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Panel Descriptions

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Current Issues and Pro Bono Opportunities in Immigration Law: Asylum, Due Process, and Enforcement Concerns

Immigration courts must handle a large number of cases, including asylum cases, with extremely limited resources.  Adequate legal representation is not always available, giving rise to concerns about the integrity of the deportation process and the treatment of persons subject to U.S. immigration law.  This panel will discuss the nature of the due process problems, the practical consequences faced by people moving through the system, deportation and incarceration issues, and the service that recent law school graduates and established attorneys can provide to vulnerable individuals and the rule of law.

 

Communities in Conflict with Police: How to Facilitate Dispute Resolution, Mediate Offensive Policies, and Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances

Police cannot adequately serve the public without the respect and trust of the communities they serve.  Who speaks for the community, and how can the legal system ensure that those voices are heard? What does equal protection under the law mean on the streets of America, where law enforcement is necessarily discretionary?  What role should the federal government occupy when local trust in the rule of law recedes?  How can community leaders and practicing attorneys facilitate positive outcomes from conflict?  This panel will address leading local, state, and federal initiatives to maintain dialogue between law enforcement authorities and the communities they serve.   

 

Human Trafficking: Georgia’s Response to an International Problem

On October 19, 2014 Attorney General Sam Olens announced the appointment of a dedicated Human Trafficking prosecutor.  The scale and horrific consequences of human trafficking have prompted international concern, with the United States ratifying the UN Trafficking Protocol (supplementing the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime) in 2005.  At the same time, domestic sex trafficking often involves children who have never crossed state lines.    While federal law controls important components of assisting victims of human trafficking, the prevention and punishment of human trafficking requires the commitment of state resources and the enforcement of state laws.  Georgia has tough laws and an expressed commitment to aiding victims.  This panel will discuss both the prosecution of traffickers and the many legal or social service issues involved in assisting victims.    

 

Prisoners of Debt: Costs and Consequences of Civil Penalties and Routine Criminal Procedures

This panel will consider the costs incurred by people when their lives become entwined with law enforcement and the routine processes of sentencing and civil penalties.  From the fees and penalties associated with probation, often administered by private companies, to the costs that a person incurs when they are arrested for a failure to appear in court, to the consequences of being jailed when bail exceeds a person’s means, are the punitive consequences proportionate to the offense?  This panel will discuss the costs incurred by citizens who become trapped in a cycle of debt and imprisonment, the potential for reform, and the lessons to be learned from alternative courts.