| When Professor Chris Dearborn suggested students in his Suffolk Defenders clinic respond to a December op-ed in Lawyers Weekly, most of them saw it as just another project for class. But Lawyers Weekly recognized the piece as something more, publishing the response in its March 10 issue.
“I am extremely proud of the class for their energy in responding,” said Dearborn, “More importantly, I’m proud of their conviction in serving as a voice for the underprivileged.”
Students felt the original article, Daniel Winslow’s “A Question of Bail: Suggestions for Fixing a Systematic Failure,” was one-sided, failing to account for the rights of indigent criminal defendants. “We discussed the original editorial in class and thoroughly vetted all the issues,” Dearborn said. All nine students in the clinic collaborated on the response, but third-year students Jessica Wham and Adam Foss took the lead in its drafting.
“It was important to all of us in the clinic to be a voice for indigent criminal defendants,” said Wham. “Mr. Winslow suggested changes to the current bail system that would, in effect, eliminate the presumption of release on personal recognizance and potentially lead to unconstitutional procedures.”
And the students are excited to have added to the public dialogue. “Having our article printed in Lawyers Weekly is a testament to the utility of the clinical programs at our school,” said Foss. “It gave us an opportunity to voice our real concerns for the protection of constitutional rights we fight for in practice everyday.”