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JONES, DAY, REAVIS & POGUE Jones Day attorneys recently won asylum for a Haitian refugee after a year-long effort. The client had been detained since he arrived in the United States in September 2000. Unable to obtain counsel, he represented himself during the initial removal proceeding. He testified that he fled Haiti because his brother had been brutally murdered for his involvement in an opposition party, and one day the police had entered his house searching for his brother’s documents. They threatened him at gunpoint that if he did not find these documents, the next time it would not be good for him. He believed that his life was in danger, and used his brother’s passport to enter the United States. Although the immigration judge believed that the firm’s client would be entitled to asylum based on social group and imputed political opinion if his testimony were true, the judge denied him asylum. The immigration judge found his testimony incredible because he failed to produce corroborating evidence. Jones Day, representing him on appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, obtained remand of the case. Upon remand, Immigration and Naturalization Service counsel introduced evidence that someone using his brother’s name had filed for asylum in Florida. Based on other evidence introduced by Jones Day, however, the immigration judge concluded that the person in Florida was an impostor and that the client’s brother was dead. Finding the client’s testimony credible now, the immigration judge granted him asylum. The immigration judge said that this was the first time he had granted asylum to a refugee from Haiti. Molly McKenna, coordinator of the BIA Pro Bono Project, which referred the case to Jones Day, said that of the hundreds of cases handled by the project, only two other cases had resulted in asylum being granted. KING & SPALDING King & Spalding represents Georgia death row inmate Exzavious Gibson, who is the first person in the modern era of the death penalty to be forced to represent himself at his capital habeas corpus evidentiary hearing. In a courtroom exchange that was widely publicized in the press, the court repeatedly rejected Gibson’s requests for an attorney, chastised a Georgia Resource Center lawyer (who appeared behind the bar after having filed, as amicus, six motions for additional time to secure pro bono counsel) for not taking the case then and there, and ultimately had her removed from the courtroom when she argued for a continuance to search for pro bono representation. Gibson, who is borderline mentally retarded, with an IQ between 76 and 82, was unable to present witnesses, offer cross-examination, or raise objections at his hearing. King & Spalding entered the case in 1997 on appeal from this hearing. After deliberating for two years, the Georgia Supreme Court held by a 4-3 majority that there is no right to counsel at any stage of state habeas court proceedings in Georgia. Only Georgia and one other state take this position. Subsequent investigations have shown that Gibson’s trial lawyer had spent a total of 32 hours preparing for all phases of the capital trial and sentencing, made no attempt to take advantage of many available defenses and mitigating factors, and did next to nothing at trial to advocate for Gibson. Moreover, a tip from a local attorney revealed that Gibson’s trial lawyer simultaneously served as a special assistant attorney general for the state throughout the trial and direct appeal. Trial counsel never disclosed this conflict of interest to Gibson or the court. King & Spalding has filed numerous appeals and motions in both state and federal court. Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court remanded the conflict-of-interest claim to the habeas court to determine whether Gibson could reasonably have raised that claim in his initial habeas petition, and if not, whether the claim is meritorious. KIRKLAND & ELLIS Two years ago, Kirkland & Ellis teamed up with the University of Notre Dame’s Semester in Washington program to handle a death penalty case. Robin Lovitt had already been convicted and sentenced to death for stabbing another man in a pool hall in Arlington, Va., in 1999. Kirkland attorneys were retained as pro bono post-conviction counsel for Lovitt. With assistance from Notre Dame students and the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, the Kirkland lawyers discovered that, during the appeals process, an Arlington County Circuit Court clerk had destroyed all of the physical evidence admitted at Lovitt’s trial, including the alleged murder weapon and DNA evidence that had tested “inconclusive” in a pre-trial test. Last fall, the Kirkland attorneys filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Virginia Supreme Court. The petition alleges that the evidence destruction violated Lovitt’s constitutional rights. The petition also alleges that the prosecutors failed to turn over material exculpatory evidence before trial, including evidence that the government’s own expert had asserted that the supposed murder weapon produced at trial could not have been the actual one, and that the prosecution’s star witness was a habitual “informant” who had given testimony in four other cases in hopes of leniency. The Virginia Supreme Court granted a full evidentiary hearing on the merits of all of Lovitt’s claims. It was only the second time the court has granted an evidentiary hearing in such a case since it assumed jurisdiction over all such cases in 1995. At the June hearing, the Kirkland attorneys presented 22 witnesses, including Peter Neufeld, founder of the Innocence Project. The trial