Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Pamela Merchant

It's IntLawGrrls' great pleasure today to welcome a most timely guest post from our colleague Pamela Merchant (left).
Pamela is Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability, an 11-year-old, San Francisco-based nongovernmental organization that promotes human rights through means including litigation against persons accused of committing torture.
An honors graduate of Georgetown University and Boston College School of Law, Pamela has 20 years' experience in the practice of complex state and federal litigation. She served for 8 years as a federal prosecutor with the U. S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, where she specialized in white collar prosecutions. More recently, she was Special Counsel to the California Attorney General where she coordinated the affirmative litigation that the state filed in connection with the California energy crisis. She has also been a civil prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and has represented clients in private practice. Immediately before joining CJA, she represented the San Francisco in energy and telecommunications matters.
A member of the Board of Directors of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the Northern California Community Loan Fund, and Continuum (which provides innovative services to low income individuals living with HIV/AIDS), Pamela recently completed a 3-year term on the board of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom. She was the founding President of a Massachusetts non-profit which provides financial services to lo- income elderly individuals, and was a member of the Expert Review Panel for the City of San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women, Violence Against Women Grant Program. For many years she was a member of the Board of Directors of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), of which she also served as President.
In her guest post below, Pamela discusses the recently released "torture memos" in relation to CJA's ex-detainee clients, and argues that the United States should move now toward accountability at home.
Heartfelt welcome!

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