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Professor Lauryn Gouldin: Don't Let Fearmongering Sabotage Criminal Justice Reforms

Lauryn Gouldin

By Professor Lauryn P. Gouldin, Syracuse University College of Law; Elizabeth M. Nevins, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University; and Jocelyn Simonson, Brooklyn Law School

(Albany Times-Union | Feb. 19, 2020) New York State Senate Democrats appear ready to propose a significant and troubling rollback of the new bail reform law, yielding to weeks of deliberate misrepresentations and cynical distortions by law enforcement and political opponents who are intent on undermining these long overdue changes.

We are legal academics who have studied the unequal outcomes produced by our broken criminal system. We are encouraged by the progress made in the reforms adopted last year and we are distressed by this knee-jerk proposal to reverse course.

While there is no publicly available language yet, the legislation would reportedly eliminate cash bail for almost all offenses but provide judges with much greater power to jail defendants until trial.

Fully eliminating money bail, which explicitly creates a two-tiered, class-based system, is an appropriate step forward. Replacing it with a broad judicial power to order indefinite pretrial detention, however, is taking two steps back.  This new plan threatens to preserve and even deepen the mass incarceration crisis that bail reform was meant to address, and indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the consequences of providing judges overwhelming discretion to adjudicate pretrial release decisions. History has shown us that such a plan would only deepen racial inequities and simply change the process that leads to pretrial detention, rather than reduce its prevalence.

Racial bias is baked into judicial discretion. Judges are more likely to set higher bail amounts for people of color. People of color are far more likely to be held pretrial than white individuals. Black and Latino men are less likely to be released on non-monetary conditions. The plan outlined by Senate leadership would only strengthen judicial power, which helped create this inequality. These problems with judicial discretion will not be solved with the addition of risk assessment instruments or algorithms, as those tools themselves incorporate racial biases. Too often, those tools are employed in ways that merely give judges cover for unjust decisions.

It’s easy to forget that everyone held pretrial is innocent and waiting for their day in courtYet studies have shown that people held pretrial have a 13 percent increase in the likelihood of being convicted, and a 42 percent increase in the length of their prison sentence. The Senate’s proposal makes a mockery of the supposed constitutional principle of innocent until proven guilty and would only replicate these fundamentally unjust outcomes …

Read the full article

Professor Shubha Ghosh Assesses Sen. Gillibrand's Data Protection Agency Idea for Yahoo Finance

Shubha Ghosh

(Yahoo Finance | Feb. 13, 2020) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is taking on Big Tech. She is introducing new legislation that would establish a new Data Protection Agency. Professor Shubha Ghosh, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and Director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute joins Yahoo Finance's On the Move to discuss.

Watch the full segment.

Syracuse University College of Law Adds Four New Board of Advisors Members

College of Law

Syracuse University College of Law is proud to announce the appointment of four new Board of Advisors members: Stephanie Jacqueney G’82, L’82; James Southwick L’89; Suzanne Galbato L'98; and Antonio Diaz-Albertini L’07. These appointments underscore the College's commitment to reflect the diverse talent and leadership represented by its alumni community. 

“Our Advisors are successful, engaged, and dynamic alumni who provide essential advice in support of our mission and our students," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "The perspectives and experiences of Stephanie, Jim, Suzanne, and Antonio are an invaluable addition to the Board. I look forward to working with them closely as we develop and execute our future plans and prepare our students for their careers.” 

“The legal profession is evolving at a fast pace, and it is crucial that law schools anticipate and respond to these changes with innovations in legal education,” says Board of Advisors Chair Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83. “The insights that these four highly regarded, high profile lawyers bring to the Board will help ensure that the College of Law meets the changing demands of employers and students alike.” 

The four new Board of Advisors members bring expertise in entertainment law, complex commercial litigation, business and employment law, environmental law, commercial financing, and private equity. 

Stephanie A. Jacqueney G’82, L’82

Stephanie Jacqueney is an entertainment lawyer and business affairs executive with more than 30 years of experience in television and live production. Jacqueney previously served as Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs, for Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sports & Entertainment LLC, where she was Lead Production Attorney for MSG and its Radio City Entertainment division’s live productions, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the New York Spectacular starring the Rockettes, and Super Bowl halftime shows. She was also MSG’s lead intellectual property attorney and managed MSG’s intellectual property portfolio. Before MSG, Jacqueney held several positions with Time Warner Inc. including Vice President and General Counsel of Manhattan Cable TV, then the largest franchise cable television operator. 

In addition to her J.D., Jacqueney holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. She is a Member of the Board of the Alumni Association of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology and the Cornell University Council, as well as a Founding Member of Cornell University’s President’s Council of Cornell Women. She currently serves on the Entertainment Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association and previously served on its Copyright and its Arbitration committees.

James Thurlow Southwick L’89

Jim Southwick has spent his entire 30-year career in private practice representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation and trials, principally involving monopolization, international cartels, and shareholder rights. For the past 20 years he has been Partner in the Houston office of Susman Godfrey LLP, a commercial trial boutique. He began his career as an associate at Breed, Abbott & Morgan in New York City.

Among his recent high-profile cases, Southwick led a trial of the largest shareholder oppression case on record; was co-lead trial counsel in Vitamin C antitrust litigation that led to the US Supreme Court’s ruling regarding how foreign governments’ statements about their laws should be treated by US courts; and worked extensively on suits against international money center banks for aiding the breaches of fiduciary duties at Enron. Southwick has twice received awards for outstanding achievement in antitrust litigation from the American Antitrust Institute. In addition to his J.D., Southwick holds a bachelor’s degree in economics (1982) from the College of William & Mary. 

