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TED Talk Tuesday: "Why smart statistics are the key to fighting crime" by Anne Milgram
Public safety is the most important function of government. If we’re not safe we can’t be educated, we can’t be healthy, and we can’t do the other things we want to in our lives.
— Anne Milgram

When Anne Milgram became the Attorney General of New Jersey in 2007, she was stunned to find out just how little data was available on who was being arrested, who was being charged, who was serving time in jails and prisons, and who was being released. Anne Milgram is focused on reforming the criminal justice system through smart data, analytics and technology. She is currently a Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law.

Anne Milgram excerpts to note:

  • Two thirds of the people in our jails are there waiting for trial. They haven't yet been convicted of a crime. They're just waiting for their day in court. And 67 percent of people come back. Our recidivism rate is amongst the highest in the world. Almost seven in 10 people who are released from prison will be rearrested in a constant cycle of crime and incarceration.

  • Using data and analytics to help make the most critical decision in public safety: whether they pose a risk to public safety and should be detained, or don’t and should be released. This one decision impacts everything- sentencing, drug treatment, crime, violence.


Anne explains current US arrest stats and the simple tool she and her team of data scientists and researchers and statisticians to build a universal risk assessment tool, so that every single judge in the United States of America can have an objective, scientific measure of risk.

They can now predict three things:

  1. Whether or not someone will commit a new crime if they're released

  2. Phether someone will commit an act of violence if they're released

  3. predict whether someone will come back to court

Practicing personal injury and workers’ compensation law for nearly 40 years, Wayne Powell has seen the crime and incarceration cycle first-hand:

Fortunately, working in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country. It goes to show the system is not totally incapable of change, especially with changemakers like Anne Milgram, and attorneys who follow through with their clients, offering them more than just legal advice and council, but resources that they can turn to once they leave the courtroom. I am determined to support my clients so that they’re not part of that statistic or that cycle.
— Wayne Powell
Click to read the full article on usnews.com

Click to read the full article on usnews.com

Report: Virginia Has Lowest Inmate Recidivism Rate Again

Virginia officials have announced that the state's re-incarceration rate is the lowest in the country for the second year in a row. (November 3, 2017)

The Powell Law Group in Midlothian believes in the justice system and your rights. Working hard to bring justice to each of their personal injury and workers’ compensation clients, Wayne Powell and his team of lawyers, law clerks, paralegals and assistants are dedicated to continued education which they find echoed in this insightful Tuesday TED Talk series. Hope you enjoy them and learn something, too.

If you or someone you love has been injured on the job or in an accident, please reach out to us. We provide free case reviews and decades of experience to get you what you deserve.

personal injury | Workers’ Compensation | Criminal defense | Contact us

TED Talk Tuesday: Ronald Sullivan speaks of freeing the innocent

Welcome to our next TED Talk Tuesday, a series of posts where Wayne Powell from the Powell Law Group in Virginia shares his favorite TED talks about the justice system, crime in America, democracy, the rule of law, and mass incarceration. TED is a nonprofit devoted to welcoming highly-trained professionals, educators, authors, researchers, and creative thinkers from every discipline and culture to spread innovative ideas to national and international conferences and lesson series.

Being a representative of the law is a powerful role, and attorneys, prosecutors, and elected representatives in the judicial system should consider the weight of their decision making in every case they come across.
— Wayne Powell

In this talk, Harvard Law Professor Ronald Sullivan talks about his defense of thousands of innocent persons wrongfully convicted. Professor Sullivan has merged legal theory and practice over the course of his career in unique and cutting-edge ways. Professor Sullivan is a leading theorist in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, trial practice and techniques, legal ethics, and race theory. He is the faculty director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute and the Harvard Trial Advocacy Workshop.

“Justice doesn’t happen. People make justice happen. Justice is something that people of good will make happen.”
— Ronald Sullivan
Wayne Powell | TED Talk Tuesday | Ronald Sullivan.png
Separated Border Families: Wayne Powell & International Association of Lawyers

Viewpoints Aligned

As a United States representative of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA – International Association of Lawyers), Wayne Powell attended the June conference in New York where the separation of border families was a hot topic. Below is the intro to a joint statement, followed by aligned thoughts from Wayne Powell.

New York, June 30, 2018


UIA | Wayne Powell | Separated Families.png

Upon the occasion of the Governing Board meeting of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA – International Association of Lawyers), convened in New York, NY, USA, on June 30, the undersigned signatories note with grave concern the recently imposed United States policy, as implemented by President Donald J. Trump, ordering the inhumane separation of immigrant children from their parents at the United States borders. While we note that the Executive Order recently issued by President Trump revoked the policy for future child detainees, the Executive Order did not address a plan with respect to the more than 2,300 children who have already been separated in the wake of the implementation of President Trump’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.

Click to continue reading the joint statement on the International Association of Lawyer's website.

As a member of the UIA, I stand in support of the statement issued urging that all children affected by President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy be reunited with parents within 30 days, 14 days if the children are younger than 5 years. We must insist that these authorities help the parents and children establish communication with one another, and make a continued effort to reunite these families.

We must put an end to sending young children in court without legal representation and without their legal guardians. I, along with many of my fellow lawyers from the UIA, are here to assist in reuniting these children and their families, and ensuring they have an advocate for them in court, and that they understand their rights.

