2016 Conference – Cleveland, OH

The Mideast (“Rustbelt”) Regional NLG Conference will be held Friday, March 18th through Sunday March 20th, 2016 at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, OH. The Facebook event for the regional is available here.

Along with workshops, panels, and CLEs, we will also provide ample networking opportunities, meeting spaces, and trainings. Questions? Contact mideastrvp@nlg.org or ohio@nlg.org. We look forward to seeing you in March!

Schedule

Friday, March 18th, 2016 – Social! @ Tina’s Nite Club, 5400 Herman Avenue (Detroit-Shoreway), Cleveland, OH  44102

  • 8:30pm: Meet & Greet followed by Karaoke @ Tina’s Nite Club, 5400 Herman Avenue (Detroit-Shoreway), Cleveland, OH  44102 [Karaoke every night of the week. One of Cleveland’s best dives.  A hidden gem.]

Saturday, March 19th, 2016 – Conference! @ CWRU School of Law (11075 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106)

Sunday, March 20th, 2016 – Meetings & Trainings! – @ CWRU School of Law (11075 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106)

Note about Sunday: All meetings are closed and only NLG members may attendLegal Observer trainings are open to everyone – except those working for or with government or law enforcement agencies – interested in being trained and serving as an NLG Legal Observer. No media permitted.

  • 10:00am-10:50am: Ohio NLG business meeting (NLG members only)
  • 11:00am-11:50am: NLG Mideast Region business meeting (NLG members only)
  • 12:00pm-1:45pm: NLG RNC legal support meeting (NLG members only)
  • 2:00pm-3:30pm: Legal Observer training! Please RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/ohnlglorsvp!

Panel Descriptions & Speaker Bios

PROTESTER CRIMINAL DEFENSE 101
Course Description
Approved for 2.0 Ohio & Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) hours.

Throughout history, criminal prosecutions have been used to prevent and punish First Amendment activity and the expression of dissenting views. The National Lawyers Guild has worked for nearly 70 years to challenge governmental infringement of the rights of individuals and to combat tactics that are calculated to stifle dissent and silence voices for change. One of the most important avenues for protecting First Amendment and expressive activity is through rigorous criminal defense.

This CLE will provide an overview of the process of defending protesters and political defendants from start to finish, with a focus on legal and political approaches to criminal defense of political activists and strategies to protect the rights of demonstrators before, during, and after arrest.

Speaker Bios
A respected trial attorney, adjunct law professor and author, Julie Hurwitz is President and Partner at Goodman & Hurwitz, P.C. Julie received her undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley (with honors) before attending the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a member of the student senate and participated in the NLG Unemployment Compensation Clinic.

After law school, Julie practiced in the areas of personal injury and civil rights, with a primary focus on §1983 litigation. Thereafter, she was the Founding Executive Director for the NLG/Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice. This national public interest litigation center established a national reputation as leading law experts in environmental justice, plant closing notification law (WARN Act) on behalf of dislocated workers and economic justice/living wage issues.

Julie has paved the way for significant changes to our legal system, leading the first successful environmental justice §1983 action in the country, involving the construction of a public elementary school on contaminated industrial waste site in a predominantly Hispanic/African American community (Lucero v. Detroit Public Schools); she litigated/settled first successful living wage enforcement action in country; and she tried first successful federal jury WARN Act trial in country(Wallace v. Detroit Coke).

Julie has testified has testified before House and Senate subcommittees on the need to enforce civil rights laws on behalf of environmental justice litigants, on the need to strengthen WARN Act legislation, and in support of passing and strengthening local living wage laws.

Since 2007, Julie, with her partner Bill Goodman and Senior Associate Kathryn James, has represented victims of police, government, and corporate misconduct. She has also, over the years, litigated several cases resulting in jury verdicts or settlements exceeding $1 million.

