From the President – April, 2016
Come Celebrate Law Week with the Akron Bar Association!
If you have been following these letters, you know that we are still working towards implementing more than 60 recommendations made by the task forces developed after last year’s board retreat. More will be reported on that in upcoming issues of the Examiner, but during this time of year we pause to note one of the landmark occasions for lawyers throughout the United States of America in all occupations: Law Day. The Akron Bar Association has a week-long series of events planned but it all begins with Law Day on May 1.
From the American Bar Association:
Every year since 1958, the nation has marked Law Day on May 1st. Law Day provides an opportunity for us to commemorate our national ideals of liberty, justice, and equality under the law and affords us an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to those great principles.
The American Bar Association has designated the theme of this Law Day as “Miranda: More than Words” to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona. In Miranda, the court held that law enforcement personnel must advise a suspect of his or her rights in order to use statements made during a custodial interrogation in a later criminal proceeding. As a result of this case, police developed the Miranda warning, which lets people questioned by police know of their constitutional rights to refrain from speaking to police and to consult an attorney.
The Miranda warning has become so ingrained in our popular culture and consciousness that many of us know all or some of its words, starting with, “You have the right to remain silent.” Yet, as the ABA Law Day theme implies, there is much more to Miranda than the words of the warning; it has become a living symbol of the importance of procedural fairness and equal justice under the law in our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, as a nation, many challenges still remain in effectuating our national pledge of “justice for all,” including dealing with racial disparities in the justice system, disproportionate sentencing, and inadequately funded public defense systems. We can and must do better; the Constitution and our cherished national principles demand it.
This Law Day, let us reflect on the importance of our constitutional rights, promote public awareness and understanding of those rights, and commit ourselves to the work that remains to be done in ensuring that we have a criminal-justice system that is fair for all Americans.
Your Bar Association urges you to participate in the May 2nd Street Law Student Summit, the May 4th Law Day Luncheon at Greystone, and the Red Mass at St. Bernard’s Church on May 6 where Ninth District Court Judge Carla Moore will be presented with this year’s Sir Thomas More Award, presented by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese in recognition of a member of the legal community who demonstrates outstanding personal integrity, community service and professional excellence. Details about these local events are found elsewhere in this issue. I hope that you will join us to celebrate Law Week 2016.
Akron Bar Association President