The Initiative has undertaken the following projects in 2009 and 2010:
1. Post-conviction Challenges for 16 Death Row Prisoners in MississippiAn action on behalf of 16 death row inmates against the state of Mississippi, seeking to enforce the inmates’ right to competent counsel and access to the courts during their state post-conviction proceedings. The lawsuit, Knox v. Mississippi, seeks to compel the state to provide the plaintiffs with competent and conscientious counsel for future proceedings, and to remedy the denial of those rights in past proceedings. It also requests a stay of execution for all of the inmates.
2. Exclusion of African Americans from Juries in Certain Alabama CountiesInvestigating the practices in Alabama of a county prosecutor's office that is systematically exercising its peremptory challenges in a racially discriminatory manner to exclude African-Americans from serving as jurors in criminal cases. The Initiative is preparing to file an action challenging this systematic discriminatory practice and will be seeking equitable relief to ensure that the county abides by its constitutional obligations to allow citizens to serve as jurors in criminal cases without regard to their race.
3. Obtaining Additional Allocation of Food Stamps for District of Columbia ResidentsAssisting the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia with litigation concerning the District’s public benefits programs. Litigation has been brought seeking injunctive relief as well as retroactive benefits for individuals who meet new eligibility standards under the District’s expanded Food Stamp Program and have been denied benefits.