Prior to teaming with Bill Goodman to create the powerhouse team of Goodman & Hurwitz, PC, Julie spent twenty-four years in private practice as a sole practitioner. Public service is at the heart of Julie’s career and she participates in many community and volunteer activities. Throughout her career, Julie has provided representation to activists and protesters in both criminal and civil cases connected to activism and First Amendment activities.

Terry H. Gilbert has been in private law practice since 1973, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights litigation.   At the start of his legal career in the 1970’s, Terry represented American Indians in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee confrontation in South Dakota, and numerous anti-war and civil rights activists.

Over the years, Terry has handled a variety of government misconduct cases involving police abuse, violations of free speech, prisoners’ rights, and victims of all forms of discrimination.

In 1991, he joined the investigative team to re-open the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case, serving as the attorney for the Sheppard family in successfully obtaining the release of previously undisclosed records, and using new DNA evidence to mount a wrongful imprisonment action to demonstrate Dr. Sheppard’s innocence

Among his important cases, he has obtained one of the largest police misconduct verdicts in Ohio history, was a member of the legal team which successfully challenged the constitutionality of Ohio’s supermax prison in a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and successfully convinced the Ohio Supreme Court to throw out the case of a protester who burned an American Flag to express opposition to the Gulf War.

In recent years, Terry has defended two young men charged with crimes of terrorism, highlighting overzealous and questionable FBI conduct.  He also successfully sought compensation for two Ohio men convicted on false forensic testimony and wrongfully imprisoned for thirteen years. This past year Terry worked with the Innocence Project to obtain the release of two brothers who were convicted in 1975 of a murder they did not commit. He has also been active in the anti-death penalty movement over the years. Currently he is working on the civil wrongful imprisonment case of Joe D’Ambrosio who was on death row for over 20 years, then released because the State failed to turn over exculpatory evidence.

Terry has lectured widely on civil rights practice at both CWRU and CSU School of Law, as well as conducting numerous seminars on civil rights litigation, criminal defense, and media and the law at Continuing Legal Education seminars.  He is admitted to practice in Federal Courts around the country, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. He has appeared on local and national TV as a legal commentator.

In May 2014, Terry H. Gilbert was named the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law 2014 Alumni of the Year honor. In 2015, he received the Rescuer of Humanity Award from Project Love, a local organization which helps troubled youth. In 2002, Terry H. Gilbert received the John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association Litigation Section.

James L. Hardiman is a civil rights attorney and educator that has dedicated his life to improving the communities within Ohio. A graduate of John Hay High School in the Cleveland Public School System during the 1950s, James Hardiman went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Baldwin Wallace College and a Juris Doctorate from Cleveland Marshall College of Law.

Early in his legal career, James Hardiman became an attorney for the plaintiffs in the case of Robert Anthony Reed v. James A. Rhodes, a pinnacle case focused on the desegregation of the Cleveland Public Schools. A celebrated civil rights attorney, James Hardiman is most well-known for his involvement in this case and other school desegregation initiatives across the country.

James Hardiman continued to focus his career on civil rights, criminal justice, and criminal defense through private practice and as Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio from 2010 to 2014. James Hardiman’s passion for civil rights can also be seen in the classroom where he educates students at Baldwin Wallace College on topics of civil rights and in the nonprofit board room of the Cleveland Branch NAACP.

James Hardiman has also been deeply involved in the Collaborative for a Safe, Fair, and Just Cleveland, a group of community leaders, activists, academics, and others who advocated for respect for civil rights and the mandated inclusion and use of best practices by the Cleveland Division of Police in the Consent Decree between the City of Cleveland and Department of Justice. As a representative of the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP, James Hardiman has also worked to provide legal support to the Movement for Black Lives by recruiting pro bono defense attorneys and representing protesters himself who have been charged in relation to protest activity.

Allison L. Kriger is a criminal defense attorney at Detroit firm LaRene & Kriger. Practicing since 2012, Allison’s criminal practice has recently expanded to political criminal defense. Allison is also the co-founder of Vote Detroit, a non-partisan initiative aimed at raising awareness and increasing civic participation amongst city residents.

