Albany Law School seminar focuses on fighting injustice

February 25, 2017 07:14 PM

ALBANY -- People came together at Albany Law School in the spirit of learning new ways to fight injustice wherever it may be.

“I went to a symposium like this a month ago in New York City, and I was just moved,” said attorney Samantha Howell.

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Inspired by the discussions about the Trump administration's travel ban, Howell says she wanted to bring that same passion in a similar setting to the Capital Region.

That's why she brought together a group of activists, lawyers and law students at the law school to figure out how to move forward in what they feel is a changing legal landscape under the Trump administration.

“Through the course of the day, we'll be sharing information that will in specific ways assist lawyers and activists with the tools to protect their rights,” said attorney Mark Mishler.

The panel discussions included how lawyers can best protect refugees who are in immediate danger from the travel ban. They also brought up free speech issues and criticism about how the media has been treated by the Trump administration.

"But also mass incarceration is becoming an issue,” said Howell. “President Obama just moved away from using private prisons in the federal prison industry. We're going back to that.”

They also shared ways they plan to use the New York state constitution, which they say in many ways provides greater protection of people's rights than the federal one.

"We need to exercise our skills in learning about that and how to use that most effectively,” said Mishler.

In addition, the group is concerned about proposed cuts to the Legal Services Corporation. It's a federal funding stream to help provide equal access to justice in civil cases for low income people.

"It's very dangerous to consider the prospect of defunding civil legal services,” said Howell.


WNYT Staff

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