In the News

California Is Considering Ending Criminal Court Fees and Wiping Out Billions in Debt

Monday, June 17, 2019 | ,

Three years ago, during Brandon Greene’s first week working as a lawyer in a new clinic affiliated with the East Bay Community Law Center, he was handed a stack of cases to review. Each involved a client who was struggling to pay down the fines and fees that easily accumulate in California’s criminal justice system. It was his job to help. A handful of the cases were so old that he couldn’t find current contact information for the clients. He quickly realized that “some of those folks,” even if he did reach them, “could not get back on their feet at all”  because of their debt. “The folks who were being affected were mostly indigent,” he said. “Everything costs money. Every program costs money. And a lot of folks can’t afford to pay these things.”

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Defender of the homeless remains committed, and angry

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 |

In 2017, Neumann helped represent First They Came for the Homeless, an organized encampment, against an eviction by BART. In 2018, he represented the RV-based Berkeley Friends on Wheels, and assisted in representing Oakland’s Housing and Dignity Village camp. He’s now working on a lawsuit against Caltrans, which, according to Neumann, has been “taking property and destroying it,” a violation, he argues, of the Fourth Amendment.

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I Served My Prison Time. Why Do I Still Have to Pay?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 | ,

Theresa Zhen, a staff attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley, who is helping coordinate the advocacy effort for SB144, is already declaring victory. “The fact that even the opposition to the bill admits that it’s philosophically right is huge,” she said. “We’re finally having the real conversation: that courts have been built on the backs of the poor.”

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EBCLC Celebrates Our 2019 Graduates

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 |

Each summer, EBCLC sends a new class of over 150 principled, compassionate attorneys into the world. We hope you will join us in celebrating all of our students, and in congratulating our very own Nirali Beri, Hannah Flanery, and Cindy Pan on the highly distinguished honors they received in May!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Today, Senate Bill 144, introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell, was amended with text that will end the assessment and collection of administrative fees imposed against people in the criminal justice system

Thursday, March 28, 2019 | ,

By doing so, it would dramatically reduce the economic hardships caused by court-ordered debt and enhance the economic security of system-involved populations, their families and their communities. SB 144 will usher in an era of criminal justice policy that does not rely on stripping wealth from communities of color and low-income communities.

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