Events & Programs

Upcoming Event

Sparer Forum: Free Them All: Defending the Lives of Criminalized Survivors of Violence 

Tuesday, March 19
5 to 7 p.m.
Reception to follow

Brooklyn Law School
Subotnick Center, 10th Floor
250 Joralemon St.
Brooklyn

RSVP by March 15

About the Forum
Join the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program and the Center for Criminal Justice for “Free Them All: Defending the Lives of Criminalized Survivors of Violence.” This forum will explore the ways in which the criminal legal system impacts women who have experienced violence and will feature a keynote speech by Mariame Kaba, organizer, educator, and prominent civil rights activist.
 
Although the prison and jail population in the U.S. has begun to decline, the number of girls and women detained in federal and state prisons across the country has increased. A large percentage of them have been prosecuted for violent offenses. Often, their charged conduct is directly connected to domestic, sexual, or systemic violence they have experienced, yet their cases have escaped public scrutiny. The legal community has been slow to respond to the specific pathways, policing practices, and prosecutorial decisions that contribute to the criminalization and mass incarceration of survivors of violence.
 
The event will probe the ways in which our laws and legal systems center on harmful constructs of race and gender that are especially damaging for survivors of violence and women of color. In doing so, the program will test the notion that the criminal legal system is the right site for anti-violence work and will highlight promising new ways communities can address violence outside of the carceral state. A discussion featuring Anisah Sabur, Coordinator, Coalition Building & Peer Support, STEPS Centering Survivor’s Advocacy Project and Ashley Sawyer, Director of Policy & Government Relations, Girls for Gender Equity will delve deeper into the role of lawyers and Brooklyn Law School in advancing conversation and practice around these critical issues. Moderated by Kate Mogulescu, Assistant Professor of Clinical Law, Brooklyn Law School.

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Criminal Justice and the Edward Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program

The Edward V. Sparer Fellowship Program
Brooklyn Law School alumnus, Professor Edward V. Sparer, was one of the leading poverty lawyers in this country. The Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program was established in 1986 to honor him and encourage law students and lawyers to carry on his legacy. For more information about the Sparer Fellowship program, visit www.brooklaw.edu/sparer.

Past Events

Dean's Law and Policy Series: Bringing the World into the Law School

Wednesday, February 20
12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Brooklyn Law School
Student Lounge
250 Joralemon St.
Brooklyn

The fifth program in this monthly series will feature Professor Cynthia Godsoe, who will speak on the topic: #MeToo and the Criminal Law. Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton will moderate the discussion.

Dean's Law and Policy Series: Bringing the World into the Law School

Wednesday, January 23
12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Brooklyn Law School
Student Lounge
250 Joralemon St.
Brooklyn

The fourth program in this monthly series will feature Professor Jocelyn Simonson, Associate Professor of Law, who will speak on the topic: What Comes After Money Bail? A Conversation about Bail Reform. Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton will moderate the discussion.

Panel Discussion: What is Progressive Prosecution?

Wednesday, November 14

About the Discussion
Join the Center for Criminal Justice for an exploration of recent approaches to criminal prosecution in New York City and beyond. This panel discussion will examine the role of prosecutors in criminal legal reform and best practices for state and local prosecutors working under different constraints and in challenging political climates. Participants will learn about recent local initiatives involving the prosecution of marijuana and other misdemeanor offenses, post-conviction review, criminal record sealing, and other current efforts.

Panelists will include Nitin Savur, Executive Assistant District Attorney for Strategic Initiatives at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and Meg Reiss, Chief of Social Justice at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and Nicole Fortier, Advocacy & Policy Counsel, ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice.

Nick Turner, President and Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, will moderate.

Prof. Robert M. Pitler Program on Criminal Law, Procedure, Evidence & Ethics

Friday, October 19 and Friday, October 26

This year the Center for Criminal Justice is offering the annual CLPE program as two Friday half-day programs. Each Friday program will cover different topics and participants may register for one and/or both days.

About the Programs
These two half-day programs provide comprehensive updates in the areas of criminal law, procedure, evidence and ethics. Leading experts will review recent developments in confessions, search and seizure, and immigration law. There also will be a review of a new evidence guide for attorneys as well as current criminal justice legislation followed by a panel discussion of ethical issues facing prosecutors and defense attorneys. Hard-copy materials will be provided.

View Agendas

The annual CLPE program honors the late Professor Robert M. Pitler, a member of the Law School’s faculty from 1988 until his death in 2015. Professor Pitler was a leading scholar and practitioner in the area of criminal law who was beloved by generations of students and colleagues.

Proceeds will benefit the Robert M. Pitler Criminal Justice Post-Graduate Fellowship, which supports loan forgiveness for lawyers dedicated to careers practicing criminal law in public service.


