Molly Griffard

  • Hosted by The Legal Aid Society
  • Sponsored by Venture Justice Fund
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Through this Fellowship, Molly will directly represent low-income New Yorkers in seeking accountability for police and prosecutorial misconduct, focusing on claims that private attorneys will not bring but which have a profound impact on the financial and social well-being of those who have experienced law enforcement misconduct.

Low income people, especially people of color, face a greater risk of being targeted, harassed, and having their rights violated by law enforcement than other New Yorkers. Providing individual representation in police and prosecutorial misconduct matters has the twofold impact of directly aiding clients while also surfacing data that is otherwise difficult to collect. This data can assist civil rights attorneys in identifying patterns of rights violations, assist public defenders in identifying officers with a history of misconduct, and inform criminal justice reform efforts. As a result, individual representation can build momentum toward systemic change.

Molly learned to question the fairness of the criminal system when she became involved in anti-death penalty work as a high school student in St. Louis, Missouri. In the following years, she was confronted with the stark injustice of the use of force against people of color by police, which inspired her work to seek accountability and to end a culture of impunity that allows abuse by law enforcement to continue.

Fellowship Plans

Molly will represent clients in filing complaints against law enforcement in court as well as in administrative proceedings, including filing complaints with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the NYPD’s Office of the Inspector General, and the newly created State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct. She will also track incidents of police misconduct in Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project (CAP) database to identify patterns and develop litigation and policy strategies to reform these practices. Finally, she will conduct trainings for attorneys and know-your-rights community education workshops to equip attorneys and community members alike with tools to challenge law enforcement misconduct.

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Michael Pope

Host: Youth Represent

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Andrea Woods

Host: American Civil Liberties Union Criminal Law Reform Project

Sponsor: Intellectual Ventures, The Ottinger Foundation

Mani Nezami

Host: Earl Carl Institute

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

LaTri-c-ea McClendon-Hunt

Host: Rhode Island Legal Services