Several Washington law groups have joined to offer free legal assistance to individuals who may be arrested during the Inauguration Friday or the Women’s March on Saturday.
Organizations including the National Lawyer’s Guild, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, the D.C. Law Students in Court and Law for Black Lives, D.C., plan to have lawyers, paralegals and other staffers on call over the weekend through Monday to help individuals who are arrested during demonstrations.
Moses Cook, executive director of D.C. Law Students, said his students have spent the past week going over First Amendment law to prepare to argue in a bipartisan position for those demonstrators arrested. The law students were also instructed on D.C. policing rules during demonstrations.
“We’re ready to defend their Constitutional rights,” Cook said.
Patrice Sulton, a supervising attorney with the organization said her attorneys will also be available next week for those individuals who were arrested and want to see about getting their cases expunged.
A National Lawyer’s Guild hotline was created for individuals or their family or friends. The primary number for those arrested and jailed is 202-670-6866. More general questions from families and friends of those arrested can be directed by phone to 1-866-798-6444 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s website justiceonline.org also has information under the header “Know Your Rights.”
Most legal experts expect that individual demonstrators arrested would likely be fined and released by police. In those cases, there would be no conviction, but often times there would still be an arrest that appears on their record.
Other individuals may receive a citation and be ordered to return for hearing at D.C. Superior Court at a later date.
Individuals arrested Friday could be ordered held overnight until court Saturday. However, those arrested on Saturday and ordered detained based on their charges, would remain in a local lock up until court reopens Monday.
Lauren Dollar, an attorney coordinating with the D.C. chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild, said members of the organization will be wearing green hats that say “Legal Observer” and will be walking around Inauguration activities Friday and at the Women’s March Saturday observing “police behavior and making sure people’s first amendment rights are protected,” she said.