5 States Receive ProBono.Net Award

What do Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, and New York have in common?

Sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s not. If it were, they would be laughing all the way to the bank.

Instead ProBono.Net has awarded these five states’ legal services organizations developing innovative online document assembly projects through its NPADO Demonstration Project.  The projects address legal issues including foreclosure, criminal expungement and the needs of the Spanish-speaking community.

To read more, click here.

Congratulations!

-RFW

Former VP Mondale celebrates Gideon v. Wainwright

Former Vice President Mondale celebrates Gideon v. Wainwright

In case you missed, this morning, former Vice President Walter F. Mondale wrote a column for the Washington Post about the landmark case, Gideon v. Wainwright. What you may not know is that in 1963 in his role as Minnesota’s State Attorney General, the former VP persuaded 23 other state attorneys general to sign a brief in favor of Clarence Earl Gideon.

In Florida, Mr. Gideon was charged with a non-capital felony. Mr. Gideon had no money and no attorney. He asked the Court to appoint an attorney for him, but his request was denied on the ground that state law appointed attorneys for indigents only in captial cases. Mr. Gideon represented himself and was convicted.

Mr. Gideon appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was held unanimously that under the 6th Amendment Mr. Gideon and other criminal defendants have a right to be represented by a court-appointed attorney.

The former Vice President’s column is not only a celebration of the decision for indigent criminals, but also a reminder to Americans to review our justice systems – both criminal and civil. He notes that the American Bar Association has “endorsed an expansion of the right to counsel to noncriminal matters where important legal rights, such as loss of housing, are at stake” and that “our justice system depends on the idea that everyone is to be treated fairly, but a lack of resources is affecting the progress the Gideon decision brought to our criminal justice system and is blocking progressive efforts to extend the right to counsel in certain civil cases.”

-RFW

Now for the NEWS

Earlier I listed some of the recent blog posts I enjoyed. Below are some recent newsworthy items from around the state, nation and world:

  1. Out of Knoxville TN: Public meeting to discuss increasing need of legal help for poor
  2. Out of Texas: Opinion Piece –  New OAG Service Helps Parents Address Visitation Concerns.
  3. Out of Vancouver, Canada: High fees that block access to the courts block access to justice.
  4. Out of Colorado: Justice for all – Salt Lake City attorney serves the homeless.
  5. Out of Oregon: Hard Times for Access to Justice – Economic Downturn is Beginning to Take its Toll in Oregon.
  6. Out of the UK: Judge rules CPS wrong to deny victim with mental illness right to fight for justice.
  7. Out of Minneapolis/St. Paul: Court of Appeals testing new mediation process.
  8. From NPR: Immigration Crackdown Overwhelms Judges.
  9. Out of Washington: AGs push for mortgage modifications.
  10. Out of West Virginia – State must submit plan to prevent juvenile racial injustice.
  11. Out of Tulsa, OK: A lawful dosage. A medical-legal partnership fills in some gaps in child health-care issues.
  12. Out of North Carolina: Legal Aid in demand and in a bind.
  13. Out of New Jersey: Agency that gives legal help to poor is in financial crisis.
  14. Out of Florida: Judge John Blue Receives 2009 Chief Justice’s Distinguished Judicial Service Award.
  15. Out of Massachusetts: President of One Laptop Per Child to speak Feb. 10.  (yes this is past, but it’s still worth reading)
  16. From Berkeley: Bringing it all back home – In her new job, Wilda White pursues a lifelong passion for social justice.
  17. Out of Massachussets: Legal services needed for immigrants in Milford.
  18. Also from Massachussetts: Letter From The President Of The Boston Bar Association.
  19. Out of Mississippi: Miss. legal aid grows scarce as economy gets worse – Unlike in the criminal justice system, indigent in civil cases aren’t guaranteed an attorney.
  20. Out of England: Let’s not be too misty eyed about legal aid, but it is at a crossroads.
  21. From Chattanooga: 6 Chattanooga Law Firms Commit To Greater Legal Service For The Poor.
  22. Out of Florida: Judge calls on Lawyers – Supreme Court judge would like to see equal justice.

Oh, there’s more, but I have to stop somewhere.

Besides, this list is just in case you have a few moments . . .

-RFW