No Justice No Peace Hero

Our Focus

We bring impactful, precedent-setting cases to trial in targeted areas of economic and social justice and equity. Working alongside grassroots community partners, with guidance from academic advisors and trial litigators, we identify and pursue challenging and important cases against governmental, corporate, and other actors that are harming communities.


The carceral state negatively affects not only those incarcerated–but also their family members, the communities they live in, and those who were incarcerated or targeted by police. As we grow and expand, our cases will increasingly recognize those intersections. Our cases will address the effects of the carceral system on the economic justice, housing security, and voting rights of the communities and individuals we serve. Our work will also recognize the unique vulnerabilities that certain communities–especially immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and Native Americans–face as a result of the carceral system.


City of Gainesville et al. v. DeSantis:

SJLF worked with preeminent local government law professors to draft an amicus curiae brief supporting a challenge to Florida’s HB1, which required localities to seek state approval to decrease their police budgets, stymying local innovation and creative approaches to public safety. The brief explained the historical importance of local government autonomy and reiterated the need for local governments to have control over their own budgets.

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Clark v. Hotard, et al.:

SJLF, on behalf of our client Alexander Clark, is confronting racist policing and a culture of impunity head on in Louisiana in Clark v. Hotard et al. Through this lawsuit, we seek relief for the unlawful detention, seizure, and excessive use of force inflicted on Mr. Clark by deputies of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office – a hyper-segregated Parish that was once the Louisiana seat of the KKK.

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Mills v. Connelly et al.

In March of 2022, SJLF filed a lawsuit on behalf of our client Nia Mills which seeks to address a culture of aggressive and unconstitutional law enforcement searches motivated by Louisiana’s asset forfeiture regime. Nia was driving through Louisiana on interstate I-10 with her partner Cory when a deputy pulled her over for purported improper lane usage and failure to signal. The deputies proceeded to subject her to prolonged detention, invasive searches, verbal harassment, and the seizure of $3500 in stimulus money.

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Thomas v. Tewis:

SJLF partnered with the ACLU of Louisiana to amend a complaint filed by an unhoused, chronically ill Louisiana woman who was repeatedly harassed and injured by local police and had her personal belongings seized and discarded, allowing Ms. Thomas to continue to seek justice for her mistreatment and shedding light on the treatment faced by unhoused individuals daily at the hands of law enforcement.

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U.S. v. Nuñez:

SJLF filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit in U.S. v. Nuñez on behalf of Dignity and Power Now, a local grassroots organization supporting incarcerated individuals and their families. The brief was filed in support of the Federal Public Defender’s Office and focused on recently obtained information regarding Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputies’ misconduct, consistent with the violent and unlawful behavior associated with “deputy gang” membership.

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Civil Assessments:

Following legislative reforms in 2022, SJLF is working in partnership with other legal nonprofits in Southern California to monitor and advocate against courts’ use of civil assessments, fees that exacerbate the cycle of court debt for thousands of Californians.

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Thompson v. Spitzer:

SJLF filed an amicus brief in Thompson v. Spitzer, a lawsuit challenging the Orange County District Attorney’s expansive DNA collection program, which highlighted findings from our team’s extensive court observations – namely, that the DA’s Office is violating an accused person’s right to counsel before, during, and after the plea negotiation process, and relies on the pressures inherent to the criminal justice system to force accused persons to provide their DNA prior to being convicted of any wrongdoing and without adequate understanding of what they are giving up.

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A. B. O. Comix et al. v. County of San Mateo:

On behalf of our client, grassroots advocacy organization Silicon Valley De-Bug, SJLF submitted a public records request seeking information about San Mateo County’s concerning new policy replacing physical mail with an intrusive electronic surveillance program – implicating the privacy of incarcerated individuals and their families, and chilling speech. Read More

Aurora Detention Center FOIA:

SJLF is working with local community activists and organizations to seek information and documentation via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the 2022 death of Mr. Melvin Calero-Mendoza at Aurora Detention Center, an immigration detention facility in Denver, CO. This is part of a larger effort by immigrants’ rights advocates, lawyers, and organizers to seek greater transparency and accountability for private contractors and ICE in the operation of immigration detention, as well as to support the Denver community in pushing for the closure of Aurora. Read More

Ronduen et al. v. The GEO Group, Inc.:

On Monday March 20, 2023, the Social Justice Legal Foundation (SJLF) filed a class action lawsuit against GEO Group Inc., a multi-billion-dollar corporation profiting from human captivity. The class action is brought by seven individuals on their behalf and on behalf of more than 1,300 detained people harmed by GEO Group’s reckless use of a toxic chemical at Adelanto Immigration Detention Facility. Read More

Barriers Facing Transgender Individuals Seeking Reentry:

In collaboration with community advocates and academics, SJLF is investigating the lack of gender affirming housing for trans and gender nonconforming individuals re-entering the community after being incarcerated. SJLF is also working with UCLA’s Williams Institute on a report discussing the issue, including the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) treatment of trans individuals seeking parole. Read More