Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Hearing on "Justice for All: Convicting the Guilty and Exonerating the Innocent"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding today's hearing.  The debate surrounding crime and punishment has been around long before the United States.  When our Founding Fathers drafted and ratified the Constitution and the Bill of Rights 225 years ago, at the forefront of their minds was ensuring the protection of individual liberty from the power of the government.  However, the Founders did recognize that at times there are citizens that break the social contract of our civil society and need to be punished, provided they are afforded due process.  While not strictly defining what due process was required, the Constitution and years of court cases have outlined that process which has worked to ensure a baseline set of standards at both the state and federal level for criminal prosecutions.

Over time, these baseline procedures have been supplemented with statutory law, model rules, court rules, and standards of professional responsibility that are designed to ensure the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice.  Unfortunately, despite the adherence to the Constitution, laws, regulations, rules, and procedures, there is the possibility that an innocent person could be afforded all this due process yet still be convicted.  Mr. Haynesworth is here today after spending 27 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.  In December he was declared an innocent man by the Virginia Court of Appeals.  His case presents us with a personal example of why we must continue to ask questions about the criminal justice system and not become complacent.

Cases like Mr. Hayensworth's make us realize that no system involving humans is perfect.  This is a sad, unfortunate and emotional reality that we must recognize.  However, we must also examine the issue in an informed way that doesn't threaten to destabilize the entire criminal justice system.

Chief among the issues to discuss today is the question of how many innocent men and women may have been convicted over the years and how do we effectively review those cases, correct injustices, and apply what we learn so those injustices are not repeated.  This is not an easy task.  So, the question becomes - how do we determine which cases should be reviewed and how do we allocate the limited resources of the government to review these cases?

It is important to note that there is a real discrepancy in the number of individuals in prison who are actually innocent.  For example, some argue that cases where truly innocent individuals were exonerated are just the tip of the iceberg.  However, others argue that the number of true exonerations is small because many of the statistics on exonerations include cases where convictions were overturned on procedural grounds, even though the individual was not found factually innocent.  Furthermore, they argue that the number of exonerations is going down each year as technological advances, such as DNA testing, eliminate many wrongful convictions from even occurring because DNA testing is being routinely used to prove factual innocence earlier in the investigative process.  Getting a better understanding of how many cases are out there will not only inform us about whether reforms are needed, but also what types of reforms would provide the best help.

Further, we need to be cognizant of the fact that in addition to the federal criminal justice system, there are fifty different state justice systems each with their own constitutions, laws, rules, regulations, and procedures.  As Justice Jackson, who was then-Attorney General Jackson, said in his famous speech The Federal Prosecutor, "[O]utside of federal law each locality has the right under our system of government to fix its own standards of law enforcement and morals."  This statement is particularly important today given the current fiscal situation the federal government faces.  We do not have the resources at the federal level to provide funding to states to review every single criminal case after each case has exhausted all appellate remedies.  Nor, should we interfere in the day-to-day intricacies of state criminal justice systems.

As written testimony submitted by Judge Hervey points out, the state of Texas, via the Court of Criminal Appeals has established the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit to review their criminal justice system and propose reforms where needed.  As states are already undertaking this effort on their own, our role in Congress should be to examine the federal criminal justice system and not to reform every state system.  We should not go down a path of attempting to correct problems in state criminal justice systems.  Instead, as the recent report on prosecutorial misconduct in the Ted Stevens case points out, we should expend our limited resources ensuring that the federal criminal justice system works as it should.

That said, we have a panel of witnesses here today to discuss this important topic and I look forward to their testimony.  Thank you.


Friday, March 16, 2012


Senator Chuck Grassley today released the following comment after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts informed him that video coverage will not be allowed of the landmark health care case that will be heard before the Supreme Court next week.  The Chief Justice said the court will provide audio recordings and written transcripts of the oral arguments each afternoon of the proceedings.


In a letter sent in November to the Chief Justice, Grassley had recommended that audio and video coverage of the arguments be allowed.  Grassley argued that the law was so massive in size and scope and had an effect on every American. He is the author of legislation that would allow cameras in federal courts, and is the lead cosponsor of legislation to allow cameras in the Supreme Court.  The press release and letter from November can be found after Grassley's quote below.


