Rising for Justice believes in ensuring due process for all civil litigants.
At the urging of DC Superior Court in early 2018, we established the CPO Project (CPOP), a first-of-its-kind project to provide representation to respondents in CPO matters.
Every year thousands of individuals in DC appear in Civil Protection Order (CPO) court and face losing custody of their children, deportation, incarceration, or other severe consequences that we generally think are only the result of criminal proceedings – where defendants have guaranteed counsel and the government must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. No such procedural protections exist for CPO respondents, who face the same consequences and who sometimes appear before the court in response to petitions whose goals are better suited for family or landlord-tenant court. To combat this grave inequality, Rising for Justice represents respondents before the court; our services include legal advice, brief services, and CPO trial representation. Almost half of our clients are women; all have been accused of some form of intra-family criminal conduct.
By ensuring both sides to the CPO have representation, Rising for Justice reduces violence and resolves conflict in a structured setting where all parties have the opportunity to air any concerns. We facilitate peaceful resolutions and settlements of CPOs. Thanks to our interventions, respondents are more likely to comply with resulting CPOs and entire families are assisted, even family members who are often seen as unworthy of help.
Rising for Justice staffs an office in the Superior Court where prospective clients can walk-in and meet with staff attorneys or pro bono volunteers for advice and representation.