17 Jul General Counsel
The Office of General Counsel provides legal counseling and engages in risk-management activities to protect APA’s interests across a wide range of legal areas, such as tax, antitrust, intellectual property, contracts, and employee benefits. The office oversees the APA-ABA Task Force, the Ad Hoc Committee on Legal Issues, contracts review, legal representation, APA elections, and the Governance Office.
Office of General Counsel
In 2016, the Office of General Counsel (OGC) worked closely with the Committee on Legal Issues (COLI), APA directorates, relevant governance bodies, social science research experts and outside legal counsel in the review, development and filing of two amicus curiae briefs involving jury instruction and intellectual disability in death penalty cases:
- Deante Lamar Payne v. Commonwealth of Virginia (Virginia Supreme Court) — APA’s brief in this case addressed the importance of jury instructions regarding factors that affect the reliability of eyewitness testimony. APA advised that the complexities and limitations of eyewitness evidence require a jury instruction as an important tool to mitigate the risk of false identifications and promote the truth-seeking function of the criminal justice system.
- Bobby James Moore v. Texas (U.S. Supreme Court) — This case involves the appropriate means to diagnose intellectual disability in death penalty cases. APA’s brief explains in detail the professional consensus around current clinical standards for diagnosis of intellectual disability, including the need and means to assess concurrent deficits in intellectual and adaptive functioning and discusses the lack of scientific evidence to support the outdated and nonclinical approach that Texas prosecutors are still advancing.
The Committee on Legal Issues, staffed by OGC, convened twice in 2016. In addition to reviewing and issuing recommendations to the Board of Directors for APA involvement as amicus curiae in several cases, COLI continues to facilitate APA’s collaboration with the American Bar Association, provide convention programming and issue recommendations to proposed guidelines, policies, reports and other action by APA.
The Governance Office primarily addresses the needs of APA’s two governing bodies, the Board of Directors and Council of Representatives. The office staffs the Office of the President, the Council Leadership Team (CLT) and the Election Office. The office manages the consolidated meetings for boards and committees, provides training for staff liaisons and oversees the APA Travel Office. Here are some of the year’s highlights:
- The 2016 Board of Directors oversaw a year-long search for a new CEO, culminating in the selection of Arthur C. Evans, Jr., as APA’s next CEO.
- The APA membership elected Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, as APA’s 2018 president.
- The APA membership approved the bylaws amendment on the composition of the Board of Directors.
- The Council of Representatives took action in response to the Independent Review, approving revisions to the APA Ethics Code; the establishment of a commission to evaluate and recommend changes to APA’s ethics processes; and the establishment of work groups to review APA’s organizational policies and procedures, develop aspirational civility principles, and develop guidelines to reduce bias and promote diversity in the selection of individuals serving on APA task forces.