding of more than a certain number of people. 6
9 Guild members from Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn and Kelly, P.C. in Connecticut represented Middletown FNB when the municipality asserted that meal sharing is a health code violation and requires that food be prepared in registered kitchens with a registered food handler. The firm asserted that the voluntary sharing of food with other community members does not fall under the jurisdiction of the health department, and that even if it does, there is evidence of selective enforcement (e.g., no similar regulation of bake sales or church potlucks) based on the group s political activities. As a result of the legal challenge, the Connecticut legislature passed an emergency amendment to the state statutes, recogizing that organizations that do not sell or distribute food for profit may distribute food for free without a license from a local health department. Charges Dropped Against Prop 8 Demonstrators The Bay Area Chapter been successful at discouraging the San Francisco district attorney from filing charges against activists for nonviolent civil disobedience by asking that the court appoint counsel for each eligible arrestee and by consistently mounting vigorous defenses. For example, after California voters passed Proposition 8 by a 52% margin in November 2008 (depriving the LGBT community of the right to marry), LGBT activists took to the streets, blocking an intersection in front of the San Francisco State Building and holding large banners that read Separate is Not Equal. A total of 211 people were arrested and cited for disobeying the police and blocking traffic. Ultimately, none were charged. Challenging Anti-Postering Ordinances The Guild s Amicus Committee and the D.C.- based Partnership for Civil Justice filed a brief in a case on appeal to the D.C. Court of Appeals, challenging the constitutionality of the District s postering regulations. The plaintiffs are a pro se married couple, one of whom is elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. In the Brookland area of D.C. their own neighborhood they had rallied to criticize city policy and in support of efforts to bury the electric lines there. The city tore down their posters advertising a neighborhood rally within one day of their posting. The use of postering ordinances to restrict political speech has been an issue that arises with increased frequency for Guild attorneys across the country. Twittering as Terrorism? At the G-20 in Pittsburgh, federal agents arrested Elliot Madison in his Pittsburgh motel room for listening (legally) to a police scanner Bay Area member Sharon Adams speaks at a rally in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on the National Day of Resistance to U.S. Torture. The NLG joined the call to repudiate the lifetime appointment of Judge Jay Bybee to the federal bench. Adams wrote the Guild s complaint against Bybee, filed with the California Bar Association, for codifying torture tactics and for giving high Bush administration officials immunity from lawsuits. 7
10 Operation Backfire: A Guide for Activists The NLG has been out front often alone opposing the reckless use of terrorism laws against political activists. The Operation Backfire booklet is an invaluable resource for activists, and adds to the large body of work the Guild has contributed to fighting this scare-mongering, from its Green Scare hotline to local legal representation. Will Potter, GreenIsTheNewRed.com and then sending information out to activists on Twitter and by text messages. The Joint Terrorism Task Force raided his house and seized computers, manuscripts, books and phones for a federal grand jury investigation. The basis for the arrest was a rarely used federal statute making it a crime to assist rioters. Also arrested was Michael Wallschlaeger; both men face charges of hindering apprehension, criminal use of communication facility and possessing instruments of crime for Twittering and sending text messages.the Allegheny Country District Attorney later dropped the state charges against both in order that a broader federal case against them may proceed, according to Guild member Claudia Davidson, who is representing both Madison and Wallschlaeger. Operation Backfire: A Survival Guide for Environmental Rights Activists In 2004, the FBI announced that The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement. As a result, members of these movements face heightened levels of law enforcement surveillance, infiltration and harassment. New laws such as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), passage of which the Guild publicly opposed, mete out harsher punishments for certain crimes if committed by animal rights activists, some for traditionally protected First Amendment activities. In response to requests from activists, the Guild printed a pocket-sized know your rights booklet explaining changes in the law after the passage of AETA. Hundreds of individuals and organizations have requested the booklet since its debut at the 2009 Animal Rights Conference, and over 90,000 copies have been downloaded from our website in a three-month period. White Paper Beyond AETA: How Corporate-Crafted Legislation Brands Activists as Terrorists On November 27, 2006, George W. Bush signed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act into law. Prior to its passage the Guild issued talking points and instituted an online campaign to raise awareness of the threats to free speech contained in the legislation. Our concerns reached fruition with the indictments of the AETA 4, activists who engaged in traditionally-protected free speech such as chalking and picketing. In early December the Guild issued a white paper analyzing model legislation drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative organization of state legislators. This model legislation was the basis for AETA. Our state-by-state analysis of the progress of this model bill shows that while it has yet to pass in its entirety, parts have been adopted at the state level, presenting a continued threat to free speech. 8