judge who presided over the hearing will make a recommendation later this summer to the Virginia Supreme Court, which will determine whether to grant the petition. If it does not, federal habeas and state clemency proceedings are expected to ensue. KIRKPATRICK & LOCKHART Kirkpatrick & Lockhart has developed a unique relationship with the Transitional Housing Corp., a D.C. nonprofit corporation. THC provides housing and case management services to homeless families for up to 24 months at Partner Arms, a 14-unit apartment building on Kennedy Street, N.W. Over the last 10 years, THC has “graduated” more than 70 families from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Kirkpatrick’s relationship with THC began when partner Phil Hecht, who serves as THC president, joined the firm in March 2000. The firm’s work with THC includes legal advice, financial support, involvement in the Help-the-Homeless Walkathon, and “sweat equity” provided by volunteer attorneys and legal assistants. A five-person Kirkpatrick team recently spent an exhausting but exhilarating three hours helping to renovate THC’s second project, a large vacant apartment building on Georgia Avenue, N.W., called Partner Arms II. When renovations are completed in December, Partner Arms II will accommodate 13 more homeless families. Together with another team of volunteers from a local church, the K&L team loaded trash can after trash can with plaster, wood, and debris from the basement of the three-story building. According to one K&L team member, “I was sore for three days, but it was a very satisfying experience.” Through their work with THC, our attorneys and staff have come to realize that the needs of the poor and homeless in the District extend beyond typical legal problems, and that they can give invaluable service just by rolling up their sleeves. LATHAM & WATKINS Latham & Watkins represents the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization, in connection with its involvement in the Election Protection Task Force. The coalition is the leading member of the task force, a diverse alliance of more than 88 organizations that educates voters about their rights and provides volunteers at the polls on Election Day. (Other members of the task force include the People for the American Way, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the League of Women Voters, and the NAACP Voter Empowerment Program.) The goal of the task force is to increase civic participation in the electoral process, through efforts to reform election laws nationally and on the state level. Latham & Watkins partners, associates, and summer associates have assisted in this goal by researching federal and state election laws, regulations, and voting procedures. In addition, Latham & Watkins attorneys have helped develop the Voters’ Bill of Rights and the Voters’ Rights Card, which are distributed to voters before Election Day. These materials provide basic information on voter rights, including registration requirements and tips on handling common Election Day problems, such as not being included on the roll of registered voters. These materials are also used by volunteers at the polls and by lawyers participating in a toll-free hot line to assist voters on Election Day. The voting rights program was successfully piloted in 2001 in New Jersey and Virginia. The program will be expanded to 19 states for the November 2002 elections. An associate initiated this project by contacting the coalition after the November 2000 elections. MCDERMOTT, WILL & EMERY McDermott, Will & Emery attorneys, through the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, have been volunteering for several years at the Central Union Mission to help homeless people with legal issues in the District. MWE attorneys, including summer associate classes from the last four years, have been trained by the clinic in areas of housing, public benefits, and various other areas of the law necessary to address the concerns of the clinic’s clients. The “adoption” of the Central Union Mission site by MWE was one of the goals set by the Legal Clinic for the Homeless to have local law firms partner with the clinic to ensure that its 10 intake sites located throughout the District are adequately staffed. Recently, a partner was able to help a client he met at the Central Union Mission become eligible for public housing. Because of a criminal record from about seven years ago, the client was found by the D.C. Housing Authority to be ineligible for Section 8 public housing. McDermott Will interviewed several witnesses and collected mitigating evidence to demonstrate that the client’s application for public housing should be expedited and approved. Through written and oral advocacy, the partner successfully convinced the D.C. Housing Authority that the client was rehabilitated and would make a responsible tenant. As a result of this work, the client is now eligible for Section 8 housing and on his way to acquiring permanent housing. MAYER, BROWN, ROWE & MAW For the past five years, our D.C. office has represented Alphonso Stripling, an inmate on death row in Georgia. When Stripling was tried in 1989, he asserted that he was mentally retarded and thus should be spared the death penalty. (Shortly before his trial, the Georgia Supreme Court had held that people with mental retardation have the right to be free from capital punishment under the Georgia Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court recently held, in Atkins v. Virginia, that the Eighth Amendment also bars their execution.) Under Georgia law, however, defendants currently bear the burden of proving mental retardation beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury found that Stripling did not meet this burden, and sentenced him to death. Mayer Brown became involved in representing this client in state habeas proceedings, at the request of the Georgia Resource Center. Working in conjunction with the resource center, the firm discovered extensive evidence of mental retardation not presented at trial, including a great deal of evidence the state had in its possession, but failed to provide to the defense. In April, the trial court held a week-long evidentiary hearing where Mayer Brown presented this evidence, as well as extensive expert testimony about Stripling’s mental retardation. The firm argued that because he is mentally retarded, it would be a miscarriage of justice for him to be executed. Another argument was that the state’s Brady violation and ineffective assistance of counsel at trial necessitate a new trial on his mental retardation. The final argument was that Georgia’s “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for proving mental retardation violates the due process clause — a claim that has taken on national importance, given Atkins. The firm is in the process of submitting final briefs and expects a court ruling later this year. This year alone, firm lawyers have devoted approximately 1,000 hours to the case. MILLER & CHEVALIER In spring 2000, Miller & Chevalier joined with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs as co-counsel in an employment discrimination case. The plaintiff, Rick McCoy, had been employed for more than 10 years at Peake Printers, a family-owned printing firm in suburban Maryland. He had been promoted regularly and was one of the more-senior printers when a change in management occurred. The new manager, the son of the owner, hired new supervisors. After this change, Rick claimed that he was subjected to racial slurs and insults and, when he complained, retaliatory reassignments. Working with Warren Kaplan of the Lawyers’ Committee, our team drafted a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Maryland in Greenbelt, alleging violations of federal civil rights provisions as well as the Maryland Human Rights Act. We conducted extensive discovery, interviewing every employee of the defendant and deposing all of its management. The case was tried for 10 days in April 2001 and included the testimony of about 30 witnesses. The jury returned a verdict after less than two hours of deliberations, finding race discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment, and awarding $2.4 million in back pay and compensatory and punitive damages. The parties settled the matter before an appeal was briefed. Under the terms of the settlement, Rick (who had continued to work for the defendant throughout the litigation) was able to retire, and the defendant agreed to terminate the offending supervisors and institute diversity training among its management. MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS Morgan, Lewis & Bockius litigated a Social Security disability case on behalf of an HIV-positive client who was referred to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Clinic by the Whitman-Walker Clinic. The client contracted HIV in the early 1990s and was forced to stop working in 1999 because of a number of HIV-related illnesses. The Social Security Administration denied both his initial application for disability benefits and a request for reconsideration. The firm represented him at his hearing before an administrative law judge. The SSA regulations contain a detailed listing of conditions that, in combination with HIV-positive status, will render an individual disabled per se. In addition, an HIV-positive person may be disabled if his or her ailments equal one of the listed conditions in severity, or if the person suffers from repeated manifestations of HIV infection that cause marked functional limitations. Morgan Lewis’ client had an extensive history of numerous HIV-related illnesses, which were clearly incapacitating. The firm argued that he was eligible for an automatic determination of disability because he suffered from one of the listed conditions and that his multiple impairments, when viewed together, equaled the severity of the specifically listed conditions. Another argument was that the repeated manifestations of HIV infection cause marked functional limitations, meeting the catchall functional listing for HIV. Although he had previously worked full time and often maintained multiple jobs, the client had been unable to work for years, and found himself in severely strained financial circumstances. He had been discouraged by his dealings with the SSA, and had a very pessimistic outlook on his case. Seven months after the hearing, the administrative law judge issued a fully favorable decision finding the client eligible for disability benefits. He received a lump sum of more than $20,000 representing back benefits, and was awarded future monthly benefits of more than $1,000. O’MELVENY & MYERS O’Melveny & Myers attorneys, working with the Montgomery County public defender’s office, have taken on a number of cases set for jury trial. Most of these cases have been misdemeanor cases, and most of them have been dropped by the prosecutor or otherwise resolved prior to actually going to trial. One felony case, however, went to trial last November in Montgomery County Circuit Court. After a two-day trial, a jury returned not guilty verdicts on both counts of an indictment filed against Kazeem Maiyegun. Maiyegun, 24, is a legal resident from Nigeria currently living in Germantown, Md. He was arrested last May in connection with a traffic stop. Police officers stopped Maiyegun as he drove with