Past Programs

Book Talk and Reception: Misdemeanorland: Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing
A Conversation with Author Issa Kohler-Hausmann Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale

September 13

An in-depth look at the consequences of New York City’s dramatically expanded policing of low-level offenses.

Felony conviction and mass incarceration attract considerable media attention these days, yet the most common criminal-justice encounters are for misdemeanors, not felonies, and the most common outcome is not prison. In the early 1990s, New York City launched an initiative under the banner of Broken Windows policing to dramatically expand enforcement against low-level offenses. Misdemeanorland (Princeton University Press 2018) is the first book to document the fates of the hundreds of thousands of people hauled into lower criminal courts as part of this policing experiment.

Drawing on three years of fieldwork inside and outside of the courtroom, in-depth interviews, and analysis of trends in arrests and dispositions of misdemeanors going back three decades, Issa Kohler-Hausmann argues that lower courts have largely abandoned the adjudicative model of criminal law administration in which questions of factual guilt and legal punishment drive case outcomes. Due to the sheer volume of arrests, lower courts have adopted a managerial model—and the implications are troubling. Kohler-Hausmann shows how significant volumes of people are marked, tested, and subjected to surveillance and control even though about half the cases result in some form of legal dismissal. She describes in harrowing detail how the reach of America's penal state extends well beyond the shocking numbers of people incarcerated in prisons or stigmatized by a felony conviction.

Revealing and innovative, Misdemeanorland shows how the lower reaches of our criminal justice system operate as a form of social control and surveillance, often without adjudicating cases or imposing formal punishment.


Panel Discussion - Decarcerate Brooklyn: What Closing Rikers Means for Our Borough

March 28

A discussion with elected officials, reform advocates, and Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Criminal Justice about what closing Rikers Island means for Brooklyn. Following an advocate-driven campaign to #CLOSERikers and a report recommending closure from the independent Lippmann Commission, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the city intends to close the Rikers Island Jail Complex. How will this action affect criminal justice and public safety in Brooklyn? Will closing Rikers require building a new jail, renovating an existing one, or something else? How can Brooklyn focus on healing and rebuilding communities impacted by mass incarceration? Please join us to discuss these and other issues affecting our borough.


Scales of justiceProf. Robert M. Pitler Annual Program on Criminal Law, Procedure, Evidence & Ethics

October 28, 2017

This daylong program provides a comprehensive update in the areas of criminal law, procedure, evidence, and ethics. Leading experts will review recent developments in confessions, search and seizure, and identification evidence. There also will be a review of new criminal justice legislation as well as panels on "hot button topics" and current ethical issues facing prosecutors and defense attorneys. Lunch and hard-copy materials will be provided.

 


image of flyerEdward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Forum
Righting Wrongful Convictions

March 28, 2017

In a conversation introduced by Associate Dean Stacy Caplow, the panelists will discuss the causes of wrongful convictions, the ways in which they might be challenged and redressed and the potential improvements that are needed to reduce their incidence in the future.

 


Blood in the WaterBlood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy — A Conversation with Professor Heather Ann Thompson of the University of Michigan

November 10, 2016

Thompson, professor of history at the University of Michigan, will discuss her new book about the Attica prison uprising, which sheds new light on the events surrounding the violent uprising at the New York prison in 1971. Her book has been nominated for the 2016 National Book Award in nonfiction.

 

 


My Partner, My EnemyA Conversation with Hon. John M. Leventhal ’79 and Professor Elizabeth Schneider

November 14, 2016

Hon. John M. Leventhal ’79, Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, will be in conversation with Elizabeth Schneider, Rose L. Hoffer Professor of Law and Director of the Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program. They will discuss the current crisis in domestic violence and Judge Leventhal’s book My Partner, My Enemy: An Unflinching View of Domestic Violence and New Ways to Protect Victims.

 


October 29, 2016
Professor Robert M. Pitler Program on Criminal Law, Procedure, Evidence & Ethics (CLE Program). This annual CLE program was founded by the late Professor Robert M. Pitler. The program offers a comprehensive update in criminal law, procedure, evidence and ethics. Leading experts will review recent developments in confessions, search and seizure, identification procedures and evidence law. Watch all the sessions of this program below.


March 29, 2016
An evening with Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Moderated by Professor Miriam Baer. View the video of the event here.

Prof. Robert M. Pitler Annual Program on Criminal Law, Procedure, Evidence & Ethics

Watch the Prof. Robert M. Pitler Annual Program on Criminal Law, Procedure, Evidence & Ethics (CLE Program)

Have questions? We have answers.

Center for Criminal Justice

Co-Directors:
Stacy Caplow
Associate Dean of Professional Legal Education & Professor of Law
stacy.caplow@brooklaw.edu

Jocelyn Simonson
Assistant Professor of Law
jocelyn.simonson@brooklaw.edu

Kate Mogulescu
Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
kate.mogulescu@brooklaw.edu