New Public Defender Career Handbook, Networking Opportunities & Human Rights News

Interested in Career in Public Defense? Check out the Newly Updated Public Defender Handbook

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PSJD.org recently published NYU’s 2014 Public Defender Handbook. One of the most comprehensive career handbooks around this guide will walk you through all of the nuts and bolts of building a career in public defense. Don’t miss out!

 

Are you Looking for Any Easy Way to Network with UW Law Alumni? Regional Networking Groups are Now Available Online!

networkingUW Law alumni extend across the country and internationally. Regional alumni groups allow alumni and students in these regions to stay connected with each other and the law school. Check out the regional networking groups here.

Friendly Networking Tips:

  1. before you contact alumni be sure to research them to learn more about their practice area.
  2. when you do email them, be sure to mention that you got their contact info from the UW regional networking group link.
  3. if you don’t get a response right away don’t worry, it might be a busy time for them. Give it some time and a couple of tries. Persistence usually pays off. Otherwise, just contact another regional member!

Attention Law Grads! Announcing the 2015 Human Rights Essay Award

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Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Homosexuality Law

Isaac KasamaniAugust 1, 2014- BBC News, photo courtesy of Isaac Kasamani/ AFP/ Getty

Activists celebrated after the anti-gay law was thrown out, reports Andrew Harding. Uganda’s Constitutional Court has annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law in February. It ruled that the bill was passed by MPs in December without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal. Homosexual acts were already illegal, but the new law allowed for life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality” and banned the “promotion of homosexuality”. Several donors have cut aid to Uganda since the law was adopted.

Ugandan government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said the government was still waiting the attorney general’s advice about whether to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court. He added that the ruling showed to Western donors that Uganda’s democracy was functioning very well and that they should reinstate any aid they had cut. Continue reading here.

Advocates for Children, Families Oppose Cuts to Services to Fund McCleary

 

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August 4, 2014 – Columbia Legal Services

Advocates for children and families have filed an Amicus Curiae brief with the state Supreme Court, opposing one of the Court’s proposed remedies in the McCleary v. Washington case.

The Children’s Alliance, Columbia Legal Services, and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance filed the brief this morning. The brief requests that, as the state moves to comply with the Court’s ruling, it refrain from funding education in a way that jeopardizes housing and other basic services to children and families. The brief may be found here.

“If we cut social programs to pay for education, everyone’s worse off,” says Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children’s Alliance. “In addressing our failure to uphold kids’ right to a basic education, we don’t want the solution to exacerbate the problem.”

While education must be fully funded, the brief explains how students in low-income families face barriers outside the classroom that prevent them from obtaining a basic education. These barriers also expand the educational opportunity gap that exists between white students and students of color.

In the brief, the organizations explain how, even with the existing level of funding for social programs, students in low-income families and students of color often cannot achieve educational opportunity. Thus, the organizations argue, financing education by cutting or freezing basic services would exacerbate the barriers to education that students in low-income families and students of color already face.

Housing advocates assert the legislature has already cut to the bone funding for both housing and homelessness services. For instance, the State Housing Trust Fund has declined sharply since 2008. This important tool for creating affordable homes received zero dollars this most recent legislative session. Cutting programs could not have come at a worse time, as students in homeless households are at an all-time high. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction reported 30,609 homeless students in the 2012-13 school year.

“For children across Washington, the lack of a safe, stable home can be a huge barrier to learning,” says Housing Alliance executive director Rachael Myers. “We already have proven, innovative programs that create affordable homes and keep families and children stably housed. They just need to be adequately funded.”

“Every child deserves an opportunity to succeed,” adds Maranan. “Good nutrition, household economic stability, child care, health care: these help keep kids in school, body and mind.”

Another Amicus brief was filed today by the Washington State Budget & Policy Center and six co-signing organizations. Their brief argues that legislators cannot responsibly fund education without raising new revenue, and that failure to raise revenue will lead to budget cuts that will harm kids’ ability to succeed in the classroom.

The Amicus participants support the Court’s finding in McCleary that the state must provide adequate funding to ensure the right of all children to an education that prepares them for lifelong success.