Allison, a Detroit native earned dual B.A. in Public Policy and Public Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science with a concentration in Economics from Michigan State University. Upon graduating in 2007, she accepted a position as a Legislative Analyst with State Senator Buzz Thomas (D-Detroit). In 2009, she enrolled in Wayne State University Law School as a Dean’s Scholar. While at Wayne, Allison worked as a law Clerk for Goodman and Hurwitz, P.C., a Detroit-based civil rights firm founded by William Goodman, the former Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, and long-time civil rights activist and attorney Julie Hurwitz. Allison also worked for the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office, where she did appeals for indigent convicted criminals, and the United States House of Representatives.

As a Wayne Law student, Allison was the recipient of the Eugene Driker Endowed Scholarship, Wade McCree Memorial Endowed Scholarship, Weiss Memorial Endowed Scholarship and three-time recipient of the Ken Cockrel, Sr., Memorial Endowed Scholarship.

Jacqueline C. Greene is an attorney at Cleveland firm of Friedman & Gilbert and is Co-Coordinator for the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Jacqueline joined Friedman & Gilbert as an associate attorney in February 2014. Her practice focuses primarily on civil rights cases, including police and other government misconduct, as well as criminal defense.

In her capacity as Ohio NLG Co-Coordinator, Jacqueline recruits and organizes pro bono criminal defense attorneys for protester criminal cases in the Greater Cleveland area, defends protesters herself, and represents the NLG in civil rights litigation. Jacqueline also trains and organizes NLG Legal Observers (who observe law enforcement conduct at protests) in Northeast Ohio.

Prior to joining Friedman & Gilbert, Jacqueline worked internationally in the fields of criminal law, human rights law, and humanitarian law. She was a Human Rights Fellow at the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in 2013 and a Researcher for the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute in 2011 and 2012.

Jacqueline has worked on international criminal trials, as a member of the Nuon Chea defense team in the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia, and as part of the prosecution team in the trial of warlord and Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Jacqueline has also worked in public health law and advocacy in South Africa.

Jacqueline has been engaged for many years in social justice activism and advocacy, including civil rights and criminal justice issues.

JAIL SUPPORT TRAINING

Want to provide support for mass movements but don’t want to or can’t take the streets yourself?

Want to be involved in supporting those who come to Cleveland to protest during the RNC next summer?

We need to build our local jail support infrastructure and community. What is jail support?

Jail Support is both tracking arrestees as they move through the arrest and arraignment process and providing comfort to arrestees when they are released. It is a way of showing solidarity with arrested activists and a way of taking care of friends and community.

You could: (1) take calls from protesters who are arrested at demonstrations and help them contact their families and jobs; (2) provide information to those arrested so they know they’re not alone and that people are on the outside fighting for them; (3) get the necessary information so that the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and other friendly lawyers can try to get pro bono representation for folks if they are charged in relation to their protest activities; (4) provide presence and support at/outside of jails for those folks when they get out so they can have a cup of hot coffee, get a ride home, have money for a bus pass, get connected to legal representation, etc.; (5) provide ongoing support to folks in many ways, including reminding them of court dates, arranging for them to get to court if they don’t have a ride, etc.

Attend this workshop to learn how you can play a role in local jail support efforts!

Speaker Bios
Rev. Waltrina Middleton is the founder and organizer of Cleveland Action, a social justice based organization that advocates in solidarity with marginalized communities and uses its platform to raise awareness on racialized cultures of violence, including police brutality. The organization was formed in response to the killing of 12-year old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police in 2014 and a host of racialized murders by police in the city of Cleveland and nation. The organization supports legal and bail efforts in partnership with local and national organizations; hosts training and educational forums on civil disobedience and provides safe spaces and resources as needed in solidarity with organizers and activists. Middleton is among a network of Movement for Black Lives organizers which hosted its first annual gathering the summer of 2015 in Cleveland. Middleton is engaged in human rights advocacy domestically and abroad as she also partners with efforts to dismantle systems of apartheid in Israeli occupied Palestine. She is an ordained minister, poet, and social critic.

