Law Day 2016: Paulette Brown
>> From the Library of Congress in Washington D.C >> David Mao: All right Good afternoon Good afternoon everyone, can you hear me? >> Woman: Yes >> Okay. Well, welcome to the Library of Congress, welcome to the Whittall Pavilion here at the Library of Congress where we generally celebrate music with our wonderful instruments here, but today we’re going to be hearing about the music of law [ Laughs ] >> David Mao: It is our pleasure at the Library to be host to the Law Library of Congress’s annual Law Day Celebration We’re a few days early, but ready to go Most of you probably know that Law Day was created by or created as a holiday by presidential proclamation in 1958 by President Eisenhower and since that time we have used that as a way to celebrate a lot of different things, but most importantly the importance of the rule of law and its impact on our daily lives Before we start our program though I want to mention a couple of things, we will have a small reception afterwards with a few nibbles and invite all of you to join and for that We also have on display, if you haven’t seen it already when you first came in, items from the libraries manuscripts division One of our curators has brought out items from the manuscript division’s legal collection, specifically from the personal papers of – I want to make sure I get all of them all Supreme Court Justices Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall, Byron White, Hugo Black and William Douglas all speaking to the topic of today s conversation So I invite you to take a look at those on your way out The only thing I do ask is that you take no food and drink over there [ Laughs ] We’d like to keep them in good condition as we’re supposed to do The other thing I should mention is please turn off your mobile devices or at least silence them We are recording this event today, so that we can webcast it on the library’s website >> Woman: [Inaudible] behavior [laughs] >> David Mao: So I want to thank the American Bar Association, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, which is very instrumental in helping the Law Library here Shelia Hollis is the current chair and I don’t believe she’s here I think she was unable to join up with us today The friends of the Law Library of Congress, their Library’s manuscripts division, all of us working together for making contributions of Thompson Reuters for helping out with today’s program I should note that we have president elect of American Bar Association, Linda Kline and Vice President at Thompson Reuters, Tom Laden with us here today If you want to just turn and wave to everybody [ Laughs ] We thank them for being here [ Clapping ] And with that I will turn it over to my colleague, Roberta, to introduce to us our very special guest, the current president of the American Bar Association, who I’m very proud to be able to stand here and introduce her because I am myself I’m from the Great Garden State of New Jersey And she currently practices in New Jersey, so I’m very proud of that fact [ Laughs ] And she is going to tell us a little bit about her distinguished legal career and also about today’s topic, her thoughts on the very important Supreme Court decision Miranda, as we celebrate its 50th anniversary this year So with that, I will turn it over to my colleague, the Law Librarian of Congress Roberta to get us going on this program Thank you >> Roberta Shaffer: Great [ Clapping ] Thank you, David, and thank all of our distinguished guests and our colleagues who are here, joining us today for a really momentous occasion Paulette Brown, our honored speaker, the first African American woman to head the American Bar Association is probably also the first ABA president to address the Library of Congress with a law library So I know in your career you have numerous firsts [ Laughs ] And I hope that you will have the people who are controlling your biography add that >> Paulette Brown: Yes [ Laughs ] >> Roberta Shaffer: to it, but you have had an illustrious career in practice You’ve been in private practice as you are now with a law firm You were a corporate counsel for a number of large corporations and you even served as the municipal court judge >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: So your career has been very varied and you’ve had a great commitment to both bringing highlights to some of the challenges that face minorities and women in professions and actually even more broadly in society And I noted with a lot of joy that you were on the Margaret Brent Award from the ABA Commission on Women in the profession and there are two things I’d like to say about that
>> Paulette Brown: Okay >> Roberta Shaffer: You were raised in Baltimore, actually sadly at segregated schools at that time >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: But, Margaret Britton, for those of you who don’t know, was one of the first women who practiced in the American colonies She was from Maryland and she actually had a very illustriousness career, including representing Lord Baltimore in the Colonies But she fell out of favor with him because she insisted on paying soldiers their fair due and she took that money out of his trust [ Laughs ] And when I was thinking about Paulette Brown, I thought my goodness what – these people, these two are connected [ Laughs ] They care about justice, but they also are very forthright practicing attorneys And the other thing that was kind of interesting was we just lost Robert MacCrate who is another former president of the American Bar Association, he died just a few weeks ago And I believe that it was he who created the Commission on Women in the Profession >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: back in 1987 >> Paulette Brown: Correct >> Roberta Shaffer: And there’s just one final historical note I will add and then we’ll go into the conversation and that is that Bob MacCrate appointed the first lady of Arkansas at the time to head that commission and that was none other than Hillary Clinton [ Laughs ] So there are lots of good vibes in this room today for women and