U.S. District Court Creates Pro Bono Panel for Civil Rights Cases

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The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma has established a pro bono panel to appoint attorneys to represent unrepresented prisoners in federal civil rights cases.

The volunteer attorneys will not be paid for their legal services. However, the court has set aside funds to cover expenses such as depositions and expert witnesses.

The Oklahoma City Chapter of the Federal Bar Association has assisted the federal court in establishing the panel and in providing training for volunteer attorneys.

"The volunteer panel provides a necessary public service, both for the court and for those involved in federal civil rights cases," said Chief U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron. "A number of qualified attorneys have volunteered to serve on the panel and the court is appreciative of their service. The Federal Bar Association has provided valuable assistance to the court in establishing this panel, training the volunteers and has also donated $1,000 to the Court for assisting in payment of expenses in these cases."

John Kenney, the president of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, presented a check to Cauthron for $1,000.

"The Oklahoma City Chapter of the Federal Bar Association was fortunate enough to receive an award from the national Federal Bar Association," Kenney said. "That award included a cash prize of $1,000 which we are donating to this worthwhile project."

The initial training session sponsored by the Oklahoma City Chapter of the Federal Bar Association provides attorney training on "Prison Rights Litigation: Nuts & Bolts: How To Litigate Prisoner Rights Cases."

Sue Wycoff was chair of the Federal Bar Association Pro Bono Panel Committee.

Attorneys willing to consider appointment to the panel can find application forms at www.okwd.uscourts.gov.

Forensic evidence symposium

The Oklahoma City University School of Law will present "The Use and Misuse of Forensic Evidence" on March 6.

Sponsored by the Clyde R. Evans Charitable Trust of Oklahoma, the symposium will begin at 8 a.m. in the Sarkeys Law Center on the OCU campus.

"This symposium is designed to educate legal practitioners and interested members of the public on critical developments regarding the use and misuse of forensic evidence," said OCU law faculty member Jean Giles, program coordinator. …