Pro Bono Report
Serving Journalists and Public Information
Children Granted a Safe Home with Grandmother
Engaging Kids in Art and the World
New Chair New Life
Renter Wins Again on Appeal
External Awards and Recognition
The Chauncey Bailey Project
Kiba Kiba Books Engaging Kids in Art and the World 4
Our lawyers and staff are committed to obtaining equal justice for people and organizations that might otherwise not have access to legal assistance. We are pleased to share these pro bono successes from January to April of 2010.
Serving Journalists and Public Information
On Aug. 2, 2007, Chauncey Bailey, 57, was walking to work at the Oakland Post in downtown Oakland, Calif., where he served as editor. A masked gunman approached him on the street and fired two shots, pausing before unloading a third, ending Bailey’s life. SAN FRANCISCO — Bailey had been investigating the troubled finances and internal strife at the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery, a local business that had amassed considerable clout over the years in the community and with local politicians despite questionable dealings and legal proceedings against its patriarch, the late Yusuf Bey. Photo of Chauncey Bailey courtesy of the Oakland Tribune
In a raid on the bakery a few days after Bailey’s murder, police arrested Devaughndre Broussard, the bakery’s handyman, and charged him with the murder. Broussard initially confessed to the killing after being left alone in an interrogation room with bakery leader Yusef Bey IV, then recanted. He remained the only named suspect in the case for over a year and a half. As part of a plea deal Broussard eventually struck with the district attorney, he went before a grand jury and confessed to killing Bailey and another man at the direction of Yusef Bey IV. Broussard told a grand jury that Bey wanted to stop Bailey from writing an article about the bakery.
“You can’t kill a story by killing a journalist” After Bailey’s murder, a coalition of media and media-related groups started the Chauncey Bailey Project to investigate the journalist’s murder and uphold the principle that journalists cannot be silenced through intimidation or violence. “If anyone thought Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey’s work would die when he was gunned down on Aug. 2, 2007, they were terribly wrong,” according to a statement on the project’s Web site (www.chaunceybaileyproject.org). “Our goal is to hammer home this point: ‘You can’t kill a story by killing a journalist.’” Duffy Carolan, a partner in our San Francisco office, has represented the Chauncey Bailey Project since 2007. Her work
on obtaining access to materials, unsealing testimony, and ending gag orders has been widely recognized and hailed.
Project’s work jump-starts investigation Since its inception, the Chauncey Bailey Project has published court documents, news and other information on its Web site as part of its mission to expose those who committed the crime and to fight the intimidation of journalists. The Project is largely credited for jump-starting the stalled police investigation after publishing a videotape of a jailhouse conversation between Yusef Bey IV and two other defendants in another case in which Bey describes how he hid the shotgun used in Bailey’s murder before the raid and then is seen mimicking the shotgun blast to Bailey’s head. Details of the videotape were never mentioned in the lead detective’s case notes, as reported by the Project. This and several other articles about the police investigation prompted the state attorney general
Duffy Carolan, a partner in our San Francisco office, has represented the Chauncey Bailey Project since 2007 and local district attorney to initiate their own investigations of the police investigation and the lead investigator’s conduct in allegedly ignoring key evidence against Bey. In early 2009, defense lawyers for Bey and Antoine Mackey, who is charged in the murder and who allegedly drove the getaway car, citing the Web site, asked Oakland Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson to prevent the release of grand jury transcripts. Bey’s lawyer, Lorna Brown, said release of the grand jury transcript “puts us in a very difficult position” because the transcripts are one-sided. DWT’s Duffy Carolan urged that the grand jury transcripts be released so the public could evaluate for itself the district attorney’s plea bargain with
Broussard. Judge Jacobson agreed with her, and ordered the release of the transcripts. Mackey filed a writ in the Court of Appeal seeking to stop the disclosure, but the court summarily denied the petition. Earlier in the investigation, Carolan was successful in obtaining access to search warrants and probation reports that lead to significant reporting by the Project.
Challenging a gag order In May 2009, Carolan obtained another significant victory for the project. Soon after indictments were entered against Yusef Bey IV and Mackey, another judge granted the district attorney’s request to enter a blanket gag order in the case, which precluded the disclosure of any information relating to the case by the parties, witnesses and law enforcement. Carolan moved on behalf of the Project to lift the broad gag order that risked hampering the reporting of newsworthy information about the case and underlying investigation.
Marlon Gonzalez, Karen Ross, and Erin Reid of our Washington, D.C. office
Children Granted a Safe Home With Grandmother
At a hearing on the matter, Judge Jacobson ruled that the Project’s work did not pose a “clear and present danger or imminent threat” to the defendants’ rights to a fair trial. He therefore lifted the gag order previously entered.