11 Engaging Law Students Students represent the fastest-growing segment of the Guild s membership, and rightfully so, as they are the future of the organization. Members from our 300 student chapters around the country hold a host of on-campus events, work on progressive causes in their communities, partner with other Guild members in local chapters and on NLG committees and are represented by two Student Vice Presidents on our national board of directors. At the start of each school year, students hold Disorientation events designed to make fellow 1Ls and others aware that they have unlimited possibilities to shape their law school experience and to improve society through the practice of law. A Wide Spectrum of Work The NLG chapter Chapman Law School held a 1 Year After Prop 8 forum, which united the chapter with other student organizations. Member Sara Gapasin wrote that the event really brought out passion and energy in our members fighting against this egregious initiative. In San Francisco, the Boalt Hall School of Law Chapter confronted the fact that Professor John Yoo (author of the torture memos ) was teaching one of only two required civil procedure sections initially offered by the law school. Students spearheaded a petition drive and were able to get 74 signatures from students in two days to force a change in the fall semester lineup, demonstrating to the administration that students would rather not learn about the law from war criminals. Students at the University of Pittsburgh Law School held a forum on the Israeli attacks on Gaza. NLG member and law professor Jules Lobel discussed his trip to Israel and the Occupied Territories with a human rights delegation. Professor Magid Shihade, on an Endowed Visiting Professorship on Contemporary Global Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, placed the Gaza attack into historical context. The Widener-Delaware Chapter inaugurated its first year with a trip to D.C. so that students could attend a Supreme Court oral argument and tour the Capitol Building and the Pentagon. The Temple University NLG s Death Penalty Project sponsored an educational event on the case of death row inmate Troy Davis. Death penalty expert and Temple law professor Louis Natali and Angela Elleman, an attorney at the Habeas Unit of the Philadelphia Federal Defender, explained the issues in the Davis case, which has attracted worldwide attention because of overwhelming evidence of his innocence. Student Day Against the Death Penalty Each year, Guild students participate in Student Day Against the Death Penalty (SDADP). Although SDADP is typically held on March 1, this year the events continued throughout the month. Activities included tabling on campus, film screenings and holding talks featuring death row exonorees. Legal Observing Law students are central to the Guild s legal observing programs. Students from several Pennsylvania law schools participated in monitoring protests during the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. Students were also present in New Orleans at a die-in outside of a talk by former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. And in Fort Benning, Georgia they monitored police outside of the annual School of the Americas protest. 9
12 10 NLG memberjoel Kupferman monitoring a police line on a Pittsburgh street, Sept. 24, 2009.
13 Monitoring the G-20 Protests in Pittsburgh Two months before the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Civilian Police Review Board invited Executive Director Heidi Boghosian to testify before the city council on the Guild s observations and recommendations for police use of force. She explained how the militarization of so-called National Special Security Events has resulted in the costly and violent curtailing of free speech and has been detrimental on a number of fronts, from grossly exaggerated costs during hard economic times to the tarnishing of host cities reputations. She urged the city s leadership to avoid an over-militarized police presence that punishes First Amendment activities, asking instead for sensible policing so that safety and free speech could co-exist in the days leading up to the Summit. During the Summit, Guild legal observers (LOs) converged from around the country to monitor the protests, many coming from St. Paul/Minneapolis, where they had observed at the 2008 Republican National Convention. We heard, close-up, the first known use of Long- Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) on protesters. These devices were used in residential neighborhoods where young children and families were out on the streets. Protesters thanked the LOs for coming to Pittsburgh to defend their First Amendment rights and the media sought NLG input and analysis on the police response. The Guild s legal analysis was featured on JURIST.com: The police response to protests at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh will be remembered as especially brutal, given the debut of military sonic weapons against civilians. LRADs are more insidious than other so called less-lethal munitions because they leave no visible marks and can cause permanent hearing loss. These practices violate legally-binding international human rights treaties which the U.S. has ratified and are inconsistent