Pre-Law Society & Criminal Justice League Present Kids or Criminals?

In the second installment of an academic year-long series entitled “Kids or Criminals?”, in February, the Pre-Law Society & the Criminal Justice League brought two district judges and two defense attorneys together to discuss the current state of youth incarceration in our nation.  What came out of the event were heart-felt and touching stories grounded with the realism that can only come from working within the problem for decades.  Students and community members listened as the participants spoke of tragedy and systemic failings that continue to disenfranchise struggling youth to this day.  One of the key points that was hit upon was how the term “juvenile” is only used when referring to animals or youth in the criminal justice system.  In an effort to take action and shift the narrative, all of the participants moved away from that language for the remainder of the event.  The decision had a noticeable effect on the audience; there was an element of power in seeing people in positions of community power like judges be willing to be an immediate part of the change.

As a final thought, here are some of the words of power captured by audience members:

“We don’t recognize the cry for help.” -Karl Williams, District Court Judge

“There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. There is just ‘us’…” -Lizanne Padula, District Court Judge

“Internal healing and change, and systemic reform are not mutually exclusive. That’s where we can all come together.” -Christopher Poulos, Defense Attorney

“Everyone has something to offer” -James Curtis, Defense Attorney

Keep an eye out for the culminating “Kids or Criminals” event due to take this quarter. The final event seeks to draw together adults who were incarcerated as children and the lawmakers who continue to construct and continue the system.

UWT Hosts First Debate

Thursday evening, March 14th, students in Ben Meiches’s TPOLS 275 Urban Debate class hosted members of PLU’s debate club.  The result?  A rousing debate over a proposal to increase the salaries of public school teachers by 50 percent.

This event marked the first time UWT students have participated in intercollegiate debating.  But not the last!  This class, taught for the first time this winter, demonstrates students’ interest in learning to be better public speakers.  Prof. Meiches is now working on establishing a UWT Debate Team.  Next spring, interested students will be meeting during the Wednesday lunch hour to help launch further debating opportunities.  For more information, contact Ben Meiches at bmeiches@uw.edu.

 

Free LSAT Courses at UWT!

Please join us for free LSAT prep workshops this fall! You do not need to buy materials, but should bring a laptop to the sessions. This event is open to all UWT students!

Register through the UWT Events Calendar links below for the days you plan to attend.
 
Sat Oct 13th 9am-Noon JOY 215 – Reading Comprehension
Sat Oct 27th 9am-Noon JOY 117 – Logical Reasoning
 
Sat Nov 10th 9am-Noon Joy 117 – Logic Games

Funding Public Defenders: An Unfunded Mandate? Event Recap

L to R: Senator Steve O’Ban, Kanani Palafox, Mary Kay High, Chancellor Mark Pagano, Dawn Farina, Councilman Derek Young, Judge Elizabeth Martin.

On Thursday, April 26, 2018, PPPA hosted a panel discussion to address the funding of public defense in Washington State.

How is public defense an unfunded mandate?
This year was the 55th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, which extended the constitutional right of indigent defense (attorneys for criminal defendants unable to afford their own representation) to criminal trials at the state level. By extending this provision to state court trials, the decision required that states themselves fund public defenders. This is called an unfunded mandate, meaning the federal government has required state or local governments to provide a service, but has not also provided the money for them to do so.

In Washington State, the legislature funds just 4% of this mandatory public defense, leaving counties to incorporate the remaining 96% of the cost of public defense into their own budgets, regardless of their ability to do so. This puts public defense in jeopardy, and it also affects other vital county-level services, since there is less money left to go around. Continue reading

Upcoming Panel at UWT on State Funding of Public Defenders

UW Tacoma’s PPPA Division is hosting a panel discussion this month on Washington State’s funding of public defenders in the criminal justice system. The 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as the Supreme Court’s Gideon v. Wainwright decision, establish a right to legal representation for criminal defendants; however, according to a recent op-ed by Pierce County Councilman Derek Young, the Washington State Legislature funds just 4% of this public defense. Knowledgeable representatives from both local government and the criminal justice system will convene at UWT on April 26th to discuss.  Continue reading

Alum Lester Burkes Moderates City Club Event

On Nov 1st, Lester Burkes (PPE, ’14) moderated a forum on Community Policing sponsored by City Club of Tacoma.  Community Policing brings police and citizens together to prevent crime and solves neighborhood problems. Panelists included Sue Rahr (former King County Sheriff), Rev. Gregory Christopher (Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and current President of the Tacoma branch of the NAACP), Don Ramsdell (Tacoma Chief of Police), and Marcus Rogers (Project Peace Executive Board and Tacoma Police Representative).

Sue Rahr (left), Don Ramsdell (c) and Lester Burkes (r).

Continue reading

Understanding Ethnic Conflict at Home and Abroad

“Understanding Ethnic Conflict at Home and Abroad,” is the topic of our Fall Quarter Global Classroom. Jointly hosted by UW Tacoma’s Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), the SIAS Division of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs (PPPA) and the World Affairs Council Tacoma, Global Classroom is an interactive speaker series on global issues that matter. The flyer is attached, please join us!

The event is free and open to the public. We strongly encourage registration as Global Classroom typically fills quickly:  http://wactacoma.com/event-2719179/Registration