a young woman in the passenger seat and searched his vehicle. Beneath the armrest separating the driver’s seat from the passenger’s seat, officers found a glass vial containing a clear liquid that was later tested and determined to be .44 grams of phencyclidine, or PCP. Upon the discovery, officers approached the passenger and inquired whether she had any drugs on her person. She answered yes, indicating that she had a plastic bag containing marijuana concealed in her pants. After producing the bag, the woman accused Maiyegun of asking her to hold it during the traffic stop. The grand jury charged Maiyegun in a two-count indictment. Count 1 alleged that he possessed the glass vial containing the PCP and that the .44 grams was a quantity sufficient to indicate the intent to distribute; Count 2 alleged that he possessed the marijuana that was seized from his passenger. A charge of possession with intent to distribute carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. The state called two police officers and the passenger in its case-in-chief. At the close of the state’s case, the court granted O’Melveny’s motion for judgment of acquittal on the more serious charge of possession with intent to distribute. The court sent to the jury only the possession charges, which carried a maximum sentence of five years. The jury returned not guilty verdicts on both counts. As a result, Maiyegun was released to his family from the Immigration and Naturalization Service detainer that had kept him incarcerated since mid-May. PATTON BOGGS In April, Patton Boggs assisted more than 20 D.C. public school parents, teachers, students, and principals in testifying before the D.C. Council’s Committee on Education, Libraries, and Recreation about the fiscal year 2003 D.C. school budget. Working with Parents United, Patton Boggs developed a multi-phased strategy. Phase I included preparing draft testimony, a guide to testifying before the D.C. Council, and a one-page summary of the issue. The firm distributed these materials to each elementary, middle, and high school principal in the city. The goal of this effort was to raise awareness among members of the D.C. Council about the budgetary constraints schools face. Although D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams proposed a budget of approximately $773 million, this budget will not permit local schools to provide basic programs and services to children. Based on an internal audit of the schools’ budget for the past three years and conversations with the D.C. school board, parents, principals, and teachers, Parents United is asking the D.C. Council to provide $900 million to schools for fiscal year 2003. Without these funds, schools will be forced to continue to make impossible choices. The proposed budget will not meet the facility and maintenance needs of many schools, meaning that broken windows and leaking roofs will not be repaired. Nor will the proposed budget provide adequate funding for summer school programs, previously open to all D.C. schoolchildren. PIPER RUDNICK Last year, Piper Rudnick’s D.C. office committed to provide 5,000 hours of pro bono assistance over one year to enhance needed services to children in the District. As part of this commitment, Piper Rudnick began a significant partnership with the Children’s Law Center. The CLC’s mission is to improve the lives of low-income at-risk children and their families by providing direct legal representation and advocacy and by offering training and technical assistance to the public and to other professionals. Piper Rudnick is working with the CLC to provide legal services to reduce a sizable backlog in adoption cases in D.C. Superior Court. In less than one year, Piper Rudnick took more than 30 adoption and other permanency cases. One of the first such cases to reach the courtroom was the adoption of 2 1/2-year-old “Paul” by his foster parents, the “Smiths.” When Paul was born in July 1999, his mother was young, unmarried and addicted to crack cocaine. She did not have stable housing and did not come to the hospital to pick up Paul when he was ready to go home. Though she had made a few attempts since then to enter a drug rehabilitation program and establish visitation with Paul, the social worker reported at the trial that the birth mother had not completed detox, the first step in the drug rehabilitation program, and also had not shown up for the most recent scheduled visit with Paul. In fact, since his birth, she had had only five visits with him, which the court found was much too little time to establish any psychological attachment. The identity of Paul’s father was uncertain. The man whom Paul’s mother identified as his father, and her former fianc�, denied paternity. Neither he nor Paul’s mother showed up for the adoption hearing. Paul’s foster mother, Mrs. Smith, explained to the court that she and her husband had first met Paul in March 2001 and that he had been living with them since May last year, almost nine months. She described how in that time, he had transformed from a withdrawn, sickly child into a happy, healthy and well-adjusted little boy who called them Mom and Dad. After hearing all of the evidence and concluding that Paul’s mother and putative father had waived their rights, the judge ruled from the bench in favor of the Smiths. One month later, he issued a written order, and the Smiths’ adoption of Paul was final. REED SMITH Although Reed Smith attorneys routinely accept pro bono projects through established referral networks, such as the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and the U.S. District Court’s pro bono assignment panel, sometimes the opportunity for pro bono service