Access to Justice Conference & CLE Detailed Agenda

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Access to Justice Conference & CLE Detailed Agenda

8:30 – 9:00 – Restorative Justice in the Schools: Justin Blietz, Associate Principal, McKinley Middle School, Cedar Rapids Community School District

What are restorative practices in a school setting? What are the benefits? How does it affect the school climate, the school culture, classrooms and/or student behavior?

This session will explore the impact of restorative practices in schools. The presentation will include research around the negative impacts of exclusionary discipline and ways restorative practices can support the development of community and social skills. Along with theory, participants will learn how these practices have been integrated at a local middle school and the corresponding impact.

BIO: Justin Blietz is a school administrator and national speaker in the area of trauma informed restorative practices. He has worked with schools, districts and organizations across the country to create equitable systems that address disproportionality and reduce the use of exclusionary discipline. Justin started his career as a teacher and instructional coach in Houston and Des Moines before eventually becoming an administrator. He is currently in his fourth year at McKinley STEAM Academy, where he has supported the implementation of SEL, Social and Emotional Learning, and restorative practices. Justin also serves as the state leader of SEL4IA, an organization committed to supporting districts in the implementation of evidence based SEL and restorative practices.

9:00 – 11:00 – Restorative Justice in Criminal and Juvenile Cases: Fred Van Liew, J.D., former Bureau Chief of Polk County Attorney’s Office. Consultant, trainer, author: The Justice Diary and A Third Half Journal.

The two hour presentation will provide a brief history of Restorative Justice, its basic principles, commonly used restorative practices, and the application of those practices within the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems. Attention will be given to system based initiatives, specifically the Polk County, Iowa model, as well as community based / grassroots programs. The use of restorative practices in other contexts will also be discussed, including their application within the workplace, churches, community organizations, and to address difficult issues and themes.

BIO:  Fred Van Liew, J.D. is a founder and the Restorative Practices Coordinator for the Portland Center for Restorative Justice and is engaged in private practice with Van Liew Mediation in Maine and Iowa. He is also a consultant with the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center serving as a mediator and peacemaking circle facilitator. His training beyond law school includes completion of graduate studies at Eastern Mennonite University in Conflict Transformation.
Fred has served as an Assistant Iowa Attorney General, Polk County Legal Aid attorney, and Clinical Instructor at the Drake University Law School. From 1991 – 2010 Fred served as a Bureau Chief with the Polk County Attorney’s Office where he initiated several Restorative Justice programs. Fred is the author of The Justice Diary and A Third Half Journal.

11:00-11:15 – BREAK

11:15 – 12:15 – Iowa Access To Justice Commission Report: Justice Brent Appel, Iowa Supreme Court

Justice Brent Appel, Ackworth, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2006.

BIO:  A Dubuque native, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Stanford University in California in 1973 and his J.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977.

Following graduation from law school, Justice Brent Appel served as a court law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1979, Justice Brent Appel was appointed Iowa First Assistant Attorney General, and in 1983 became Iowa Deputy Attorney General. While serving in the Iowa Attorney General’s office, Justice Brent Appel argued and briefed four cases before the United States Supreme Court, including the second “Christian burial” case, Nix V. Williams. In 1987 until 2006, Justice Brent Appel was engaged in private practice in central Iowa.

Justice Brent Appel has served as chair of the Iowa State Children’s Justice Council since 2010. He has also served as chair of the Iowa Supreme Court’s Task Force on the Rules of Evidence since 2015. In the summer of 2016, Justice Brent Appel was named by the Iowa Supreme Court to chair the newly formed Access to Justice Commission. Between 2010 and 2016, Justice Brent Appel was appointed by United States Chief Justice John Roberts to serve as a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence.

Justice Brent Appel is married and has five sons and a daughter. His current term expires December 31, 2024.

12:15 – 1:00 – LUNCH

1:00 – 2:00 – Identifying and Understanding Family Violence: Sgt. Scott Stevens, Iowa City Police Department. Includes the use of ODARA: Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment. Every entity in Johnson County that works with victims or offenders, including the defense bar, has been trained on ODARA and uses it.

  • Risk assessment (ODARA) ODARA: Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment. Every entity in Johnson County that works with victims or offenders, including the defense bar, has been trained on ODARA and uses it.
  • Lethality
  • Identifying the primary physical aggressor,
  • Strangulation
  • No-contact orders
  • Victim follows up
  • Barriers to victims leaving an abusive relationship (why victims stay)

BIO:  Sargent Scott Stevens has been a peace officer with the Iowa City Police Department since 2003 and is currently assigned to the Investigations Division. He earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a minor in counseling from the University of Iowa in 2002. From 2013 to 2018, Stg. Stevens served as Iowa City’s Domestic Violence Investigator where he worked on incidents of domestic abuse, harassment, stalking, and violations of protective orders. He teamed with Johnson County’s Domestic Abuse Prosecutor and the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) to bring ODARA training to Jonson County and implement the ODARA pilot program in the State of Iowa. Every entity in Johnson County that works with victims or offenders, including the defense bar, has been trained on ODARA and uses it.

