• Leadership Conference, ACLU and Federal Public and Community Defenders Letter to Congressional Leadership (4/2020)
    Letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the ACLU, and the Federal Public and Community Public Defenders to Senate Majority Leader McConnel, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, House Speaker Pelosi, and House Minority Leader McCarthy urging Congress to adopt critical provisions to protect the health and safety of incarcerated individuals in the COVID-19 response package currently being negotiated, such as: (1) provisions that will dramatically reduce pretrial and prison populations; (2) an expansion of court authority to release individuals in BOP Custody; (3) Increases in the availability of home detention for elderly people; (4) provisions that facilitate essential communication with counsel; and (5) additional support at the federal, state, and local level to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

  • Video Conferencing Assistance for CJA Panel Attorneys: contact email address video_conference_CJA_Help@fd.org 
    In many districts CJA panel attorneys are being asked to use video conferencing. For some, this may be the first time they have attempted to do it. If you would like a second pair of virtual eyes when trying to use this technology, email the National Litigation Support Team at video_conference_CJA_Help@fd.org  and someone will follow up with you and see if we can assist. Please remember that this is not our primary area of focus (it's typically addressing e-discovery challenges and using litigation support technology), and there are many video conferencing platforms and services out there, some of which we haven't seen. But we know that with some assistance, panel attorneys can use video conferencing tools successfully. We work with panel attorneys every day using litigation support technology and we have seen how they have been able to do much more with technology than they ever thought, and we want you to have assistance during these difficult times. We will try and respond quickly, but give us 24-hour notice as we are a small team and there are over 12,000 CJA panel attorneys in the U.S. If there is a great interest for this kind of help, we will expand our group of people who will respond. We may encounter technical problems beyond all our control. Jails may be using a commercial service, or they may be using their own proprietary system. But know that we will do what we can to help make it work and give you some tips and tricks for the next time.
    In the weeks to come, we will collect and identify video conferencing training resources for CJA panel attorneys. If you identify videoconferencing systems that are being used in your district, have reference materials that may be of assistance to your fellow panel attorneys, let us know and we can share that information with others on www.fd.org.

  • In Re: COVID-19 Pandemic Procedures, No. 1:20-mc-00146 (D. Md. Apr. 23, 2020) (Order), Dkt. 14 
    Order that custodians of Maryland detainees at the DC Jail shall forthwith "ensure that each such detainee has access to a telephone and/or other communication device by which they can communicate with their counsel and participate in proceedings as scheduled by this Court. . . . Ensure that Maryland detainees have reasonable access to their counsel and that counsel have reasonable access to their detained clients, via telephone at least."
  • D.C. jail inmates with coronavirus barred from access to lawyers, family, showers and changes of clothing, inspectors say (4/15/20)
    By Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post

  • Judge Warns NYC Prisons To 'Do Better' On Attorney Access (4/3/20)
    By Frank G. Runyeon, Law 360