"Every American should have the opportunity to see and hear this landmark case as it plays out, not just the select few allowed in the courtroom.  The health care reform law has ramifications for the entire country.  Video coverage would help with the public's understanding of not only the controversial new law, but also the American judicial system.  It's disappointing that the Chief Justice isn't allowing video coverage of the case, but I appreciate his willingness to provide expedited release of the audio and transcripts to the American people."


Here is the press release and letter after Grassley asked Roberts to allow for audio and video coverage of the proceedings.


For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Grassley Requests Audio, Video Coverage of Landmark Health Care Case in Supreme Court


WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley has asked Chief Justice John Roberts to provide audio and video coverage of the landmark Supreme Court proceedings of the federal health care reform law.  Grassley is the author of legislation that would allow cameras in federal courts.  The bipartisan legislation has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.


"Cameras in federal courtrooms are at the very heart of an open and transparent government.  Broadcasting the health care reform law proceedings would not only contribute to the public's understanding of America's judicial system, but provide an excellent educational opportunity on a case that has the potential to have a far reaching impact on every American," Grassley said.  "This law is massive in size and scope.  Its effect is reverberating throughout America's economy.  The constitutional questions are landmark.  The public has a right to hear and see the legal arguments."


Grassley first introduced the Cameras in the Courtroom legislation in 1999.  Since then, the Chief Justice has immediately released audio of oral arguments of compelling cases.  The first release came when, at the request of Grassley and others, then Chief Justice William Rehnquist allowed for the release of audio immediately following oral arguments in the Florida election matter in 2000.  Since then, Chief Justice John Roberts has released audio recordings the same day of the oral arguments for more than 20 cases, including Grutter v. Bollinger, D.C. v. Heller, the Guantanamo Cases and the Citizens United Case.


Here is a copy of the text of Grassley's letter.  A copy of the signed letter can be found here.


November 15, 2011


The Chief Justice

The Supreme Court of the United States

Washington, DC 20543


Dear Chief Justice Roberts:


I am writing to request that the Supreme Court exercise its discretion to permit television coverage of Supreme Court proceedings when the Court hears arguments in the case of the federal health care reform law.  It is my understanding oral arguments will take place in March of next year.

The decision in this case has the potential to reach every American.  The law is massive in size and scope.  The effect of the law, and the Court's decision, will reverberate throughout the American economy.


The constitutional questions presented in the case are momentous. The public has a right to witness the legal arguments likely to be presented in the case: (1) the constitutionality of the individual mandate; (2) the severability of the individual mandate and whether or not the remainder of the law is valid without the mandate; and (3) the authority of Congress to impose mandatory Medicaid coverage thresholds on states.  Given the nature of the topic, everyone in the country would benefit from following the proceedings in this landmark case.


Modern technology makes televising the proceedings before the Court simple and unobtrusive.  A minimal number of cameras in the courtroom, which could be placed to be barely noticeable to all participants, would provide live coverage of what may be one of the most historic and important arguments of our time.  Letting the world watch would bolster public confidence in our judicial system and in the decisions of the Court.


Providing live audio and video coverage of the oral arguments will be of great benefit to the Court and to the public.  Letting the world watch these historic and important proceedings will bolster confidence in our judicial system and the decisions of the Court.



Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator






cc:        The Honorable Antonin Scalia

The Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy

The Honorable Clarence Thomas

The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer

The Honorable Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr.

The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor

The Honorable Elena Kagan

Des Moines, March 14, 2012 – Today, the task force established to propose reforms to Iowa's civil justice system released its final report, which is posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website. The Iowa Civil Justice Reform Task Force studied and considered court innovations to make Iowa's civil justice system faster, less complicated, more affordable, and better equipped to handle the demands of Iowa litigants and users of the civil justice system.


In December 2009 the Iowa Supreme Court appointed a 14-member steering committee to oversee the work of the task force. In August 2010, seventy-one additional justice system stakeholders from across Iowa joined the task force. The membership represented business, labor, medicine, industry, consumer groups, the bench and the bar. For more than a year, the task force studied innovative litigation procedures and programs that work well in other parts of the country.


"A dedicated group of 84 volunteers representing all shareholders in our court system engaged in a comprehensive assessment of the Iowa civil justice system, including a broad survey of all Iowa lawyers and judges, to identify new court processes and improvements in current practices that will promote efficiencies and reduce the often substantial costs of non-domestic civil cases," said Iowa Supreme Court Justice Daryl Hecht, the chair of the task force.


