Serving Clients Who Have Experienced Civil Rights Violations: Best Practices and Practical Considerations (12/07/2021)

Representing a client who has experienced civil rights violations can be a daunting challenge, both due to the complexity of the law and the immense emotional and physical trauma of police abuse. This session will provide tips, best practices, and conversation being the best advocate possible for your civil rights clients, with an emphasis on maintaining healthy and supportive client relationships. Featuring attorneys and outreach workers from the Chicago Torture Justice Center and First Defense Legal Aid, this conversation is moderated by Sarah Chowdhury. 


Alex Santistevan (she/her), attorney, First Defense Legal Aid Alex Santistevan is the Program Director at First Defense Legal Aid. She has been part of the First Defense community for three and a half years. Her passion lies in access to justice and fairness in marginalized communities. At FDLA, she manages all of the community legal education programs and the volunteers for each program. She trains volunteers to be community educators, works side by side with them to perform door-to-door and street outreach, and facilitates workshops to ensure everyone in the Chicagoland area knows their rights and resources.  

Daniel Massoglia (he/him), attorney, First Defense Legal Aid 
Daniel Massoglia is the Director of the Civil Rights Clinic at First Defense Legal Aid. FDLA's clinic brings together lawyers, law students, volunteers, clients, and legal workers to prosecute civil rights lawsuits for victims of police abuse who are unable to find private attorneys. The Civil Rights Clinic has secured over $100,000 since its launch in January 2020 representing people whose rights were violated by police departments in the Northern District of Illinois, and maintains an active litigation caseload in state and federal court with the help of pro bono co-counsel. Daniel moved to Chicago in 2011 to attend IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is from North Carolina.

Mark Clements, Chicago Torture Justice Center
Mark Clements's treatment by police at the age of 16 years old makes him one of Chicago's youngest torture survivors. In 1981, he was taken to a Chicago police station, the Area Three Violent Crime Unit, and tortured to confess to an arson fire that killed four people.  He is one of Illinois' first juvenile lifers. After serving 28 years in prison, he was released in 2009 after his sentence and conviction were vacated. He was hired by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, where he served in many different capacities over the course of 9 years. He helped to organize around the Troy A. David case in the state of Georgia, and further organized and supports to protect Rodney Reed, a Texas death Row inmate. Today, Mark is employed with the Chicago Torture Justice Center as an organizer around prison issues, torture cases, and calling for reforms within our criminal justice system for the accused. He has been employed with CTJC for the past 3 years.

Moderator: Sarah Chowdhury, attorney, Illinois Office of the Comptroller

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Serving Clients Who Have Experienced Civil Rights Violations: Best Practices and Practical Considerations (12/07/2021)
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