WSB TV did an in-depth report on a GLSP case involving a young Henry County man who was expelled from school and made to graduate from an alternative high school because he carried a pain killer pill to school when he had a tooth extraction scheduled for later in the day. GLSP helped get the criminal case against him dropped and is now trying to clear his school records so he can get a job and get on with his life. See the film by CLICKING HERE…
On September 7th 2013, more than 200 women and girls came together to discuss domestic violence, teen dating violence and sexual exploitation of girls. Sponsored by GLSP’s Macon Regional Office and other partners, the event was an opportunity to bring up hard questions in a safe and comfortable environment. Stopping and preventing violence against women is the mission of the event, which was the second annual Secrets & Stilettos gathering. Click here to view a video of the highlights.
Douglas County Child Support Project
Pat Buonodono and Elaine Johnson, AOC staff of the Georgia Commission on Child Support, are working as part of the Douglas Child Support Project to establish procedures for victims of family violence to obtain child support as quickly as possible. Very often, victims return to their abusers because they have no other means of financial support to provide housing and other essentials for their children.
The Child Support Project in Douglas County represents the collaboration between local domestic violence advocates, the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Douglasville Child Support Services, the Clerk of Court, the Douglas County Sheriff, and the AOC. The filing of a petition for a temporary protective order (TPO) sets off a chain of events that is unique.
Once the TPO petition is filed, domestic violence advocates refer the victim to the local office of the DHS Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). DCSS assists the victim in completing an application for child support and any other services for which they may qualify. A DCSS agent notifies the Clerk of Court that the petition for the establishment of child support is on its way, and the Clerk then contacts the Sheriff to ask for service on the TPO petition to be held until the child support petition is filed so that both petitions may be served together.
The benefit of this Project is that non-custodial parents do not have the opportunity to evade service of the child support order. A petition for permanent, rather than temporary, support can be brought before a judge.
A judge may, but is not required to, order temporary child support in a TPO. While this is an immediate solution to what may be a financial crisis for the family, any order for child support contained in a TPO will expire with the TPO, which lasts only twelve months. Many judges are reticent to order support in a TPO – either because the order will expire or because they believe child support should be handled as a separate case. The protocol established by the Child Support Project in Douglas County addresses both of those concerns, while still quickly addressing the financial needs of the family.
Only a few cases have made their way through the Douglas County Project to date, so information is still being gathered as to the effectiveness of the protocol. If the Project proves to be effective in assisting domestic violence victims obtaining the financial resources they need to live independently of their abusers, the Committee will begin to expand the Project to other counties.
Lisa J. Krisher, litigation director of Georgia Legal Services Program, has been awarded the Kutak-Dodds Prize by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. The prestigious Kutak-Dodds Prize annually honors a public interest attorney who has “significantly contributed to the human dignity and quality of life of individuals unable to afford legal representation.” It comes with a $10,000 check.
The Kutak-Dodds Prize will be presented to Krisher on Sept. 19, 2013, in Washington, D.C. at a dinner at which NLADA will also present awards to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and to Senior Vice President and General Counsel for UPS Teri Plummer McClure.
A 1978 graduate of Antioch School of Law in Washington D.C., Krisher came directly to GLSP to begin her career. She became litigation director in 1990. A resident of Augusta, Krisher supervises high-impact litigation and other advocacy initiatives by attorneys at GLSP, a non-profit law firm representing low-income Georgians in civil matters in 154 counties outside the metro-Atlanta area. With ten regional offices around the state, GLSP’s mission is to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for residents of rural and small-town Georgia. Some of GLSP’s funding comes through the Legal Services Corporation.
GLSP Executive Director Phyllis Holmen said Krisher deserves the nationally recognized honor “for her personal vision and commitment; her work to meet client needs under the most challenging circumstances; her innovative solutions to barriers to the delivery of legal services to the poor in the rural south; and the statewide and national impact of her work as an advocate, leader, supervisor, teacher, and role model, all done in the context of a rural southern state with entrenched generational poverty and ongoing civil rights issues.”
Holmen continued, “It has been my personal privilege and delight to work with Lisa for these many years, and I am grateful for all she has done for justice in Georgia and fighting for equality, opportunity, and the elimination of poverty.”