Alana Belle is a community activist and organizer from Cleveland whose primary focus is racial injustice. Her activity in the movement for Black lives began following the non-indictment of Officers Loehmann and Garmback for the murder of Tamir Rice. She is a current undergrad student at Cleveland State University pursuing her interests in Public Policy and Black Studies. Alana is passionate about organizing and looks forward to learning, growing and being a productive servant leader in her community and communities across the country.

Sarah Coffey, Detroit

BEYOND THE GREEN HAT: ISSUES AROUND LEGAL SUPPORT FOR THE RNC 2016

The issues discussed in this workshop go beyond the typical concerns surrounding legal support at mass demonstrations, such as office set-up, Legal Observing and jail support, by probing ways the Guild can be more involved in the social change movements it supports.

For more than a decade, the police and public officials have used a playbook of tactics with the clear aim of stifling and suppressing dissent. As we approach the RNC 2016 in Cleveland, it’s important to review and assess the pattern of tactics used so that activists and the legal community can better prepare to fight back.

Some of the tactics used by police and public officials include: (a) heavy surveillance and infiltration of activist groups, (b) entrapment and malicious prosecution, (c) controlling the media narrative to undermine activists, and (d) the passage of municipal anti-protest ordinances used to stifle dissent and arrest activists.

The workshop will be structured as a presentation with Q&A, including a panel of legal workers and attorneys experienced in mass mobilization legal support.

Presenters will speak about the historical practices of police across the country, the reaction to protests by Cleveland police in particular, some of the public policies being put in place, and how to address repressive police tactics expected this summer during the RNC. Presenters will also discuss how to reclaim the media narrative, and how to push back against draconian laws adopted to stifle dissent in Cleveland, among other issues.

Speaker Bios
Kris Hermes is an activist and former National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Mass Defense Coordinator who has worked for nearly thirty years on social justice issues. Organizing with ACT UP Philadelphia in the late 1990s spurred his interest in legal support work and led to his co-founding and years-long involvement with R2K Legal. Since 2000, Hermes has been an active, award-winning legal worker-member of the NLG and has been a part of numerous law collectives and legal support efforts over the years.

King Downing, NLG Mass Defense Director

Rev. Waltrina Middleton is the founder and organizer of Cleveland Action, a social justice based organization that advocates in solidarity with marginalized communities and uses its platform to raise awareness on racialized cultures of violence, including police brutality. The organization was formed in response to the killing of 12-year old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police in 2014 and a host of racialized murders by police in the city of Cleveland and nation. The organization supports legal and bail efforts in partnership with local and national organizations; hosts training and educational forums on civil disobedience and provides safe spaces and resources as needed in solidarity with organizers and activists. Middleton is among a network of Movement for Black Lives organizers which hosted its first annual gathering the summer of 2015 in Cleveland. Middleton is engaged in human rights advocacy domestically and abroad as she also partners with efforts to dismantle systems of apartheid in Israeli occupied Palestine. She is an ordained minister, poet, and social critic.

Jocelyn Rosnick has been an active member of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) since 2009 when she founded a student chapter of the NLG at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During this time, she helped coordinate a legal support network for Occupy Cleveland which included providing legal observer training and arranging pro bono legal defense for demonstrators. Since 2012, Jocelyn has worked to revitalize the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild which includes member recruitment, networking, scheduling events, and managing all social media. Jocelyn co-organized all aspects of the 2013 and 2016 Mideast Regional Conferences held in Cleveland, Ohio and is currently co-organizing RNC 2016 preparations.