everything, but I think that Paulette you haven’t always had an easy road and I wonder if you can take the story of your career from here and tell us a little bit about how you decided to become a lawyer and then a little bit about obstacles you may have faced in the practice and entering the practice and all that >> Paulette Brown: Good, can I just say one thing about Margaret Britton and how bodacious she was? >> Roberta Shaffer: Yes [laughs] >> Paulette Brown: She not only was she practicing law, but she also decided that not only should women vote, but she should have two votes >> Roberta Shaffer: Right She did >> Paulette Brown: She should have two votes [laughs] >> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: [Laughs] One as a land owner and then one as a lawyer and as a regular citizen, so she thought that she should have two votes So what >> Roberta: So you followed in her footsteps? [Laughs] >> Paulette: Oh, I absolutely agree that she should have – for each thing that you do should have a vote [ Laughs ] >> Roberta: We’re being recorded [ Laughs ] >> Paulette: Exactly right So I thought that was right She was really ahead of her time But, so, you know, like you said I was born and raised in Baltimore, went to segregated schools until I was 10th grade, didn’t know any lawyers I knew Perry Mason in black and white [ Laughs ] But didn’t know any personally and I had from my parents a great commitment to community and giving back and so forth and so I thought that I wanted to save the world and so I still think I want to save the world, but I wanted to be a social worker And I went to college with that thought in mind and when I got to college I had two roommates from New Orleans, and Will Jones now knows this We went to college together [laughs] And >> Roberta Shaffer: [Inaudible] >> Paulette Brown: Yeah Yeah. He’s sitting right here >> Roberta Shaffer: He’s 55? >> Paulette Brown: Uh-huh And my roommates came to college knowing that they wanted to go to law school and the backgrounds weren’t that much different than mine, so I don’t know how they got in it Well, one reason is because there was Judy Dimes, who was from New Orleans, who they knew, who was a law librarian at Howard >> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: And so I got to know Judy and my roommates sort of talked me into it and then we had professors who were lawyers who taught us and then I decided that with a law degree I could probably save more people Quote, unquote, save more people, but I decided that I would be able to help more people with a law degree than I would as a social worker Although, a social worker is obviously an admirable profession So that’s what I did, and I went to law school and, you know, there were definitely challenges When I first got out of law school when I first went to court, you know, I was anybody but the lawyer [ Laughs ] Anybody but the lawyer So I was either a defendant, was either court reporter, was I one of the jurors Well then, who are you? It was never they never got to the part, well, are you the lawyer And, you know, that sort of persisted for a really long time
and even now I’m confused with other professions My new favorite one is that so many people think I’m a flight attendant [ Laughs ] It’s really a true story It’s a true story, even now And I don’t have to be in an airport [ Laughs ] >> Roberta Shaffer: Oh, my goodness >> Paulette Brown: People to ask me that I’ve twice been in an elevator, in a hotel where people ask me was I a flight attendant from customs agents to people from other countries ask me whether I’m a flight attendant I don’t know what it is, but, you know, again, that’s an honorable profession, but I don’t know why people think Only – I was buying Garrets Popcorn most recently in Chicago airport and I was asked and I said does that mean I’m going to get a discount? [ Laughs ] And that’s what it was, but I didn’t take the discount because it would not have been honest But, you know, but it is, you know, those I don’t, you know, with some people I don’t take any offense to that I really don’t, because I don’t think people are being mean spirited in any way But, you know, sometimes some challenges do persist One of the challenges that I’ve been able to use to my advantage is that when people think that I don’t have the requisite intelligence or knowledge, in a particular case I’ve been a litigator for a long time And especially when I’ve been in cases with nothing but men on the other side and white men on the other side, and they don’t really think I know as much as they do, so it’s really great when I crush them [ Laughs ] So it’s been, you know, so that has had some advantages too, but, you know, it’s been and for women in general and for women of color, you know, there are some unique challenges, especially in the large law firm context that we need to do a lot better and just in general the legal profession, you know, just wanting it not to be the least diverse profession of all comparable professions has been an ongoing challenge And how do we change that and what’s necessary to be done to change that But I will say even with all of those things, I don’t think I could have chosen a better profession ever It’s still the best Librarians are wonderful and, you know, my new psychiatrist friend [ Laughs ] You know, they’re wonderful too, but, you know, seriously, I think that a law license gives you ability to do so many things And it gives you some power to do really great things for society And as I tell people all the time that even with all the different professions that we have, generally a lawyer is going to come into play in some way, and so, you know, no matter how much people talk badly about lawyers, we really can’t live without them So I am really pleased that I’m an attorney and chose this path >> Roberta Shaffer: Well we certainly in the Law Library are delighted you chose that >> Paulette Brown: Thank you >> Roberta Shaffer: And we totally agree with you about how fulfilling, having legal knowledge and being able to use it for the better >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: is a