WASHINGTON D.C. — Two girls, ages 3 and 5, are
In an interesting side note, during the proceedings Judge Jacobson imposed a gag order over Carolan personally after she informed her clients of newsworthy information disclosed by the district attorney in Carolan’s presence during a chambers conference over scheduling. The district attorney announced that a decision not to seek the death penalty against Bey had been reached. The information would have been restated in open court, but the hearing had been rescheduled.
Stable Homes for Children and Youth Act of 2007, which
At the next hearing and after press accounts of the decision were published by the Project, Judge Jacobson criticized Carolan in highly charged terms and entered a gag order against her, in what she stated was a violation of her First Amendment rights.
that the children’s parents had left them alone on several
“Working in service to the public”
now safe in the care of their grandmother thanks to the courtroom work of two of our D.C. associates. Our client, the grandmother, was granted custody under the Safe and allows third parties to seek custody. Associates Karen Ross, a business transactions attorney, and Erin Reid, a media and First amendment litigator, prepared for the case for a year, with the assistance of document clerk Marlon Gonzalez. During the three-day trial in D.C. Family Court, Karen Ross presented evidence occasions, the mother had thrown bricks through the grandmother’s window while the girls were sitting in the living room, and that the father had assaulted the mother on several occasions. Both parents had tested positive
Chauncey Bailey Project and Oakland Tribune editor Martin G. Reynolds, who attended the proceedings, said that Carolan had done nothing wrong in passing on newsworthy information to her clients. “Carolan has shown nothing but professionalism and integrity in her handling of the Chauncey Bailey Project’s legal affairs—specifically ensuring our stories were fair, balanced and free of libel ... [S]he has been working in service to the public since the inception of the project and should be commended for her work, not lambasted in open court.” When the parties next convened, Judge Jacobson dissolved the gag order imposed on Carolan without comment.
The case against Bey and Mackey is scheduled for trial in May 2010. Duffy Carolan continues to represent the Chauncey Bailey Project. Her work for this client has garnered substantial press attention, in addition to recognition from the AmLaw Pro Bono 100, published by American Lawyer.
evidence and that staying with their grandmother was in
Karen Ross, a broadcast lawyer “by day,” does not typically work in the courts. “She handled the opening statement,
direct examination, and cross examination of the children’s mother with aplomb,” says D.C. partner Connie Pendleton, who supervised the associates’ work on the case. The judge found that Ross had successfully rebutted the presumption of parental custody by clear and convincing the best interest of the children. Our team got the case through the Children’s Law Center.
Engaging Kids in A NEW YORK — A group of children is hunched over a table, using fabric, paper, plastic and other materials to talk about and create their own storybook. They’re putting to use some basic concepts of art and book illustration they just learned. The group’s book will ultimately be published and sold online and in book stores, and a portion of the proceeds will go to nonprofits around the world.
issues, so in addition to raising money for nonprofits, the “artists” and their readers learn about taking care of the planet.
This is the work of Kiba Kiba Books, a company created by New York-based artist and author Jessica Riley. (“Kiba kiba” means “peace” in the Eastern Polynesian language of Rapa Nui.)
Maya also helped Jessica craft the language used to describe her company’s donations to nonprofits. Jessica had originally planned to market the books in a way that could have implicated various states’ commercial co-venturer laws, and ensuring compliance with those laws can be time consuming. “She could have included language on each book stating ‘When you purchase this book, we will make a donation to this nonprofit,’” explains Maya. “But most states have laws requiring that if you make such a statement, you must comply with certain
Jessica calls Kiba Kiba a “crowdsourcing, social venture for the youngest generation.” Schools, community centers, hospitals and other organizations invite her to provide workshops for groups of kids. The books they create, with titles such as “The London Frogs” and “The Dream of a New Earth,” address environmental 4
Through Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, New York associate attorney Maya Menendez provided free legal assistance to Jessica Riley, drafting agreements to be used with the organizations that Jessica works with in creating the workshops.
Art and the World requirements, the specifics of which depend on the state.” For example, some states require that you have a written contract with that nonprofit and make certain regular filings with the state. Because Kiba Kiba books are sold online and therefore around the country, Jessica would have had to track her company’s compliance with the laws of all of those states going forward. Kiba Kiba is a one-woman shop, and this could have been tremendously complicated and time consuming, keeping Jessica from focusing her time on what she loves and does so well: inspiring and educating kids and helping them create a special piece of art. “So now,” says Maya, “she publishes a general statement explaining Kiba Kiba’s support for arts around the world.” It reads: Kiba Kiba Books LLC acknowledges each child’s participation by supporting art organizations around the globe in the
creation of new artwork to help revitalize and broaden authentic arts involvement.
“I am ever grateful for the pro bono legal assistance that I received from Maya Menendez,” says Jessica Riley. “Her work went above and beyond what she initially signed up for because of the convoluted U.S. laws regarding ‘soliciting funds.’ Davis Wright Tremaine’s assistance now allows Kiba Kiba Books to also give back to others—and that is a beautiful gift!”
