School navigation

National Crime Victim Law Institute

Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney - Sylvia Golden

May 18, 2011

NAVRA member Sylvia Golden joined NCVLI in December 2010 as a pro bono attorney. Sylvia comes to NCVLI with a background in immigration law and criminal defense work.  She was drawn to NCVLI because of our policy work in the criminal justice and immigration arenas.  Sylvia has donated an enormous number of pro bono hours to NCVLI and has truly become a part of the NCVLI team.  Projects completed range from a survey of state anti-stalking laws and their varying reach within the context of an individual’s constitutional right to free expression, to research on a case before the United States Supreme Court on when and how child-victims can be interviewed by state officials.

Sylvia had this to say about her work with NCVLI:

NCVLI’s work appeals to me because it represents an interest in criminal cases that often gets overlooked, victims.  As a pro bono attorney at NCVLI, I have been able to work on policy issues that arose out of actual cases and I have gained an even greater understanding of the significance of the law for the individual, as well as society as a whole.  For example, I worked on a white paper that describes the scope of victims’ rights within the context of habeas corpus proceedings.  Initially, I took it for granted that convicted state prisoners whose cases went through the state appeals process should have unlimited possibilities to petition for habeas review in federal court.  However, after researching the history of habeas and the escalating and questionable use of habeas in routine state criminal cases, I have gained a fresh perspective.  I have come to understand not only the burden that unrestricted habeas places on the justice system as a whole, but also on the victim and his or her ability to achieve finality and a point from which to move ahead.   NCVLI’s work to balance the victim’s interests in finality with the need to ensure a just conviction has been compelling.    


© 2011 National Crime Victim Law Institute