The task force has submitted its report to the Iowa Supreme Court, which will review the recommendations and findings contained in the report and consider implementation of cost-effective and promising reforms that will match the needs of Iowans.


The report is on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at:



# # #


Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

Remarks on District Court Cloture Petitions

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Mr. President, I rise to speak regarding judicial nominations, and to respond to some of the claims made by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.


If you listened to some of our colleagues over the last couple of days, you would think the sky is falling.  They act as if the Senate is treating President Obama's judicial nominees differently than nominees have been treated in the past.


That is simply not true.


A fair and impartial look at the numbers tells a far different story.  The fact of the matter is that President Obama's nominees are being treated just as well, and in many cases, much more fairly than the Democrats treated President Bush's nominees.  I want to take just a couple minutes to set the record straight.


Let me start by taking a brief look at the 17 cloture motions the Majority has filed.  Seven of those nominees were reported out of the Judiciary Committee within the last month, and three of them were reported last week.


That is without precedent.  To our knowledge, the Majority has never filed cloture on district court nominees within a month of them being reported out of the Judiciary Committee.  That accounts for seven of the 17.


What about the other 10?  Well, what our colleagues fail to mention is that they could have gotten a majority of those nominees confirmed at the end of last Session.  Our side cleared quite few nominees, and we offered to confirm them as a package at the end of last Session.  However, the President refused to offer assurances that he would not bypass the Senate and make so-called recess appointments.


In other words, it was the President who chose not to confirm those nominees at the end of last Session.  If the President believes we should have confirmed more nominees last fall, he should look to his own Administration for an explanation.


That is the background on the 17 cloture motions before the Senate.


But let me comment on something that I read in one of our daily newspapers that covers the Congress.  A famous reporter said in the second paragraph of a report I read today that the Republicans are filibustering nominations. I told the writer of that article that you can't filibuster anything that's not before the United States Senate, and these nominees were not before the United States Senate until the leader of the majority filed these cloture motions.


So wouldn't you think, that if you believed you needed to stop debate, that you would at least let debate start in the first place?  But no.  The game that's played around here is that, in order to build up the numbers, so you can claim that the minority is filibustering, when the minority is not actually filibustering.


But, let me take a step back and address some of the claims I have heard from the other side.  I cannot believe some of the comments I am hearing, so I believe it is important to set the record straight.


First of all, everyone around here understands that it takes a tremendous amount of time and resources for the Senate to consider Supreme Court nominees.  For that reason, when a Supreme Court nomination is pending before the Senate, the Judiciary Committee considers little else.


During President Obama's first three years in office, the Senate considered not one, BUT TWO nominations to the Supreme Court.  Those nominations occupied the Judiciary Committee for approximately six months.


The last time the Senate handled two Supreme Court nominations was during President George W. Bush's second term.  During President Bush's entire second term, we confirmed only 120 lower court nominees.  Under President Obama, we have already confirmed 129 lower court  nominees.


Let me repeat that.  We have confirmed 129 of President Obama's judicial nominees in just over three years.  That is more than were confirmed under George W. Bush's entire second term.


And again, the comparison between President Obama's first three years to President George W. Bush's second term is the appropriate comparison.


These were the only two time periods in recent memory when the Senate handled two Supreme Court nominations during such a short time period.


But, even if you compare the number of President Obama's nominees confirmed to President Bush's first term, it is clear that President Obama has fared very well.


More specifically, even though the Senate did not consider any Supreme Court nominations during President Bush's first term, we have confirmed approximately the same number of President Obama's lower court nominees as we did President Bush's, relative to the nominations President Obama has made.


In other words, although fewer lower court nominees have been confirmed under President Obama, the President made approximately 20 percent fewer judicial nominations during his first 3 years than President Bush did in his first term.


As a practical matter, if the President believes he hasn't gotten enough confirmations, then he should look no further than the pace at which he has made nominations.


Maybe he should've spent less time on the 100 or so fundraisers he's been holding all over the country recently, and more time on making judicial nominations.


The fact of the matter is this: IF a backlog exists, then it is clear that it originates with the President.


If you need even more evidence that the President has been slow to send judicial nominees to the Senate, all you need to do is examine the current vacancies.  My colleagues have been on the Senate floor talking about the so-called "vacancy crisis."


