Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center

NEWS: The MacArthur Justice Center has submitted an amicus brief in support of petitioners' and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order. The amicus brief documents the President’s extensive record of hatred toward people of the Muslim faith.

“The President has long expressed the view that there is a ‘Muslim problem’ in the United States and disseminated propaganda vilifying people of the Muslim faith,” the brief states. “Prior to being elected President, he made specific promises to curtail the rights of those who choose to practice Islam in various ways, including the shutdown of mosques and the suspicionless surveillance and profiling of Muslim Americans. Moreover, not only did Mr. Trump specifically promise he would ban Muslims from entering the United States, but he previewed that he would do so under the guise of referring to 'territories' and 'extreme vetting' instead of mentioning Muslims directly.”

Read the amicus brief HERE.

NEWS: Illinois Agrees to Reform of Parole Revocation Process; Landmark Settlement Will Provide Attorneys to Parolees Unable to Afford Legal Counsel in Revocation Hearings

A federal class action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ parole revocation process has been resolved with a guarantee that attorneys will be provided to eligible parolees and an agreement the state will take additional steps to bring fairness to the process of determining whether a parolee must return to prison due to a parole violation.

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve approved the settlement agreement reached with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (IPRB). Plaintiffs were represented by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and the Uptown People’s Law Center.

“The terms of the settlement, if implemented correctly, will guarantee that many parolees throughout the Illinois will receive state-funded attorneys to represent them throughout the revocation process,” said Alexa Van Brunt, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center and Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

“In addition, all parolees will receive key due process protections, including being informed of the evidence being used against them, the right to present a defense on their behalf and written findings at each stage of the process,” Van Brunt said. “Timelines will be set to speed the process and ensure that parolees do not languish in prison cells before IPRB determines whether they actually have violated terms of their parole.”

News release and background on the settlement HERE.

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center is a public interest law firm founded in 1985 by the family of J. Roderick MacArthur to advocate for human rights and social justice through litigation. The MacArthur Justice Center became part of Northwestern University School of Law's Bluhm Legal Clinic in 2006. As one of the premier civil rights organizations in the United States, the MacArthur Justice Center has led battles against myriad civil rights injustices, including police misconduct (leading the charge to appoint a special prosecutor in the Jon Burge torture cases in Chicago), executions (helping to abolish the Illinois death penalty), fighting for the rights of the indigent in the criminal justice system, and winning multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for the wrongfully convicted.

The MacArthur Justice Center has been at the forefront of challenges to the detention of terrorism suspects without trial or access to the courts. MacArthur Justice Center lawyers have appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue for the rights of detainees.

"We are outraged when the rule of law is abandoned in favor of expediency," says Center Executive Director Locke Bowman. "And so we fight for the rights of folks whose voices don't get heard in the criminal justice system. We're concerned about people on death row, about people accused of crimes but who cannot afford lawyers, about folks who are innocent and must be compensated for the time they wrongly spent in prison."

Students are involved in nearly every case the MacArthur Justice Center takes. They serve on litigation teams, conduct and apply legal research, and plan next steps to advance litigation. Some cases, such as wrongful conviction compensation cases, are complex; involving lengthy pre-trial process, motion practice, written discovery, depositions, and, sometimes, a trial. Students gain first-hand experience in court, and in certain instances, get opportunities to make presentations to a Federal judge.

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