Suzanne Galbato L'98

Suzanne Galbato is Co-Deputy Chair of the Litigation Department at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC in Syracuse, NY, where she litigates commercial, False Claims Act, employment discrimination, antitrust, environmental cases, and more. She serves on Bond's Management Committee and is former Chair of the Associate Committee, Recruiting Committee, and Women’s Initiative. She also has been a Member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.

In addition to her J.D., Galbato holds an A.B. (1995, magna cum laude) from Harvard University. For her alma mater, she has served on the Board of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association and the Law Honors Committee; she coaches advocacy teams and judges competitions; and she speaks regularly about private practice, interviewing, mentoring, work/life balance, and diversity. Among her service to the profession and community, she is a Trustee of the Northern District Federal Court Bar Association; a Member of the New York State Bar Association Women in the Law Section; and a Board Member of the Central New York Women’s Bar Association and the Onondaga County Bar Foundation.

Antonio L. Diaz-Albertini L’07

Antonio L. Diaz-Albertini is Partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) in New York City, where he advises private equity funds, global investment banking firms, commercial banks, and public and private corporations in finance transactions. He has worked on financing deals in a variety of industries including retail, financial services, technology, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications. Diaz-Albertini serves on SRZ’s Summer Program Committee. 

Diaz-Albertini took his law degree, magna cum laude, in 2007. At Syracuse, he was a Member of the Order of the Coif and Syracuse Law Review and an Associate Member of the Justinian Honor Society. His bachelor's degree is from Bryant University (2003, magna cum laude).

New Board of Advisors members, 2020.
New Board of Advisors members, 2020.

Professor Roy Gutterman Comments on "First Amendment Auditors" for Syracuse.com

Roy Gutterman

Local librarians warned to watch for activists looking to score on YouTube

(Syracuse.com | Feb. 7, 2020) A group of “First Amendment auditors” has reached out to at least one local library threatening to come test the library’s free speech policies and evaluate whether they will protect citizens’ rights to film in public.

The auditors are a loose group of YouTube activists who enter public places like libraries, post offices or police precincts and film employees and patrons. They often post videos of confrontations with employees online with sensational titles like “LIBRARY STAFF GETS OWNED ON CAMERA!!! 1st amendment audit FAIL" ...

... Roy Gutterman runs the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University’s Newhouse school. He said the auditors are entering a “gray area” of legality when trying to film in libraries. It’s legal to record in public places like sidewalks or parks or outside a government building, he said, but there are acceptable limits inside government buildings.

“There are more limited rights for everything from filming to yelling,” he said. “You can’t yell in a library. You can’t be disruptive. I’m just not sure the purpose of recording for the sake of recording.”

Moreover, Gutterman said the auditors’ actions didn’t really appear to serve much of a public service, like they claim.

“I’m all for keeping government officials accountable, even librarians,” he said. “But I’m not quite sure what the value is of some of this. I understand recording in cases of abuse or corruption or police brutality... even public meetings...where there’s real public discourse. I’d like to see them do stuff like that, go to a city council meeting or school board meeting where there’s an important watchdog function.”

Despite the auditors’ claims, the right to record in public places has not been upheld by the Supreme Court, Gutterman said.

The most notable ruling on recording in public is the case of Glik v. Cunniffe. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled on that case in 2011, determining private citizens have the right to record police carrying out their public duties ...

Read the full article

Lana Yaghi L’14 Discusses Cross-Border Commercial Law Practice with DCEx Students

Lana Yaghi L'14

On Feb. 7, 2020, Distinguished Guest Lecturer and Senior Attorney at Miller Canfield Lana Yaghi L’14 discussed her cross-border commercial law practice in the aviation, cybersecurity, and defense industries with Washington, DC, externship (DCEx) students.

Yaghi described how she regularly advises US and foreign clients on their cross-border business activities, particularly the establishment of operations and negotiation of commercial arrangements in the state of Qatar and the United States. A significant portion of her cross-border work, she said, relates to the representation of clients in connection with the acquisition, sale, financing, and operation of corporate aircraft.

Yaghi began the seminar by candidly elaborating on her time practicing in Qatar. She said she started her career as an associate at a large international law firm, explaining that her willingness to practice overseas played a large part in her landing her first job at this firm. She answered questions about the job application process and gave a brief history of Qatar and its royal family. Qatar is a very small, but wealthy country, she explained, known for its production of natural gas. 

DCEx students were particularly interested in her aviation practice, and she explained the importance of producing high quality work in order to build a strong reputation in this relatively small industry. Answering questions about her first years of practice, Yaghi explained that young attorneys develop into experts in their field by working on similar projects over and over again, which at first seems challenging and eventually becomes second nature. 

Professor Lauryn Gouldin Discusses Risk Assessment at Wake Forest Bail Reform Symposium

Lauryn Gouldin

On Jan. 31, 2020, Professor Lauryn Gouldin—an expert on criminal justice reform—joined the Risk Assessment panel at the Wake Forest Law Review Spring 2020 Symposium on Bail Reform. 

Dr. Sarah Desmarais of North Carolina State University, Professor Sandra Mayson of University of Georgia School of Law, and Professor Jenny Carroll, of University of Alabama School of Law joined Gouldin on the Risk Assessment panel. 

The panelists addressed factors that determine the risk of setting bail for a detainee. Current standards are often based on charts that automatically set bail standards. Panelists discussed the pros and cons of this method and how to effectuate new standards that take into account the likelihood that a defendant will flee or commit another illegal act, as well as the reasonable bail a defendant can pay based on circumstances.

Learn more here




Professor Lauryn Gouldin (second from left) presents on pretrial reform and risk assessment on Jan. 31, 2020, at the Wake Forest Law Review Symposium on Bail Reform.
Professor Lauryn Gouldin (second from left) presents on pretrial reform
and risk assessment on Jan. 31, 2020, at the Wake Forest Law Review
Symposium on Bail Reform.

