Black Prosecutors Fight Injustice On-and-Off the Job

Back

Antonio Nicholson, Esq.

Antonio Nicholson, Esq.

August 2015 — After talking with clients at his first Legal Aid clinic, Cleveland Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jonathon McDonald recognized the need for Legal Aid in the community. “I knew it would be a good partnership for the Prosecutor’s Office and a way to build our reputation in the community,” said McDonald. As President of the Cleveland Chapter of the Black Prosecutors Association (BPA), McDonald had the tools to make it happen. BPA members volunteer at several Clinics each year, helping Legal Aid to assist community members we otherwise would not have the resources to help.

“Sometimes being able to talk to someone is all people need,” said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Johanna Lopez. She recounted a story about a woman who came to a clinic to get help filling out the paperwork to secure her divorce. “I was able to speak to her and let her get things off her chest.” Lopez noted the benefit to the attorneys participating in the program: “Our work with Legal Aid helps us to develop the skills necessary to interact with people from the community. We learn to be patient and let people express themselves.”

“We all do share the same goals. We want to live safely. We want to have a place to call our home. We want to be able to raise our kids and have them thrive,” said First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Duane Deskins. “At the end of the day everyone deserves good legal representation,” added Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brett Hammond, who also volunteers on Legal Aid’s Development Committee. “Their finances shouldn’t affect their ability to receive that,” he continued.

Legal Aid’s partnership with the Black Prosecutors Association continues to get stronger every year as more attorneys volunteer and staff free advice clinics. First Founded in 1983, the National Black Prosecutors Association is comprised of more than 800 prosecutors nationwide and in Canada. It includes both chief and line prosecutors from local, state, and federal offices. In addition to prosecutors, the association’s membership includes law students, former prosecutors, and law enforcement personnel.

Like the BPA, your group or law firm can volunteer with Legal Aid. Or, you can individually volunteer. To learn more, visit www.lasclev.org/volunteer.

Click here to view the full Poetic Justice Issue where this story appeared.

Volunteer
Success Stories
Get Help
Donate
About Us
photo
Housing Justice Alliance
The Campaign for Legal Aid will support the Housing Justice Alliance - and we'll be the first community in Ohio to create a right to counsel when someone's home is at risk.

Read More

www.lasclev.org/HousingJusticeAlliance

photo
The Campaign for Legal Aid
Steady growth in donor support through The Campaign for Legal Aid extends Legal Aid’s reach in Northeast Ohio.

Read More

www.ExtendJustice.org

photo
Working together to #ExtendJustice
Our leadership with The Campaign for Legal Aid will extend the reach of justice to more families in Northeast Ohio.

Read More

www.ExtendJustice.org

  • photo1
  • photo1
  • photo1