The Gibbons Fellowship, originally conceived as a five-year commitment, recently celebrated its 28th anniversary. Throughout its history, it has litigated the most significant legal issues of our time – from the death penalty to same-sex marriage, from the rights of detained enemy combatants at Guantánamo and elsewhere (including the right of the public to know about their treatment) to equal funding for education, from the law of domestic violence to the rights of pregnant women, juvenile defendants, persons with AIDS, and current and recently released prison inmates, among others. Today, for example, the Fellowship is particularly engaged in high profile issues such as immigration/family separation, gun control, school desegregation, and police accountability.
Most recently, the Gibbons Fellowship won significant victories in federal and state cases involving prohibiting long sentences for juvenile offenders; requiring the disclosure of documentation regarding the CIA’s program of torture and abuse of enemy combatants; upholding state regulation of large capacity magazines for firearms; sustaining our challenge to New Jersey’s deeply segregated schools; and prohibiting the use of hearsay evidence in juvenile court. We also fought, albeit unsuccessfully, against the unfettered ability of federal prosecutors to repeatedly try criminal defendants against whom convictions cannot be obtained and for the disclosure of photographs of tortured detainees. Additionally, we settled an important case involving the unlawful separation of a child from his mother at the border, and have assisted several individuals to resist deportation, even as we continue to litigate the constitutionality of the detention without due process of others who have been arrested by ICE, though there is little chance that they will be deported. The Gibbons Fellowship maintains its fight for a meaningful Citizens Complaint Review Board in Newark, New Jersey; for the First Amendment rights of non-profits against a New York state statute requiring that they disclose membership lists; and for increased transparency with regard to the sale and use of firearms and the treatment of inmates in private prisons. And, of course, in the tradition of our namesake, the late John J. Gibbons, whom we lost in December 2018, we continue our fight against the death penalty and for inmates on death row, whether federal or in states, like Alabama, where capital punishment persists.
The Gibbons Fellows, led by Lawrence S. Lustberg, public interest and criminal defense attorney and longtime director of the Gibbons Fellowship, undertake public interest and constitutional law projects and litigation. Requests for representation or advice are considered from all sectors, public and private, including public interest organizations, legal services or public defender offices, government agencies, private non-profit corporations, courts, and individuals. Working with a broad cross-section of public interest groups, the Fellowship Program has become widely known in New Jersey and nationally as a voice for the poor and underrepresented.
The Gibbons Fellowship, originally conceived as a five-year commitment, recently celebrated its 28th anniversary. Throughout its history, it has litigated the most significant legal issues of our time – from the death penalty to same-sex…