Jocelyn received her juris doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of law in 2012 and a bachelor of arts in Sociology with an emphasis on social inequality from West Virginia University in 2009. Jocelyn is a recipient of the 2011 Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Standout award for her work on removing housing barriers for low-income individuals re-entering society from the criminal justice system. In 2013, Jocelyn co-authored report, The Outskirts of Hope which detailed blatantly illegal debtors’ prison practices across Ohio. Jocelyn is on staff at the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

POLICE POWER & ACCOUNTABILITY: A CONVERSATION ON THE STATE OF THE CLEVELAND DIVISION OF POLICE BEFORE & AFTER THE CONSENT DECREE
Approved for 1.25 Ohio & 1.5 Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) hours.

Our panelists will discuss the past, present, and future of the Cleveland Division of Police relating to police misconduct and the selective use of police power and excessive use of force within the City of Cleveland. Panelists will address the challenges in seeking accountability for police misconduct through the legal system and the department’s internal investigation and disciplinary systems, both historically and in the present moment, as well as ways that the community can demand accountability in the wake of the Consent Decree. Discussion will include police use of force, selective use of arrest powers, and excessive force against communities of color, and protestor’s rights and police posturing in the era of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Speaker Bios:
Terry Gilbert, Partner, Friedman & Gilbert

Terry H. Gilbert has been in private law practice since 1973, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights litigation.

At the start of his legal career in the 1970’s, Terry represented American Indians in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee confrontation in South Dakota, and numerous anti-war and civil rights activists. Over the years, Terry has handled a variety of government misconduct cases involving police abuse, violations of free speech, prisoners’ rights, and victims of all forms of discrimination.

In 1991, he joined the investigative team to re-open the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case, serving as the attorney for the Sheppard family in successfully obtaining the release of previously undisclosed records, and using new DNA evidence to mount a wrongful imprisonment action to demonstrate Dr. Sheppard’s innocence.

Among his important cases, he has obtained one of the largest police misconduct verdicts in Ohio history, was a member of the legal team which successfully challenged the constitutionality of Ohio’s supermax prison in a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and successfully convinced the Ohio Supreme Court to throw out the case of a protester who burned an American Flag to express opposition to the Gulf War.

In recent years, Terry has defended two young men charged with crimes of terrorism, highlighting overzealous and questionable FBI conduct. He also successfully sought compensation for two Ohio men convicted on false forensic testimony and wrongfully imprisoned for thirteen years. This past year Terry worked with the Innocence Project to obtain the release of two brothers who were convicted in 1975 of a murder they did not commit. He has also been active in the anti-death penalty movement over the years. Currently he is working on the civil wrongful imprisonment case of Joe D’Ambrosio who was on death row for over 20 years, then released because the State failed to turn over exculpatory evidence.

Terry has lectured widely on civil rights practice at both CWRU and CSU School of Law, as well as conducting numerous seminars on civil rights litigation, criminal defense, and media and the law at Continuing Legal Education seminars. He is admitted to practice in Federal Courts around the country, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. He has appeared on local and national TV as a legal commentator.

In May 2014, Terry H. Gilbert was named the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law 2014 Alumni of the Year honor. In 2015, he received the Rescuer of Humanity Award from Project Love, a local organization which helps troubled youth. In 2002, Terry H. Gilbert received the John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association Litigation Section.

Anthony Zakharia, Law Clerk, ACLU of Ohio

Anthony Zakharia is a student at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a law clerk at the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. Anthony researches complex legal issues that play an integral roll in the ACLU’s legal and advocacy efforts. A major focus of his research has been the Cleveland Consent Decree, where he has closely tracked the City’s implementation of the agreement since its effective date.

Anthony was raised in Cleveland and attended Cleveland State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Political Science. Apart from his work with the ACLU, Anthony is interested in issues concerning workers’ rights and labor unionism.

Julia Shearson, Executive Director, CAIR-Cleveland

Julia Shearson has been serving for the past twelve years as the Executive Director of the Cleveland Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is the largest Muslim civil rights advocacy organization in the United States. Shearson received her Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in New York City, a Master’s in Linguistics from Ohio University, and a Master’s in Middle East Studies from Harvard University.