value So I think we can move now to Miranda >> Paulette Brown: Okay >> Roberta Shaffer: As David mentioned we’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of that really landmark decision And I am delighted that you have chosen that theme for Law Day and I know you’ve added on a tag line “More Than Words.” And it particularly I think strikes us all about how profoundly important Miranda warnings and interaction in general with our judicial and criminal justice system are today, because every day in the news we’re seeing examples where we wonder about how fairly the system is being applied And I think that might have been in the back of your mind as you looked back on the 50 years and look forward >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: So could you tell us a little bit about choosing Miranda beyond just the fact that it’s an anniversary >> Paulette Brown: Right >> Roberta Shaffer: And what you think about how it plays into our justice system today and how it may have created some skepticism among certain sectors of our society >> Paulette Brown: So that’s kind of a loaded question >> Roberta Shaffer: Yes >> Paulette Brown: But >> Roberta Shaffer: Just slightly >> Paulette Brown: But, you know, many things Some of which you mentioned it is, you know, I looked at Miranda and how it’s evolved over time And I look at the intention of people not incriminating themselves, that it’s an extension of the Sixth Amendment to a right to have counsel and so, you know, I think about that and I also think about how there was a President after the court ruling he said it was his main mission to make sure that we get rid of Miranda
And just how it evolves and when we talk about more than words, what that means, it means having people to understand what their rights are with respect to Miranda and the ability to speak freely and not freely But them also look at how it’s evolved over time with respect to what exactly does that mean? And when do the warnings apply? So if I give you a warning today and I interrogate you, and then I Iet you go and then I call you back in two weeks later, do I have to give you the warning again? Court says, no, you don’t have to give the warning again And then, you know, you think about – so you think about also the implications that if you don’t talk now, how silence can be used against you, that if you don’t say anything that your silence can be used against you in a court of law So you think about how it’s evolved over time and then really the meaning of it, because all of us hear the word Miranda we don’t even have to say the word Versus Arizona anymore [ Laughs ] It’s just the one word thing, like Beyonce, like Price [ Laughs ] You know, everybody knows what it means And then if you hear that, you know, any of those famous police sounds, da, da, da, da, or any of those we know that Miranda is coming [ Laughs ] And, you know, we also question about, you know, this shouldn’t be used in every circumstance You know, should there be some exigent circumstances where we don’t have to give the Miranda warning and then what happens if we start making exceptions? How far will that crack expand? And I think it’s really important that we think about those things when you have half of young people in the United States believing that the justice system is not fair And you have 66% of African Americans who think the justice system is not fair, and what impact Miranda has on people like them? And what does it really mean that people get Miranda? As a judge told a story a little earlier today about people who plead guilty, who confessed to things to crimes that they never committed And the coercion that takes place, even after a person has been Mirandized, which fortunately has led to a lot of videos being placed in interrogation rooms because there’s been so many people who have admitted to crimes that they haven’t committed, even though they’ve been read their rights And people and the courts have used those confessions, because people have been Mirandized to do that So it has been an evolution I think there’s been a true evolution of Miranda and I think that all of us need to pay really close attention to it, so that the rights that people have come to know as just Miranda, that they won’t be eroded And people will have an understanding and belief that they really don’t have to say anything that will be against their interest That they really have a right to counsel and the right to counsel extends before they get to the courtroom So that people will understand and believe that they really have access to justice >> Roberta Shaffer: And I know that you yourself have been very active during your term in reaching out to young people >> Paulette Brown: Yeah >> Roberta Shaffer: I think either before coming to West today or immediately following, you’re going to be meeting with the Boys and Girls Club? >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: And I’m wondering what do you tell these young people, these middle schoolers and younger about the justice system and what do you use to encourage them that there will be justice in the true sense of it and fairness in this society that they are growing up in? >> Paulette Brown: So what I say to everyone is that everyone has a role to play in our society, no matter how young you are or no matter how old you are and everyone can make a contribution Understand that how access to justice and people who have true access, how it affects the rule of law And that we are a nation of rules, and that, you know, if people don’t perceive the justice system as being fair that maybe they don’t feel like they have to abide by the rules because why bother And so when we have that there can be no rule of law, and there will be just chaos and then they will just not be a democracy anymore And so they, a lot of them understand that even at a very young ages, but one of the main reasons I go to the Boys and Girls Club is to expose them, because I never knew any lawyers So they can see a lawyer and one of the great things that happened the day before yesterday In New Mexico I said, “Anybody know any lawyers?”