2:00-2:45 – Implicit Bias in the Judicial System: 6JD Judge Kevin McKeever

BIO:  Judge McKeever, Iowa City, was appointed to the bench on September 30, 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 1991 and his law degree from the University of Iowa in 2001. Prior to being appointed to the bench, he was an Officer with the United States Navy (1991-1998), an Assistant Ramsey County Attorney (2001-2007), a Staff Attorney with ACT Inc. (2007-2011, and an Assistant Muscatine County Attorney (2011-September 2015). Judge McKeever serves as a board member of the African American Museum of Iowa, and he enjoys bicycle riding and reading books about history.

2:45 – 3:00 – BREAK

3:00 – 3:45 – Ensuring Access to Justice for Immigrant Survivors of Violent Crimes: Veronica Guevara, Director of Equity and Inclusion, and Isabel Martinez: Bilingual DOJ Representative. Both work at the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

This session will provide an overview of the barriers that immigrant survivors of violence face in seeking out and receiving services within the legal system, as well as solutions that institutions can implement to address those barriers and ensure that they are equipped to meet the needs of all survivors. It is important to assess what steps are needed to ensure meaningful and effective access for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) and for survivors of violence from diverse communities. Join us for a discussion on emerging strategies for ensuring survivors receive equitable service and have access to safety and justice. This session will cover access to justice and bias; cultural responsiveness, immigration issues, culturally specific needs and violence in its different forms and shapes and immigrant rights.

BIO:  Isabel Martinez Santos currently serves as the Department of Justice Certified Representative at the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV). She previously worked for ICADV 5 years 2005-2010 before rejoining the coalition in 2017. She has over 15 years of expertise in advocating for immigrant victims of violent crimes. Her passion began with her work at the grassroots level in 2001 when Latinas Unidas por Un Nuevo Amanecer (L.U.N.A) was being created. She is actively involved in social justice issues that affect the most vulnerable communities. She was instrumental in the creation of the women’s folkloric group, Nuestra Danza sin Fronteras, she currently volunteers at organizations such as American Friends Service Committee and CCI, agencies that promote justice and equality for members of the community. She graduated from Grandview University with a B.A in Human Services.

BIO:  Veronica Guevara joined ICADV in September 2015. As the Coalition’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, she brings more than eight years of experience as a community organizer to her role, and has worked on issues related to immigrant justice and human rights. She advocates for intersectional issues such as gender equity and racial and economic justice. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Latin American Studies and Human Rights from the University of Iowa. As Director of Equity and Inclusion, Veronica provides coordination and direction to training and technical assistance efforts related to racial equity and social justice. This work seeks to uplift and highlight models of innovative practices that address issues of access, quality of service and ease of navigation among others, that survivors with marginalized identities face; supports research, capacity building and systems change initiatives.

3:45 – 4:45 – The Other “E” in DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through an Ethics Lens:  University of Iowa Law School Professor Emily Hughes

In this hour we will strive to improve our ability to learn from and work with a wide variety of clients, lawyers, parties, and issues. We will examine ethical considerations underlying implicit biases, as well as strategies other states have developed to address implicit bias and improve DEI in their justice systems. Our discussion will include cases, rules, and advisory opinions, and the interactive format will encourage audience members to participate with and learn from one another.

BIO:  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor and Bouma Fellow in Law, Professor Hughes joined the faculty at the University of Iowa College of Law in 2011. Before coming to the College, she was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, where she taught criminal law, criminal procedure (investigations and adjudication), and a seminar discussing mitigation and the death penalty.

At Washington University she also co-directed the Criminal Justice Clinic, where she supervised law students representing indigent clients facing felony charges in Saint Louis County. Prior to joining the faculty at Washington University, Professor Hughes was Associate Director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases at DePaul University College of Law, where she worked in the legal clinic representing indigent clients on capital cases. Professor Hughes’s other experience includes working as a public defender for the Office of the Iowa State Public Defender in Iowa City, where she represented juveniles and adults on misdemeanor and felony charges. She also worked as a Sacks Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute, working with clinical law students in Roxbury and Dorchester representing juvenile and adult clients on misdemeanor and felony charges.

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