with standards set out under the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, which states that force should be used only where strictly necessary and in proportion to the threat posed. Upon returning from Pittsburgh, the Guild was contacted by an acoustical professional from Oregon who is adamantly against the use of these devices, and seeks to form a partnership with the NLG to prevent their future use. In recent years we have documented a resurgence of police abuse and violence aimed at protesters. Our experience at other National Special Security Events (NSSE) tells us that unless Pittsburgh can do things differently at the G-20 Summit, there will be not only suppression and disruption of cherished free speech rights but also protracted and expensive litigation for the use of excessive force, abuse of less-lethal weapons and unlawful arrests and detentions by the police. The resulting costs will be high, both financially and with regard to public perception that Pittsburgh is intolerant of free speech. In contrast, a determination by city leaders to chart a different course will save millions of dollars and send a positive message of respect for the Constitution. Based on our extensive experience in the streets, and noting Pittsburgh s proud history of honoring labor struggles, we urge the city to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward the abuse of authority by police. If Pittsburgh proscribes unconstitutional mass arrests, disruption tactics, and violence against protesters, the G-20 Summit can be a safe and positive experience and an example for other cities to follow. -NLG comments to Pittsburgh City Council 11
14 Global Human Rights Defense Jeanne Mirer, Guild member and first woman president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), shares a laugh with Jitendra Sharma, former president of IADL. 12 This past year Guild members participated in several international delegations to monitor human rights violations, sustain ties, share information with our international colleagues and observe history in the making. El Salvador In March, Guild members served as international observers in El Salvador s historic presidential election. Assigned to polling stations in San Salvador and the state of Sonsonate, 20 Guild observers witnessed the end of the right-wing Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) party s 20-year reign and the election of Mauricio Fuenes of the Marti National Liberation Front. The Guild confronted public statements by U.S. representatives that a Fuenes victory would result in the end of temporary-protected status for thousands of Salvadorans in the U.S. and the designation of El Salvador as a terrorist state. NLG members called on the State Department to officially declare the neutrality of the U.S. in the Salvadoran election. This demand proved successful two days before the election when the U.S. Charge d Affaires affirmed that the U.S. would remain neutral. Gaza Guild members returned from a visit to Gaza with photographs and video clips showing the devastation of three weeks of relentless Israeli shelling. The delegation s purpose was to determine whether Israel s actions constituted war crimes under U.S. and international law. The participants visited neighborhoods in Gaza City, Jabaliya, Rafah and Khan Yunis where they interviewed health workers, civilian witnesses and NGO representatives. After documenting several first-hand accounts of the assault, the delegation determined that Israel had, in fact, committed war crimes by targeting civilian infrastructure, using illegal weapons and blocking medical assistance. Hanoi Hundreds of lawyers from around the world, including 25 Guild members, descended on Hanoi in June for the 17th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL). Longtime NLG member Jeanne Mirer was elected as its first woman president. Following the recommendations of the IADL s Tribunal of Peoples of Conscience in support of
15 the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange, on which NLG members Claudia Morcom and Marjorie Cohn served, a commission will calculate damages and reparations owed to Agent Orange victims. The findings of the Tribunal were presented to both the Congress and the Vietnamese government. Several Guild members made presentations to the Congress. Eric Sirotkin spoke about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Korea, the need for a peace treaty with North Korea and the Japanese campaign to retain Article 9 (the Peace Article) in the Constitution. Art Heitzer presented a paper on the history of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. Sandra Edhlund presented on immigrant women and the U.S. Violence Against Women Act, and John Wheat Gibson offered a critique of prosecutorial discretion as exercised by the International Criminal Court. Honduras In August, an NLG delegation traveled to Honduras to witness the effects of the constitutional crisis that began on June 28 when President Manuel Zelaya was deposed and forcefully removed to Costa Rica. The observation mission, which was coordinated with the American Association of Jurists, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the International Association Against Torture, met with representatives of the Attorney General, the Human Rights Commissioner, the Supreme Court and several NGOs and politicians. The Guild delegation heard moving accounts of extreme violence against demonstrators and also witnessed several peaceful street demonstrations. President Zelaya has since returned to Honduras, but is confined to the Brazilian embassy. In early November, a U.S.