New Article: Sara Rankin, Jocelyn Tillisch, Drew Sena, Justin Olson, Begging for Change: Begging Restrictions Throughout Washington, Seattle University Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, 2018. Abstract below:
The act of panhandling, commonly known as begging, is a form of speech protected by the United States Constitution. But Washington’s cities are increasingly enacting laws that criminalize begging, despite courts finding these laws unconstitutional under both the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause. This brief surveys begging restrictions, assessing their scope and legality. This report offers the first statewide analysis of laws that restrict begging.
Among the brief’s key findings is that the vast majority (86%) of Washington cities criminalize begging; the majority (83%) of these laws result in a criminal charge if violated, leading to serious collateral consequences that impact one’s eligibility for housing and employment. Many of these laws would not survive constitutional scrutiny.
The National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School just published a very important report for all lawyers who work in civil legal aid. As the Center acknowledges in the report, data is not being collected, tracked, and used in the civil legal aid community at a rate consistent with other markets in the legal profession. The report expertly addresses many of the key reasons why data in civil legal aid is less effective, and carries on to address ways to make up the gap — notably recommending “that providers adopt a culture that supports the exercise of care in gathering, organizing, and analyzing data.”
The report is a must-read (and take to heart) for all those in the civil legal aid community.
National Center for Access to Justice, Tracking Outcomes: A Guide for Civil Legal Aid Providers and Funders, 2018.
Upcoming Conference: “State of the South Conference” Feb. 22-23, Georgia State University College of Law. From the conference website:
Join the Center for Access to Justice from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, in the Catherine P. Henson Atrium for an opening reception featuring food from Kevin Gillespie’s Red Beard Restaurants.
On Friday, Feb. 23, the center will hold its inaugural State of the South Conference at the College of Law in partnership with the ABA’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. This year’s conference will explore the intersection between the civil and criminal justice systems and how practitioners operating in each system approach that overlap.
Timothy Williams, Courts Sidestep the Law, and South Carolina’s Poor Go to Jail, New York Time, October 12, 2017. [“One homeless man has been arrested or cited 270 time on the same charge…”]
Nikita Stewart, Lawyers for Child Welfare and Legal Aid Under Scrutiny for Facebook Posts, New York Times, August, 30, 2017. [Facebook posts pose expectation and standard of conduct questions for Legal Aid workers.]
Karen Tokarz and Zachary Schmook, Law School Clinic and Community Legal Services Providers Collaborate to Advance the Remedy of Implied Warranty of Habitability in Missouri, 53 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y 169 (2017). Abstract Below:
This Essay discusses the economic and public policy concerns regarding the implied warrant of habitability law and the ability of tenants in the state of Missouri can raise effective defenses to rent and possession/eviction actions. The authors, Tokarz and Schmook, director and supervising attorney, respectively, of Washington University’s Civil Rights and Community Justice Clinic, evaluate these issues in light of Kohner Props., Inc. v. Johnson, which currently awaits a decision from the Missouri Supreme Court. Tokarz and Schmook use statistical analysis to identify recent trends in favorable results for landlords in disputes with tenants and stress the effects the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in Kohner could have in future cases involving tenant rights.
Legal Services Corporation,”The Justice Gap: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-income Americans“, prepared by NORC at the University of Chicago for Legal Services Corporation. Washington, DC, 2017.