Emily is one of five attorneys in the area to have just been added to the Criminal Justice Act Panel. After four years of practice in the Federal Courts, she is now taking on her own appointed cases. The CJA cases have been the most rewarding to her throughout her career. Emily is grateful for the opportunity and privilege to represent more indigent defendants.
Currently, local and federal authorities in Georgia are on a mission to "clean up" the prisons. The problem is, rather than attacking the private prison industry itself, they are using undercover agents to set up inmates, both inside and out of the prisons. The effect it is having is that the problems persist, employees remain in poverty which the industry booms, while drug guidelines place harsh penalties on inmates that did nothing more than make an introduction for a government informant.
Strongwater & Associates has several open cases regarding this initiative to clean up the prisons in Georgia. The case of Kevin Patterson is just one.
For more information, watch the interview with Jay Strongwater here.
Before his sentencing hearing, Hamza Bendelladj, also known as Bx1, caused quite the international commotion. Having created a cult following in the hacking world, he had entire websites dedicated to his release from custody.
Since his sentencing, word has gotten around that there are challenges to his guideline calculations pending in the 11th Circuit and reporters from across the globe have contacted Strongwater & Associates about the case. There are articles by Al Jazeera, BBC, and there were even urban legends circulating online about his death.
We are happy to report that Mr. Bendelladj is alive and well and looking forward to his chance to be heard by the 11th Circuit.
Brunner and Emily Strongwater, another Atlanta attorney handling a clemency case, learned this week that their clients were among the prisoners benefiting from Obama's effort to reconcile those sentenced under outdated mandatory minimums for possession of crack cocaine.
"Defense attorneys don't always have good days, but this was a good day," said Brunner of the win. Strongwater and Brunner submitted petitions for clemency through the volunteer group, called the Clemency Project.
Prisoners eligible for assistance through the Clemency Project must have served a minimum of 10 years, have no violent offenses or history of violence prior to their current term of imprisonment, have demonstrated good behavior in prison, and be serving a sentence that would have likely be much lower under current guidelines. The organization then matches eligible prisoners with pro bono attorneys, who work with Clemency Project staff to prepare compelling petitions for clemency.
Of the 61 prisoners granted clemency, 25 worked with the Clemency Project, according to the group. "The Clemency Project does a really great job of helping attorneys write the petitions and get that done effectively," said Strongwater.
Strongwater applied directly with the Clemency Project to offer pro bono assistance. Her client, Gregory Morgan, was also subjected to a sentence elevated for crack cocaine, and has served 168 months of a 225-month sentence to date. Under current guidelines, Morgan's charge would only draw a mandatory sentence of 140 months.