simply falls in your lap. Because of a quick errand to the bank two years ago, Reed Smith found an opportunity to reunite a family. Ellema was working her day job as a teller in an Arlington bank when a Reed Smith attorney stepped up to her window to open an account. Through their conversation, the attorney came to learn that Ellema, a Sudanese immigrant, and her American-born daughter were separated by half a world from their husband and father. Salim, a Sudanese national, was stranded in Syria and desperately wanted to be reunited with his family. In his absence, Ellema was forced to hold down two jobs to make ends meet. Their daughter was growing up fatherless. Most troubling of all, Salim would soon face Syrian deportation proceedings that could send him back to the Sudan and conscription in the bloody civil war that has claimed two million Sudanese lives since 1956. Unfortunately, Ellema couldn’t afford the fees charged by immigration lawyers, and her self-guided trip through the Immigration and Naturalization Service application process proved frustrating and fruitless. Without serious help, it seemed that Ellema’s family would remain separated forever. Reed Smith adopted Ellema’s case and has remained committed to her cause ever since. The firm shepherded her citizenship application to completion and celebrated with her as she took the oath of citizenship. However, this was merely the first step of Ellema’s goal: bringing Salim to America. Sept. 11 understandably complicated immigration procedures, particularly in the case of a Sudanese national living in Syria. Syrian immigration policy threatened to return Salim to the Sudan before he could be eligible for entry into the United States. This would have resulted in Salim’s conscription. Reed Smith’s timely intervention with State Department officials in Damascus, together with a recently developed visa procedure, enabled us to secure Salim’s visa without his forced return to the Sudan. Two months ago, Salim entered the United States and was finally reunited with his family. Reed Smith is now working to secure his work authorization and permanent resident status. SHAW PITTMAN The September 11th Pro Bono Legal Relief Project was established by Shaw Pittman, in collaboration with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, to provide pro bono legal services to the victims and family survivors of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Eligible recipients include Department of Defense employees (military and civilian), civilian defense contractors, passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight No. 77, and rescue and relief workers. The project assists victims and family survivors with civil legal matters arising from the attack on the Pentagon that are governed by the laws of the District of Columbia, Virginia, or Maryland. Matters have included probate; wills, trusts and estate planning; child custody, adoption and guardianship; explaining insurance coverage and filing claims; employment and employee benefits; tax law; landlord-tenant and housing law; and consumer law. The project has taken in 107 cases to date and has referred almost 150 independent legal issues to nearly 70 participating firms in the District, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. The project also arranged for families to have their tax returns prepared by pro bono tax certified public accountants, through the Greater Washington Society of CPAs, and to provide pro bono financial planning, through the national Financial Planning Association. The project has been assisted with case placement by the Fairfax Bar Pro Bono Program, Trial Lawyers Care Inc., the Estate and Trust Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, and the Law Foundation of Prince George’s County Inc. The project has been honored to receive a Distinguished Service Award from the American Bar Association, and the D.C. Bar’s Best Bar Project Award for 2002. SIDLEY AUSTIN BROWN & WOOD Sidley Austin is among the local firms assisting victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 Pentagon attack, through the September 11th Pro Bono Legal Relief Project. Sidley Austin’s work included helping the widow of an Army officer with some tax issues affected by the new Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act. Among the benefits the new law offers Sept. 11 victims (as well as victims of the Oklahoma City and anthrax attacks) are forgiveness of a decedent’s income taxes in the year of the attack and the year prior to the attack, a minimum $10,000 income tax refund, and reduced estate taxes. The income tax computations required by the new law were fairly detailed, especially in the case of a married couple, and especially for 2001. In an age where many people have interest-bearing bank accounts, mortgage payments, mutual funds that make distributions on a quarterly or year-end basis, and children who may each be eligible for a different tax credit, dividing items between a couple requires a complex weighing of alternatives. For 2001, there was the added complication of making calculations for eight months and 11 days. Luckily, with an understanding of the new concepts, the number crunching could be accomplished with a good spreadsheet and a little patience. The new law, like other tax laws, treats people differently depending on their circumstances. Income tax returns document a year’s events; estate returns document a lifetime. The minutiae can be incredible. Higher education has any number of variations, each with a different tax consequence: tuition paid with loans, military benefits or scholarships; the amount of tuition; grades; length of time in school; and age of the