And a couple of people said, “Yes, I know three.” And there were three of the young lawyers who had come with me and they met up in the tech lab [ Laughs ] And so, you know, they hadn’t known any before, but they feel so good now that they can say that they know a lawyer and understand more of what a lawyer does and their role in society They ask the best questions You know, a seven year old asked me, “What do you do if you get a case you don’t believe in?” And which I thought was a very interesting question and young lawyers always go with me, so I punted it off to the young lawyer [ Laughs ] But, you know, they asked, you know, really – you know, people say, “I bet you they ask how much money you make.” Very, very, very rarely, especially the younger kids They very rarely ask how much money you make Now, there was one who realized I was older than her grandmother [ Laughs ] and asked me whether I knew any abolitionists [ Laughs ] But, you know, but generally they ask some really, really questions and so, you know, what we want to do is just really capture this curiosity that they have And make sure that they keep this curiosity and they don’t get swept up in the school to prison pipeline And so I always ask young lawyers and law students to go with me They really think that just driving me there, and they sort of standoff to the side and I always make them come forward and introduce themselves Say what they do, because then at the end of the day they get so involved with the kids that generally I don’t have to ask them, but in case I do they always want to have a continuing relationship with the clubs And so that is really, you know, kind of the idea to keep this curiosity going with these young people And even if they don’t go to law school, they understand that there’s a window of opportunity for them to go as far as they want to go >> Roberta Shaffer: Oh, that sounds marvelous >> Paulette Brown: Yeah >> Roberta Shaffer: And I’m happy to see that even though you might have known an abolitionist [ Laughs ] that you didn’t confirm or deny [ Laughs ] That you still have a very youthful optimism and that’s wonderful to see, because many times, as you know, our colleagues in the law get a little bit jaded as they are coming to a certain point in their career And all they’re wondering about is how much money will I make on this case >> Paulette Brown: Right >> Roberta Shaffer: And so it’s wonderful to see the leadership of, you know, one of the oldest professional associations in America be led by someone who’s an optimist I should have also said that at one time in your career you were president of the National Bar Association >> Paulette Brown: Correct >> Roberta Shaffer: And that’s something very important for us to keep in mind, because I think in the 1920’s the National Bar Association was created exclusively because at that time, and not exclusively, most professional associations, the American Bars Association did not allow African American lawyers to be a member >> Paulette Brown: That’s correct >> Roberta Shaffer: And so the National Bar Association was created as an alternative for African American lawyers to have professional development and camaraderie, but in many ways it led so many of the civil rights movement of the 20th century and continues >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: : to do that, so I think you are, you know, it’s so fabulous that you’ve sort of worn the crown of both of those wonderful professions >> Paulette Brown: Yes, thank you Yes. And can I just say that one of the things that the highlight of my presidency of the National Bar was I had an opportunity to monitor the first free and democratic elections in South Africa Yeah. You remember Rachel, yes, so it was great >> Roberta Shaffer: I knew that and I think you’ve also – was it at that time that you testified before Congress about the diversifying federal bench? >> Paulette: Yeah Well, yes, it was, yes >> Roberta Shaffer: I thought so >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: I was trying >> Paulette Brown: Indeed it was,yes >> Roberta Shaffer: to remember pretty much >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: I’m writing the biography now >> Paulette Brown: No >> Roberta Shaffer: And I pretty much have the dates right >> Paulette Brown: Yes, that is correct, yes >> Roberta Shaffer: And that is pretty terrific as well >> Paulette Brown: Yeah Thank you >> Roberta Shaffer: So to moving on this theme of access and diversifying, I know that a big part of your agenda for your term as ABA President is to diversify the profession and to do things through the ABA through ABA outlets >> Paulette Brown: Right >> Roberta Shaffer: to do that, And one of the things that I loved reading about your interest was that you would like to look at legal education and see if you can find ways to reduce the cost of legal education >> Paulette Brown: Right >> Roberta Shaffer: as a way of diversifying who can pursue it And would you consider talking a little bit about that or other things that you want to do to diversify the legal profession?