Almost 20 years ago, I represented a Hispanic family whose children had been taken from them by an American family while in their home country handling the legality of their formal immigration to the United States. My clients, a modest, humble, religious couple returned to their home country to visit the American Consulate and retrieve their immigration papers. The couple left their children in the temporary custody of the father's employer. After they obtained their papers and came back to the U.S. "legally" and anxiously awaited their reunion with their children, the American couple simply responded that they would be taking the children permanently and not returning them to the parents.

I petitioned the juvenile relations court at that time in a predominantly Caucasian, suburban county to retrieve the children for their parents. I incorrectly assumed that this would be a straightforward process seeing as there was no reason why the birth parents of these children were undeserving of their custody rights, and the law would be on their side. Neither father nor mother had any criminal background, no prior legal troubles, and were involved members of their Protestant church and their community. Much to my shock, when I attended the hearing before the substitute judge, the ruling stated that the children were "better off" with the Caucasian, American couple. The motivation was clear. Without reference to the integrity of the biological parents and without evidence to suggest that they were anything other than loving parents, a family was ripped apart. U.S. citizenship was equated to good character or parenting competency in this case, a superiority complex rooted in prejudice. This process was grueling for my clients both emotionally and financially. They were unable to pay me for my representation after our initial appearance in juvenile and domestic relations court. I was unwilling to leave them without representing in the pursuit of an appeal. During the appeal in the Circuit court, the judge immediately granted custody to the natural parents, my clients. I instructed the American couple to deliver the children to the parents’ house within a half an hour of leaving the courthouse.

In my case, justice was done, but it's significant to know that the same racist, intolerant attitude, and superiority expressed by the judge and the Caucasian couple remains strong in our society. These opinions are even articulated among the highest officials in the land. An intolerant justice and immigration system should not be considered a new "normal" by a nation whose foundation is built on immigrants. Crime does not have a skin color, an ethnicity, a language, or a religion. Officials, citizens, migrants alike should be held to the same standard of due process.

If you or someone you know is suffering from an injustice,

call Powell Law Group today. (804) 794.4030

TED Talk Tuesday: How I defend the rule of law

Today on TED Talk Tuesday with Wayne Powell of Powell Law Group, we share Kimberley Motley.  The only western litigator in Afghanistan, she discusses her learning over the past 10 years from CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies to pro bono work for young girls. 

Justness is using laws for their intended purpose: to protect. Justness is a global problem. The need for justness is so great, it cannot be ignored.
— Kimberley Motley

Highlighting the hard job journalists have in sharing global injustice and helping to understand what's going on in the world around us, Motley talks about the need to protect journalists in order for keep governments accountable and transparent. 

She points out that 280 million boys and girls under 15 are in marriages that prolong the vicious cycle of poverty, poor health, lack of education.

One specific case Motley shares talks about a 12-year-old girl sold into marriage by her brother. This child is tortured after refusing to become a prostitute for the family. When Motley finally meets her while given a safe haven by Women for Afghan Women, she begins to understand the lack of education partly kept the child in this situation.

... she didn’t know what her rights were, but she did know she had a certain level of protection by her government that failed her, and so we were able to talk about what her legal options were.
— Kimberley Motley

After watching this TED Talk, Wayne Powell points out several personal beliefs that have driven his career and litigation practice for almost four decades:

  • A law is not just a piece of the legal system, but a cultural change, adapting people’s impression of justice, fairness, and other principles that the system depends on.

  • The law is suppose to be what governs behavior in order to protect the people, and a change in the law should reflect the will and the way those people wish to be governed.

  • Protecting everyone's right to be free protects all of us, because it means we have built a system of fairness. What we once saw as individual problems, or state level problems, are global problems, and are amongst the shared responsibilities we have as a part of the international legal community.

At Powell Law Group, we find many of our clients who have been injured don’t always know the laws, but feel their current injury is the fault of another person or company. It is in our understanding of the law that we are able to help clients find justice.

If you or someone you know needs help to find justice, call Powell Law Group to learn how Wayne Powell and his team have been helping people navigate the American justice system for nearly four decades.

We all need to create a global culture of human rights and be investors in a global human rights economy, and by working in this mindset, we can significantly improve justice globally.
— Kimberley Motley

Tuesday TED Talks: Curated By Wayne Powell - Post 2

This is our second TED Talk Tuesday, a series of posts where Wayne Powell from the Powell Law Group in Virginia shares his favorite TED talks about the justice system, crime in America, democracy, the rule of law, and mass incarceration. TED is a nonprofit devoted to welcoming highly-trained professionals, educators, authors, researchers, and creative thinkers from every discipline and culture to spread innovative ideas to national and international conferences and lesson series.

In this video, Bryan Stevenson, human rights lawyer and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, talks about the hard truths of the American justice system. He focuses on the imbalance of incarceration rates for the African American male population and the power of identity in the pursuit of justice.  Stevenson spends his career fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

After watching, Wayne Powell notes how compelling Bryan Stevenson’s remarks are about how the makeup of our prison system and how the identities of those incarcerated has changed drastically in the past 40 years. Mass incarceration has changed our world, and disproportionately affects poor communities and people of color that shapes future generations. 

As an attorney, I think it’s vital that the legal community stay committed to understanding the challenges of those who are disadvantaged by the justice system based on their identity.  
— wayne powell

Quotes from Stevenson's TED Talk that are particularly powerful and worth highlighting:   

“There is a capacity within every person to contribute to perspective that is hopeful.”

“The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. We cannot be fully, evolved human beings without caring about human rights.”

Bryan Stevens TED Talk | Wayne Powell Thoughts | Powell Law Group