3Ls Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino Capture Second Place at the ABA Law Student Tax Challenge Competition

Matthew Marcellino and Brian Krastev

The College of Law team of 3Ls Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino finished second out of more than 80 teams from around the country competing in the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Tax Challenge competition. This is the College of Law’s best result ever in this annual competition.

Professor Robert Nassau, Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, coached the team.

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are evaluated on a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division advance to the Section of Taxation’s 2020 Midyear Meeting, January 30-February 1, in Boca Raton, Florida, where each team defends its submission before a panel of judges representing the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including Tax Court judges.

College of Law Journal of Global Rights and Organizations and Impunity Watch News Announce Distinguished Lecturer Series

The College of Law’s Journal of Global Rights and Organizations (JGRO) and Impunity Watch News (IWN) have announced the participants for its Spring 2020 Distinguished Lecturer Series.

The scheduled speakers are:

Professor Chimene Keitner on “Immunity of Foreign Officials”

Professor of International Law, UC Hastings College of Law

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 | noon – 1 p.m.

Location 352

Dr. Kristen Boon on “Immunity of International Organizations after Jam v. IFC

Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 | 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Location 352

Dr. Margareta Matache on “The Roma Case for Reparations”

Justice activist and scholar from Romania 

Director of the Roma Program at the Harvard University Francois Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights 

(In conjunction with the Syracuse University School of Education’s Atrocity Studies and the Practices of Social Justice)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Location TBA

John Sopko

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | Time TBD

(in conjunction with the Maxwell School and the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law)

“Through its Distinguished Lecturer Series,  The Journal of Global Rights and Organizations and Impunity Watch News is able to bring leading experts in international law to continue the dialog on dynamic, evolving—and sometimes vexing—issues in international law and legal institutions,” says Professor Cora True-Frost, Faculty Director of Impunity Watch News and the Journal of Global Rights and Organizations. “As the international community grapples with difficult questions of rights, laws, and norms, JGRO and Impunity Watch News’ focus is needed more than ever, and our students will be the next generation’s thought leaders on these issues.”

Professor Peter Blanck to Revisit "Guckenberger" During BU Law Talk

Peter Blanck

Burton Blatt Institute Director Peter Blanck will present "Revisiting Guckenberger: Past, Present, and Future of the ADA" as a guest of Boston University School of Law on Feb. 14, 2020.

In celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Blanck will discuss the ADA's development, the law's present challenges and successes, and where there is still room to grow in the realm of higher education and the legal profession. 

To frame his discussion, Blanck will recall his role as ADA expert in a class action against Boston University in which students alleged disability discrimination in violation of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 

Guckenberger v. Boston University (1997) is credited with bringing the "interactive process" over to higher education accommodation procedure. The lead plaintiff—Elizabeth Guckenberger, a law student with dyslexia—was subject to unreasonable documentation requests during her accommodations process. 

More recently, Blanck served as the ADA expert in litigation against the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The litigation resulted in sanction against LSAC for violating a consent decree that prevented the council from "flagging" accommodated test scores and mandating specific protocols for handling accommodation requests.

More details about the event can be found here.

Watch: Dean Craig M. Boise Moderates NYSBA Panel on White Nationalism & Domestic Terrorism

Dean Craig M. Boise

Watch Dean Craig M. Boise moderate a star-studded and extraordinary panel at the NYSBA 2020 Presidential Summit on Jan. 29, 2020 in New York City. The panel tackled head-on one of the most disturbing trends of our time—the rise of white nationalism and domestic terrorism. More than 500 people packed the Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom to witness the Summit live and many more watched the livestream across the globe.

The topics and remedies raised in this wide-raging discussion will resonate beyond the Summit, including the need for better laws to punish domestic terrorism, ways to proactively monitor hate groups without harming civil liberties, red flag laws, and stronger protection of targeted, marginalized groups. Panelists also stressed the importance of communities standing up against domestic terror and expressing countering points of view.

"We can't sit idly by and do nothing," said New York Attorney General Letitia James, adding that the country also needs "moral leadership" in Washington, DC, to tackle the problem.

Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi Jr. argued that law enforcement must be given the same tools and techniques used in the fight against international terrorism in order to prevent domestic attacks before they happen.

Nan Whaley, Mayor, Dayton, Ohio; David D. Cole, National Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union; and Leonard Zeskind, Founder and President, Institute for Research and Education of Human Rights, joined James and Figliuzzi as panelists.

Wagenbach assumes leadership role

Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP is pleased to announce that Jeffrey B. Wagenbach has assumed leadership of its highly-regarded Environmental Law Practice effective January 2020. Wagenbach has substantive experience in virtually every environmental program, ranging from the Clean Air Act to the Safe Drinking Water Act, to wetlands regulation (state and federal) and the handling and discharge of hazardous materials. 

Bezigian elected Member of Bond, Schoeneck & King

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Thomas Bezigian Jr., from the firm’s Syracuse office, has been elected as a member (partner) of the firm. Thomas concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning and taxation, corporate and business succession, probate, trust and estate administration, and elder law. 

Leuenberger elected Member of Bond, Schoeneck & King

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Scott R. Leuenberger from the firm’s Syracuse office has been elected as a member (partner) of the firm. Scott is a business law attorney and member of the firm’s exempt organizations and tax law practices.

Reid elected Member of Bond, Schoeneck & King

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Kate I. Reid from the firm’s Syracuse office has been elected as a member (partner) of the firm. Kate concentrates her practice in school law. Kate began her career at Bond in 2011, where she practiced in the areas of litigation and school district representation.

Mastroleo elected Member of Bond, Schoeneck & King

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Adam P. Mastroleo from the firm’s Syracuse office has been elected as a member (partner) of the firm. Adam is an attorney in the firm's labor and employment practice with extensive experience representing employers in a variety of labor litigation matters. 