>> Paulette Brown: Yes So it’s multi prong >> Roberta Shaffer: Yes, I noticed that [laughs] >> Paulette Brown: Right It’s multi prong and I think that we have to do things in law school We have to do things long before law school We have to build a pipeline, so we do have a pipeline working group And we look in K through 12, college, then law school through Bar admissions And the cost of law school is really a big factor, so one of the things that the ABA has worked long and hard on is loan forgiveness for those individuals who go into some form of public service and work there for ten years I think that, you know, it has been taken out of the budget to Congress, but we’re trying to make sure it goes back And so there’s been a huge campaign It’s hashtag loan 4giveness >> Roberta Shaffer: Say it again >> Paulette Brown: Hashtag >> Roberta Shaffer: [laughs] >> Paulette Brown: loan 4giveness [laughs] Huh? >> Woman: What’s the number for loan? >> Paulette Brown: Four, okay, yes The numeral four That’s like my twitter thing is >> Roberta Shaffer: Oh >> Paulette Brown: And [inaudible] for lawyers >> Roberta Shaffer: Loan 4 Giveness >> Paulette Brown: Thank you Linda And so we’re working really hard on that We’re looking at other means There was a special task force that talked about financing of legal education And, in fact, some strong recommendations were made that actually the American Bar Foundation has gotten a grant to help to find ways that we can reduce the cost of law school We’re looking at people who get scholarships and how scholarships are administered as well, because the scholarships don’t really trickle down to the ones who really need them, especially now when there’s a shrinkage of people going to law school So the issue has been compounded because people want to give the scholarships to attract what people consider to be the best and the brightest I could speak about that for a long time in terms of looking at other things other than just grades for law school, but it is an issue that we are constantly looking at And, you know, one of the – we have four working groups with this and another one in addition to the pipeline working group is that we think when we talked about earlier about the justice system and the fairness, and so forth, we have an implicit bias working group, that is looking at how implicit bias may affect decision making among judges, prosecutors and public defenders And so we’re creating videos trying to be used as a training tool for judges, prosecutors, and public defendants And the one for judges is already completed It’s all available on the ABA website Please feel free to look at it and use it, but it’s really very powerful I think because we have three experts who talk about implicit bias, but we also have three judges who are on the video who talk about and admit to their implicit biases And how they believe it may have affected their decision making And how now that they know about them and because none of us are exempt from having them >> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: Right And so, you know, it’s really good and important to acknowledge that so that you won’t make decisions based on any biases And so we’re working on the prosecutors one where we will have prosecutors on as well and public defenders, because – and people say why do you have public defenders doing trained? Because they’re the people who do good, as yes they are But one of the things that triggers our biases more than anything, stress >> Roberta Shaffer: Oh >> Paulette Brown: And so when we’re under stress and we have to move things along, you know, we want to do things in a hurry and so all of those things that have been in the recesses of our minds come flooding forward And we make decisions based on that and so even the most well intended people can be adversely affected by implicit bias And then we’re also looking internally at the ABA to see what we have doing, because it would not be a good thing for us to go out and try and tell other people what to do 8 [ Laughs ] If we don’t have our own house in order We do a number of things correctly, so if you looked at all of those who were following me in ABA leadership You have Linda Cline behind me You have Hilary Bess behind her and then in terms of our officers next year you have a woman who’s going to chair the House of Delegates, an African American woman You’ve got the treasure elect is an African American woman You’ve got the secretary whose a Native American, so it’s pretty incredible So the lineup and, you know, the succession we’ve got some men here or there [ Laughs ] But it’s okay because they’ve had it for the last 36 years, so [ Laughs ] you know, so we’re trying to do a number of different things And then we’re looking at economics So we’ve got an economic case working for that
You know, we hear over and over again how all the women are more, you know, half of the profession graduating from law school, only 17% of them are equity partners in law firm And women of color only about 2% And so we think that part of it has to do with economics, and that they’re not getting enough business and getting credit for the business that they bring to their firm So we’ve got three general counsels working on that and trying to create guidelines for both law firms and companies use uniformed guidelines, so that, you know, especially when it comes to surveys and so forth of how law firms are doing, everybody is reporting the same information to everyone else So, yeah, so >> Roberta Shaffer: Well I know that you’ve been very active in your current law firm, Locke Lord, and co-chairing the diversity committee I wasn’t surprised to see in recent issue of the American Bar Association Journal that there was a focus on women leaving the practice of law >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: And I think it might have been in the same issue of a presidential page you wrote that I found really inspiring, so I’d like to talk a little bit about that for a minute >> Paulette Brown: Okay >> Roberta Shaffer: And that was when you spoke about the disparate impact of bail and fines and fees on members of minority communities And the reason it struck me so much that was I think the very same week in the New York times they had reported finding the same factor in library fines [ Laughs ] That the very people that we want to have access to public libraries, also find that many times they can’t get to the library when the library is open No, they