But, what my colleagues fail to mention is that the White House has not even made nominations for over half of the current vacancies.


Let me repeat that:  Of the 83 current vacancies, the White House has not submitted nominations for 44 of them.


As a result, it is clear that IF there is a "vacancy crisis," once again the problem rests with the White House.  If the President believes there are too many vacancies in the federal courts, he should look no further than his own Administration for an explanation.


Now, what about the other side's claim that nominees are waiting longer to get confirmed than they have in the past?


Once again, this is just not true.


The average time from nomination to confirmation of judges during the Obama Administration is nearly identical to what it was under President Bush.  During President Bush's Presidency, it took on average, approximately 211 days for judicial nominees to be confirmed.


During the first three years of President Obama's Presidency, it has taken 218 days for his judicial nominees to be confirmed.


I'm sure this will be news to many of my colleagues.  If you have listened to the other side, you would think we have somehow broken new ground.  We haven't.  We are treating President Obama's nominees virtually the same as President Bush's.


It's not our primary concern to worry about whether one President is being treated differently than the other. We just proceed with our work.  But the numbers you see here is a result of our work.  The fact of the matter is that the numbers aren't much different than other presidents.  To suggest we are treating President Obama's nominees a whole lot differently is intellectually dishonest.


The fact of the matter is that the Senate has been working its will, and regularly processing the President's judicial nominees in much the same way it has in the past.


Given that the President's nominees have received such fair treatment, why would the Majority Leader choose to take the unprecedented step of filing 17 cloture petitions on district court nominees?


Why would the Majority Leader choose to manufacture controversy where none exists?


The answer is simple.  These votes are nothing short of a stunt.  They are a smokescreen.


They are designed to accomplish two goals: First, as even Democrats concede, the President cannot run for re-election on his own record, so these votes are designed to help the President's re-election strategy by somehow portraying Republicans as "obstructionist."


Second, the other side simply does not want to talk about the extremely important and very real problems facing this nation.


Look at any poll. Go to any town meeting.  People in this country and my state of Iowa are concerned about the economy and jobs. With 8.3 percent unemployment, they are right to expect us to work on jobs.
A small business tax bill passed the other body.  Why aren't taking that up?  It's ready and would likely pass the Senate without much dissent.
Why aren't we taking up a budget this year?
It's been four years since the Senate has passed a budget. This is budget week.  Instead of talking about a budget, we're spending time talking about judicial nominees who aren't going to be filibustered.   We ought to be considering a budget. 
But the Majority refused to produce a budget.  It's been more than 1,040 days.


The American people are sitting at home and watching this debate.  They want to know how we are going to get the unemployment rate down.


They are not concerned about whether the Senate will confirm one of the President's district court nominees this week, rather than next.


They want to know what we are doing to help their father, or mother, or brother or sister get back into the workforce.


Given that millions of Americans remain out of work, why aren't we considering and debating the JOBS bill the House just passed?


Why aren't we tackling the Energy crisis?

With $4 gas in this country, we ought to be talking about drilling here, drilling now.  We ought to be talking about building a pipeline.  We ought to be talking about how we can stop sending
 $833 million every day overseas to buy oil. We ought to be talking about extending the energy tax extenders that sunset as of December 23.


Unlike the so-called "vacancy crisis," the energy crisis is not manufactured.  It is real.  The rising cost of gasoline matters to millions and millions of Americans.


If they are fortunate enough to have a job in this economy, millions of Americans are trying to figure out how they will afford to get to work with the rising cost of gasoline.


Rather than spend time working on Energy crisis, which is all too real for millions of Americans, we are spending time on this manufactured controversy.


And what's even worse, this is the week we're supposed to be debating a Budget.  But, you'd need a high powered microscope to find any budget that the Majority has put together.  The Majority has failed to produce a budget, so they manufacture a so-called "crisis" on nominations to throw up a smokescreen to hide their failure.


Mr. President, I will have more to say about this as we move forward with this debate.  But for now I will conclude by saying this.


A fair and impartial examination of how the Senate has treated President Obama's nominees reveals that, contrary to what you'll hear from the other side, the President's nominees are being treated more than fair.