A Question of Executive Privilege: Professor David Driesen Speaks to VOA

David Driesen

How Trump Will Try to Block Bolton's Testimony in Senate Impeachment Trial

(Voice of America | Jan. 28, 2020) With the U.S. Senate increasingly likely to call former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Trump's lawyers are almost certain to assert executive privilege to block his testimony.

Bolton poses a serious threat to Trump's defense in light of reports of Bolton's forthcoming book which corroborates one of the central allegations in the impeachment case against Trump —  that the president tried to coerce Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

But if Trump's lawyers are determined to prevent Bolton from testifying, the claim of executive privilege is unlikely do the trick. Although courts have long recognized a president's right to have confidential communication with his advisers, that right is not absolute, experts say. What's more, when it comes to impeachment, legal experts say the courts will likely side with the interest of Congress in obtaining information over the president's executive privilege claims ...

... But executive privilege is not an unlimited power. That principle was established in a landmark 1974 Supreme Court ruling that forced the White House to turn over tape recordings of conversations between President Richard Nixon and his aides to a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate break-in.  

While recognizing the constitutionality of executive privilege, the high court unanimously ruled that the principle did not override the need for key evidence in a criminal trial. The White House handed over the tapes, and Nixon resigned two weeks later as the House prepared to impeach him.

The case for withholding information in an impeachment case is even weaker, said David Driesen, university professor at the Syracuse University College of Law.

In an impeachment context, "the interest in getting accurate information is just too great," Driesen said. "It doesn't make any sense to say that information that's important to an impeachment trial could be withheld based on executive privilege."

Possibility of compromise

Trump's lawyers haven't said how they plan to stop Bolton's testimony. But if the Senate subpoenas Bolton, the president's legal team could theoretically ask a federal district court to bar him from testifying on executive privilege grounds.

In theory, the case could eventually wind its way to the Supreme Court, but legal experts say that scenario is highly unlikely.

"I can't imagine him winning the case," Driesen said. "Frankly, even with this very conservative Supreme Court, it would be an immense change from the way they've approached such questions in the past" ...

Read the full article.

Black Law Student Association Trial Team Advances to National Round of the Constance Baker Motley Trial Competition

William Wolfe, Davida Hawkes, Sharon Otasowie, Kenneth Knight

The College of Law’s Black Law Student Association trial team of 3Ls Davida Hawkes and William Wolfe and 2Ls Kenneth Knight and Sharon Otasowie placed second at the regional round of the Constance Baker Motley Trial Competition. The team will compete in the national round held in March during the National Black Law Student Association’s National Convention.

John Boyd L’16, Stephanie Martin-Thom L’18, and Alphonse Williams L’17 coach the team. 

DCEx and PhillyEx Students Hear from Distinguished Guest Lecturer Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessio Evangelista L’95

Spring 2020 DCEx and PhillyEx Students

Distinguished Guest Lecturer and Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessio Evangelista L’95 recently hosted Spring 2020 DCEx and PhillyEx students at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Evangelista provides overall leadership and management to the Office, and he stands in for matters when the Chief U.S. Attorney is recused. The Office employs 350 attorneys and a similar number of supporting staff.

Evangelista began the seminar explaining that the District of Columbia office is the largest in the country due to its unique mission. The Office is responsible for the prosecution of all federal crimes, including terrorism, public corruption, firearms, and other offenses, as well as the prosecution of all local crimes committed by adults in the District.  Additionally, it represents the United States and its departments and agencies in civil proceedings filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.

Evangelista went on to describe his background and the experiences that led him to the Principal Deputy position. He then provided details related to their hiring process and the three rounds of interviews that candidates encounter during selection. According to Evangelista, the profile for a successful candidate generally comprises intellectual ability, some criminal prosecution or defense experience, and a genuine interest in the work. His message to the students was that pursuing work that they are passionate about will bolster their overall success as an attorney.

Professor William C. Banks Discusses Trump Impeachment Trial on KPCC

William C. Banks

Impeachment Latest: Dems Prepare to Make Opening Arguments After Senate Sets Trial Rules

(KPCC AirTalk | Jan. 22, 2020) The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s  impeachment trial with Republicans abruptly abandoning plans to cram opening arguments into two days but solidly rejecting for now Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s “trifecta” of offenses.

Trump himself said Wednesday he wants top aides to testify, but qualified that by suggesting there were “national security” concerns to allowing their testimony. He appeared to break with Republicans efforts to block Democratic motions to immediately call witnesses and subpoena documents. Instead, Trump said he'd like to see aides, including former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, testify as witnesses. Trump said he'd leave the "national security” concerns about allowing their testimony to the Senate.

Tuesday's daylong session started with the setback for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the president's legal team, but it ended near 2 a.m. Wednesday with Republicans easily approving the rest of the trial rules largely on their terms. With the rules settled, the trial is now on a fast-track. At issue is whether Trump should be removed from office for abuse of power stemming from his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden's son Hunter as Trump was withhold aid to the country, and for obstructing Congress' ensuing probe.

Today on AirTalk, we get the latest on impeachment as opening arguments are set to begin. 

GUESTS:

  • Ron Elving, senior editor and correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News.
  • John Malcolm, vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.  
  • William C. Banks, professor emeritus of law at Syracuse University, he’s the co-author of “Constitutional Law: Structure and Rights in Our Federal System,” (Carolina Academic Press, 2018)

Listen to the segment.

Professor A. Joseph Warburton Co-authors “Mutual Funds that Borrow” Illustrating the Risks to Investors of this Practice

Professor A. Joseph Warburton

Professor A. Joseph Warburton, Professor of Law and Professor of Finance at the Whitman School of Management, has co-authored the paper “Mutual Funds that Borrow” with Professor Michael Simkovic, Professor of Law and Accounting, at the USC Gould School of Law, in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies

Millions of Americans rely on mutual fund investments to pay for their retirement, but mutual funds contain hidden, previously under-appreciated risks. The new study, forthcoming in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, provides evidence that mutual funds borrow in an attempt to improve their performance. But those attempts not only fail to boost average returns, but they also increase the volatility of returns, potentially creating serious problems for those who need to withdraw their money at a time when the market is down.