can’t get to the library to return a book or somehow a fine accrues And these are the very same people who we want to have access >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: So when I read your column and that article, I was struck by that and I wondered what do you think we can do as a society to really level that playing field, because it seems so disparate right now? >> Paulette Brown: I think the first thing we have to do is we have to stop punishing people for being poor And figure out alternative ways for the imposition of fines and not only that have the fines not turned into a criminal action >> Roberta Shaffer: Right Which happens so quickly >> Paulette Brown: So frequently So, you know, we talk about the fact that there should be no debtors >> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: …prisons, but we have certainly created debtors prisons in the United States And so some people are actually looking at alternatives to heavy fines and I think one of the things that the report that came out from the Attorney General on Ferguson and how they collected fines and how the fines turned into criminal actions and so forth >> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: That what we’ve discovered is that, you know, people said these things happen in Ferguson, but unfortunately Ferguson is a microcosm of what’s happening all over the country and how people are generally punished because they are poor And so I think that we really have to be innovative and creative in our thinking and think about not just how we can do things other than impose fines, you know, there is something called community service >> Roberta Shaffer: Community service [ Laughs ] >> Paulette Brown: Community service that we can do There are some other judges who are doing things that are finding alternatives, having people to just sit and write about what it is that’s going on with them, and explaining different things and using that as a way to bridge a gap And, you know, when its satisfactory completed, that there are no fines and that there are no penalties But, you know, you have to have a commitment, because the judges I know who do this, they get paid no extra money, the days become a little longer, but all of them say that it’s so worth it, because it causes us to have less incarceration It causes people to maybe who have made a mistake or who have gotten some sort of fine, you know, maybe they should have that they can deal with it and not end up with a criminal record So I think that it’s really incumbent us to really find ways to do that And we have to find other ways, because some of them are for people not appearing in court We also have to able to use technology for people who are unable to get to court to find a means or maybe they could go to the library and get in >> Roberta Shaffer: They can >> Paulette Brown: To use [ Laughs ] to use the technology to interface with the court system, so that they can state with their cases without physically having to go there So, you know, because if you get a ticket, you get your license suspended, how are you going to get to court?
>> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: So you can’t get to court, so then there’s a bench warrant for you >> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: And it just goes on and on and on >> Roberta Shaffer: It’s a cycle >> Paulette Brown: Exactly You know, and the other thing is that we have to really look at the bail process You know, one of the things I leaned through this process is that bail bonds people are some of the biggest lobbyists >> Roberta Shaffer: Oh [laughs] >> Paulette Brown: Yeah Neither did I They’re some of the biggest lobbyists because, you know, when you postpone you don’t get your money back >> Roberta Shaffer: Right >> Paulette Brown: And so they want to have a continuous robust bail system because that is how they survive and bail bondsmen in several states they are the biggest lobbyist You know, we have to look at privatization of different things too You know, I did not know that in so many places to wear the ankle braces to get out on, you have to pay for that So some places as much as $300 a month for the privilege of wearing the ankle bracelet and so forth So, and even sometimes probation services are privatized now too So, you know, obviously it’s a benefit to have more people on probation to stay on probation, if its privatized So, you know, there are so many things, there’s no shortage of what it is that we can do, each one of us to help to try to make things better >> Roberta Shaffer: Well, I think you said in that wonderful presidential page that you were concerned that all these fees were really just a revenue generator >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: for the local jurisdiction >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: or for others >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: And they really had lost their initial function >> Paulette Brown: That’s right >> Roberta Shaffer: in the law >> Paulette Brown: That’s right >> Roberta Shaffer: And really these sound like great ideas Well, we’re at a point where as much as I hate to do it, I think I need to turn the microphone over to the audience [ Laughs ] I’m so enjoying conversing with you, but I know that others would like the privilege of asking you a question, and so I can’t be that selfish So we have staff members >> Paulette Brown: You can be, but you won’t [ Laughs ] >> Roberta Shaffer: Thank you I will not be I will not be So we have members of the Law Library staff roving, and if you’ll just raise your hand, they will bring a microphone to you and I know that Paulette Brown will answer your question on the spot with great articulation I’ve gotten such wonderful tidbits from you today >> Paulette Brown: Thank you >> Roberta Shaffer: Any question? Cliff, right here >> Barbara Moreland: Hello, my name is Barbara Moreland and I must confess I’m one of the people who knew not much at all about our justice system until several years ago And Michelle Alexander, very well educated me >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Barbara Moreland: But when I saw the topic today it did bring out some of the things I’ve learned and perhaps I’ve only partially learned, but Miranda even when it’s said, but how effective is it with many of the community in terms of actually making their situation better? Do they get adequate help through that process of being able to be in touch with