-brokered pact failed to create a new unity government. Guild Members Organize First International Defense Conference at the Hague For the first time in history, defense lawyers before international criminal courts convened a self-organized conference to discuss and publicize the obstacles that prevent accused persons from receiving fair trials, particularly at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The co-sponsors included 20 law schools, lawyers and human-rights groups from Europe, Africa and North America, including former NLG president Peter Erlinder and member Beth Lyons. More than 120 international criminal defense lawyers, criminal law scholars, historians, philosophers, human rights activists and experts in Rwandan culture presented some 40 papers and answered audience questions about fair trial issues, in light of former ICTR Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte having recently documented the manipulation of ICTR prosecutions by the U.S. and UK to create impunity for their ally, the current government of Rwanda. Eighty supporters of the former Rwandan government have been prosecuted, and the perpetrators of the four-year Rwanda civil war and genocide have not been brought to justice, even though ICTR Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte publicly announced in 2003 that she had evidence to prosecute members of the current government. France and Italy have indicted more than 40 members of the current Rwandan government for war crimes and genocide, including current President Paul Kagame. Since the Rwanda tribunal will soon come to a close, the speakers noted that the UN has a continuing duty to provide ongoing protection of detainees rights, proper jail conditions and meaningful procedures for revision of convictions. UN protection of the ICTR archives in a neutral site, like other international tribunals, will be necessary to guarantee an accurate and accessible historical record. 13
16 Expanding the Prison Law Project Since 2003, groups of volunteers have met weekly at the Guild s national office to mail prisoners the Jailhouse Lawyer s Handbook, published jointly with the Center for Constitutional Rights. The NLG is known and respected by inmates around the country as one of the few organizations that responds to their requests for assistance. The volunteer program continues to grow, and this year we were able to fill almost 100% of the requests that we received, a significant improvement over past years. In 2008 the Guild began collecting data from inmates by sending surveys to those who received the Handbook. We asked for information on the usefulness of the Handbooks and on prison conditions so that we can track primary areas of concern, from incidents of physical abuse to problems accessing the facilities libraries. Beyond providing legal help to prisoners, the program has energized local law students and community members. Alissa Hull, a 3L at the City University of New York Law School, took charge of coordinating the program over the past year after starting as a volunteer in The lack of legal materials and access to law libraries in prison makes the Handbook an invaluable resource, says Alissa. It has been inspiring not only to provide prisoners with these tools, but also to witness the commitment from local community members that keeps this program strong. The prison mail program continues to show the Guild s strong dedication to those on the inside, providing them with resources to empower themselves to use the law as a tool for justice. To read the Handbook, visit jailhouselaw.org and download a free copy in PDF format. Please keep up the good work, as well as the faith, for sometimes, as we peer out from the belly of the beast, it s all we got. - Inmate in San Antonio, Texas 14
17 Sometimes, the Pen is Mightier... Guild members contributed to the public discourse over the past year in a myriad of ways, including media appearances, public speaking engagements, educational seminars and book publications. We highlight three notable 2009 contributions to the fields of civil rights and civil liberties written by four Guild members. The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther By Jeffrey Haas, Lawrence Hill Books It s around 7 AM on December 4, 1969, and Jeff Haas is in Chicago, interviewing Fred Hampton s fiancée. She is describing how the police pulled her from the room as Fred lay unconscious on their bed. She heard one officer say, He s still alive. She then heard two shots. A second officer said, He s good and dead now. The Assassination of Fred Hampton is Haas s personal account of how he and People s Law Office partner Flint Taylor pursued Hampton s assassins, prevailing over unlimited government resources and FBI conspiracy. Not only a story of justice delivered, the book puts Hampton in a new light as a dynamic community leader and an inspiration in the fight against injustice. It reveals how the government targeted the Black Panther Party through its Counter Intelligence Program by infiltration, disruption and murder. Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent By Marjorie Cohn and Kathleen Gilberd, PoliPointPress The continuing occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are leaving permanent scars on a whole generation of soldiers. Not since Vietnam have so many GI s objected to a war, and never have military families spoken out so strongly for withdrawal. Rules of Disengagement comes to the aid of distressed military personnel and their families and examines the reasons men and women in the military have disobeyed orders and resisted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book discusses what resisters have done, and what readers can do, to help end illegal orders and wars. It analyzes issues of constitutional, international and military law, including conscientious objector status, rules of military discharge, the right to disobey illegal orders, the international laws of war and human rights and the constitutional rights of free speech, association, assembly, dissent and protest. We Dissent: Talking Back to the Rehnquist Court Edited by Michael Avery, NYU Press The lawyers and legal commentators who contribute to We Dissent agree that during Chief Justice William Rehnquist s tenure, the Supreme Court failed to adequately protect civil liberties and civil rights. This is evident in majority opinions written for numerous cases heard by the Rehnquist Court, eight of which are re-examined here. Each chapter focuses on one case, ranging from torture to search and seizure, from racial profiling to freedom of political expression. Contributors summarize the case and decision, and then offer their own dissent to the majority opinion. Contributors are Michael Avery, Erwin Chemerinsky, Marjorie Cohn, Tracey Maclin, Eva Paterson, Jamin Raskin, David Rudovsky, Susan Kiyomi Serrano, and Abbe Smith. 15
18 CLEs at the Law for the People Convention At the Guild s 2009 annual convention in Seattle, our offerings of Continuing Legal Education seminars were as diverse as our national work. Experts in a range of areas shared practical advice and legal theories, informed by the Guild s perspective of having worked with and represented the major social movements of the past seven decades. Our approach as peoples lawyers learning from the people we work with and represent has historically incorporated a strong public educational component and targeted activism into our litigation, a tradition that we continue to practice and to share with young attorneys and legal workers. Seattle Plus 10: Litigation Skills Training for Unique Issues in Constitutional Rights Protest Cases Guild lawyers have trailblazed the field of mass defense, winning resounding and landmark victories in a range of First Amendment cases. This seminar trained lawyers and legal workers how to work together to advance and preserve the rights of demonstrators. Guild lawyers have provided representation and assistance for community groups organizing against police abuse in targeted low-income and minority neighborhoods, as well as for mass demonstrations for LGBT rights. Courts Martial for Everyone: Military Law 101 Experts in military law discussed the differences and similarities between court martials and civilian criminal trials, addressing issues such as pre-trial motions, working with JAG counsel, and approaching trials from a political perspective. The seminar was followed by a round table discussion and brainstorming for more advanced practitioners. It also helped to establish a network for military resisters, AWOL/UA soldiers and veterans with lingering legal problems. Fighting for Justice Using Treaties and Offices of the Inspector General Renowned attorneys Bill Quigley, Steve Bingham, John Brittain and Ann Fagan Ginger explained how lawyers are winning case after case by using United Nations treaties in two venues: in recent suits against defendants in the U.S. and in reports to three United Nations Committees in Geneva, shaming the defendants into action. The Changing Face of Disability Discrimination Law In the first year of the ADA Amendments Act, and with ratification of the UN Disability Convention pending, this seminar brought together leading practitioners and theorists on disability rights. The seminar covered ethical issues involving people with disabilities as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Fair Housing Act. A total of 13 lawyers and human rights activists shared their expertise, including Jennifer Mathis from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C. and attorneys from Frank Freed Subit & Thomas in Seattle, presenting on the ADA Amendments Act and new proposed ADA regulations. Several experts, including Michael Smith from Disability Rights Washington, spoke about disability issues in institutions such as prisons and adult homes. 16
19 Cecillia Wang presents at the 2009 NLG convention in Seattle, WA.
20 Donors Without members generous commitment of money, time and thought, we could not carry on the work that we do. Between August 2008 and November 2009, the following individuals made contributions in support of the National Lawyers Guild. $100,000 + The Estate of Muriel Goldring $25,000 + The Estate of Catherine Roraback The CS Fund/Warsh-Mott Legacy $10,000 24,999 Anonymous Tim Hoffman $5,000 9,999 Barbara Dudley C. Peter Erlinder Barbara Kessler and Richard Soble Karen Jo Koonan $1,000 4,999 Saba Ahmed Albert and Bessie Warner Fund Miguel Au Clair-Valdez Constitutional Litigation Associates Ted Dooley James Douglas Cathy Dreyfuss 18 Thomas Durst David Gespass and Kathy Johnson Peggy Herman Goodman & Hurwitz, P.C. Steven Goldberg Polly Halfkenny L.A. Herzenberg Kathleen Kalahar Eugenia Kalnay John Kennedy Jody LeWitter and Marc Van Der Hout Daniel Mayfield Brian McInerney Radhika Miller Jeanne Mirer National Immigration Project of the NLG National Police Accountability Project NLG Minnesota Chapter NLG New York City Chapter Roxana Orrell Jerome William Paun People s Law Office John Rodgers Robert Schmid Susan Scott Carol Sobel Judy Somberg John Spragens, Jr. Victoria R. Ward Rain Boe Wave Theresa L. Wright $ J. Ashlee Albies Cynthia Anderson-Barker Brenna Bell Bruce Bentley Thomas Cincotta Katy Clemens Marjorie Cohn Curtis Cooper Edelstein, Payne & Haddix Michael Fahey Judy C. Flanagan P.C. Kit Gage Peter Gardiner Paul Gattone Roderic Gorney, MD Catherine Highet Marielena Hincapie Richard Koch