student. This couple, long married, had traveled extensively with the Army. They had just purchased a new house. They had one daughter in college and another in high school. The family patiently endured a tax-driven analysis of the past two years and shared many personal details of their lives. The result was thoroughly documented claims under the new law that summarized, without doing full justice to, a life that was lived decently, honorably, and well. What made these tax returns different was the designation: “Killed in Terrorist Action, 9/11.” SKADDEN, ARPS, SLATE, MEAGHER & FLOM A team of lawyers from Skadden Arps, working with a former Skadden fellow and a staff attorney at the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project, scored a significant success in a case of discrimination by securing parole for their HIV-positive client and persuading the U.S. Parole Commission to reverse its earlier interpretation of governing regulations as they relate to HIV-positive inmates. The Skadden team took on this matter after professor Susan Weysdorf of the University of the District of Columbia’s School of Law, a former Skadden fellow, solicited pro bono lawyers to assist Deborah Golden of the D.C. Prisoners Legal Services Project in challenging the Parole Commission’s refusal to grant parole based on the client’s HIV-positive status. The Parole Commission had concluded that, notwithstanding the impressive strides made by the client during her incarceration, she “still pose[d] a threat to the community based on [her] HIV status.” One report from a hearing in the client’s case went so far as to suggest that the client would “deliberately infect other persons with a fatal disease,” and that her release would present a serious risk to the community. The client’s record, however, contained no evidence to support the commission’s conclusion. After reviewing the case, the team filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal district court, alleging that the commission’s decision to deny parole based on the client’s HIV-positive status violated her statutory rights under the Rehabilitation Act, as well as her rights under the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Three weeks later, the Parole Commission announced that, as a result of the lawsuit, it was reversing its earlier decision. The client was released in October 2001. The commission also announced that it was revising its interpretation of governing regulations so that future parole decisions will be based on the protection of the public from the threat of future criminal acts, as opposed to perceived health risks. STEPTOE & JOHNSON Steptoe & Johnson represents a social studies teacher at a D.C. public high school fired as a consequence of his campaign for a seat on the D.C. Council. The matter began when the U.S. Office of Special Counsel filed a complaint against our client, Tom Briggs, alleging that his pursuit of elected office while employed by the D.C. school system in July 2000 violated the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from running for partisan political office, and since D.C. schools receive federal funds, Briggs has been deemed a federal employee for the purposes of the act. However, the District is the only jurisdiction whose teachers are subject to this restriction: Teachers in every other school throughout the 50 states that also receive federal funds are specifically exempt from the act. In defending our client against the complaint, Steptoe has asserted that the application of the Hatch Act to the political activities of employees of the D.C. school system is an unconstitutional restriction of their First Amendment rights and a violation of equal protection guarantees under the Constitution. Furthermore, Congress has provided no justification for discriminating against D.C. schoolteachers in this way. This spring, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the agency with jurisdiction over these matters, issued a final order against Tom. Much to the dismay of scores of students at Dunbar Senior High, and despite the public protests on his behalf, the school system was compelled to fire him. His role changed from being the teacher to being the subject of his own class’s civics lesson. Steptoe has filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for review of the order, and moved the MSPB for a stay pending appeal, although this issue was mooted when the our client was rehired. SUTHERLAND, ASBILL & BRENNAN As part of its pro bono outreach commitment, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan annually joins in the D.C. Street Law Program, a partnership of the D.C. Street Law Project of Georgetown University Law Center and the D.C. public schools. Mentoring support is provided by area law firms, solo practitioners, and government organizations. Sutherland attorneys are paired with a Georgetown law student and a class of juniors and seniors at Bell Multicultural High School in Northwest D.C. Beginning each January, they visit Bell Multicultural three days a week to teach law concepts and trial practice skills and assist in the students’ preparation for a mock trial competition held in early April. The mock trial problem varies from year to year, typically addressing a civil or criminal situation with real-life relevance to high school students. This year, the fictional defendant was Michelle Carver, an 18-year-old high school student accused of armed robbery and second-degree murder. The enthusiastic and talented Bell Multicultural students were split into two teams, to play the attorneys and witnesses for the defense and the prosecution. Both teams won their respective first-round trials