Through crowdfunding, the Fair Fight Initiative (“FFI”) exposes systemic racism and inequality in the criminal legal system.
FFI fights on behalf of individuals and families who cannot afford effective representation. By crowdfunding donations, FFI seeks to level the playing field by supporting lawyers to defend people at risk of being victimized by criminal legal systems across the Deep South. We accept individual cases that exemplify patterns of abusive practices. In addition, we work with families and communities most impacted by justice systems to seek fundamental reform.
Our work includes:
• Filing a lawsuit as lead counsel to prevent children from being housed in solitary cells at the notorious, Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) in Angola, Louisiana. In July 2022, Louisiana’s Governor announced his plan to transfer children from juvenile court to LSP and FFI, along with experienced civil rights litigators, filed for a preliminary injunction. The district court erroneously ruled that despite the evidence of potential harm, the State’s transfer plan could proceed. FFI continues to represent the children sent to this former forced work camp and is preparing for a full injunction trial to stop these transfers.
Recent Update: FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS LOUISIANA TO MOVE KIDS OUT OF ANGOLA PRISON
Children in the former death row unit at Angola, one of the nation’s most infamous prisons, have been locked in solitary confinement, shackled while they eat and play, and attacked by guards.
• Offering free representation by experienced criminal defense counsel to any person—doctor, nurse, patient, or provider—charged under any law criminalizing abortion. FFI immediately responded to Louisiana Legislators, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, who wish to imprison doctors for performing an abortion and any person disseminating abortion pills. The ambiguity in law could even be misused to seek potential homicide charges against any provider or person seeking an abortion by an aggressive prosecutor—of which there are many across Louisiana, including the state’s current attorney general.
• Ensuring access to gender-affirming care while in prison. FFI, along with experienced civil rights litigators and LGBTQ+ advocates, are investigating whether a prison in the South has legally denied a transgender woman access to gender-affirming care. Many states across the region deny gender-affirming surgery, even following recommendations from mental health professionals. Access to this care is considered medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria. Without it, individuals can struggle severely with mental health issues.
• Challenging cash bail practices in Louisiana. FFI succeeded in a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of individuals arrested every year in Baton Rouge and denied fair bail practices. This case resulted in the city’s district court judges agreeing to provide due process and equal protection for every person booked into the jail. At the hearing approving the settlement agreement, Chief Judge Shelly Dick praised the result, noting that “today has been a good day for justice in the city.” The case is part of a larger effort to shut down the Baton Rouge jail, deemed one of the deadliest jails in the United States, and reform the state’s criminal legal system.
• Representing Ladarius Payne, one of the thousands of people exposed to incredible violence and neglect in Alabama’s dangerously overcrowded and underfunded prison system. Mr. Payne is housed in William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility, recently identified by the U.S. Dept. of Justice (“DOJ”) as but one in Alabama’s carceral system that fails to protect incarcerated people from violence. The DOJ noted that conditions at Donaldson, and other Alabama prisons, have “a high level of violence that is too common, cruel, and of an unusual nature, and pervasive.” Mr. Payne was stabbed, nearly to death, after Alabama officials failed to provide security for incarcerated people at Donaldson. Our lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Payne is part of an effort to bring accountability through individual litigation to Alabama’s broken prison system. FFI will continue fighting for Mr. Payne.
• Exposing a harmful healthcare provider in Georgia and Louisiana jails. FFI lawyers work with families of individuals who have died while medically neglected in these jails. FFI has recently canceled the contracts between Baton Rouge jails and this healthcare provider. According to an investigative report by Reuters, this healthcare provider has over 40 contracts across Louisiana and Georgia, reaping millions of dollars in profit while leaving a trail of pain and death.
With your support, FFI can continue litigating for justice and fairness. We are a group of experienced and passionate lawyers who have devoted their careers to defending those affected by the broken legal system.
- Urgent: Children Held in Solitary Confinement, Exposed to Extreme Heat, and Shackled at America’s Largest Maximum-Security Adult Prison
- SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Louisiana Death Row Case Where Prosecutors withheld Evidence from Condemned Man’s Defense
- Teenagers Are Being Incarcerating in Louisiana’s Angola Prison and Held in Its Former Death Row Section
- Louisiana has been criticized for housing children in a former death row unit, with reports that the kids say it haunts them
- State seeks to dismiss lawsuit over youth at Angola, as attorneys push for more access and information
- Youth Justice Advocates Condemn Transfer of Children to Angola Prison
- DOJ slammed by senators over poor reporting on deaths in custody
- Court hearing deals with transfer of youth inmates to Angola
- Bridge City plan expected to be discussed in hearing
- Putting teens in Angola: ‘I couldn’t ethically sign off on this,’ psychiatrist tells federal judge
- Unwarranted Report : How East Baton Rouge’s Warrant Practices Make Us Less Safe (Press Release)
- Download the Unwarranted Report (Released August 31, 2002)
- Advocates call for reassessment of EBR’s 40K active warrants
- Activists say 40,000 active warrants in Baton Rouge make city unsafe
- Thousands of old warrants clog Baton Rouge’s justice system. Here’s how some want to change that.
- Louisiana’s Plan To Transfer Children From Bridge City Center For Youth To Louisiana State Penitentiary At Angola Is Inhumane And Unconstitutional
- Louisiana is failing its most vulnerable children, with deadly consequences
- How decades of broken promises led to Louisiana’s deepening youth prison crisis
- Fair Fight Initiative to Offer Free Legal Services to People Facing Criminal Charges Under New Abortion Ban
- Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry Sends Warning After Fair Fight Announcement
- Law Professor Interviewed about Fair Fight Initiative Announcement on Abortions
- (Press Release 6/28/2022) Free Litigation Assistance to People Hurt byDobbs Decision Removing Federal Protection to Reproductive Health Care
- BRPD’s narcotics unit imploded last year. Here’s how it’s still affecting court cases.
- FFI Statement on Draft Roe v. Wade Opinion
- Family of man who died in Chatham County jail sues jail, health care provider and county
- Creely Family and Attorneys to Announce Filing of Civil Rights Lawsuit And Discuss Family’s Investigation into Creely’s Death in Savannah, GA Jail
- Louisiana has the highest in-custody mortality rate – A Fight to Expose the Hidden Human Costs of Incarceration
- An Explainer Video That Describes The Cash Bail System In East Baton Rouge.
- Protestors criticize East Baton Rouge jail for inmate deaths: ’44, no more!’
- Unconstitutional Bail System Faces Legal Challengesin Louisiana
- A Reuters investigation finds high death rates at U.S. jails with private healthcare providers. A Georgia jail’s experience reveals the toll.
- Fair Fight Initiative Attorney Discusses the Breonna Taylor Case and No-Knock Warrants on CBS
- Lawsuit Seeks to Dramatically Reduce Baton Rouge, LA Jail Population Due to Coronavirus
- Reimagining Defunding the Police
- Video of Baton Rouge police officer kneeling on teen’s neck prompts investigation, mayor says.
- Remembering George Floyd and Lamar Johnson.
- Press Release – Atlanta Woman Sues South Georgia Prosecutor Who Sought Sex For Reduced Fines
- South Georgia’s Prosecutors: Say His Name and Me Too
- The Fair Fight Initiative filed a lawsuit in federal court to protect prisoners from COVID 19.
- How Was My Son Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Not a Hate Crime?
- The Police Are Rioting. We Need to Talk About It.
- Christopher Howell – Florida Prisoner Allegedly Beaten To Death By Guard
- Florida man got 4 years for stealing 4 $15 phone chargers. He was beaten to death in prison.
- Local Nonprofit Bails Three Men Out of Jail