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December 10, 2007 MEETING MINUTES

CBA BILL CIVIL RIGHTS COMMITTEE
December 10, 2007 MEETING MINUTES

LOCATION:  CBA offices, Denver, CO

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:

Chair:  Mari Newman 
Vice Chair: Sara Rich
Cathy Hazouri – phone
____________ Joffe – phone
Jennifer Riddle
Tim Quinn
Dennis Thome
Laura Schwartz
Michael Wulfsohn
Terry Quinn – phone 
Althea Licht 

OTHERS PRESENT:  CBA Personnel – Stacy Chesney

MEETING BEGINS: 5:40 pm

-Approval of Minutes – minutes from the last formal meeting had not yet been circulated.  We will hold off on this until the next meeting once everyone has had a chance to review.

-Discussion about the following issue that was raised by member: Should the CBA Civil Rights Committee recommend that the CBA issue a formal statement condemning the imposition of Martial Law in Pakistan, and expressing support for the thousands of lawyers fighting to restore their Constitution and the Rule of Law?

  • Letter relating to this issue from the ABA was read:  

    Nov. 5, 2007

    Dear fellow lawyers and bar leaders:

    Events in Pakistan have deeply disturbed members of the legal profession, and indeed all who care about the rule of law in our world. The American Bar Association shares these concerns, and I am writing to update you on what is being done.

    Today, the ABA issued a statement, enclosed at the end of this letter. I also have written a letter of protest to President Musharraf, urging him to free all arrested lawyers and reinstate Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Copies of this letter are being sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other State Department officials.

    We have received many inquiries from state and local bars, expressing a deep and universal sense of concern. We all realize that the actions in Pakistan are a threat to the rule of law, and especially to an independent bar and judiciary, everywhere.

In the short term, we urge you to speak out as forcefully as you can, by contacting your local media, your congressional representatives, and the federal government to express your concerns.
The ABA is studying additional ways to respond effectively as an organized bar, and we will advise you as other strategies and tools for your use are developed. In the meantime, I welcome you to send any suggestions to abapresident@abanet.org, so that we can factor your ideas into our discussions.

An independent bar and judiciary are a cornerstone of all lawful societies. It is essential, at a time when lawyers and the rule of law are under attack in Pakistan, that we work together to respond in a forceful and effective manner.
President, American Bar Association

  • Text of Statement on Pakistan

    Since Saturday, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan has suspended the national constitution, detained eight members of the Supreme Court and arrested more than 1,500 Pakistani lawyers.

This is a profound breach of the rule of law. The American Bar Association urges President Musharraf to rescind these actions immediately.

Courts are society’s referees. A judiciary that can impartially apply fair rules, without outside interference, is a cornerstone of lawful government.

President Musharraf sought to justify his actions by citing the threat of terrorism. But shutting down a nation’s lawful institutions of justice will hurt, not help, the fight against terrorism.

 The ABA, which represents more than 413,000 members worldwide, has a longstanding commitment to advancing the rule of law. When a nation’s Constitution is suspended, and its Supreme Court is shut down, that is a blow to the rule of law everywhere.

The ABA therefore calls on all governments, bar associations and other civil society organizations to support the rule of law, by using every peaceful, legal means to persuade President Musharraf to restore justice to the people of Pakistan.

  • Discussion at meeting:
    • Concern because Pakistan is our ally
    • Opposed because both sides have not been presented to the committee about this issue
    • Because the president of Pakistan has imprisoned lawyers we should take a stand despite the fact that other governments have done things that are just as bad
    • Concern because the committee is not a committee for international human rights
      • the mission statement does not limit our review of issues to the United States
    • CBA president has issued a statement but it was not directly related to Pakistan
    • Need more detail about this before going forward
      • Questions: has the constitution been restored – have the prisoners been released
      • Should talk to the individual who posed the question
      • Anyone who wants to talk about the imposition of martial law should send the info to Stacy within 2 weeks to be disseminated on email

-Upcoming CLEs

  • Security Zones/Free speech Zones – February 4, 2008
    • Logistics
      • CLE credits
        • Need to get their bios and any written materials for the CLE credit application
      • Lunches – over the lunch hour 12:00 – 1:30
        • Will need to RSVP to know how many lunches are required
        • $10 or $15
      • Advertising
        • CBA listserv, PELA, CTLA, Criminal Defense bar, Gay Bar listserv, ACLU, CU and Federalist Society
    • Discussion re panelists
      • Ed Ramey and Tom Marresse have confirmed
      • Possibility for another view point – add another speaker
        • Glenn Spagnuolo
        • David Lane
        • Mark Cohen
        • Someone from AIM
      • Everyone agrees that a third person is a good idea, need to follow up to find out who is available
  • Police Treatment of Street Demonstrations (co-sponsored w/ NLG) – April
    • Panelists?
      • Eileen Clancy
      • Karen Sobel
  • Denver Spy Files – June
    • Discussion of who may be panelist
      • Mark Silverstein
      • City vetoed the participation of Tom Rice
      • Doug Jewell – represents police and may not be knowledgeable enough on the issue
      • International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators
    • Having hard time finding someone to represent the city’s perspective
      • Maybe send formal letter to the City asking for someone to represent their side – if not then we tried
      • Possibly have documents to hand out providing other side – briefing from the lawsuit
    • Revisit the topic next month for speakers – LaCabe, Fine??

-New issues

  • Affirmative action legislation – signatures are already being collected in Colorado
  • Attempt too pass hate crimes bill – sexual orientation was stripped from the defense funding bill
  • Law regarding where sexual offenders can live – GA Supreme Court recently decided this issue
  • Faith based prison initiatives

NEXT MEETING JANUARY 2, 2007 – AFTER THAT THE COMMITTEE WILL GO BACK TO THE 1ST TUESDAY OF THE MONTH