Archive | December 2012

Juvenile and Family Courts: 76th Annual Conference

Scale of Justice

76th Annual Conference
DATE: July 14, 2013 to July 17, 2013
LOCATION: Seattle, WA, The Westin Seattle
DESCRIPTION: The event will feature a wide range of juvenile and family law topics including child abuse and neglect, trauma, custody and visitation, judicial leadership, juvenile justice, sex trafficking of minors, family violence, drug courts, psychotropic medications, children testifying in court, detention alternatives, substance abuse, and the adolescent brain.

Mission: The mission of the Annual Conference is to provide cutting-edge information and tools to juvenile and family courts to support their efforts to improve case processing and outcomes for children, youth, families, victims, and communities with whom they work.
At this time, the NCJFCJ is not accepting session proposals. Please check back in the future for information on upcoming opportunities to submit.
This conference is judicially-focused and open to all those interested in the improvement of juvenile and family justice.
Early registration fees, by June 14, 2013
Member – $550 Non-Member – $650

Regular registration fees, after June 14, 2013
Member – $575 Non-Member – $695
Please note: Registration fee includes all educational seminars, Exhibit Show, online training materials, Welcome Reception, one lunch, and all coffee breaks.
Cancellation Policy: The NCJFCJ will not deny admission to any program because of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability or religion. The NCJFCJ reserves the right to limit, cancel and/or refund registration on a case-by-case basis should circumstances require. Cancellations for conference registration must be made prior to June 14, 2013 for a full refund. Cancellations received after June 14 and before July 13 will incur a $100 administrative fee. No cancellations for refund will be accepted after the start of the conference.
To register please contact Deena Meadors at

Sources: Sponsoring Agency– The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

2013 International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking


DATE: April 04, 2013 – April 05, 2013
LOCATION: Baltimore Hilton, 401 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
SPONSORING AGENCY: End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI)

Description: Join fellow law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, victim advocates, judges, parole and probation officers, rape crisis workers, medical personnel, faith community members, educators and others in this three day conference highlighting promising practices and emerging issues in sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

REGISTRATION: Pay by February 15th, 2013 to receive $50 off the price of the conference. The 2013 conference will also include a Pre-Conference Track addressing the Forensic Clinical Response to Victims of Violence Against Women. This Pre-Conference Track will take place on April 2, the day before the conference.

For more information see:

Sources: Sponsoring Agency– End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI)

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Help Make the Holidays Bright for Millions of Americans


While Congress is preparing to return to their home states to share in holiday festivities with their family members, millions of working Americans are bracing themselves for an increase in taxes for those fortunate enough to be working and for the less fortunate the expiration of their unemployment benefits.

This post is written to remind the fortunate among us that as winter festivities continue across the country for many, there are literally millions of other Americans who are sitting at home right now, waiting to hear if they will have basic needs such as food and shelter met next month. Federal unemployment insurance has proved vital support for millions of struggling families across our nation. Unemployment insurance for millions of citizens is slated to expire on December 31, 2012. The Economic Policy Institute says more than five (5) million U.S. workers have been unemployed longer than six months. This is more than four times the number of long-term unemployed before the onset of the Great Recession.

The National Association of Working Women remind us that, “…Nearly 8 million workers and their families have been kept afloat by the extension of the federal unemployment insurance program while they search for work in this tough economy. Long-term unemployment is at a level not seen since the Great Depression– over 42% of all unemployed (6.1 million workers) have been without a job for over 6 months, and 30% (4.4 million workers) have been out of work for over a year.” The National Association of Working Women asks that we help give struggling families something to be grateful for by telling Congress to extend long-term unemployment benefits.

“The unemployment benefits these struggling families receive kept at least 3.3 million Americans from falling into poverty in 2009 alone, including 1.5 million children.” Until the national unemployment rate shows measurable signs of improvement and the economy begins generating meaningful numbers of living wage jobs, the program of federal jobless benefits should be continued by Congress. Extending unemployment benefits will not simply benefit the enrollees but our national economy. I know that to some it sounds counter-intuitive but continuing to support long-term unemployment benefits will help facilitate the growth of our economy—but it is true.

“How could unemployment insurance payments to these Americans help the economy? The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says every one dollar of unemployment insurance benefit grows the total economy by $1.10. And every one million of the benefit adds six new American jobs. Moreover, unemployment insurance has more economic impact than many other spending proposals according to the CBO.”