Rather than waste time on a so-called "crisis" that everyone realizes is entirely manufactured, we should be focusing on those issues that matter deeply to the American people: jobs, the economy, and tackling our energy crisis.


I urge my colleagues to reject these cloture petitions so that we can get back to the business of the American people.


I yield the floor.



In case you missed it...


This refers to Rep. Braley's bipartisan Holley Lynn James Act, which he introduced last year, named for a Dubuque woman who was killed by her husband while both were in the military:


A bill from Representative Bruce Braley, Democrat of Iowa, would strengthen military penalties for rape, sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence and end the practice of giving convicted attackers nonjudicial or administrative punishment. It would ensure that allegations of rape and assault are referred to higher-ranking officers to address concerns that lower-level ones are too close to the accused and the victims. It would also allow service members to seek redress in federal court for the military's failure to investigate or prosecute a sexual crime.



Editorial: Sexual Violence and the Military

The New York Times

March 8, 2012

The rate of sexual assaults on American women serving in the military remains intolerably high. While an estimated 17 percent of women in the general population become victims at some point in their lives, a 2006 study of female veterans financed by the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that between 23 percent and 33 percent of uniformed women had been assaulted. Those estimates are borne out in other surveys, and a recent Pentagon report on sexual assaults at the service academies found that in the 2010-11 academic year, cadets and midshipmen were involved in 65 reported assaults.

Too often victims are afraid to come forward. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta estimated that the number of attacks in 2011 by service members on other service members ? both women and men ? was close to 19,000, more than six times the number of reported attacks.

The problem has outlasted decades of Pentagon studies and task forces and repeated vows of "zero tolerance." Mr. Panetta has promised that this time will be different. In February, he told Congress, "We have got to get our command structure to be a lot more sensitive about these issues, to recognize sexual assault when it takes place and to act on it, not to simply ignore it."

Mr. Panetta has announced welcome reforms, including more money for training military investigators and judge advocates to prosecute sexual assault cases, more opportunity for victims to report crimes and request transfers and a system to collect and monitor assault cases. The director of the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, or Sapro, Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog of the Air Force, has pledged to enact the reforms and provide more outreach and support for victims.

There is a lot of tough work ahead. A continuing poster campaign by Sapro, which had started before General Hertog took over, is disturbingly clueless. It carries the tag line, "Ask Her When She's Sober," as if predation could be combated through a grotesque parody of an etiquette poster.

The Defense Department's record of prosecuting assault cases is dismal. In 2010, fewer than 21 percent of cases went to trial, for a number of reasons, including decisions by commanding officers not to prosecute or to impose nonjudicial or administrative punishments. About 6 percent of the accused were discharged or allowed to "resign in lieu of court-martial" ? quit their jobs. Only about half the cases prosecuted resulted in convictions.

There are also serious problems in the civilian world. It is even harder for military women to get away from abusers they work with or for; they can't just quit their jobs or leave a combat zone. They must rely on commanding officers who act as investigators, judges and juries, in an extremely tight-knit workplace.

Members of Congress of both parties are trying to address these problems.

A bill from Representative Bruce Braley, Democrat of Iowa, would strengthen military penalties for rape, sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence and end the practice of giving convicted attackers nonjudicial or administrative punishment. It would ensure that allegations of rape and assault are referred to higher-ranking officers to address concerns that lower-level ones are too close to the accused and the victims. It would also allow service members to seek redress in federal court for the military's failure to investigate or prosecute a sexual crime.

The Pentagon insists that it can reform itself, and we are aware of the perils of civilian intrusion into the military justice system. But for "zero tolerance" to become a reality, Congress may have to push reform forward.
Iowa Supreme Court Opinions

March 9, 2012

Notice: The opinions posted on this site are slip opinions only. Under the Rules of Appellate Procedure a party has a limited number of days to request a rehearing after the filing of an opinion. Also, all slip opinions are subject to modification or correction by the court. Therefore, opinions on this site are not to be considered the final decisions of the court. The official published opinions of the Iowa Supreme Court are those published in the North Western Reporter published by West Group.

Opinions released before April 2006 and available in the archives are posted in Word format. Opinions released after April 2006 are posted to the website in PDF (Portable Document Format).   Note: To open a PDF you must have the free Acrobat Reader installed. PDF format preserves the original appearance of a document without requiring you to possess the software that created that document. For more information about PDF read: Using the Adobe Reader.