Download the article here.

Read more on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Schein named Partner

Evan Schein became a named partner with my firm, Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP. His individual practice focuses on litigation and the representation of high net worth individuals including athletes and entertainers.

1L Ryan Marquette Speaks with the American Legion on his Army Service and Legion Involvement

Ryan Marquette

1L Ryan Marquette recently attended the Student Veterans of America National Conference, held by the American Legion, and spoke with the Legion about his Army service and perspectives on being an American Legionnaire. He was among a larger group of Syracuse University students that attended the conference.

In his testimonial, Marquette noted that the post-9/11 veterans are drawn to the organization’s advocacy. “They are socially aware, they do believe in having social impact, and that’s what The American Legion does, through different fundraisers in their local communities or through lobbying on Capitol Hill for veterans issues. I think that is going to attract a lot of GWOT-era veterans as time continues.”

Read more here.

Scott R. Leuenberger Elected Member of Bond, Schoeneck & King

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Scott R. Leuenberger from the firm’s Syracuse office has been elected as a member (partner) of the firm. Scott, a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law (J.D. 2011) and St. Lawrence University (B.A. 2003), is a business law attorney and member of the firm’s exempt organizations and tax law practices.

Kate I. Reid Elected Member of Bond, Schoeneck & King

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Kate I. Reid from the firm’s Syracuse office has been elected as a member (partner) of the firm. Kate, a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law (J.D. 2011) and Miami University (B.A. 2008), concentrates her practice in school law. 

Mastroleo elected Member

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2020, Adam P. Mastroleo from the firm’s Syracuse office has been elected as a member (partner) of the firm. Adam, a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law (J.D. 2006) and Syracuse University (B.A. 2004), is an attorney in the firm's labor and employment practice with extensive experience representing employers in a variety of labor litigation matters.

3Ls Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino Advance to the Semi-Final Round of the ABA Law Student Tax Challenge Competition

Matthew Marcellino and Brian Krastev

The College of Law team of 3Ls Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino is one of six semi-finalist teams in the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Tax Challenge competition, out of the 70 teams that entered the competition. 

The team is coached by Professor Robert Nassau, Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division are invited to the Section of Taxation’s 2020 Midyear Meeting, January 30-February 1, in Boca Raton, Florida, where each team will defend its submission before a panel of judges representing the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including Tax Court judges.

Syracuse University College of Law Introduces "Third Year Away" Option for Residential J.D. Students

College of Law

Starting with the Class of 2023, students in Syracuse University College of Law’s residential J.D. program will have the option of spending their third year entirely off-campus while still taking courses from College of Law faculty. Specifically, students in good standing will have the option to enroll in the “Third Year Away” program, which will allow them to satisfy their remaining requirements for graduation by completing a supervised externship in a legal practice setting and by taking up to 12 credits of interactive online courses.  

“Syracuse prides itself on a robust and innovative curriculum,” says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “The College is now adding a new option for incoming students that will enhance our ability to provide them with both the doctrinal knowledge and the practical and professional skills necessary for the 21st-century legal profession.” 

The Third Year Away Program builds on the College’s established Externship Program, which features placements and accompanying seminars in London, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Washington, DC—with plans to add more locations throughout the United States and beyond. The Externship Program leverages the College's global alumni network to offer semester-long placements accompanied by faculty-led, substantive seminars focused on building professional skills.

The new option also capitalizes on the College of Law’s JDinteractive (JDi) program, the nation’s first ABA-accredited, fully interactive, online J.D. program. As part of the JDi program, the College of Law already offers an array of online courses in addition to intensive residential courses. Each online course consists of live class sessions and self-paced class sessions taught by the College of Law's faculty. The JDi infrastructure, which allows the College to teach and support JDi students around the world, will allow the College’s residential J.D. students enrolled in the Third Year Away Program to participate in the academic, intellectual, and social life of the College when off-campus.

“Increasingly, our J.D. students gain valuable skills and professional experience by working as externs in judicial settings, law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and non-profits," adds Dean Boise. "By allowing students to participate in externships across the nation, while still taking doctrinal classes with our faculty through online courses, we are providing them the opportunity to learn both the substance and the skills they need for success. With Third Year Away, we are truly breaking new ground in legal education.”

“Third Year Away capitalizes on two of the College of Law’s strengths: our first-rate online classes and our far-reaching Externship Program," says David M. Levy Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education Nina Kohn. “While other law schools are contemplating ways to add remote learning options that increase flexibility for their upper-class students, with JDi fully underway, Syracuse already has the infrastructure, the courses, and the faculty expertise to make it happen. Moreover, Third Year Away allows students to get a jump start on their careers by combining their doctrinal coursework with field placements in the communities they seek to work in post-graduation, affording them greater opportunity to develop and strengthen professional networks that can help accelerate their job opportunities.”

Prospective students who wish to learn more about Third Year Away should contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid by phone at 315.443.1962 or by email at admissions@law.syr.edu. All other inquiries should be directed to Director of Communications and Media Relations Rob Conrad at 315.443.9536 or rtconrad@law.syr.edu

College of Law Student Hosts ABA Law Student Division Podcast

Meghan Steenburgh

Meghan Steenburgh, a first-year student in the College’s JDinteractive program, is one of the hosts of the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Division podcast for 2020.  Throughout the year, Steenburgh will be contributing interview-style podcasts to the ABA’s series. 