The Brookings Institution states, “Families on UI rely on it to maintain necessary spending, thus the money is rapidly spent rather than saved. Absent such benefits, spending would fall sharply, resulting in hardship on not just their families but also on the shops and workers that depend on those consumers.”

The provision of Extended Unemployment benefits has been part of every response to recessions since 1958, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Our country has never permitted benefits for the long-term unemployed to expire when unemployment was above 7.2 percent. It’s now 7.9 percent. Allowing these benefits to lapse will be nothing short of a disaster for families and our economy. With that said, it is time for each of us to tell our Representatives in Washington to ensure that ALL Americans can celebrate this season. To accomplish said goal, call 1-888-245-3381 NOW and ask your Representative to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits.

9 to 5 prepared this script to assist us in placing this very necessary call to our members of congress. It reads as follows: “When connected to your Representative’s office, please tell him or her: Your name, where you are from, and that you are a constituent.   Please tell _____________ that I’m counting on [him or her] to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits. Thank you.” Congress must act to ensure that unemployed Americans are not left in the cold this holiday season.

“What is at stake if these benefits are allowed to expire? Over two (2) million women stand to lose this critical lifeline in 2012. More than a quarter of a million of these women are single parents. For many of them, federal unemployment benefits may be the difference between staying afloat and falling into poverty.”

You can make the difference in the lives of countless families in your state by calling Washington and urging your Representative to extend unemployment benefits. Again, please call 1-888-245-3381 today and ask your Representatives in Washington and urge them to act NOW to pass the Senate bill to prevent federal unemployment insurance benefits from being cut off this holiday season.

Source: The National Association of Working Women. Economic Policy Institute.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Help Feed Those In Need


For many Americans, one constant in the holiday season is food. We have food at parties, food at the office, and at social events. During this time of the year, food is often so abundant that one of the common complaints that is heard from people is how much weight they have gained. We’ve all heard it.

It is important that we try and remember that many in our country will have limited or no food at this time of the year. And that this time is just like most other times in their lives- one of hunger and need. This is real hunger, not the growling stomach that you may experience between meals. This is the type of hunger where parents worry if they or their children will eat at all that day, or if what they can afford will be enough. It’s the kind of hunger that negatively impacts health.

According to a  recent U.S. Department of Agriculture state-by-state report on national “food insecurity,” a term that means hunger or susceptibility to it, paints a bleak picture. During the recent recession, many U.S. households suffered job losses, declining incomes, home foreclosures, and diminished net worth. Food security means having dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living-is vulnerable to these financial challenges. In 2009, 14.7 percent of U.S. households (17.4 million) were food insecure, meaning that at some time during the year, they had difficulty providing enough food for all members of their family due to insufficient resources. Although essentially unchanged from 2008 (14.6 percent), food insecurity remains at the highest level observed since food security surveys were initiated in 1995.

According to the national news, food pantries across the country have experienced record high levels of requests for assistance. As a volunteer at a local poverty program that provides food assistance, I have seen the record level requests for assistance first hand. As a result, the food pantry shelves were nearly bare. These feeding agencies can’t do it alone. As you prepare for holiday celebrations, please keep in mind those who are most in need in our communities and donate to a nonprofit agency serving the most vulnerable members of our society.  There is so much that needs to be done to help those caught in the vicious cycle of poverty. Together, we can help the poorest women as well as men, and their families, live, learn, earn, survive — and thrive — in the new year and beyond! With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action –we can improve the human condition.

Sources: United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008;;; and Food Research and Action Center.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

Woman with Man

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first findings from The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) and it is available online. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an on­going, nationally representative survey that assesses experiences of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence among adult women and men in the United States. It measures lifetime victimization for these types of violence as well as victimization in the 12 months prior to the survey. The survey goes beyond counting acts of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence by assessing the range of violence experienced by victims and the impact of that victimization. The report also includes the first ever simultaneous national and state-level prevalence estimates of these forms of violence for all states.

Source: Prevent Connect. CDC.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Human Rights Day 2012

african children


As aptly stated on the United Nation’s website, Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere. December 10, 2012, marks the sixty-fourth (64th) anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. Some argue that the last two years have been remarkable in the area of human rights activism and there is a lot to celebrate – while there is a great deal that still needs to be done. There is no better moment to recommit ourselves to the work of those who came before us. It’s our turn to work to preserve human rights for our children and for all future generations.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.