Krisher played a key role in developing GLSP’s Farmworker Rights Division, nationally recognized as one of the best legal-aid programs for itinerant agricultural workers, of whom Georgia has about 100,000, many still working in unsafe and abusive conditions. The Division has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars of back wages for workers, improved working conditions and secured better labor practices on the part of growers.
She also spearheaded GLSP’s effort to serve non-English speaking clients by developing a crew of Spanish-speaking attorneys across the state, as well as a Spanish intake line for GLSP, so clients with limited English may tell their stories in their native language and be understood. She has also guided efforts by GLSP to make sure interpreters are available in all legal proceedings, including those that don’t happen in a courtroom. (GLSP is prohibited from representing undocumented persons.)
And, filing federal civil rights complaints and pressing state-level administrators, Krisher forced change by the state of Georgia in how food stamp fraud cases are prosecuted, ultimately changing the way the state pursues those cases. The state had been scheduling more than 100 hearings a day in which food stamp recipients were threatened with criminal prosecution if they did not sign waivers of their rights and agreements to pay back the amount they had received in food stamps. Most of the recipients had done nothing more than buy food at the only store within walking distance of their homes. In one major case involving hundreds of recipients, the grocer was ultimately prosecuted rather than the recipients, thanks to GLSP’s efforts.
In 1997, Krisher was awarded the Dan Bradley Award from the State Bar of Georgia, recognizing her dedication, accomplishments and contributions to the cause of justice for all.
Georgia Legal Services Program Bilingual Staff Attorney Jana Edmondson-Cooper was interviewed by a radio personality about Secrets and Stilettos: Saving Our Sisters. Hear the interview by clicking here…
Supervising Attorney Tomieka Daniel of the Macon Georgia Legal Services Program office was interviewed by the Macon Telegraph newspaper about the upcoming “Secrets and Stilettos:Saving our Sisters” event. Women and girls from age 13 and up are invited to The Galleria Conference Center at Houston County Galleria mall in Centerville, Sept 7, 3 to 5 (p.m.).
Read the entire article by clicking here.
Education is a major focus of Georgia Legal Services Program. Low-income students who are having trouble enrolling in school, families who don’t speak English being turned away by school systems and children being unfairly disciplined or expelled from school may all find help by contacting their local GLSP office.
- Read more about a student’s right to enroll in school and stay in school by clicking here.
- Read more about how to enroll your child in school by clicking here.
View this flyer to find out your rights to go to school and to stay in school.
Focusing on bringing access to justice for all by overcoming language barriers, the latest GLSP newsletter details our advocacy for free interpreters to be made available in all legal proceedings. Click here to read more: GLSP Spring Newsletter
Georgia Legal Services Program is stepping out as a leader in helping people who don’t speak English get access to interpreters in court or in any other legal proceeding in Georgia.
GLSP has assembled a collection of interpreter resources for lawyers representing clients who are limited-English proficient (LEP). The resources include articles for lawyers about using interpreters, links to state and federal interpreter registries and, importantly, a motion for a certified interpreter and a brief in support of the motion for a certified interpreter.
Lawyers can access these resources in two ways: Text “interpreter” to 99699 on a smartphone, or visit and join GeorgiaAdvocates.org, Georgia’s statewide volunteer lawyer support website.
In addition, GLSP Senior Staff Attorney Ira Foster, and bilingual Staff Attorney Jana Edmondson-Cooper, both in Macon, co-authored an article entitled “Back in Session: The ABCs of Student enrollment in Georgia Public Schools for Non-Parents and Parents with Limited English Proficiency,” to be published in the Fall 2013 issue of the newsletter of the Child Protection and Advocacy Section of the State Bar.
And Edmondson-Cooper has been named to fill a vacancy on the Georgia Commission on Interpreters. The Commission, which sets the rules, policies and procedures for regulating the quality of court interpreters in the state of Georgia, is comprised of legislators, judges, lawyers, court interpreters. Each year members rotate off the Commission and recommendations are received for new appointments which must be approved by the Supreme Court. Edmondson-Cooper is a trained court interpreter and worked in that capacity before going to law school.