Municipal Court Project: Summer 2017
In Summer 2016, our pilot program (2 weeks of representing homeless clients in Boulder Municipal Court and often with other related legal issues) was a success, and in summer 2017 for five Mondays over five weeks, (July-August) J-SUP volunteer attorneys represent indigent clients in Municipal Court while the CU Law School’s Criminal Defense Clinic students are away. In response to a new piece of legislation, CU Law School is again working with Kevin Cheney and Tim Galluzzi and J-SUP to ensure that in custody indigent clients in Municipal Court have representation or at least immediate access to representation at their first court appearances. J-SUP is proud to have volunteer attorney Whitney Stark (Criminal Defense Attorney in Boulder ) act as point person for the majority of these appearances with last year’s volunteer mentor attorneys (Ben Collet, Luke McConnell, and Eric Zale) on-hand as needed. Representing individual clients in Municipal Court helps J-SUP to identify broader, systemic problems that effect significant numbers of homeless people for which a more global approach should be taken.
Boulder Municipal Court Pilot Project: May 2016-September 2016
In May 2016, J-SUP initiated its Municipal Court Project with the goal of representing homeless and near-homeless individuals accused of municipal court violations. In Boulder, CO, indigent clients accused of municipal court violations are represented by the Criminal Defense Clinic | Colorado Law | CU-Boulder. However, over the summers while law students are away, private attorneys have stepped in to assist Ann England, the Law School Clinic’s Director. In 2016, Kevin Cheney – Managing Partner- CGH Law Firm and Tim Galluzzi, Founding Partner – CGH Law Firm, represented clients, and J-SUP volunteer attorneys shadowed them in Municipal Court downtown and at the Boulder Jail before representing clients, both for first appearances and then with on-going matters. In addition, J-SUP identified seasoned attorneys, Ben Collet (Collett Law- Criminal Defense), Luke McConnell (Law Office of Luke McConnell, LLC), and Eric Zale – Moorhead Law Group, all former public defenders now in private practice, who agreed to serve as mentors and represent clients on an as needed basis while Cheney and Galluzzi were away for two weeks, June 21-July 6.
J-SUP achieved excellent dispositions for all its clients. All of its cases were either dismissed or dismissed conditioned upon fulfillment of specific actions by the defendants aimed at improving their ability to end their homelessness. Also, Municipal Court defense work served as a valuable entree into other homelessness issues, such as the special issues facing clients with disabilities, CU campus expulsions of homeless and near-homeless individuals without due process, and the need for Identification Cards (ID Cards) to obtain housing, health care services and other government benefits, including disability services.