Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

On May 5th, CLiME hosted a national conference on Trauma, Schools and Poverty. A full archive of the conference, including Dr. Margevich's write up and panel contents can be viewed here:

Jeena Shah is a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law in Rutgers Law School’s Constitutional Rights and International Human Rights Clinics. She recently spoke with CLiME staff member Tara Marlowe to discuss her approach to community lawyering.

Reduced public funding forces municipal courts to focus on revenue generating fines, resulting in the uneven application of justice. Court fines and jail time in lieu of ability to pay has disparate impact on poor and minority constituents. These practices can have lasting and devastating consequences for individuals, regardless of whether they are ultimately found culpable of any charge. In this paper, Rutgers law student Michael Simone illuminates how this process plays out in New Jersey and beyond.

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Designed for fairness, Florida's point system fails to account for prejudice. The Herald-Tribune spent a year reviewing tens of millions of records in two state databases — one compiled by the state’s court clerks that tracks criminal cases through every stage of the justice system and the other by the Florida Department of Corrections that notes points scored by felons at sentencing.
The wealth discrepancy between blacks and whites is one of the most stark examples of inequality in America. If national median numbers weren’t bad enough, things look much worse in America’s cities, according to a new paper from the Urban Institute.
As a whole, Hispanics are disproportionately concentrated in the lowest-opportunity neighborhoods in U.S. metro areas. However, reflecting this ethnic group's diversity, there is great variation by national origin in their distribution across different levels of neighborhood opportunity. Explore Hispanic diversity in terms of access to neighborhoods of opportunity for two dozen Hispanic-origin subgroups across the 100 largest metro areas with new indicators and visualizations by diversitydatakids.org.
Fees and fines are levied on young offenders in every state but have an outsize effect on racial minorities and the poor, creating a two-tiered system of justice.
The choices that black families make today are inevitably constrained by a legacy of racism that prevented their ancestors from buying quality housing and then passing down wealth that might have allowed today’s generation to move into more stable communities. And even when black households try to cross color boundaries, they are not always met with open arms: Studies have shown that white people prefer to live in communities where there are fewer black people, regardless of their income.
With its searing rebuke of the Baltimore Police Department, the Obama administration has added another chapter in an expanding catalog of investigations that reveal systemic patterns of racial bias in police departments around the country. Each of the nearly two dozen investigations conducted by the Justice Department has uncovered widespread patterns of racial bias, use of excessive force, tactical blunders and poor oversight.
Two years have passed since the President signed a Presidential Memorandum in 2014 establishing the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Task Force (the Task Force), a coordinated Federal effort to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. In response to the President’s call to action, nearly 250 communities in all 50 states have accepted the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge; more than $600 million in private sector and philanthropic grants and in-kind resources and $1 billion in low-interest financing have been committed in alignment with MBK; and new federal policy initiatives, grant programs, and guidance are being implemented to ensure that every child has a clear pathway to success from cradle to college and career.

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