While at CAIR, Shearson’s work has centered on civil rights advocacy, educational outreach, and media and public relations. She helps ensure that Muslims exercise their civil rights, and that their voices are heard on important social and political matters. Her goal is to help dispel stereotypes of Islam and Muslims and to bring together people of all faiths to work for the common good.

A vocal critic of post-9/11 policies that have eroded civil liberties, Shearson has fought against excessive government secrecy, unwarranted surveillance, racial profiling, and other abridgements of the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Her seven year legal battle against the Department of Homeland Security over the terrorist watchlist in Shearson v. DHS helped advance the fundamental right of privacy for all Americans. The case, which started when Shearson was handcuffed and detained at the US Canadian Border in 2006, set legal precedent in the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals under the Privacy Act of 1974.

Shearson has also worked to challenge Islamophobia, a form of racism and xenophobia that uses the demonization of Muslims to promote imperialism, unending war, war profiteering, and abusive resource exploitation.

Shearson has worked on many projects to unite diverse communities, including efforts under the auspices of the Rights Working Group and the Greater Cleveland Civil and Human Rights Coalition. She has worked for many years to help improve police-community relations among diverse populations and she is actively engaged in the current police reform effort in Cleveland. Shearson is a founding member of the Collaborative for a Safe, Fair and Just Cleveland and the Cleveland 8.

In 2013, Shearson served as the co-chair of an event called “Women of Faith: Voices Against Violence”, a collaboration of more than 50 organizations working to raise awareness about violence against women. She has delivered hundreds of lectures and trainings on Islam and Muslims, civil and human rights, diversity, Islamophobia, immigration justice, and many other topics.

Ms. Shearson has won awards and recognitions for her work to promote diversity and mutual understanding. She was named by Cleveland Magazine as one of the area’s “Most Interesting People” for her work to help immigrant victims of domestic violence. She was recently honored together with 22 area women for their leadership, activism, and community service in an art exhibit entitled “Reflections: The Many Faces of Stephanie Tubbs Jones” installed at Cleveland Hopkins Airport in memory of the late Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

Before joining CAIR, Shearson served in the field of education for over 10 years, teaching at Ohio University, Jewish Vocational Services in Boston and at the Summer School and Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University. She has spent many years working in the cross-cultural and interfaith arena and has traveled extensively in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East.

UNION POLITICAL SPEECH AFTER CITIZENS UNITED: THE UNITED ELECTRICAL WORKERS’ ENDORSEMENT OF THE BDS MOVEMENT

Approved for 1.25 Ohio & 1.5 Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) hours.

At its national convention in August 2015, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) adopted a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to pressure Israel to end the occupation and grant Palestinians their freedom. UE is now the first national U.S. union to endorse BDS.

In October 2015, David Abrams, a New York City-based attorney, and Shurat HaDin, an Israel-based organization that “fight[s] academic and economic boycotts and challeng[es] those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish State” filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that the UE had violated Section 8(b)(4)(i) of the National Labor Relations Act. Section 8(b)(4) prohibits unions from engaging in secondary boycotts, including by merely encouraging workers to withhold their labor. In the 1982 case ILA v. Allied, the Supreme Court applied Section 8(b)(4)’s restrictions to purely political protest.

Although the UE’s resolution does not encourage anyone to withhold their labor, the National Labor Relations Board is taking Shurat HaDin’s allegations seriously. The case is currently being reviewed by the NLRB General Counsel’s Division of Advice; the UE would expect an Advice Decision prior to the NLG Mideast Regional Conference.

The panelists will discuss the UE’s endorsement of the BDS movement and the legal defense of the unfair labor practice charge, which not only seeks to have the charge dismissed on factual grounds, but more significantly alleges that under Citizens United Section 8(b)(4)’s restrictions on only the political speech of unions clearly violates the First Amendment.

Speaker Bios:

Alan Hart, managing editor of the UE News, has been a member of UE for 42 years, starting when he was hired by General Electric at its plant in Erie, PA in October 1973 and immediately joined the union, UE Local 506, which is UE’s largest local and one of its oldest. As a member of Local 506 he was elected to serve as shop steward and as a member of the local union executive board, and he also served as managing editor of the local’s newsletter.