held at Superior Court, demonstrating their thorough preparation of both sides of the case. The students did a terrific job presenting difficult legal concepts, trial practice skills, and witness testimonies in the second preliminary round. The program effectively and concretely promotes understanding of and respect for the law in the community. SWIDLER BERLIN SHEREFF FRIEDMAN Last fall, Swidler was contacted by attorneys at the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law about a pending civil case involving the murder of a 17-year-old girl who had a mental illness. The firm was asked to be co-counsel on a lawsuit brought by the victim’s family. It appeared that there was a connection between the victim’s mental illness and her murder. The name of the victim was Aubrey Phalp, and she was murdered in August 1998 near her home in Overland Park, Kan. At least two individuals were with her the night that she was killed. One of them, Todd Deal, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In the months before her murder, Phalp had been assaulted and repeatedly harassed and threatened by Deal and three others (one of whom was with Deal the night of her murder). Phalp reported the harassment and threats to her local police department, to no avail. With the help of local counsel, Phalp’s family filed a civil suit against the four men and the city of Overland Park. The police officers allegedly had dismissed Phalp’s reports due to her mental illness, and allegedly told the four men they did not believe her. When Swidler and the Bazelon attorneys entered their appearance, the case had been pending for more than one year. Discovery had been closed, but there still was much work to be done. The firm successfully extended the discovery process and uncovered additional facts-such as indications that police reports of Phalp’s complaints apparently were never transmitted to prosecutors, and evidence that the police-misconduct investigation relating to the murder was conducted by a friend of the primary implicated officer who had no prior experience in police investigations. The lawyers also extensively briefed summary judgment issues, which are now pending with the court. The case is scheduled for trial in September. VENABLE Venable has undertaken to represent Fredrick Woods, a 25-year-old African-American death row inmate in Alabama. When he was 19, Woods was arrested for a convenience store robbery and murder. He was tried and convicted by an all-white jury in a two-day trial in August 1997. After hearing limited mitigation testimony, the jury voted 10-2 to recommend the death penalty rather than life without parole. Woods was sentenced to death by the trial judge. He then began the direct appeal process, which took him through the Alabama courts. His petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied last October. Woods was represented on direct appeal by the Equal Justice Initiative, headquartered in Montgomery, Ala. After meeting earlier this year with representatives from the Equal Justice Initiative and the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project, Venable agreed to represent Woods. The firm has met with the client on several occasions, reviewed the trial transcript and record on appeal, and conducted some preliminary investigation. The next step is to file a post-conviction petition with the trial court. If that petition ultimately is unsuccessful, the Venable team will seek relief in the federal District Court in Birmingham through a habeas corpus petition. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Atkins and in Ring have made this a particularly compelling time to be litigating in the death penalty arena. VINSON & ELKINS The Washington office of Vinson & Elkins is heavily involved with Operation Crackdown, a pro bono project organized by the Young Lawyers Section of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Through Operation Crackdown, Vinson & Elkins associates represent coalitions of D.C. residents striving to rid their neighborhoods of crack houses. When the police fail to rid neighborhoods of crack houses — and often fail even to arrest the dealers or respond effectively to the numerous complaints of prostitution, property damage, and drug dealing — lawyers volunteering with Operation Crackdown sue the owners of the properties, under D.C. nuisance laws. Under these laws, landlords are forced to evict their drug-dealing tenants and may even be forced to close their rental properties for a year. The property laws allow Operation Crackdown lawyers to strike at the source of the systemic problems facing D.C. residents who live near crack houses. While the police can make arrests only for specific crimes, Operation Crackdown lawyers use nuisance laws to stop the loitering, clean the trash, and put an end to the violence and intimidation suffered by law-abiding citizens living near drug houses, by forcing the removal of the people who cause the problems in the first place. Right now, 10 Vinson & Elkins associates are working with residents throughout the city, including Capitol Hill, Mount Pleasant and Anacostia. Some of the cases are targeting single-family homes occupied by drug dealers, some are targeting apartment buildings rife with drug problems and prostitution, and some are targeting entire city blocks blighted by multigenerational drug businesses. After years of complaining about one drug-dealing family on a Capitol Hill block, the neighbors finally got some relief from the violence and frequent property damage as a result of V&E lawyers working with Operation Crackdown. WILEY REIN & FIELDING A pro bono program launched by the Northern Virginia office of Wiley