Sessions Information

  • April 29, 2021
    2:45 pm - 3:15 pm
    Session Type: Lightning Sessions
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: N/A
    Room: N/A
    Floor: N/A
    The Black Lives Matter movement’s recent calls to defund the police, increased awareness and movement-building following the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color have heightened the need to expose racial injustice in areas that clinics and scholars often overlook. This session critically examines judicial reliance on convictions in family law and domestic violence proceedings, including when statutes explicitly allow for or require Family Court and Domestic Violence Unit judges to consider past criminal convictions and probation and parole status. Whether securing custody or visitation of children, forming a family through adoption, or seeking protection from domestic violence, these legal determinations profoundly affect our relationships and lives. Given how the criminal legal system disproportionately arrests, charges, and sentences people of color and increasingly criminalizes domestic violence survivors, this convergence of heuristics and bias impacts litigants, families, and communities.
    After providing several statutory and case examples, presenters will discuss challenges related to judges’ implicit bias, along with structural challenges of criminal and family courts typically having high-volume dockets that affect adjudication and place pressure on parties to accept plea offers or settlements. Presenters will also address potential objections to decreasing judicial reliance on criminal convictions in the family law context from survivors’ advocates. Session participants will be invited to offer formal and informal advocacy strategies for overcoming, reforming, and in some cases removing the role of criminal convictions in domestic violence and family court proceedings.
Session Speakers
University of Alabama School of Law
Lightning Speaker

University of California, Irvine School of Law
Lightning Coordinator

Session Fees
  • Critically Examining and Countering Reliance on Criminal Convictions in Family Court and Domestic Violence Proceedings: $0.00