Jonathan Martinis, Esq., J.D., is the Senior Director for Law and Policy in the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University. He is based at BBI’s Washington, D.C. office and leads the institute’s national and international efforts.
Martinis has over 20 years of experience representing and advocating for people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He served as lead counsel in Brinn v. Tidewater Transportation District Commission, the first case to hold that people with disabilities have a right to paratransit transportation on a next-day basis. He was also lead counsel in Winborne v. Virginia Lottery, in which the court held that the Lottery must ensure that all private businesses selling Lottery tickets are accessible to people with disabilities.
Most notably, in 2013, Martinis represented Jenny Hatch in the nationally acclaimed “Justice for Jenny” case. Martinis helped Ms. Hatch secure her right to live where and how she wants, to make her own decisions, and direct her own life. Jenny’s case was the first trial to hold that a person with disabilities has a right to engage in “Supported-Decision Making,” where people work with trusted friends, family members, and professionals to help them understand the situations and choices they face, so they may make their own decisions – rather than be subjected to a unnecessary permanent, plenary or full guardianship.