Opioid crisis, cybersecurity, #MeToo on ABA agenda

Measures to address America’s opioid crisis as well as securing U.S. courts, business and elections from cyberattacks, and implications of the #MeToo movement are chief among criminal justice issues that will be explored at the 2017 American Bar Association annual meeting Aug. 2-7 in Chicago.

High-profile speakers at the meeting include Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of the U.S. Department of Justice; Tina Tchen, founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and President Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense and
Educational Fund; and Executive Director Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of “Just Mercy.”

In addition to the more than 1,000 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will meet to debate and vote upon various proposals.

Criminal justice programs include:

• “How Do I Get That Tweet Admitted? The Rules of Evidence in the Digital Age” — As courts struggle to apply traditional rules of evidence to rapidly developing technologies, such as social media, evidentiary experts will examine the challenges associated with the admission of digital evidence under current federal rules, measures that some courts have taken to meet those challenges and give advice on admitting and contesting digital evidence.

• “#MeToo, Time’s Up – Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” — A panel will examine the implications of the “MeToo” and “Time’s Up” movements on the entertainment industry, legal profession and corporate America. Topics will include how sexual harassment claims against high-profile executives are being handled, workplace measures that can protect victims and the reaction of the legal community to the new awareness of the problem, such as increased pro bono support, emerging law practice areas that address employer response to harassment and the federal judiciary’s evaluation of its code of conduct and procedures for investigating inappropriate behavior.

• “Cyberattacks and the Courts – What Attorneys Should Know to Protect Sensitive Client Information” — The underfunded computer networks of state and federal courts are under daily cyberattack. A panel will discuss the necessary overdue upgrades to these networks and the implications of regular breaches.

• “Cyber Court Review: Recent Decisions from Federal and State Courts Addressing Issues in Computer Crime, Security and eCommerce” — Legal tech experts will analyze recent court opinions related to developments in computer technology and the internet.

• “Investigations and Prosecutions Galore: The New Normal in Today’s Communities” — Law enforcement experts will lead a town hall discussion on the increasing nationwide prevalence of criminal investigations, which implicate all manner of public and private behavior – including police misconduct, sexual harassment and corporate misdeeds – and often result in criminal prosecution, civil enforcement actions and employee discipline.

• “Opioids in America: A Multi-Disciplinary Discussion on Cause, Effect & Solutions” — The abuse of opioids in America has reached epidemic proportions in the past few years. Leaders of the medical, dental and legal professions will explain the multidisciplinary approach necessary to tackle the opioid epidemic in our country.

• “The Future of Problem-Solving Courts: Where Do We Go from Here” — Experts will address the challenges facing problem-solving courts in the state and federal criminal justice system that have successfully addressed substance-use and mental health issues.  

• “Current Trends in White Collar Criminal Enforcement” — Members of the federal judiciary, Department of Justice and criminal defense bar share their perspectives and insights on current trends in white-collar criminal enforcement.

• “The Delicate Dance: Strategies for Handling Cases Involving Uncooperative Domestic Violence Victims” — Domestic violence experts will explain the various reasons victims may be reluctant to assist in the prosecution of their perpetrators and share strategies to make these survivors more comfortable with the adversarial process to reach the outcome of justice.

• “The Trump Administration and Diverse Committees: A Kaleidoscope of Controversies” — Panelists on both sides of the debate will critically analyze the impact the Trum administration is having on the country, most notably in the areas of criminal justice and human rights.

• “Annual Survey of Supreme Court Decisions – Criminal Cases” — A district court judge, federal prosecutor and defense attorney will discuss the criminal cases that came before the Supreme Court during the current term.

• “How Has the Trump Administration Affected Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?” — Experts will answer that question in light of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s October 2017 announcement of revisions to the Department of Justice’s corporate and executive prosecution policies.

• “Justice Hack: Reimagining the Relationship Between Law Enforcement & Communities” — A hackathon will bring together multidisciplinary teams of community, legal, law enforcement, criminal justice and technology stakeholders in a collaborative environment to develop technology-based solutions to address tension points between law enforcement and communities of color.

• “Cybersecurity Wake-Up Call: The Business You Save May Be Your Own” — Cybersecurity experts will discuss the growing problem of cyberattacks, where the cost to American businesses have reached the trillions.

• “Attacks on our Institutions of Democracy: The Role of the Judicial System” — As the United States confirms Russian interference in its recent
election, national security experts will share techniques Russia has used in Eastern and Central Europe and more recent cyber-enabled methods, as well as the framework that could counter this threat, as well as needed legislation to address foreign adversary interference.

• “International Human Rights: Law and Policy in the Trump Administration” — Panelists will discuss the legal issues relating to international human rights posed by the Trump administration, including those related to immigration, press freedoms, privacy, gender violence, torture, minority rights, refugees, travel bans, detainees and military affairs.

• “The Miranda Warnings Project: You Have the Right to Innovate” — Representatives from the Chicago-based ABA, Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design and New Orleans police department, will share their mobile tool prototype that provides pre-recorded Miranda Warning translations in Spanish and potentially other languages for police usage.

• Award Honoring Former U.S. Attorney General & NAACP Legal Defense Fund President’s Address — The Thurgood Marshall Award honors the late U.S. Supreme Court justice, who epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to the cause of civil rights in this country. This year’s honoree is former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.