NIU-local federal bar partner on prisoners’ rights
Northern Illinois University law students will have another opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience when they represent prisoners in federal court beginning this fall.
On Friday, June 29, the NIU College of Law and the P. Michael Mahoney (Rockford) Chapter of the Federal Bar Association announced their partnership and launch of a Prisoners’ Rights Program during a special ceremony at the Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse attended by Chief Judge Ruben Castillo and Magistrate Judge Iain Johnston from the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois.
“Today is a win-win situation,” commented Chief Judge Castillo. “It’s a win for the court. It’s a win for prisoners who are going to be bringing cases before the court. It’s a win for the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and it’s a win for the law school of Northern Illinois University because those law students are going to get a unique opportunity to represent clients.”
Associate Dean Marc Falkoff was instrumental in working out the intricate details to bring the program to fruition. “This will be an exciting and remarkable training opportunity for our students to learn about the federal trial process from start to finish,” said Falkoff.
Rockford native Alonte Holliday is one of six third-year law students who will participate in the inaugural program. He has already gained a lot of valuable experience during law school through coursework, trial advocacy competitions and from his involvement in the Criminal Defense Clinic. These experiences, along with his passion to be a public defender, led to his decision to apply for the program.
The Prisoners’ Rights Program will add to the list of experiential learning opportunities offered by the NIU College of Law for its students. The Civil Justice Clinic and Criminal Defense Clinic also located in Rockford, along with the Health Advocacy Clinic located in Aurora, are all a part of the law school’s history of public service and mission to provide hands-on experience for students to advocate on behalf of real clients.
City begins pilot board-up program
The City of Rockford recently started a pilot program aimed at making traditional boarded up houses less of an eyesore. The Decorative Board-Up concept uses protective materials, which have been painted by volunteers to mimic the appearance of an occupied property, to secure the house or building.
The first house using this technique was completed earlier this month at 724 Kilburn Avenue. The City teamed up with The Neighborhood Foundation, a non-profit organization that specializes in getting decorative board-up programs up and running in communities across the region.
The Decorative Board-Up Program is not a substitute for demolition. Houses and buildings that are selected are either not eligible for demolition or are eligible but not slated to be demolished soon.
The next project set to receive the new treatment is a large commercial structure at 1920 N. Main Street. While the City continues taking legal action against the owners of the property, Decorative Board-Up should reduce the visual blight on the community. Using this new concept and incorporating volunteers and community partners, the City is drastically reducing the cost of the traditional plywood board up.
Here’s the timeline of events and how citizens can help:
- Aug. 1 – community organizations and volunteers will work to clean up the area around the site
- Aug. 4 – the City will host an all-day event at the site as volunteers work to paint the material that will be placed over the windows
- Aug. 5-15 – volunteers will continue working on the site with our partner Neighborhood Foundation finalizing the installation of the boards
- For more information contact Cyndie Hall, Executive Director of Neighborhood Network, at 779-348-7571 or email@example.com.
–Winnebago County News Briefs–