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FOIL Wars: The Fight for Accountability by Accessing Body Camera Footage and Other Law Enforcement Records

Total Credits
2 - 3
CDs/DVDs Only
This course is only available in CD/DVD format.
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The Freedom of Information Law provides a powerful tool for the public, including attorneys and the media, to access a wide variety of law enforcement and other government records. FOIL implements the legislative declaration that “government is the public's business.” FOIL expresses the State’s commitment to open government and public accountability, and all government records are presumptively open for public inspection and copying unless they fall squarely within a statutory exemption. In reality, however, agencies – especially law enforcement agencies – deny requests for technical reasons and by making overbroad exemption claims. Thus, requestors must often fight against intransigent agencies to access government records. Our panel of experts will discuss the various ways the public can fight back against intransigent agencies to access records and increase state and local transparency. The program will address the difficulties of accessing records in the context of individual requests, as well as systemic efforts to strengthen the Freedom of Information Law and state and local transparency.

Lecturer Bios

Cynthia Conti-Cook, Esq.

Cynthia Conti-Cook is a staff attorney at the New York City’s Legal Aid Society, Special Litigation Unit, where she oversees the Cop Accountability Project and Database, leads impact litigation and law reform projects on issues involving policing, data collection, risk assessment instruments and the criminal justice system generally as well as supporting our staff in the trial offices on their cases. She has presented as a panelist and trainer at many national, state and city venues on topics of police misconduct, technology in the criminal justice system and risk assessment instruments.

Alex Camarda

Alex Camarda, Senior Policy Advisor, is one of New York State and City’s top experts and advocates for accountable government. As a senior staffer at the NY State Senate, NYC Department of Finance and the watchdog group Citizens Union, Alex has garnered deep practical experience in how government works and does not work and has led numerous successful campaigns for cleaner and more effective government. Alex is an expert on campaign finance and election laws and enforcement, and is a leader in efforts to strengthen Freedom of Information Law and state and local transparency.

Gideon Oliver, Esq.

Gideon Oliver, Esq. was raised by Harriet S. Bougen and Lewis B. Oliver, Jr., two lawyers who practiced together as Oliver & Oliver in Albany, New York.For nearly three decades, the slogan of Oliver & Oliver was: “You can fight City Hall and win!” Following in his parents’ footsteps,

Gideon now runs a Manhattan-based general practice law firm. Gideon graduated from the Albany Academy for Boys – an all-male, military high school – in 1992. He received a B.A. in Philosophy with a Correlate in Women’s Studies from Vassar College in 1997.

He graduated from Brooklyn Law School, where he was a Richardson Scholar and a Sparer Public Interest Fellow, in 2003.

Elliot Dolby Shields, Esq.

I am a civil rights attorney in general practice in New York City and Rochester, NY. My practice focuses on fighting for compensation for the victims of police and prosecutorial misconduct in New York State and Federal Court. I also have a general personal injury practice, with a focus on municipal liability. Graduated from New York Law School Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, May 2012.

M.J. Williams, Esq.

M.J. Williams owns the practice and manages its work for you. She has successfully practiced law in New York City for nearly a decade, gaining experience at a firm renowned for its intellectual property and media law practices. Before that, she worked with artists and arts institutions in the U.S. and abroad for over 15 years.

At M.J. Williams Law, M.J. brings real-world experience to the table, intelligence, curiosity, a love for challenges, and a tenacious, fighting spirit. She opened the practice to personalize and right-size legal work for her clients. In her practice, she offers flat-fee and capped-fee arrangements whenever possible, which free her up to focus on the work.

Extending beyond her expertise and New York City location, M.J. works regularly with Los Angeles-based business & tax law attorneys of The Law Offices of Steven D. Rubin, APC. This means that clients active in New York and California receive seamless, coordinated advocacy.

M.J. also works closely with law firms around the world to register and protect your trademarks, service marks, and copyrights internationally.

And when your legal issues demand more people-power, M.J. looks to her network of trusted attorneys and law firms to find the additional counsel you need.

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