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Racial Justice Task Force

Ice Miller is committed to identifying and dismantling structural and systemic racism in the law to promote racial equity. This work will be led by the Ice Miller Racial Justice Task Force whose mission is to amplify the legal rights and voices of people and communities of color to create an environment where opportunities in and access to the legal, social and economic systems are equitable. The Task Force will work toward carrying out this mission by:
 

  • Assisting and supporting grassroots organizations that have been working to eliminate the disparate treatment of minority populations in our communities.
  • Identifying and activating partnerships with established organizations fighting for racial justice.
  • Advocating for local and state policy reform in an effort to create communities that value and prioritize equitable treatment.
  • Committing Firm resources to assist with achieving racial justice.

Ice Miller deeply values all of the communities where we live, work and serve and strives to do our part to promote fairness and equality. The Task Force will be an extension of this core principle.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an escalating pattern of violence against the Asian community. Ice Miller believes that acts of violence, racism, discrimination and hate against persons of Asian descent, or any other group, have no place in our communities. There is never justification for such violence, and there is no truth to any account that blames the Asian or Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community for COVID-19. As a Firm, we support the Asian and AAPI community and stand with our Asian and AAPI colleagues. We remain committed to advancing equity and inclusion within our organization and our communities. We will continue to seek out opportunities to combat racism and discrimination through our ongoing efforts related to education, pro bono legal services, charitable donations and community action through our Racial Justice Task Force.
 

What We Are Doing

  • Judicial Release Coalition
    On December 1, 2020, Ice Miller launched the Judicial Release Coalition (“JRC”) with five other prominent Columbus, Ohio law firms. These otherwise competitive firms have come together to address mass incarceration of persons of color, a systemic issue from which this nation continues to suffer. Over the next 365 days, the JRC firms will file motions for judicial release and attend any associated hearings at no cost for any interested and eligible person of color committed to prison by a Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge. The work of the JRC is to provide access to justice to persons of color by providing legal counsel for judicial release where Ohio law provides no right to counsel. With the help of nearly 100 attorneys, the JRC will provide access to justice to persons of color who are disproportionately incarcerated and often unable to afford counsel. This collaborative effort of the JRC is the first of its kind in Ohio.
  • Impact of Race in the Administration of the Death Penalty in Cuyahoga County, Ohio
    Since 1991, Cuyahoga County, Ohio has charged nearly 700 people with the death penalty, a number that is unparalleled when compared to the death penalty charging rates in all of the other 87 counties in Ohio. Ice Miller has launched a study and statistical analysis in collaboration with Michigan State Law School Professors Catherine Grosso and Barbara O'Brien to assess the impact of race in the administration of the death penalty in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Ice Miller will oversee and facilitate the project’s massive data collection and coding, and the professors will perform the statistical analysis. The impact of race will be assessed at every level, including the charging prosecutor, the victims involved and the individuals charged. Ice Miller and Professors Grosso and O’Brien intend to have the study and analysis done in within a calendar year. The results will be published and used by stakeholders in the criminal justice system as well as those advocating for legislative change.
  • Second Chance Driving Workshops
    The Second Chance Driving License Reinstatement Clinic (“Second Chance Workshop”) was formed in 2019 by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to provide individuals with information and direction on how to take the first steps in getting their driving privileges reinstated. Along with helping individuals resolve unpaid traffic tickets, the Second Chance Workshop helps resolve suspensions related to falling behind in child support payments. In 2020, Ice Miller LLP collaborated with Eli Lilly, Cummins Corporation, Indianapolis Legal Aid Society and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to assist indigent individuals in the reinstatement of their driving licenses. For 2021, Ice Miller has committed to participating in the Second Chance Workshop on a monthly basis to continue to serve our community. The next clinics are scheduled to take place on January 20, 2021; February 17, 2021; and March 24, 2021.
  • Georgetown University's Prisons and Justice Initiative
    Georgetown University’s Prisons and Justice Initiative (“PJI”) has sponsored the groundbreaking class “Making an Exoneree” for three years. The class is co-taught by PJI Director and Professor Marc Howard along with Adjunct Professor and Exoneree Martin Tankleff, who served 18 years for a murder he did not commit. After an exhaustive investigation, the 2020 “Making an Exoneree” class identified five individuals they believe to be wrongfully convicted. One of the five individuals is Jermane Scott, who was convicted of a 1996 murder in Springfield, Ohio and sentenced to life without parole. For the nearly 25 years Jermane has spent in prison, he has maintained his innocence and written about his experiences—from spending years of his life in solitary confinement to facing COVID-19 in prison. Ice Miller attorneys Diane Menashe, Leslie Rogers and Lydia Reback serve as co-counsel to Marc Howard and Marty Tenkleff in Jermane’s case. Their work includes a full case re-investigation as well as the pursuit of any/all litigation efforts to exonerate Jermane Scott.
Past Initiatives
  • Election Day Volunteer Support
    Ice Miller is providing volunteer support for Election Day 2020. Any person who works at a polling site on Election Day will be provided the opportunity to do so without having to use personal or vacation time. Ice Miller also is providing for personal protection equipment for anyone who volunteers. This opportunity applies only to those who work the polls as voting location officials to assist others in voting.  

Events

  • Racism: Where Do We Go From Here? Judicial Reform Panel
    On July 29, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EST a Columbus Metro Club panel, featuring Partner and Director of Litigation Training & Pro Bono Activities Diane Menashe and other guests, discussed what is being done and what could be done in the movement for Judicial Reform. A recording of the livestream event is available on YouTube.
  • Addressing Social Unrest and Racial Equity in the Workplace Webinar
    Ice Miller attorneys Charles Bush and Heather Adams and special guests presented a virtual panel discussion on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. EST. The panelists provided a level-set on challenges many diverse employees may be facing in the wake of George Floyd's murder and nationwide social unrest; explored how leaders can initiate and sustain crucial dialogue with their diverse employees and strive toward racial equity in the workplace; and provided insight on present and future legal issues employers may face during these tumultuous times.

News

 
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