These human rights — the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have been at the centre of the historic changes in the Arab world over the past two years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change. In other parts of the world, the ninety-nine (“99%”) percent made their voices heard through the global Occupy movement protesting economic, political and social inequality.

To help celebrate International Human Rights’ Day, it is important for each of us to join the global conversation and join the human rights movement.

Join the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and United Nations Association of the United States of America, in celebrating the many accomplishments this year and the work we still have ahead of us.

Source(s): United Nations.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Too Much Doubt: The Troy Davis Story

hispanic men

For twenty (20) years, Troy Davis sat on death row in Georgia for the murder of police officer, Mark Mac Phail. Amnesty provides a summary of the Troy Davis and it reads as follows: Troy Davis, a black man, was convicted primarily based on eye witness testimony of the murder of a Savannah, Georgia, white police officer, Mark MacPhail, and sentenced to death. Davis was on death row from 1991-2011. Since Troy Davis’ conviction, seven of the nine key eye witnesses against him recanted or changed their testimony. The United States Supreme Court ordered a new trial court hearing which took place in June 2010. At the trial, Davis was required to conclusively prove his innocence. The trial judge ruled that Davis did not meet this “extraordinarily high standard” of proof. The judge went on to criticize the credibility of of the eye testimony used to convict Davis. Davis did NOT have the benefit of scientific or physical evidence. But four (4) witnesses testified that they had lied at trial. A new eyewitness testified that his relative, not Davis, shot and killed Officer Mark Mac Phail. The judge did admit that the case against Davis was NOT “ironclad”.

Despite serious doubts about his guilt, Troy Davis’ execution was held late on the evening of September 21, 2011. The United States criminal justice system is based on guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s the foundation of our justice system, built to serve and protect the wrongly accused. But in the case of Troy Davis, it’s a principle that was defied, ignored, and trampled on. The petition seeking clemency in the Troy Davis case was signed by almost one million persons. Despite cries for clemency from persons around the world, the Georgia Board of Paroles denied Troy Davis’ request for clemency in his death row case. The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, designed specifically to ensure that executions never happen amidst so much doubt, allowed it to happen anyway. Additionally, Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm refused to ask the judge to withdraw Troy’s death warrant. Despite serious doubts about his guilt, Troy Davis’ execution was held on September 21, 2011. Many Davis supporters around the world assert that there was simply too much doubt for his execution.

As Troy Davis wrote in a letter when he was facing execution in 2008 :” … no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’ [across the nation on death row]. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.” Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have been seeking to do just that. Specifically, these organizations have been quite successful in raising awareness about the problems with criminal justice system and the need to end the death penalty. The number of persons supporting their work is growing as demonstrated in the case of Troy Davis. As stated previously, the petition seeking clemency in the Troy Davis case was signed by almost one million persons. NAACP and Amnesty International have experienced steady progress in this important undertaking to end the death penalty. However, the Troy Davis case reminds us that more work needs to be done to end the death penalty.

“Justices on the Georgia State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court — men and women who know that our justice system is degraded when we allow someone to be executed even when the former warden [Dr. Allen Ault, retired Director of the Georgia Department of Corrections and former Warden of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison] of the very prison the inmate is in says there is too much doubt to proceed — cleared the way for the execution to be carried out anyway. These failures are the result of a system that gives the power of life and death, God-like powers, to humans who are as prone to error and susceptible to bias as any of us. Human nature won’t change, so the system must. This must never happen again.”

The execution of Troy Davis significantly undermines the credibility of the Georgia system of justice. It moved forward with an execution under a persistent cloud of doubts about guilt. This conduct shows a callous disregard for the very real possibility of putting an innocent person to death, and public faith in Georgia’s commitment to a fair justice system is shattered. Our criminal justice system is flawed as most recently demonstrated in the Troy Davis case. Because of the life or death consequences in states where the death penalty is permissible under the law, the criminal justice system must be flawless or there is a possibility that an innocent person could be executed. When justice is administered by humans, it susceptible to error. Under the afore-referenced circumstances, the death penalty must be eradicated nationwide.

Cerebral Motion Productions is producing a three part series entitled, Corruption: The Politics of Crime. The first in this series is TOO MUCH DOUBT: The Story of Troy A. Davis, which looks into the international campaign to stop his execution. It features Martina Davis Correia, Kim Davis, and other members of the Davis family. It also features Big Boi and prominent leaders in the campaign.

Source(s): Amnesty. Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Campaign to End the Death Penalty. NAACP. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art.