More Special Education News: out of Wisconsin

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court published its opinion in Forest Grove School District v. T.A. (see previous post), while the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal reported that earlier this month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Aaron E. Goodstein issued an order for:

Milwaukee Public Schools to launch a wide search for students who didn’t get special education services they should have gotten between 2000 and 2005 and to figure out what needs to be done to make that up to them.

The suit was brought by Disability Rights Wisconsin, the protection and advocacy system for Wisconsin.


Thanks to @wiprobono for pointing me toward this story.

Friday Wrap 5.29.09

All the week’s “atj” newsworthy items wrapped up

Friday Wrap Friday Wrap

Texas – Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation Recognize Major Contributors to Texas Legal Aid

Chicago, Illinois – ABA Invites Obama to it Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C. – 2nd ABA National Conference on Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities (Hurry for the EARLY BIRD special because after June 1st the registration increases)

United States Supreme Court – President Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court (For more news links, click here. For blog coverage, click here.)

Brooklyn, New York – A Call for Pro Bono at Boro Hall

Lexington, Kentucky – Interview with a True Change Agent

Nashville, Tennessee – New Legal Advice Clinic to Help with Debt Issues

Richmond, Virginia – LINC Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Public Justice Center – Donor Inspires Us with $10,000 Gift 

Ventura County, California – New County Program Helping Low-Income Families Adopt

 Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Practical Paralegalism: Paying it Forward

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Credit Card Reforms Could Help Statements

Fairfield, Connecticut – Hard Times Force People Into Family Court “Solo”

Honolulu, Hawaii – Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher Supports Access to Justice Commission

Australia – Pro Bono Work Good for Law Students

New York, New York – Pro Bono Recruitment Drive

San Diego, California – Law Made Public: Legal Research Class for the Self-Represented Litigant


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.”


Passing: Barbara McDowell

From the Washington Post obituaries:

Barbara McDowell, 56, a lawyer who argued many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and who later became a national leader in public interest advocacy as director of the appellate project of the D.C. Legal Aid Society, died Jan. 2 of brain cancer at her home in Falls Church.

In 2004, Ms. McDowell joined the D.C. Legal Aid Society and established its Appellate Advocacy Project. She argued about 50 cases related to issues of poverty law in the D.C. Court of Appeals and won significant legal victories involving housing, public benefits, domestic violence and the rights of the poor.