From 1986 to 2006 Hart served in UE’s field staff and was involved in organizing, bargaining contracts, representing workers in grievance meetings and arbitrations, training local union officers and stewards, and other union work. Since 2006 he’s been managing editor of the UE News, the union’s official organ. In addition to editing the newspaper, Hart’s duties include other union communications, and he writes, co-writes, and edits many of the union’s public statements.

Joseph Cohen is the General Counsel of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).  He coordinates the Union’s legal activities nationwide and advises the Union’s leadership and staff on organizing, negotiation and representation strategy.  Joseph has been with the Union for over eleven years.  Prior to working for UE, Joseph was an Equal Justice Works Fellow and Staff Attorney at Florida Rural Legal Services.

Peter Knowlton has been a UE member for over 30 years. A life-long activist and organizer for economic and social change and justice, like many of his generation, he grew up inspired by and a part of the democratic tradition of the “new left” militancy of the anti-racist civil and indigenous rights, feminist, anti-war and anti-imperialist, environmental, LGBT, and the rank and file labor and socialist movements in the 60’s and 70’s. He considers himself, first and foremost, a UE organizer and member of a rank and file union that has always embraced these ideals. Over the last two decades he served in that capacity as President of the UE’s Northeast Region and was recently elected General President of the national union.

Margot Nikitas (moderator) is Associate General Counsel of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). A 2012 graduate of the labor and employment law program at Chicago-Kent College of Law, Margot was active in labor and immigrant rights activism in Chicago prior to joining the UE legal department at the union’s national office in Pittsburgh. She recently served as the first organizing chair of Fight Back Pittsburgh, a United Steelworkers associate membership program founded in 2013 that aims to make the labor movement relevant to workers who are not in unions.

About UE: The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), is a democratic national union based in Pittsburgh, PA representing some 35,000 workers in a wide variety of manufacturing, public sector and private non-profit sector jobs. UE is an independent union (not affiliated with the AFL-CIO) proud of its democratic structure and progressive policies. Read more at www.ueunion.org.

ROLE OF RADICAL LAWYERS & LEGAL WORKERS IN RADICAL MOVEMENTS

This panel will feature legal workers, activists, and lawyers that have made it their life’s work to do political cases. The talk will include methods for handling radical legal work and cases, provide an over-view of current radical/political cases, and discuss tactics for effective organizing in movement work litigation. Panelists will highlight what has worked, and what hasn’t, and offer insight for moving forward.

ROUNDTABLE WITH ORGANIZATIONS & INDIVIDUALS ORGANIZING AROUND THE 2016 RNC

Do you want to be involved in local legal and/or jail support during the RNC? Would you like to discuss your organizations plans surrounding the RNC with other activists and organizations? Attend this roundtable session to learn how to get involved and get up to speed on the events that are already being planned.


2016 RNC PREPARATIONS

The 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) will be held in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18th through July 21st, 2016. The Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild is actively working with Cleveland-area social-justice organizations to build local capacity to provide legal support for those demonstrating this summer. A roundtable with organizations and individuals organizing around the 2016 RNCwill be held on Saturday evening during the NLG Mideast regional conference and a regional mass defense/RNC legal support meeting (limited to NLG members only!) will be held on Sunday morning. Please complete this form if you anticipate traveling to Cleveland in July 2016 to provide legal support to demonstrators.

