ABA to consider policy on human trafficking and other legal issues

The American Bar Association will consider adopting policy regarding topics ranging from human trafficking to the “gay panic” defense at the 2013 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will meet Aug. 12-13 to vote on resolutions and discuss matters of importance to the legal profession.
Among other noteworthy events at the House, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will accept the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor, on the afternoon of Aug. 12.  On Aug. 13, at the close
of the two-day session, James Silkenat of New York will become president of the ABA.

The House of Delegates is expected to consider more than 20 resolutions on diverse issues including:

• Attorney-client privilege: Resolution adopts principles that should be applied in determining the availability of attorney-client privilege for law firm consultations with in-house counsel.

• Cybersecurity: Resolution condemns unauthorized, illegal intrusions by foreign governments, organizations and individuals into the computer networks of lawyers and law firms and urges governmental bodies to examine, and if necessary, amend or supplement, existing laws to promote deterrence and provide appropriate sanctions.

• Technology privacy: Resolution urges Congress to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to reflect the technological and societal changes that have occurred since the original passage of the statute.

• ‘Gay panic’ defense: Resolution urges every level of government to take legislative action to curtail the availability and effectiveness of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, which seek to partially or completely excuse crimes on the grounds that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction.

• Human right to adequate housing: Resolution calls on governments to promote the human right to adequate housing for all through increased funding, development and implementation of affordable housing strategies.

• Human trafficking: Resolution approves the Uniform Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, as an appropriate act for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein.

• Judicial disqualification: Resolution urges states and territories to review their judicial disqualification procedures to assure the fair and impartial administration of justice, to conduct such reviews periodically and to create minimum standards for judicial disqualifications.

• Statues of limitations: Resolution urges all countries, consistent with international law, not to apply statutes of limitation with respect to genocide, crimes against humanity and serious war crimes.

• Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act: Resolution urges Congress to repeal the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and call on the Department of Justice to forbear from any further prosecutions under the section.
With high-profile speakers, essential legal programs and insightful debate on critical law and public policy issues, the ABA Annual Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals. The deliberations by more than 500 members from state and local bar associations across the country, ABA affiliates and internal units of the ABA will mark the culmination of the Annual Meeting.