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February 2011 Volunteer Of the Month: Joe Cassioppi

Joseph Cassioppi, of Fredrikson & Byron is CLC’s February Volunteer of the Month.  Joe has gone above and beyond for a client that needed help to avoid outcomes that could have impacted his future for many years.  Because he had Joe as his attorney, his client faces a brighter and healthier future.

Joe became a volunteer attorney for CLC in 2009.  Joe’s practice at Fredrikson & Byron focuses on commercial litigation.  For all of his clients, Joe takes the time to work with CLC staff to develop the most effective strategy, and he makes sure his clients are fully informed of all their rights and options.  Joe’s representation skills were really tested when he learned that his 14-year-old client was charged with a sex offense.  This client is a model student and a sweet-natured young man, whose mother’s unexpected death sent him and his younger sister into foster care.  No family members could take him, and he eventually lost contact with his sister, who was adopted by a different family.  Alone and uncertain about what family he would be with in the future, he was now also uncertain about pending criminal charges.

Joe had the sense that this was not a child who would be a threat to society, and it turns out that the psychologists and other professionals involved agreed:  with proper therapy, there was every reason to believe this young boy would be able to have healthy relationships in the future.  Knowing that his client faced the prospect of being labeled a sex offender, Joe then went the extra mile to make sure that his client got the best possible result in his criminal matter.  While he did not represent the young man in the criminal case, he helped his client’s public defender with research and preparation of arguments.  He supported the client throughout all proceedings.  Because Joe was willing to step outside his own comfort zone to help, his client got the best possible result and did not have to register as a sex offender.  He continues to excel in school and is working on therapy and finding an adoptive family.

CLC appreciates Joe’s willingness to go the extra mile and we are proud to have him working with us in representing children in need.