Over the past year, the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild has issued a press release regarding the City of Cleveland’s use of lime-green identifiers for volunteer marshals; created and distributed Ohio-specific Know Your Rights cards; co-launched http://clemovementlaw.com/ with Cleveland Action; coordinated jail support, legal support, legal observers, and pro bono legal defense for those arrested during the Brelo verdict protests withCleveland Action and the Black Movement Law Project; met with Cleveland city officials along with Black Movement Law Project to discuss the arrest of Legal Observers, kettling of protesters, and treatment of arrestees during the Brelo verdict protest; filed an amicus brief on the Cleveland/DOJ consent decree with the Collaborative for a Fair, Safe, and Just Cleveland and Cleveland NAACP; submitted a declaration in an ACLU complaint against the City of Cleveland regarding the chilling effect that Legal Observer arrests has had on LO recruitment; issued a press release and authored a Guild Notes article on Brelo verdict demonstrators; and held numerous Legal Observer trainings and dispatched Legal Observers as requested.

To learn more about the Ohio chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, please visit their Facebook page, and check out CLE Movement Law to learn more about Cleveland’s current legal and jail support structure.

Planning to come to Cleveland this summer? Please complete this form!

Want to donate to the Ohio NLG’s mass defense efforts? You can donate here via Paypal or contact ohio@nlg.org.

Ohio NLG Press Releases

Lime-Green Identifiers May Cause Confusion, Says Ohio NLG (May 2015)
Cases Against Brelo Protestors Dismissed, Shows Arrests Were Unfounded and Unlawful, Says Ohio Chapter of National Lawyers Guild and Cleveland Branch of the NAACP(November 2015)
Articles, Op-Eds, & Interviews

Police Restraint? Many Cleveland Protesters Arrested After Michael Brelo Verdict Were Just Standing Around (Cleveland.com, June 2015)
NLG Ohio & Partners Gets Cases Against Protesters Dropped (Guild Notes, Winter 2015/16)
Is Cleveland Prepared for Protests During the GOP Convention? (Cleveland.com, January 2016)
Interview with Jacqueline Greene & Randy Trefethern discussing the role of Legal Observers, protester rights, & police response in Cleveland  (The Forum, WTAM 1100, February 2016)
Media Coverage

National Lawyers Guild Frustrated By City’s Peacekeeper Regalia (Cleveland Scene, May 2015)
Cleveland NAACP, Other Groups Set to File Brief on Concerns with Consent Decree (Cleveland.com, June 2015)
Activists Plan Conference to Discuss Legal Support for Republican National Convention Protestors (Cleveland.com, March 2016)
Activists Say RNC Security Plans Are Violating Civil Rights (ABC News Columbus, March 2016)

DIRECTIONS/PARKING & HOUSING

Directions/Parking:

Case Western Reserve University School of Law is located at 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106. Metered parking is available on the streets surrounding the school. Please note that most parking meters are checked 24/7.

There is a covered, indoor garage directly across from the law school at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. The Non-Visitor Rate is $9 for first 2.5 hours, plus $1 per 30 mins beyond 2.5 hours, with a Daily Max: $15.

Housing:

There are a variety of hotel options near CWRU School of Law.  To request alternative housing contact ohio@nlg.org.

  • Courtyard Cleveland University Circle (2021 Cornell Rd)
  • The Tudor Arms Hotel Cleveland – a DoubleTree by Hilton (10660 Carnegie Ave)
    Glidden House (1901 Ford Dr)

Location: CWRU School of Law is located in the heart of University Circle just minutes from downtown Cleveland. Within walking distance of the school you can visit:

  • the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall,
  • the Cleveland Museum of Art,
  • the Cleveland Botanical Garden,the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland,
  • the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, or
  • the Cinematheque theater.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Mideast Region of the National Lawyers Guild would like to acknowledge the following speakers, panelists, sponsors, NLG chapters, and organizers for their contributions.

Panelists & Moderators

  • Alana Belle
  • Sarah Coffey
  • Joseph Cohen
  • King Downing
  • Terry Gilbert
  • Jacqueline C. Greene
  • James L. Hardiman
  • Alan Hart
  • Kris Hermes
  • Julie Hurwitz
  • Peter Knowlton
  • Allison L. Kriger
  • Waltrina Middleton
  • Margot Nikitas
  • Jocelyn Rosnick
  • Julia Shearson
  • Anthony Zakharia

NLG Chapters

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