the lawyer, because we do hear so many people that confess to crimes that they have not committed, and something happens in that process And so how would you evaluate how successfully Miranda is working across these spectrums of people, and especially the poor and what might be done to improve it? >> Paulette Brown: First of all, I think that Miranda is necessary because it does provide some necessary protections that we will be much more without it But to your point there are too many instances even after the person has been Mirandized, people who need to get back to work, people who need to be back with their families, people who want to be a witness to their child’s graduation You know, even though they have Mirandized you know, they can be convinced into pleading guilty that things that they haven’t done with the notion that, you know, you can have your time served You can be out in time for your daughter’s graduation if you plead guilty to this And so you still have situations like that and sometimes, you know, the person who is encouraging somebody to plead guilty, you know, maybe they are maybe they aren’t But, you know, there are other things that come along with that, you know, the collateral consequences of pleading guilty to things, you know, you’re giving up the right to vote later You may not be able to get certain housing later You know, you may not be able to get a plumbing license, electrician’s license, it can go on and on and on In fact, there are about 46,000 collateral consequences in the federal system But, you know, what we can do is that we can, you know, when I tell people all the time that it’s so important to vote And that not just vote on presidential elections, but you have to vote on every level from board of education to town committee to everything, because it really all politics really start off as local And there are so many things that are affected
by those initial elections that have a great impact on everything else that’s done, you know, in the municipalities and all of that And also to make sure you know who the people who are representing you that you don’t wait until there’s something Let people know who you are in your community, so that when you go to them you say this is who I am I was here, you know who I am and I have this issue So everybody should make themselves have a voice in the process and there are a number of different ways that you have it, but it’s going to take an individual and both collected efforts to make any type of sustaining change >> Barbara Moreland: Thank you >> Roberta Shaffer: There’s another question here on this side >> Woman: First, I really enjoyed your comments and I grew up in Baltimore much like you did and I always want to help people, much like you did, so I became a psychiatrist But I went to law school for a year before I went back to med school So now I’m working in corrections and what I’m seeing is the same thing you’ve been talking about, people that have pled guilty when they haven’t done anything Then as they’re getting ready to be released, where they get a job? How they’re going to live? How they’re going to survive? But even deeper problem, which I don’t know how to address, but I just like to hear what you have to say about it, is in the inter city these young people grow up I have a case where the father has been in prison on and off, because they were selling drugs The mother may have mental illness, so we have people that are growing up in cities that really don’t have parents And no one’s doing anything about it And so what I see is a prison system all across the state of Maryland where people are just funneled right into it And they’re generally black people and Hispanic people That’s who are showing up in my offices And lower income white people And I think that we are losing generations of young, bright people, because we don’t intervene early enough at all the levels, economic >> Paulette Brown: That’s right >> Woman: : educational And I just like to see if you’ve had any ideas about that in the time that you’ve been taking care of people too? >> Paulette Brown: Do I have ideas? How much more time is it? [ Laughs ] >> Roberta Shaffer: It’s a quarter to We have about 15 minutes You are the one who is really scheduled today >> Paulette Brown: Right So because that’s such a question First of all, things have to be looked at I think in a more holistic way And we have to stop treating poverty as a crime And we have to really look it out implicit biases to figure out why it is that only what such a greater percentage of black and brown people are going to or being prosecuted I think that prosecutors have so much power in the justice system, because they determine who is going to be prosecuted and with what charge And so some people, even though other crimes are being committed by other people, some people are given the benefit of the doubt And whereas some may say this is what we expect of this person and so we’re going to charge him with as much as we can, because it’s expected that this person should do this The same judge they said that they had two jurors who said that they could not be fair because they thought all black men were criminals and committed crimes And so they couldn’t be fair, but we have these notions a lot of it has to do with what we see on TV and just the constant images that are projected over and over and over again telling us what’s good and what’s bad and what we should expect from one group of people over another And so I think that’s part of the reason why there’s so many more people It’s the same with school suspensions, school expulsion The whole thing it’s generally when brown and black children are suspended or expelled from school it’s something that’s discretionary, whereas if it’s a white person there’s something that’s really like a clear violation, like having drugs at school, for example And so I think that just the greater education of individuals to have them understand what their implicit biases are, I think that everybody on this earth should take the Implicit Association Test To, you know, they have all types of implicit association tests You can find it on line You can Google implicit association test just to see what your biases are You know, I know my sister years ago accused me of one I denied it but then I found out about – I mean for years and years and years long before there was any such thing as implicit bias She was just saying, “You’re prejudice against this group of people.”
