The Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) petitioned for and received an amazing 14 commutations for their clients since April of this year. CJRC also made Oregon history when Governor Kate Brown commuted its client to the Parole Board after reducing his sentence from Life Without Parole to Life, the first time such a commutation has happened in Oregon.
Amicus Curiae Briefs to Oregon Supreme Court Regarding Convictions Based on Nonunanimous Jury Instructions
The Criminal Justice Reform Clinic joined five other organizations in filing amicus briefs asking the Oregon Supreme Court to hold that all convictions obtained in a trial that included the nonunanimous jury instruction be reversed and remanded for a new trial.
The Criminal Justice Reform Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School (CJRC or Clinic) and the ACLU of Oregon filed an amicus brief on Friday in Curry County Circuit Court in the case of Danny Alcazar, 28, who is seeking release from prison while his case is on appeal. Alcazar is currently being held on a parole violation in Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem.
Governor Kate Brown commuted two clients of the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) at the beginning of April. Suzanne Miles and Patricia Butterfield both applied for clemency in 2018 and were released from Coffee Creek Correctional Facility on April 10, 2020. A third client of CJRC, parolee Joshua Wilburn, was released nearly three months early on April 20th. The Clinic submitted 80 pages of material, including a parole plan, and represented him in his hearing in from of the Parole Board this past fall; Mr. Wilburn was successful at both his murder review hearing then and at his exit interview on March 16, 2020.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Non-Unanimous Jury Convictions in Criminal Cases, Cites Professor Kaplan in Opinion
Aliza Kaplan, Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic and Professor of Lawyering, was cited by US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his concurring opinion in Ramos v. Louisiana, decided in April. In the Ramos decision, the United States Supreme Court struck down nonunanimous jury verdicts as unconstitutional.
In a story about non-unanimous juries, professor Aliza Kaplan and the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic are mentioned for research on how the law affects Oregonians.
Clinic students Stacie Damazo, Jonny Gersten and Maxwell Evans helped craft the brief. Researching, writing and filing an amicus curiae brief is valuable experience and may effect nationwide change.
Director Aliza Kaplan recently co-authored an article with Peter A. Collins of Seattle University comparing death penalty costs to the costs associated with non-capitol cases.