Rein & Fielding may not make headlines, but it is making a difference in helping people cope with the day-to-day hardships of a debilitating illness. Working with the National Capital Area Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the small WRF office created the area’s only legal services program specially devoted to people with blood-related cancers. In the first year of the program’s existence, participating WRF lawyers and paralegals have provided service to clients and the society in a wide array of matters. The effort focuses on providing two vital services to patients and their families — advocacy and education — by addressing employment discrimination, insurance coverage, and financial and credit concerns. WRF participants have successfully helped patients secure previously denied disability benefits, resolved an employment contract dispute related to long-term disability benefits, and renegotiated an automobile lease for a patient unable to operate a manual-drive vehicle due to bone deterioration. Other initiatives include lobbying for cancer drug coverage for Medicare patients and helping to improve the content of the society’s Web site. The program was sparked by two sources: a personal story and a desire to strengthen professional connections among the six professionals then working in the Northwest K Street firm’s suburban outpost. The WRF group decided they wanted to develop a pro bono project to which they all would be connected. After a paralegal talked about the challenges and obstacles she faced when dealing with her spouse’s leukemia diagnosis and subsequent bone marrow transplant, the group contacted the society to see if they could help others struggling with the same issues. David Timko, senior executive director of the society’s local chapter, says, “Cancer patients are too busy battling cancer to wrestle with employers, insurers, and other institutions. Thanks to this partnership, patients can get the help they need to return to their role as a productive member of the work force.” WILMER, CUTLER & PICKERING In an effort to secure habeas relief from his state criminal conviction, Tony Eugene Saffold found his way through state proceedings and into federal court, all the while acting as his own counsel. Once in the federal system, the court appointed California’s Office of State Public Defender to represent him. After the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari last October, Saffold, through his appointed counsel, sought the pro bono assistance of our firm. Wilmer, Cutler collaborated with appointed counsel on the brief, argued the case in February, and received a favorable decision last month. Saffold’s conviction on California murder and robbery charges became final in 1992, after his direct appeals ended. When the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act became effective on April 24, 1996, he had exactly one year within which to seek federal habeas relief. Well, not exactly one year. The AEDPA provides for tolling during the time when a properly filed application for state post-conviction relief or other collateral review is “pending.” The Supreme Court decided two questions in Saffold’s case. The first, a question of consequence for all future habeas petitioners, was whether the word pending applies to the time between a lower state court’s decision and the filing of a notice of appeal to a higher state court. The second was whether pending similarly applies to California’s unique system of filing (“within a reasonable time”) further original habeas petitions, rather than appeals, in higher courts. In a 5-4 decision, the Court answered both questions in the affirmative, allowing Saffold to hope for possible relief in future proceedings. Over 700 hours were dedicated to this effort by the Wilmer Cutler team. WINSTON & STRAWN Winston & Strawn is representing Eugene Milton Clemons II, an inmate on Alabama’s death row, in his capital post-conviction proceedings. Key issues in these proceedings concern evidence that the Alabama judge and jury never heard, which may make his sentence unconstitutional. As early as age seven, Clemons was recommended by the public school system for placement in classes for the mentally retarded. His grades were abysmal. He ultimately quit high school after failing the 10th grade twice. His IQ is in the range of a 10- to 12-year-old. As a child, Clemons suffered abuse and neglect so severe it caused permanent brain damage. His parents were alcoholics and drug addicts. His mother used alcohol and drugs while she was pregnant and later became a prostitute to support her habits. As an infant and toddler, Clemons was routinely locked in a diaper pail for hours on end. His father delighted in punching him to make him “tough.” His parents completely abandoned him when he was a teen-ager. The Alabama state court appointed two attorneys to represent Clemons at trial. One had just graduated from law school, and the other had no experience in litigating the penalty phase of a capital trial. The attorneys did little to prepare for the case, and even less for the critical sentencing phase. They put on no evidence whatsoever in Clemons’ defense. After hearing only the state’s version of the case, the jury returned a verdict of guilty and recommended the death penalty. The trial judge, sitting without the jury, sentenced Clemons to death. Winston & Strawn attorneys investigated and presented compelling facts in the post-conviction proceedings, which originated before the same trial judge. Winston & Strawn continues to represent Clemons in his ongoing appeals. Attorney time to date exceeds 2,000 hours.

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