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Gregory Pleasants

Gregory Pleasants

Lecturer in Law

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA

Last Updated: August 28, 2019




Gregory Pleasants is an attorney and social worker at the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Immigration and Justice. At Vera, Pleasants is the program director of the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP), which provides appointed, government-funded defense counsel to people who are detained by the Department of Homeland Security, unrepresented by counsel and found mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings because of a serious mental health condition.

Pleasants joined Vera in 2015 after a two-year position helping the Executive Office for Immigration Review to create the initial NQRP program framework. His work on the NQRP follows service as both a federal public defender in San Diego and a state public defender in North Carolina, and is a return to the focus of his 2007 Equal Justice Works fellowship, in which he served as immigration court defense counsel and worked to strengthen protections for people with mental health conditions in immigration detention.

Pleasants is also a social worker and has practiced part-time as a clinical therapist in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. He also teaches mental health policy and law as an adjunct professor.

Between earning his BA at Washington and Lee University in 2000 and his JD and MSW at the University of Southern California in 2007, Pleasants spent some years as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Los Angeles and working with children living on the street in Mexico and Nicaragua.

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

KPCC Air Talk
November 18, 2019
Re: Camille Gear Rich

Camille Gear Rich participated in a discussion on KPCC Air Talk about free speech. “I think we’re entering an era in which people are much more aware of the need for some protection, some regulation in terms of how speech is orchestrated, that government is in a position where it’s trying to create conditions where a variety of speakers with different sensitivities can participate in public debate. So when it says “Congress shall make no law,” there are all sorts of ways in which we have historically carved out particular things, particular areas, where there is a need for regulation … there is a need for let’s say, speed bumps, or containers … where there are certain kinds of speech that are so coercive to public debate or dangerous for other reasons that we impose some limitations and we’ve created definitions around obscenity, around threats, around fighting words, to try to create those conditions that really will allow for a truly participatory and rich conversation,” Rich said.

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP

Nomi Stolzenberg
July, 2019

Nomi Stolzenberg, "Anne Dailey and the New Fictionalism," 36th Annual Congress of Law and Mental Health, Rome, Italy.

Thomas D. Lyon
July, 2019

"Effects of the Putative Confession Instruction on Perceptions of Children's True and False Statements" (with Jennifer Gongola and Nicholas Scurich), Applied Cognitive Psychology 33 (2019): 655.

Thomas D. Lyon
July, 2019

"Children’s Concealment of a Minor Transgression: The Role of Age, Maltreatment, and Executive Functioning" (with Shanna Williams and Kelly McWilliams), Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.