Jason Flores-Williams

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Jason Flores-Williams
Jason Flores-Williams-13-1.jpg
Jason Flores-Williams
Born1969
ResidenceDenver
NationalityAmerican
EducationHunter College (A.B.) Rutgers Law School (LL.B)
OccupationAttorney
Years active2007-present

Jason Flores-Williams (born 1969, Los Angeles, CA) is an author, political activist, and civil rights attorney. He is best known for his legal work on behalf of death row clients, political protesters, the homeless population of Denver, and his suit to have the Colorado River recognized as a legal person. He was also a lead organizer of the protests against the 2004 Republican National Convention. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

Biography[edit]

Jason Flores-Williams parents are Camille Flores,[1] a New Mexican journalist and newspaper editor, and Drake Williams, a CPA and small business owner.[2] He was raised in Texas outside of Houston. In the early 1980s, he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico with his family. There, his father was convicted along with his twin brother of involvement with illicit drug trafficking and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.[2] After his father's conviction, Flores-Williams dropped out of high school and moved to Washington, DC, where he self-educated at the Library of Congress and got his GED.[3] He spent the late 80s living in Harlem across from the Apollo Theater, and graduated from Hunter College at CUNY with an honor's degree in Philosophy.[3] He spent the early 90s in Prague where he wrote and worked as the first pizza delivery boy in post-Soviet Eastern Europe.[3] He later moved to San Francisco to focus on writing. He is the grandson of William Flores, one of the founding fathers of League of United Latin American Citizens.[4]

Literary career[edit]

After moving to San Francisco, Flores-Williams' first book was End of the West. Published in 1996, it describes his bohemian lifestyle in the city.[3] His follow up novel, Last Stand of Mr. America was a called "a ferocious portrait of a San Francisco public relations yuppie who lives a double life in underground sex clubs seeking salvation and meaning" and Flores-Williams was called "an all-American outlaw and edge-walker in the tradition of Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, and Biggie Smalls" by novelist David Gates.[5] He was also helped start the Litstock festival[3]. After traveling to Scotland to get a 2nd edition of the novel published in 2004, Flores-Williams moved to New York where he became a blogger for High Times.[3]

Activism and legal career[edit]

In the September/October 2004 edition of High Times entitled, How to get Arrested, Jason Flores-Williams wrote the lead article entitled, A Call to Resistance, a guide for people looking to protest the 2004 Republican National Convention[3][6] In May 2004, he was arrested leading a die-in staged on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to protest the invasion of Iraq by the US.[7] After the convention protests, Flores-Williams became disillusioned with protest politics and completed his law degree at Rutgers Law School.[3]

After graduating from law school, Flores-Williams worked for the Capital Appeals Project representing indigent clients on death row in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.[8] He moved back to Santa Fe, and represented US fugitive from justice and former Republic of New Afrika member Charlie Hill in his attempts to prevent his extradition from Cuba to face murder charges for the alleged killing a police officer.[9][3] Hill was eventually allowed by the Cuban government to remain in the country and not extradited to the US.[10] He also represented a Vietnam Veteran suffering from PTSD who was denied benefits from the Veterans Administration because he lived in Cuba,[11] which the veteran eventually lost.[12]

After moving to Denver, Flores-Williams represented a group of homeless people living in Denver in a class-action lawsuit seeking an end to the city's practice of confiscating their property and the clearing their encampments from the city streets.[3][13] It was alleged that the city had used flamethrowers to burn the homeless people's possessions after the raids and held a BBQ where the sweeps had occurred.[14] Class-action status for the homeless people suing the city was initially denied,[15] but was ultimately approved.[16] Three of the homeless people who were a part of the lawsuit were convicted of violating the city's ordinance on camping.[17]

After the mass arrests at the DisruptJ20 during the Inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017, Flores-Williams was the attorney for the first three defendants facing charges of property destruction or assaults on police.[18]

