Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) Updates

The clinic and its students work on issues including clemency, parole, access to courts for incarcerated youth, and forensic science in criminal cases.

Expunging Juvenile Records Across Oregon

Lewis & Clark Law School’s Criminal Justice Reform Clinic partnered with Youth, Rights & Justice (YRJ) to offer increased access to expungement for individuals with juvenile records in Oregon.

CJRC Fellow Natalie Hollabaugh ’21, an Equal Justice Works Fellow Attorney sponsored by Intel and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, worked with YRJ to establish the expansion program. Hollabaugh noted that youth records can impact “schooling, housing, employment, and more. In Oregon especially, youth of color are disproportionately represented in the system.”

Championing Legislation

The clinic partnered with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and the Forensic Justice Project to advocate for Senate Bill 819, passed in June 2021, which establishes a procedure for people convicted of and sentenced for felony offenses to petition their sentencing court for reconsideration of their conviction(s) or sentence(s) if the original sentence no longer advances “the interests of justice.”

CJRC students involved in researching, reporting, and providing testimony included Radhika Shah ’23, Alexis Fisher ’21, Todd Smith ’21, and Bruce Myers ’20. The clinic was involved in a number of bills in the 2021–22 legislative sessions, including Senate Bill 751, “Relating to pretrial discovery”; Senate Bill 817,

“Relating to fees arising out of juvenile delinquency matters”; and Senate Bill 835, “Relating to early medical release from prison; declaring an emergency; providing for criminal sentence reduction that requires approval by a two-thirds majority.”

Seeking Pardons for Black Oregonians

CJRC is seeking to pardon nonexpungeable felonies from community members’ records in its Black Oregonian Pardon Project. The yearlong program identifies and represents people who were released from prison at least 10 years ago, have had no incidents since being released, have a nonexpungeable felony conviction that is holding them back in life, and are “living their best life,” according to Professor Aliza Kaplan, director of CJRC.

Students directly involved include Caroline Shen ’23, Mark Cebert ’22, and Sara Long ’22. Brittany Hill ’19, a former clinic student of CJRC, serves as the staff attorney for the Pardon Project.

Oregon Supreme Court Protects Disability Rights in Jail

In June 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that private medical entities operating in jails must follow state public accommodations laws. The ruling was a major victory for CJRC, which helped advocate for it.

Credit: Rex Wholster

More Clinic Updates

clinic update, Fall-2022

Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment Update

The Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment (GLA) provides a clinical experience for JD students interested in environmental and/or animal law and a specialized clinic for the Center for Animal Law Studies international LLM students interested in wildlife issues. Students worked on these issues and more:
clinic update, Fall-2022

Small Business Legal Clinic Update

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) served 415 clients, with 60 percent BIPOC-owned businesses and 57 percent women-owned businesses this past year. This was a new record and the first time the clinic served more than 400 clients in a year!
clinic update, Fall-2022

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Updates

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides free need-based legal representation in federal tax matters, specializing in client controversies with the IRS.
clinic update, Fall-2022

Green Energy Institute Updates

The Green Energy Institute (GEI) develops smart and comprehensive legal and policy strategies to address climate change and support a swift and equitable transition to a sustainable, carbon-free energy grid.
clinic update, earthrise, Fall-2022

Earthrise Updates

Earthrise is an environmental and natural resources litigation clinic serving nonprofit conservation organizations