On April 10, Due Process Institute President and Founder Shana-Tara O'Toole was one of the featured speakers at the ABA's Section of International Law 2019 Annual Conference held in Washington DC. Shana spoke on the panel titled, "Corporate Requirement or Getting Thrown Under the Bus? The Prosecution of Individuals in the Anti-Corruption Boom." Shana's comments specifically addressed the defenses used in certain OECD countries and how that may have an effect on the prosecution of individuals.
Former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley addressed the Senate in December to recognize the imminent passage of the First Step Act, the most significant criminal justice reform legislation passed in a decade. The Due Process Institute was among the core organizations that were responsible for the bill's ultimate success. Senator Grassley explained:
"A diverse group and a broad coalition of other groups, from the ACLU to the American Conservative Union, supported this bill. I can't list all the groups that offered their key support, but they include FreedomWorks, Justice Action Network, Americans for Tax Reform, Heritage Action, the Due Process Institute, Faith & Freedom Coalition, R Street, Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Prison Fellowship, and members of the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition."
The Due Process Institute is proud to be recognized for our efforts, and prouder still that we were part of such an impactful, bipartisan piece of legislation.
The Due Process Institute is a bipartisan nonprofit that works to honor, preserve, and restore principles of fairness in the criminal legal system.
Led by a public policy professional with 20 years of project management, lobbying, legal, and teaching experience, guided by a bipartisan Board of Directors, and supported by bipartisan staff, the Due Process Institute creates workable solutions for challenging policy concerns through advocacy and education.
The Due Process Institute is endorsing the Restoring Education And Learning (REAL) Act that has been proposed in both the Senate and the House. The original cosponsors are Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in the Senate and Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL), Jim Bank (R-IN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and French Hill (R-AR).
“Our justice system fails us if the people returning back into our communities after incarceration do not succeed and the REAL Act takes an important step towards addressing an existing failure,” said Shana O’Toole, President of the Due Process Institute. “Education is a critical piece of preparing incarcerated individuals for reentry. After our work on the First Step Act, we know how important Pell eligibility is for establishing much-needed educational programs and learning behind the wall.
“Incarcerated individuals deserve a meaningful opportunity to educate themselves in order to prepare to rejoin us as productive members of society—and we are grateful to see that providing this kind of support is a bipartisan cause.”
The Due Process Institute is endorsing the FAIR Act, HR. 1895, co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Tim Walberg, Tom McClintock, and Thomas Massie, and Democrat Reps. Jamie Raskin, Tony Cardenas, and Bobby Rush. The FAIR Act protects Americans against civil asset forfeiture practices that deprive citizens of their property without proper legal processes.
“The FAIR Act restores basic due process rights that have been undermined for decades because of abusive civil asset forfeiture practices. These meaningful reforms have been supported by policymakers and advocates on both sides of the aisle, and we are proud to count ourselves in that group,” said Shana O’Toole, President of the Due Process Institute.
“These are sensible, impactful reforms, and we look forward to advancing the FAIR Act to the President’s desk.”
Several civil liberties and tech organizations have asked Congress to refrain from funding certain surveillance technology as a security measure to protect the nation's border. These proposals have included biometrics, mass surveillance, license plate readers, and DNA data, among others.
Indiana legislators are now considering changes to the state's public defense system in order to address serious shortcomings in the right to counsel as guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment. This has been especially true in misdemeanor cases.
The Due Process Institute joined a letter urging Indiana legislators to take up this important issue.
Following overwhelming votes of support in the Senate (87-12) and the House (358-36), President Trump signed The First Step Act into law on December 21, 2018. The Due Process Institute has been a leader in the lobbying and education regarding this historic piece of criminal justice reform legislation.
"This is a remarkable culmination of years of effort by reformers to get Congress to recognize the need for change," said Director of Rule of Law Initiatives Joe Luppino-Esposito. "The First Step Act will go a long way towards improving public safety and making the federal prison system a place for actual 'corrections', rehabilitation, and redemption. This is the type of reform that stresses justice and effectiveness above all else.
"I look forward to seeing more bipartisan support for reform in the near future as we think about what our next steps ought to be."
The Due Process Institute is heartened by the news that the US Senate will take up the First Step Act and consider it on the floor as early as this week. The First Step Act is supported by the Due Process Institute and dozens of organizations from both sides of aisle because it recalibrates the federal criminal justice system to focus on rehabilitation and redemption, rather than punishment for its own sake. The bill would also change some particularly long sentences.
On the morning of September 21, the Due Process Institute hosted "Two Views: An Exploration of Key Cases from Supreme Court's Criminal Law Docket." The event, which took place at the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Washington DC, featured Stanford Law Professor Jeffrey Fisher and Erin Murphy of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP. These leading constitutional law experts went in-depth into the most important criminal law cases that the Supreme Court will hear in October.
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