Need Help? (410) 625-9409

Press Room

If you’re a reporter researching a story related to economic justice and/or racial inequity, Public Justice Center staff can provide expertise on a range of topics, including appellate advocacy, attorney fee shifting legislation, education, health care and public benefits, housing, pretrial detention, right to counsel in civil cases involving basic needs, and workers’ rights. Attorneys are listed below by topic.

Public Justice Center phone number: (410) 625-9409

General press inquiries about the Public Justice Center or referral to other potential contacts in the nonprofit advocacy world on topics that are not addressed below.

John Nethercut, Executive Director (x238)

 

Appellate Advocacy

The attorneys in the PJC’s Appellate Advocacy Project identify cases on appeal that have the potential for accomplishing systemic change of the legal and social systems that create or permit injustice. They represent individuals whose cases can reform the law and write friend-of-the-court briefs (also known as amicus briefs) in appeals to help judges understand the impact of their decisions on people with low-incomes and communities of color. The project has influenced decisions related to eviction, police accountability, debt collection, and workers’ rights, among others.

Dena Robinson, Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellow (x222)

Debra Gardner, Legal Director (x228)

 

Attorney fee shifting (state legislation)

The Maryland General Assembly has considered legislation in past years that would have given Maryland judges the discretion to award reasonable attorneys’ fees to plaintiffs who have successfully proven that the State or local government violated their rights under the Maryland Constitution or Declaration of Rights. Such rights include the right to vote, right to free speech, freedom of religion, right to a jury trial, protection from illegal search and seizure, prohibition of sex discrimination, and right to due process and equal protection. The attorneys below can speak about PJC advocacy for this legislation.

John Nethercut, Executive Director (x238)

Debra Gardner, Legal Director (x228)

 

Education

The attorneys in the PJC’s Education Stability Project can speak about school pushout/student discipline (suspension, expulsion, and forced transfers), homeless students and education, students in foster care and education, and unaccompanied immigrants and education.

Monisha Cherayil, Attorney (x234)

Renuka Rege, Attorney (x272)

 

Health Care and Public Benefits

Attorney Ashley Black can speak about a range of issues related to access to healthcare and public benefits, including disparities and racism in maternal health care, dental care for low-income adults, racial disparities in access to Hepatitis C medication, and the provision of language services for people with Limited English Proficiency by healthcare providers and state agencies.

Ashley Black, Attorney (x224)

 

Housing

The attorneys in the PJC’s Human Right to Housing Project can speak about legal representation of renters facing eviction, substandard conditions in low-rent rental housing, and anti-consumer practices in the rental housing market. Additional expertise for individual attorneys is listed below.

Matt Hill, Attorney (x229): Affordable housing and fair development in Maryland, especially Baltimore City; source of income discrimination

Zafar Shah, Attorney (x237): Rent court reform, water billing in Baltimore City, primary author of 2015 report Justice Diverted: How Renters Are Processed in Baltimore City Rent Court

Charisse Lue, Attorney (x245): Rent court reform

Ronnie Reno, Attorney (x247)

 

Pretrial Detention

Legal Director Debra Gardner can speak about PJC’s efforts as a member of the Coalition for a Safe and Just Maryland to reform bail and pre-trial services and to improve health and safety conditions in pretrial detention in Baltimore City.

Debra Gardner, Legal Director (x228)

 

Right to counsel in cases involving basic needs

Attorney John Pollock can speak about efforts to expand the right to counsel in civil cases involving basic human needs such as housing, child custody, domestic violence, public benefits, health, immigration, education, and civil incarceration. The focus of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel is on all 50 states and at the federal level. Information on right to counsel status and the latest developments is at civilrighttocounsel.org.

John Pollock, Attorney and Coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC) (x275)

 

Workers’ Rights

The attorneys in the PJC’s Workplace Justice Project can speak about wage payment/wage theft, Maryland wage laws, misclassification of employees as independent contractors, labor brokers, joint employment, and work conditions. Additional expertise for individual attorneys is listed below.

Sally Dworak-Fisher, Attorney (x273): Maryland’s earned sick and safe leave law, the Healthy Working Families Act

Monisha Cherayil, Attorney (x234): Paystub transparency legislation

David Rodwin, Attorney (x249): Wage payment/wage theft related to home care workers and other Medicaid-funded low-wage workforces, including non-emergency medical transportation drivers

Tyra Robinson, Juris Doctor (x223)