Her first podcast, an interview with Dan Sullivan, US Senator from Alaska, is now online. In the podcast, Steenburgh interviews Sullivan about his time in law school, his legal practice, service in the US Marines, and as a Senator.

Steenburgh is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds a Master of Science in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Her status as a law school student follows a career in broadcast journalism, corporate communications, politics, and state government.

Sunser named practice group leader

Heather Sunser

Barclay Damon announces, effective January 1, the following new practice group leadership change: Heather Sunser, Financial Services Practice Group leader. A member of the Real Estate, Financial Institutions & Lending, and Telecommunications Practice Areas as well as the energy and cannabis teams, Sunser will serve as the Financial Services Practice Group leader. She is taking over the role from longstanding firm leader and partner Ned Trombly.

Zumpano joins Bousquet Holstein

Maria Zumpano

Bousquet Holstein PLLC is pleased to announce that Maria C. Zumpano, MBA, CPA has joined the firm. Maria joins Bousquet Holstein representing both businesses and individuals that run them in the areas of business formation and structure, transactions and compliance, tax planning, strategy and advocacy, and business succession planning. After graduating summa cum laude with both her MBA and BS in Professional Accountancy from Le Moyne College, Maria became a licensed CPA.

Jerauld joins Bousquet Holstein

Nathan Jerauld

Bousquet Holstein PLLC is pleased to announce that Nathan M. Jerauld has joined the firm. He joins the firm’s Litigation Practice group, with a focus on estate litigation. He has extensive experience operating in high-stress environments and delivering tailored analysis of complex issues. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army where he served worldwide, including Afghanistan and South Korea. 

Cominolli elected as partner

Elizabeth Cominolli

Barclay Damon announces, effective January 1,  Liz Cominolli, previous counsel, has been elected to the law firm’s partnership. Cominolli is a member of the Branding, Trademarks & Copyrights; Intellectual Property Litigation; and Corporate Practice Areas as well as the Outdoor & Wildlife Team. She is based in the Syracuse office.

Senlet named Partner

Ekin Senlet

Barclay Damon announces, effective January 1, Ekin Senlet, previous counsel, has been elected to the law firm’s partnership. Senlet is a member of the Regulatory Practice Area as well as the Energy, Oil & Gas, Renewable Energy, and Cybersecurity Teams. She is based in the Albany office.

Dove named practice group leader

Jeff Dove

Barclay Damon announces, effective January 1, Jeff Dove, a co-chair of the Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights and member of the Corporate Practice Area, will serve as the Business Services Practice Group leader. He is taking over the role from Bob Heary, who has become Labor & Employment Practice Area chair.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Holding Oral Arguments at the College of Law on March 23

Gray Ceremonial Courtroom

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear oral arguments in the Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom in the College of Law’s Dineen Hall on Monday, March 23 at 10 a.m. Details on the cases to be argued will be made available closer to the event date. The three-judge panel for the March 23 sitting will be announced the week before the arguments.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals sits in New York City at the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan. Three appellate court judges sit on each case panel, except for en banc appeals on which the full court sits. The appellate court hears appeals from the six district courts (in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont) within the circuit.

Previously, the College of Law has hosted the New York State Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Dineen Hall’s state-of-the-art Gray Ceremonial Courtroom. 

“Hosting live court proceedings in our building gives our students a tremendous opportunity to see the law in action at a very high level,” says Professor Lauryn Gouldin, Associate Dean for Faculty Research. “We are grateful to have this opportunity to host the Second Circuit in Dineen Hall. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the spring semester for our students.” 

The proceedings are open to the public. Please arrive at Dineen Hall starting at 9 a.m. No cell phones or laptops will be allowed in the courtroom. The arguments begin at 10 a.m. and are expected to conclude around noon. 

Second Circuit Courtroom Rules

Cell phones and laptops are prohibited. Cameras, pictures, and recordings of any type will be prohibited during the arguments. Court security will be on site and checking bags. We have been asked not to bring any bags or backpacks to the proceeding. If arriving late, you must wait for the presenting attorney to finish his/her argument before quietly finding a seat. Do not exit the courtroom during an attorney’s oral argument. 

World War III Alarmism: It’s Time to Press for Sober, Rational, & Contextual Analysis of the Iran Situation

Corri Zoli

By Professor Corri Zoli

Let’s begin with the obvious to self-aware observers of the region: “Iran’s so-called retaliation was not smart, to say the least. It was theater for its gullible constituents, and the US seems willing to let it slide.” So said Hassan Hassan about Iran’s ballistic missile attacks on Iraqi bases (Ain Assad and Erbil), which house US forces. 

Hassan directs the Non-State Actors Program at the nonpartisan Center for Global Policy, focused on improving Mideast governance and US foreign policy. As if on cue, however, Iran’s state media is reporting “heavy US military casualties.”

Hassan is not the only one piercing the veil of alarmism (largely coming from US observers), confusion and ignorance, and disinformation (coming from Iran). 

Ali Vaez, Director of the Iran Project at the CrisisGroup, explains Iran’s need for “face-saving measures” and symbolic revenge. Likewise, Illan Goldenberg at the Center for New American Security (CNAS), decodes Iran’s strategy: “This is our response, don’t hit us back. Regional players stay out or suffer the consequences. This may not be escalation just the response they felt they needed to make. Again, everyone CHILL.” 

Pentagon officials, as Jake Tapper reported, explain that “Iran deliberately chose targets that would not result in the loss of US life,” emphasizing “[d]eliberate targets, minimum damage, maximum warning/effect.” Even Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is eager to announce the attacks as “concluded,” even while he justifies this newest round of missile attacks once again on Iraq (after the Dec. 27, 2019, Kirkuk airbase and December 31 embassy attack) as “self-defense.”

To state this point as clearly as possible: we are not on the verge of World War III with Iran, despite social media trends. 