“Kiba kiba” means “peace” in the Eastern Polynesian language of Rapa Nui. Learn more about Kiba Kiba at www.kibakiba.com and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts at www.vlany.org.
Images courtesy of Kiba Kiba Books
Maya found this pro bono project rewarding because of the collaborative nature of Kiba Kiba’s projects, and because it’s related to the work she does on a daily basis for her clients in the media and entertainment industries. Maya is also a member of the New York office’s Green Team, so the environmental focus of the Kiba Kiba stories is close to her heart. Partner Rob Driscoll supervised Maya Menendez’s work on the project.
New Chair, New Life SEATTLE — In 1995 Todd Lefkowicz, a Seattle engineer who specialized in equipment used for physical rehabilitation, visited Peru. He went as the representative of a company that was working with a Peruvian organization to build a physical rehab facility for children. During his visit, he was moved by the children’s need for assistance. “I met kids who couldn’t get out of bed or go to school,” recalls Todd. Two years later, he took a leave of absence from his job and returned to Peru. Todd partnered with two Peruvian rehabilitation professionals and began developing wheelchairs with special seats for abandoned children. In 2002 the team registered their work in Peru as “The Wheelchair Project.” They developed several technologies, including software to custom-design wheelchairs for each child’s needs. They determine the patient’s needs, custom-design a wheelchair, and then build it for about $200. The primary builder is a Peruvian man who once built a wheelchair for his own disabled daughter. By 2007, Lefkowicz and his partners formed Mobility Builders to expand on the work done in Peru. They
registered it as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation in Washington state. Susan Mathis, a former attorney in our Seattle office, provided Mobility Builders with pro bono assistance in structuring its organization and obtaining its 501(c)(3) status. Seattle partner Steve Ellis provides ongoing pro bono legal advice on various matters. Peter Parsons, another partner in our Seattle office, helped Mobility Builders obtain a grant from the Rotary Club of Seattle’s charitable foundation.
“Davis Wright Tremaine’s help in giving us a structure from which to work and developing a board of directors has been wonderful,” says Todd Lefkowicz. “But more important than helping make us a ‘real organization’ is the potential it gives us to expand in the future.” Mobility Builders’ technology is now being used around the world. Today Mobility Builders provides about 10 free wheelchairs each month to impoverished children and their families. Thanks to their work, children can now attend school, see their friends, and be more involved in their communities. Learn more at www.mobilitybuilders.org. Davis Wright Tremaine got this pro bono project through the Washington Assistive Technology Foundation.
Renter Wins Again on Appeal We’re happy to report on the outcome of a
hearing in Alameda (Calif.) County Superior
case we covered in our last report (December
Court last December, the court issued a
2009). Attorneys Gwen Fanger, Peter Isola and
judgment of $7,200 in favor of our client.
Harvey Schochet in our San Francisco office assisted a home renter whose landlord had defaulted on mortgage payments. Without the renter’s knowledge, the home was foreclosed
Still, our team had to spend more than 45 days negotiating a settlement with the defendant, who has agreed to pay our client $7,000.
upon. The renter was harassed and threatened with eviction by a new owner who obtained the home at auction. In June 2009, the small claims court awarded the woman $7,300 in damages. The owner appealed. After the small claims appeal
External Awards and Recognition Partner Jim Judson and executive assistant Mary Dougherty, both of our Seattle office, were
Homeless Volunteers of the Month” by the King County (Wash.) Bar Association in February 2010 for their advocacy on behalf Jim Judson
of a young man needing his Texas criminal misdemeanor record expunged. The 24-year-old man, now in Seattle, could not get a job or housing because, although he had completed the terms of his sentence, his new location and financial straits prevented him from getting his criminal record expunged, as
he was eligible to do. Judson and Dougherty, in concert with another volunteer attorney in Texas, got the man’s record cleared. 7
Information about our pro bono policy is available on our Web site at dwt.com/probono or by contacting: Julie Orr, Pro Bono Coordinator 206.757.8586 firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about Davis Wright Tremaine and our attorneys, visit dwt.com, email email@example.com or call toll-free 877.398.8415.
Pro Bono and Public Service Committee Robert Corn-Revere Chair 路 Washington, D.C. William D. Miner Vice Chair 路 Portland Hozaifa Cassubhai Seattle Eric L. Dahlin Portland Merryn DeBenedetti Bellevue Stephen C. Ellis Seattle Gabrielle Goldstein San Francisco Derek Green Portland Lisa Kohn Los Angeles Seth Levy Los Angeles David V. Marshall Bellevue Elisa Miller New York Clark Stanton San Francisco Linda Steinman New York Robert K. Stewart Anchorage Jennifer Toland Frewer Washington, D.C. Julie Orr Pro Bono Coordinator 路 Seattle
Published on May 6, 2010
Published on May 6, 2010
The lawyers and staff of Davis Wright Tremaine are committed to obtaining equal justice for people and organizations that might otherwise no...