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Goals & Tasks

The NATO Legal Support Project encompasses the following goals and tasks:

  • Recruit and train approximately 200 volunteer lawyers, law students, and paralegals to obtain permits, serve as Legal Observers™ during the NATO demonstrations, monitor the confinement conditions of the people arrested, and represent the protestors in court proceedings.
  • Recruit, train, and deploy Legal Observers™ equipped to monitor and document illegal, unconstitutional, and abusive behavior by law enforcement authorities.  Trainings will include a specialized focus on the intricacies of NSSEs.
  • Conduct “know-your-rights” (KYR) training sessions and draft and distribute KYR materials for non-citizen activists, queer and transgender activists, members of the military, and for participants in actions with a high risk of arrest (including demonstration organizers).
  • Operate a 24-hour hotline where arrests can be reported and where demonstrators can obtain information and news of developments that will affect their rights.
  • Maintain a full-time communications network covering Legal Observers™, lawyers, legal workers, and arrested protesters both through the internet and by telephone.
  • Assist with permit applications and negotiations.
  • Resolve potential conflicts with state and federal law enforcement agencies that intend to restrict the exercise of First Amendment rights.
  • Create and maintain a database to track all legal personnel and protestors who need legal assistance.  Maintain a databank of all materials created and used by lawyers representing NATO protesters, as well as all evidence collected for use at trial.
  • Set up and staff a legal support office to serve as a centralized home for the dispatch of Legal Observers™, 24-hour hotline, collection of evidence, arrestee intake, database operations, and media operations.
  • Determine whether litigation opposing unconstitutional police practices, ordinances, and permit provisions, is warranted before and during the meetings, and find attorneys to pursue any necessary litigation.
  • Advance a positive media presence; prepare “op-ed”, letters, and press releases; interface with media; make television and radio appearances where necessary; utilize social media to disseminate information; supply educational material for nlgchicago.org and other web sites.
  • Organize large-scale representation of all arrested in bond court, at initial appearances in the branch and circuit courts, and at subsequent legal proceedings; maintain a panel of experienced criminal defense attorneys to handle serious charges.
  • Create and disseminate legal support for all attorneys and legal workers, including motions to dismiss, pre-trial motions, expert testimony, evidence collected, and a group of legal advisors who have specialized in First Amendment and criminal cases for decades and can act as mentors.

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