For your convenience, the Judicial Branch offers a free e-mail notification service for Supreme Court opinions, Court of Appeals opinions, press releases and orders. To subscribe, click here.

NOTE: Copies of these opinions may be obtained from the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319, for a fee of fifty cents per page.

No. 09-0141


No. 10-0971


No. 11-0488

WASHINGTON - A Senate Foster Youth Caucus speakers' series started by Senators Chuck Grassley and Mary Landrieu continues tomorrow morning with a discussion on the sexual trafficking of girls in the foster care system.


Landrieu and Grassley will host the March 8 event, and panelists will include survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse, a placement service specialist, a legal advocate for foster youth, a prevention specialist, and a child and family services agency leader.


The event is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. (ET) in SVC-209 of the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center.


The senators created the Caucus to educate policy makers about issues facing older children in the foster care system and in the early years after those young people age out of the system.  The Caucus is committed to providing a platform for those who grew up in the foster care system to describe their experiences, identify problems and suggest solutions.


Here is more information about the panel speakers.


Tanee Hobson is a Survivor Mentor and Group Facilitator with My Life My Choice.  A survivor of sexual exploitation who had been in Massachusetts Department of Children and Families custody since the age of two, Hobson is a former client of My Life My Choice who uses her life experience to help reach other exploited and high risk girls.  Hobson is a frequent presenter at public speaking events, and has represented My Life My Choice in panels at the Germaine Lawrence School and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's hearing for human trafficking legislation.  Currently studying Human Services at Northern Essex Community College, Hobson plans to continue working with exploited girls in the future and become a national leader in the movement to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Withlema "T" Ortiz is a survivor leader and advocate.  She entered the foster care system as an infant and endured more than 14 different placements while in foster care.  During those years, Ortiz also survived being subject to commercial sexual exploitation.  Ortiz now uses her lived experiences to teach, lead, and educate on needed reforms to the child welfare, juvenile justice and mental health systems.  Ortiz has lectured at Alameda County and Georgetown Law.  She has testified before members of Congress and shared her story on a national level as one of Glamour magazine's 2011 Women of the Year.  Ortiz currently serves on Casey's National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council and is a Young Woman Leader with the Human Rights Project for Girls.  She is also a mentor to other girls who have been similarly forced into the modern day form of slavery.

Michelle Guymon is currently the Director of Placement Administrative Services with Los Angeles County Probation Department.  Guymon graduated from California State University, San Bernardino where she received her master's degree in social work.  Various positions and/or assignments throughout Guymon's tenure include Deputy Probation Officer Treatment and Counselor at Dorothy Kirby Center, Mental Health Consultant for Probation, and Director of Camp Kenyon Scudder, an all-female probation camp, which serves about 300 girls a year.  Guymon is a frequent presenter and trainer regarding child abuse issues and strategies for working with youth in the probation system.  She is an advocate for children at risk and is currently a member of the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Committee, as well as a Probation Department representative with the Innocence Lost Los Angeles Task Force.  Most recently, Guymon has been designated as the Project Manager for the newly created Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking program within the Los Angeles County Probation Department.


Teresa Lowry has worked for more than 25 years on behalf of abused, neglected, and vulnerable children.  She began her career investigating the physical and sexual abuse of children for the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.  After graduating law school she maintained her focus on ensuring justice for children and joined the Special Victims Unit in the Criminal Prosecution Division of the Clark County District Attorney's Office.  There she secured convictions for murder, sexual assault, child abuse, pandering, kidnapping, use of a minor in the production of pornography, and statutory sexual seduction.  She then was promoted to Chief of the Juvenile Division where she worked collaboratively with the juvenile court judge, probation and the public defender's office to create a specialized court responding to sexually exploited girls victimized through human trafficking.  She is currently the Chair of the Policy Governing Board of the Children's Advocacy Center which oversees the multidisciplinary protocols to respond to sexual abuse.  Five years ago, in order to respond to the need for a new way to treat child victims of human trafficking, she and other juvenile justice partners and university researchers established the nonprofit Protecting Sexually Exploited Children-Nevada, PSEC-NV.  The mission is to create programs and services for high risk youth as well as a safe house for sexually exploited teens.  As the current administrator over the Family Support Division, Lowry acts as sponsor for employment opportunities and mentor for former foster youth.