And I found out that not so much that I’m biased against them, but I slightly favor [ Laughs ] the other group But, you know, I think that a lot of it, you know, the way people react to things has so much to do with what people have been told and taught about a certain group of people for so long Without recognizing what the true history is So I think that there’s a lot of education that has to be done and that needs to be done I think that all of us need to check and see who we are first, and then I think that all of us has an obligation to put other people in check when we hear things, when we see things You don’t necessarily have to be really confrontational, but you can ask them a question, “Do you realize what you said? Do you realize the impact of what you’re doing? Do you realize the effect that what you’re saying has on the person who is receiving the information?” I think that all of us has an obligation to point out things to people when we see or hear something >> Roberta Shaffer: Are there any further questions? Well I want to before we adjourn for the afternoon, I want to just say that this is not the first and last time that the law library will be commemorating Miranda >> Paulette Brown: Good >> Roberta Shaffer: I don’t want to say celebrating >> Paulette Brown: Good >> Roberta Shaffer: So I want to put the following on your radar, we will have a program in July at our Calpepper Campus, which Paulette, is where we have our motion picture and recorded sound preservation in a former federal reserve vault >> Paulette Brown: Oh >> Roberta Shaffer: And there we will have experts talk about how TV and movies in the last 50 years or so have spread the word to the population about Miranda And basically I think it was Justice Rehnquist who said in the Dickinson case in >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: 2000 that Miranda was virtually a part of our culture >> Paulette Brown: Sure, yes >> Roberta Shaffer: So I hope that you’ll be able to participate in that program, either in Calpepper, which is a gorgeous place or virtually by streaming video This year we will celebrate Human Rights Day on December 9th and at that time we will look at how Miranda in many ways has become a human right The Law Library of Congress specializes in research about jurisdictions around the world and a very quick survey showed that many, many jurisdictions, everything from Australia to the Ukraine, I couldn’t find a Z country that had Miranda [ Laughs ] Have some version of Miranda rights following our decision And so it in a way we hope gives the United States and our legal system some moral authority around the world and that always makes me happy And then please always follow us on Twitter and we know a lot of people were tweeting today If you are someone who plans way ahead, next year May 1st will be a Monday This year it’s a Sunday that’s why we’re celebrating early And we will have a program on drawing justice which will display the many, many collections of court illustrators that the library owns, which is fascinating to see and we will have court illustrators on the panel for Law Day But we also hope that Linda will join us and maybe make some remarks and set a tradition >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: Of the ABA president making an appearance at the Library of Congress for this very, very exiting day every year And last, but not least, or second to last but not least, of course, join us for the reception I hope Paulette will be able to stay >> Paulette Brown: Yes >> Roberta Shaffer: for a very few minutes like every president she is very tightly scheduled [ Laughs ] But we also continue to have our Miranda display in the background and if you’re killing just a little bit of time this afternoon, last week we opened our extraordinary Jacob Riis Exhibition upstairs Remember he was the author of “How the Other Half Lives,” and had a huge impact on legal reform in the early part of the 20th century and we’re hoping that there are his successors I think I’m looking at one for the early part of the 21st century Thank you so much for being with us this afternoon for a truly remarkable conversation >> Paulette Brown: Thank you >> Roberta Shaffer: Thank you >> Paulette Brown: Thank you so much >> Roberta Shaffer: Thank you, thank you, thank you