In September 2017, Flores-Williams filed a controversial lawsuit on behalf of the Colorado River claiming that the river is a legal person and suing the state of Colorado and current Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper "for violating the river’s 'right to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored, and naturally evolve.'"[19] The lawsuit was eventually dismissed with prejudice by Flores-Williams due to the threat of legal sanctions from the Colorado Attorney General's Office who stated, "the case itself unacceptably impugned the State’s sovereign authority to administer natural resources for public use, and was well beyond the jurisdiction of the judicial branch of government."[20] Flores-Williams stated regarding the dismissal, “Situations change, and what is best for the rights of nature movement is not to get involved in a lengthy sanctions battle, but to move forward with seeking environmental justice.”[21]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Flores-Williams, J. (1996) The end of the west. San Francisco: Caught Inside Press. OCLC 50990498
  • Flores-Williams, J. (1998) The Last Stand of Mr. America. San Francisco: Caught Inside Press. OCLC 752309343
  • Flores-Williams, J. (2004) The Incarceration of Ivan Brown. Alexander, VA: Alexander Street Press. OCLC 304164814
  • Flores-Williams, J. (2004) The Inside of Despair. Alexander, VA: Alexander Street Press. OCLC 304164821

References[edit]

  1. ^ Terrell, Steve (2000-09-19). "Camille Flores Announced as Pasatiempo editor". Santa Fe New Mexican. Sante Fe, NM. Retrieved 2018-02-25. Longtime Northern New Mexico journalist Camille Flores is the new editor of Pasatiempo, The New Mexican's weekly arts and entertainment magazine, the newspaper's managing editor, Rob Dean, announced Monday.
  2. ^ a b Flores-Williams, Jason (2007-12-14). "Child of War, A Memoir". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Walker, Chris (2016-12-07). "Jason Flores-Williams Is the Gonzo Lawyer Suing Denver Over Homeless Sweeps". Westword. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  4. ^ "William Flores". League of United Latin American Citizens. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  5. ^ Ganahl, Jane (2002-01-31). "Literary outlaw's 'Last Stand'". SFgate.com. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  6. ^ Ives, Nat (2004-06-28). "A Shift From Everyone Must Get Stoned to Everyone Must Get Involved". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (2004-08-11). "New York lockdown". Salon.com. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  8. ^ Flores-Williams, Jason (2007-05-02). "Walkin' to New Orleans". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  9. ^ Oswald, Mark (2015-03-05). "Santa Fe lawyer representing suspected cop killer living in Cuba". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  10. ^ "Two American fugitives to Cuba told by officials they would not be extradited". FoxNews.com. 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  11. ^ Weissenstein, Michael (2016-02-09). "A Vietnam War veteran who has lived in Cuba for 35 years is suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs seeking to reinstate his pension". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  12. ^ Weissenstein, Michael (2016-02-17). "Vietnam vet loses suit against VA to get benefits in Cuba". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  13. ^ McGhee, Tom (2017-06-06). "David Lane's civil rights law firm brings firepower to case challenging Denver homeless sweeps". Denver Post. Denver. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  14. ^ "Denver denies using flamethrowers during homeless sweeps". WGN9. 2017-08-05. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  15. ^ Meltzer, Erica (2017-04-27). "Homeless plaintiffs suing Denver get class action status, and the judge tells their lawyer to get some help". Denverite. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  16. ^ Walker, Chris (2018-02-27). "Homeless Class Action Lawsuit Could Be Heading Toward "Monster Trial"". Westword. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  17. ^ Ray, Kelsey (2017-04-05). "Jury finds defendants guilty of violating Denver's camping ban". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  18. ^ Walker, Chris (2017-07-24). "Denver-Based Attorney Defending Inauguration Day Protesters in D.C." Westword. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  19. ^ Turkewitz, Julie (2017-06-26). "Corporations Have Rights. Why Shouldn't Rivers?". NY Times. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  20. ^ Walker, Chris (2017-12-04). "Attorney to Withdraw Colorado River Lawsuit Under Threat of Sanctions". Westword. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  21. ^ Fendt, Lindsay (2017-01-05). "Colorado River 'personhood' case pulled by proponents". Aspen Journalism. Retrieved 2018-03-09.

Further Reading by Jason Flores-Williams[edit]

External links[edit]