This January, Iowa Law alums Crystal Pound (16JD) and Alexander Lodge (16JD) launched their Justice101 course at Iowa Law. The course teaches Fourth Amendment rights and also equips students with the tools necessary to teach the Justice101 curriculum to the community-at-large to increase awareness about what is allowed and prohibited during different types of contact with law enforcement.
Pound and Lodge initially created a Street Law course in response to the killing of Michael Brown and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, back when they were students at Iowa Law. They set out to educate youths about what is permitted from both sides of an interaction with law enforcement, with the hopes it could lead to future de-escalation of similar scenarios in local communities.
Street Law was created to educate youths about their Fourth Amendment rights and the program has evolved into a nonprofit organization called Justice101. The goal of of the organization is to increase awareness about what is allowed and prohibited during different types of contact with law enforcement. The curriculum focuses on the changes in power dynamics in four situations where these interactions are most likely to occur: walking in the street, traveling in a vehicle, at school, and at home. By understanding more about how these interactions are supposed to commence, youths are more prepared to appropriately respond and participate in their defense.
“Since it was apparent that we were experiencing a disproportionate amount of police contact, with not only Black students at UI but Black residents in the city of Iowa City, Justice101 is continuing the effort to provide resources to the community that can help educate them on Fourth Amendment rights,” commented Alex Lodge.
The class launched in 2016 at Iowa City High School and today it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The people at Justice101 have been reaching out to Iowa schools and other educational organizations that may be interested in teaching this curriculum. Those who are interested, partner with Justice101 to have attorneys come in and speak to participating students and answer any legal questions they may have.
Justice101 at Iowa Law was offered during the intersession period this winter as an intensive week-long class on Fourth Amendment rights. The class met at the Boyd Law Building and included two days on-site at Metro High in Cedar Rapids.
“Law school, generally, but the University of Iowa College of Law especially, does a wonderful job of helping students learn to think like lawyers. However, there can be a gap between a law school teaching someone to think like a lawyer, and that lawyer learning how to convey that knowledge to non-legal audiences. One of Justice101's main aims is to bridge that gap. I am so appreciative and thankful the University of Iowa for the opportunity and I’m so excited for future classes!” shared Crystal Pound.
As stated by Lodge, “Law students benefit from this course by learning practical skills for communicating complex legal principles to lay audiences. This skill set is important and transferable to any legal area of practice, and the core of Justice101 does this while ensuring we educate our communities about their fundamental 4th Amendment rights.”