Norman L Reimer to be new Chief Executive of Fair Trials

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Norman L Reimer as the new Chief Executive of Fair Trials. After 20 years in private practice as a defence lawyer based in New York City, Norm served for nearly 15 years as the Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the preeminent organisation dedicated to advancing the criminal defence bar in the US. 

During his tenure at NACDL, Norm led ground-breaking efforts to combat pervasive injustice in the US criminal legal system, such as overcriminalisation, mass incarceration, systemic racial and ethnic disparity, and abusive pre-trial detention practices, among others. He also led numerous efforts to provide representation for people accused of crimes. 
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EU: Ban the use of AI to ‘predict’ criminal behaviour 

Fair Trials has called on the EU to ban the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision-making (ADM) systems to predict, profile or assess people’s risk or likelihood of ‘criminal’ behaviour. Our new report, Automating Injustice demonstrates how the use of such systems by law enforcement, judicial and other criminal justice authorities across Europe is reinforcing discrimination and undermining fundamental human rights, including the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. 
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At an event to launch the report, Diana Sardjoe, a mother of children profiled by AI systems in the Netherlands, gave an emotional account of the devastating impacts of these systems on children and young people.  She told us: “Boys are feeling useless, like they have no way out. The whole system breaks them and they can’t get jobs, they can’t get to school. They’re isolated.”  

At the same event, MEP Petar Vitanov (S&D) highlighted how AI in criminal justice can infringe human rights and stressed the need for the EU to take action.  

“It is not a question of whether artificial intelligence has the potential to result in racially biased outcomes. We actually know for sure that this is the case, and your [Fair Trials] report is a perfect example of it.”  

“Technical progress should never come at the expense of fundamental rights.” 

No legal basis for remote access to lawyers in police stations in England and Wales 

Guidance adopted by the police, the CPS, and lawyers on police interviews during COVID-19 has been found to undermine fair trial rights. A legal opinion obtained by Fair Trials suggests that lawyers and police acted unlawfully, by effectively changing the law on accessing  lawyers in police custody as they had no power to do so. 

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) was created in the wake of the 1981 Brixton riots to balance the rights of the individual against powers of the police and contains crucial protections to ensure that anyone who is arrested in England and Wales has access to a lawyer. During the pandemic, the Joint Interim Interview Protocol (JIIP) was issued to support the delivery of remote legal assistance in police interviews. However, the opinion found that this protocol, agreed by lawyers and police, did not have a legal basis to amend provisions for access to a lawyer in PACE.

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