ABA Midyear Meeting Daily Advisory for Feb. 8-9, 2010
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION 2010 ORLANDO MIDYEAR MEETING MONDAY, FEB. 8 – TUESDAY, FEB. 9
The American Bar Association House of Delegates will vote on nearly 40 policy recommendations relating to immigration adjudication reform, criminal justice reform and other key legal issues. The 555-member policymaking body will meet on Monday and Tuesday during the association’s 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla. at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, Northern Hemisphere Ballroom, Fifth level.
ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm will address the House of Delegates at 9:45 a.m. on Monday. In addition, at noon on Monday, the Human Rights luncheon will be held in the Southern Hemisphere IV/V, Fifth Level, Walt Disney World Dolphin. David J. Scheffer, who served as the first United States ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, will present an address titled “Closing the Impunity Gap at Home and Abroad.”
Proposals to come before the House would:
- Support a series of measures to reform legal proceedings to remove immigrants, including creating a new Article I court; improving the professionalism, independence and accountability of immigration judges; restoring review of immigration decisions to the federal judiciary; improving legal representation and information provided immigrants facing removal; and policy and procedural improvements to enhance due process and fairness in decisions to initiate, try and review immigration enforcement actions (114A, B, C, D, E, F).
- Address criminal law issues involving juveniles—to limit the collateral consequences of juvenile arrests, adjudications and convictions (102A) and urge simplifying Miranda warning language for use with juvenile arrestees (102B).
- Support criminal justice reforms in non-juvenile cases—urge review and amendment of misdemeanor provisions to allow civil fines or nonmonetary civil remedies instead of such criminal penalties as fines and incarceration (102C), require pretrial conferences to work out disclosure issues in criminal cases (102D) and urge initiatives to facilitate contact and communication between parents in correctional custody and their children in the free community in appropriate cases (102E).
- Support legislation to allow Legal Service Corporation grantees to assist criminal defendants and prisoners with family law and constitutional rights issues (102F).
- Call on the president and the attorney general of the United States to ensure politics is not a factor in employment and prosecution decisions in the Department of Justice (102G).
- Urge Congress to expand funding to cover actual national need under the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2008, a student loan repayment program for prosecutors and public defenders (102J).
- Support amendments to federal student loan debt forgiveness legislation to include, with respect to married couples, income and debt for both spouses in calculating payment caps; to include military counsel among public service positions eligible for loan forgiveness, and to exclude from gross income discharges of student loans under forgiveness programs, among other proposals (113).
- Adopt, and urge states and territories to adopt, a Model Act Governing Standards for the Care and Disposition of Disaster Animals, a response to the plight of pets whose owners were forced to abandon them during the Hurricane Katrina disaster (103A).
- Support U.S. efforts to ensure that foreign nationals arrested in the United States are advised of their right to consult representatives of their consulate, in keeping with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (104).
- Support development of systematic approaches to meet the special needs of veterans involved in civil or criminal court proceedings through diversionary programs to connect them with housing, treatment and other services (105A).
- Support reforms to child welfare financing laws to eliminate financial incentives to place children in foster care (110).
- Urge the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to undertake measures to ensure the least possible disclosure of patients’ personally identifiable information contained in electronic health records, except as required by law (116).
Additionally, a proposal is expected to be voted on that would urge Congress to enact legislation that would provide more effective remedies, procedures and protections to those subjected to pay discrimination, including those discriminated against on the basis of gender (107). Another proposal urges Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Violence Against Women Act (115).
For details and updates on these and nearly 40 proposals for debate and vote by the House, check http://www.abanow.org.
No proposal constitutes association policy unless and until the House of Delegates adopts it. Some offerings may be withdrawn, while other measures can be submitted up until the afternoon of Feb. 7. Any measure can be amended until it is taken to a vote.
During the Midyear Meeting, a press room for working journalists will be set up at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, Atlantic Hall C, First level, and will be open for on-site media registration at 8 a.m. on Feb. 3. Thereafter the press room will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will close one hour after the adjournment of the House of Delegates on Feb. 9.