Quite the opposite, the US government has set limits—first economically, now militarily with the Soleimani strike—on Iranian regional escalation dynamics at least since 2017, which caused a bipartisan Congress to reissue sanctions. Historically and in recent years, Iranian asymmetric warfare—with Soleimani at the helm—has hurt stability in the region. It has also become increasingly brazen—targeting Saudi refineries, downing US and Israeli drones, attacking vessels in the Gulf of Oman, and going after civilians in Syria

Reasonable people can disagree over whether the best US-Iranian foreign policy approach today is limit setting to reestablish deterrence, as per the Trump Administration, or appeasement, engagement, and integration into the geopolitical community, for the previous Obama Administration. 

Every public policy—particularly in the demanding domains of international security and foreign affairs—has strengths and weaknesses. What is not fair or good faith analysis, however, is to ratchet up global public fears about impending war as a way to win support for one’s “side.” That confuses policy with politics, without doing the hard, nonpartisan analytical work of contextual analyses, producing facts and evidence, and trying to include multiple—often contradictory—perspectives. 

Such an approach reveals a lack of genuine concern about the people facing conflict dynamics first-hand in the Middle East, those who already face extensive human rights violations and are currently protesting such conditions, caused most often by their own leadership and unaccountable forms of governance. 

Just last month Iran faced what The New York Times called its “worst unrest in 40 Years,” with anti-government protests across 21 cities—not to mention across the region—followed by the typical “brutal crackdown,” with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps help, resulting in more than 1,500 protesters killed

For deeper analysis of how Iran and Soleimani’s approach to covert asymmetric warfare destabilized and stalled progress in governance across the Middle East, there are plenty sources for thoughtful, contextual analysis. Hassan’s Guardian essay explains the blow in the defeat of Soleimani to Iranian regional hegemony, domination, and military imperialism. Such an ambitious project was already facing grassroots challenge in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria from cross-community protests. Moreover, Kim Ghattas notes that Soleimani was not only a problem for the US, but “haunted the Arab world,” so that his death has been greeted with often quiet “elation.” 

Facing complex conflict dynamics also means we must be open to unexpected or countervailing developments. 

Some analysts see the post-Soleimani moment as a win for the region, whether for a stronger Iraq, or a weakened Quds Force. Even non-Trump supporters—such as political risk analyst, Ian Bremmer—note that while there is no “end” to the US-Iran conflict, no “mission accomplished” yet, “for everyone who thought killing Soleimani was going to lead to war, no; it established red-lines and deterrence,” and, more importantly, potentially opened “ a real window” for diplomacy. Ultimately, Bremmer sees the Iran choice as a big “win” and a “big opportunity going forward.” 

While it is a bit early to tell, scholars at their best have a public duty to pursue the truth wherever it leads—which may result in inconvenient facts and discoveries—but that ultimately helps to advance society in some way. As a cross-culturally focused law and security scholar, I believe that truth-seeking must include multiple and diverse perspectives, particularly needed to get a complete picture of “wicked problems” or complex social phenomenon, like conflicts.

Yet, the public should also ask hard questions about information accountability today, particularly as information technologies disrupt traditional news reporting standards and methods: why ratchet up ordinary Americans’ fears? Who is responsible and what is their motive for spreading such fear? Is it just to get “clicks” or are we purposely misunderstanding a situation that involves the most serious issues as war, peace, life, and death? 

I won’t answer those questions in this analysis, but we all need to insist that public—especially expert commentary and journalism—elevates the discussion and that analysts base their claims in facts, evidence, and informed inquiry, particularly when understanding is such a priority in cases of active conflict.

Professor Nina Kohn Joins Yale Law During Spring 2020

Nina Kohn

Professor Nina Kohn, David M. Levy L'48 Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education, will spend spring 2020 semester as a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

A faculty affiliate with Syracuse University's Aging Studies Institute, and a member of the American Law Institute, Kohn will be teaching a seminar on Law and Aging at Yale. 

Kohn’s research focuses on elder law and the civil rights of older adults and persons with diminished cognitive capacity. 

Her articles address family caregiving, supported and surrogate decision-making, financial exploitation of the elderly, vulnerability and discrimination in old age, the practical and constitutional implications of elder abuse legislation, the potential for an elder rights movement, and legal education. She is the author of Elder Law: Practice, Policy, & Problems (Aspen, 2014).

SU Humanities Center and The Burton Blatt Institute Host “‘Cripping’ Graphic Medicine: Drawing Out the Public Sphere 2020

MK Czerwiec, RN

Syracuse University's Humanities Center and The Burton Blatt Institute's (BBI) Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach are hosting a two-part Syracuse Symposium, “‘Cripping’ Graphic Medicine: Drawing Out the Public Sphere 2020.”

MK Czerwiec, RN, MA, a.k.a. “Comic Nurse”, will lecture on the emerging field of graphic medicine on Thursday, January 23, from 4 – 6 p.m. at SUNY Upstate Medical University, New Academic Building 4414BC. Czerwiec will discuss how the growing field of graphic medicine can benefit all involved in health/care, whether in the clinic, the classroom, or the community.

On Friday, January 24, Czerwiec will lead a workshop on graphic medicine exercises from 10 a.m. - noon at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Setnor Hall 2509/10. In this session, participants will engage with graphic medicine exercises to explore creative, reflective, and inclusive practices for the care of self and others.

Both events are free and open to the public.

“These Syracuse Symposium events will address issues of power in the silencing of disability and the ‘voices‘ of those who experience barriers in healthcare and healthcare education and practice,” says Diane Wiener, Research Professor and Associate Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach for BBI. “These events will also address how disabled people’s ‘voices‘ are sometimes silenced in Graphic Medicine, the comics industry, and beyond, thus demonstrating why adaptations are necessary to (re)fashion a primarily visual medium so that it is consistently accessible to a spectrum of creators and audiences.”