Lisa Goldblatt Grace is the Co-founder and Director of My Life My Choice.  Since 2002, My Life My Choice has offered the only comprehensive prevention curriculum aimed at reaching girls most vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. Further, My Life My Choice offers a unique continuum of services including prevention groups, training, survivor mentoring, and program consultation.  Goldblatt Grace has been working with vulnerable young people in a variety of capacities for more than 20 years.  Her professional experience includes running a long-term shelter for homeless teen parents, developing a diversion program for violent youth offenders, and working in outpatient mental health, health promotion, and residential treatment settings.  Goldblatt Grace has served as a consultant to the Massachusetts Administrative Office of the Trial Court's "Redesigning the Court's Response to Prostitution" project and as a primary researcher on the 2007 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study of programs serving human trafficking victims.  In addition, Goldblatt Grace has written in a variety of publications regarding commercial sexual exploitation and offered training on the subject nationally. She is an Adjunct Faculty member at the Boston University School of Social Work and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, and she holds masters degrees in both social work and public health.


Joyce Capelle has been the Chief Executive Officer of Crittenton Services of Children and Families in Southern California since 1998.  Prior to joining the agency in 1997, she worked as an administrator in public education and in hospital management for a total of more than 35 years in the human services field.  She holds a Master's degree in Public Administration with a Public Policy focus from California State University, Long Beach and a Juris Doctorate degree from Pacific West College of Law.  She has also served on a number of local, state and national committees on child and family welfare issues. Capelle currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California Alliance for Child and Family Services.



March 5, 2012

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and Rock Island County Circuit Clerk Lisa Bierman announced Monday that Rock Island County joins three other Illinois counties in a pilot project to allow e-filing of an electronic trial record on appeal.

The Illinois Supreme Court Order authorized the Illinois Appellate Court in the Third Judicial District to begin a pilot project that will allow attorneys, parties and appellate justices to view, access and work from the official record of cases on appeal from Rock Island County.

Circuit Clerk Bierman said that utilizing the electronic transfer of record in Rock Island County will assist greatly in streamlining the workload in the clerk's office.

"I am very excited as we begin this project together with the Third District Appellate Court," Ms. Bierman said. "Being accepted as a part of this project for electronic transmission of appeals is going to be a way for the Rock Island County Circuit Clerk's Office to save expenses, improve our time worked on appeals and introduce more technology into our office.

"We have always worked together with our Appellate Court and will continue to do so. I thank the Supreme Court Justices for giving us this opportunity."

Rock Island joins Adams County in the Fourth Judicial District along with DuPage and Ogle Counties in the Second Judicial District to electronically transfer and make electronically accessible the official court record of cases on appeal.

In addition, the Court announced earlier this year a pilot project for the electronic filing of motions, briefs and related documents with the Illinois Supreme Court Clerk's office. That project involves the Illinois Attorney General, the State Appellate Defender's Office and the Office of the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor.

Chief Justice Kilbride has said making the records on appeal available electronically will bring the courts closer to eventually making e-business universal throughout the Illinois court system. Since he became Chief Justice in October 2010, Justice Kilbride has pledged to move to make Illinois court operations more economical, more efficient and more user friendly by implementing improvements in technology.

"I am delighted that Rock Island County joins others in developing a process to make appeals more efficient and more e-friendly," Chief Justice Kilbride said. "I and my colleagues on the Supreme Court have been encouraging the use of e-business in all of our courts as much as is feasible. This is another step in that direction."

The pilot project is effective immediately in the Third District. It is a joint effort between the Appellate Court under Presiding Appellate Justice Daniel L. Schmidt, Clerk Gist Fleshman of the Third Judicial District, and Circuit Clerk Bierman.

Presiding Appellate Justice Schmidt praised the announcement as an improvement in how the record is obtained, utilized and transmitted. "Well, we're certainly excited about it here," Appellate Justice Schmidt said. "This project will make the record accessible by the touch of a key on the computer. It's an improvement that will make life easier for all involved. With records instantaneously accessible to judges and lawyers, it's going to help expedite the handling of cases on appeal."

"This is a win-win for everyone."

Appellate Justice Tom Lytton from Moline said the Court's announcement paves the way to increased efficiency in handling cases on appeal. "I think this is a wonderful idea that will make for much more efficient work in the Appellate Court," Appellate Justice Lytton said. "To have the record here with little delay will help to get cases ready earlier."

Mr. Fleshman believes e-filing will bring a savings of time and resources to users across the board. "Every single appellate justice gets to view the electronic copy, potentially simultaneously, while with the paper record only one appellate justice can review it at one time. As well, attorneys will not have to wait; they can immediately work on their briefs. Authorized parties will have access to the same record all of the time.

"This is going to be a huge improvement for us, the court, the practicing attorneys and for the public."

The pilot program allows attorneys, parties and appellate justices to electronically view, access and work from the official record of cases on appeal from Rock Island County. However, the paper record will continue to be available to parties who would rather use it.

The accessible electronic record will include transcripts of the trial and associated hearings, motions, other pleadings and documents. It will exclude exhibits: i.e. photos and physical evidence such as weapons, clothing and the like.

Currently, once a notice of appeal is filed, the official record of the case is physically transported to the attorney of record on one side of the case. When that attorney concludes the filing of the necessary motions and briefs, the record is then physically transported to the attorney on the other side of the case. If additional briefs are required, the record is transported back and forth between the attorneys. After the case is argued in the Appellate Court, the record resides with the appellate justice assigned to write the opinion.

The two other appellate justices hearing the case may request the record as well, but it must be physically transported from the justice in possession to the justice who requests possession.

The pilot projects make the physical transfer of the record unnecessary, and removes the cost of repeatedly transporting the record back and forth from the District clerk's office. They provide a stream of efficiency in preparing and working on appeals that benefit not only the lawyers and the court, but the clients being served and taxpayers who fund the courts.

Under the Third District pilot project, a paper record pursuant to Supreme Court rules will remain with the Clerk and be accessible from the Clerk, but a mirror record will be produced electronically with identical pagination.

Attorneys and pro-se litigants who file appearances in the case will receive a password providing access to the record, as well as the justices in the Third District.

Attorneys for the parties, approved court personnel and justices of the Third District will have the ability to search, bookmark and make notes on their individual copy of the electronic record. Any markings or notations made by a user on the electronic record are secure and are unique to that user's copy. No user will be able to view or access another user's copy. The Third District Clerk will retain an unmodified copy of the electronic record at all times.

The electronic record will be in a format that supports searchable text, both word and phrase. Once a mandate is issued in an appellate case from Rock Island County, access to the electronic record will be terminated.

March 2, 2012

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No. 09-1473


No. 10-2117


No. 11-1627


Washington, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concern about the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recent decision to put several deportation cases on hold in light of the administration's backdoor amnesty directives.  The letter urges both Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano to make clear to the Court that the administration will enforce immigration laws, including the deportation of removable illegal and criminal immigrants who lose their cases in the federal court of appeals.


Below are excerpts from the letter.


"The Ninth Circuit's decision to put several deportation cases on hold is an overreach of judicial authority and shows the inherent danger in this administration's backdoor amnesty policies.  Instead of deciding these cases under the law of the land, the Ninth Circuit has asked the Obama administration whether it intends to grant the illegal immigrants amnesty under the prosecutorial discretion initiative announced last year.


"The orders appear to be the court's attempt to suspend its everyday review of immigration cases due to the administration's plans to close tens of thousands of cases for the 300,000 aliens who are in removal proceedings.  The Ninth Circuit has acted beyond the bounds of its judicial role and is inserting itself into an area - prosecutorial discretion - reserved solely to the executive branch.


"In responding to the Ninth Circuit's question, the administration will be required to reveal whether it intends to manipulate our legal system and waste taxpayer dollars, as part of it efforts to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.  Your response to the Ninth Circuit's order must clearly and unequivocally indicate that the government will enforce the immigration laws, including promptly deporting all removable aliens who lose their cases in the federal courts of appeals.


"If the administration responds to the Ninth Circuit orders by indicating that the illegal and other removable aliens will be granted relief via amnesty, then it must explain to the American people what that answer means for the integrity of our legal system and why their tax dollars are being spent on prosecutions that the Obama administration has no intention of enforcing with deportation.


"We are seriously concerned that the Ninth Circuit's order ignores the rule of law and confounds constitutional principles, and we would like to know who how you plan to respond to the Court's actions."


To read the entire letter, please click here.