As was the case with the fall 2019 installments in the series, the symposium is sponsored by the Burton Blatt Institute’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach, the Consortium for Culture and Medicine (LeMoyne College, Syracuse University, and SUNY Upstate Medical University), and the College of Arts and Sciences.

About the speaker:

MK Czerwiec has been making comics under the pseudonym Comic Nurse since 2000. With UK physician Ian Williams, she co-runs GraphicMedicine.org, a website devoted to the intersection of comics and health. Her first graphic memoir, Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 (Penn State University Press, 2017), is believed to be the first graphic memoir created by a nurse. She is also a co-author of the Eisner Award-nominated Graphic Medicine Manifesto (Penn State University Press, 2015) which maps the field of Graphic Medicine. 

Event Details

Thursday, January 23

Graphic Medicine: Can Comics Improve our Health?

Public Lecture by MK Czerwiec, RN

4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

SUNY Upstate Medical University, New Academic Building 4414BC.

Friday, January 24

Cultivating Care: A Graphic Medicine Workshop

Workshop led by MK Czerwiec, RN

10 a.m. – Noon

SUNY Upstate Medical University, Setnor Hall 2509/10.

The event locations have wheelchair-accessible space and bathrooms. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided. Please refrain from using scented products to ensure the comfort and safety of participants. 

For information on parking or to request additional accommodations, please contact Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri at 315-443-2156 or razubal@law.syr.edu by 1/16/20.

Iran & LOAC: Professor William C. Banks Joins ABA National Security Podcast

William C. Banks

Iran and the Law of Armed Conflict with Bill Banks and John Bellinger

(ABA National Security Law Podcast | Jan. 6, 2019)

This episode references:

Listen to the podcast.

Manase Nyaga LL.M. '20: Bringing a Global Perspective to Local Issues

Manase Nyaga, LL.M’20

Law student Manase Nyaga’s breadth of experience and Syracuse University education shape his goal to serve.

When Manase Nyaga, LL.M’20, moved to Syracuse, he hoped to pursue a graduate degree in law but wanted to gain experience in American legal practice first. His plans were complicated when Nyaga, who earned his bachelor of law from the premier university in Uganda, found that some businesses and firms couldn’t recognize his undergraduate degree. But with his wife in nursing school and plans to start a family, not working wasn’t an option. Nyaga was considering a position in retail when he got a call from the Frank Hiscock Legal Aid Society in downtown Syracuse. Hiscock, which provides free legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in Onondaga County, honored Nyaga’s degree and appreciated his international perspective. They offered him a position as a paralegal in their Foreclosure Prevention Project providing counseling and representation to those in danger of losing their homes.

Thus began a promising new chapter, one that would lead Nyaga to the Syracuse University College of Law. “Working on the Foreclosure Project was an amazing experience,” he says. “We were helping people at their greatest time of need and providing real relief.” The work gave Nyaga an eye-opening view into poverty in Central New York. “What impressed me is how similar the issues were here to what I have seen in Kenya. Struggling people deal with the same situations and have the same concerns, regardless their culture or where they live,” he explains. “I really got to see how we are all the same.” Nyaga also worked in the criminal appeals department, visiting clients in prison and attending court proceedings. These experiences added valuable depth to his understanding of the American legal system.

During his three years at Hiscock, Nyaga worked with many Syracuse University College of Law alumni. When he decided to enroll in law school, their endorsement made Syracuse the obvious choice.

Preparation and Support

Nyaga credits his upbringing in Kenya for providing excellent preparation for graduate work at Syracuse University. He attended boarding schools from the age of 10. This fostered an independence helpful in the transition from central Africa to Central New York, and underscores his appreciation for the small class sizes, access to professors, and strong academic and career-oriented support available at Syracuse University. “Among our professors are former judges, intelligence agency attorneys and human rights advocates. It amazes me that professionals with that level of experience would care so much and be so personally involved in our success,” Nyaga says.

Nyaga also appreciates the diversity within the student body at the College of Law. “In a class of 20 people, we may all be from different countries,” he says. “We sit together and hear one another’s views and learn about one another’s cultures.” His experience as a student has expanded how much he values his academic pursuits at Syracuse University. “For me, a degree from Syracuse will change many things. But it’s not just the degree that matters—it’s the whole education.”

Helping Those in Transition

In September 2019, Nyaga became an American citizen in a naturalization ceremony at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Syracuse. The moment was the culmination of a long journey that began when he and his wife met in Zanzibar, where he was working and she was visiting before returning to the U.S. after serving in the Peace Corps. They lived in Zanzibar while Nyaga went through the immigration application process. He was granted admission in 2015, and they came to the U.S. accompanied by their two dogs, Luna and Tusker.

Nyaga says he was unprepared for how much the naturalization ceremony would move him. “When you are becoming a citizen, to have your hand over heart and pledge allegiance—it is very powerful! It really made me think about who I am, and how the Kenyan and American parts of my identity work together.”

This duality, and the wealth of insight he’s gained through work and education, inform Nyaga’s goals for the future. After graduating in May, he intends to move his family to Washington D.C., where he hopes to work on issues of national security or humanitarian aid. His dream job, he says, would allow him to help others who are seeking to fulfill their potential.

Sarah H. Griffin

Office of International Programs & Disability Law and Policy Program Visit China

Professor Arlene Kanter lectures at Peking University, December 2019.

In December 2019, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence, Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program (DLPP) and Director of International Programs Professor Arlene Kanter, along with Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall, traveled to China on a whirlwind visit to four cities in over two weeks. They discussed developments in disability law, inclusive education, and international legal education, as well as potential future collaborations with the College of Law's international programs. 

"Although a busy schedule, this extensive working visit to Beijing, Wuhan, Xiamen, and Guangzhou was both enlightening and productive. It was also a first for the College of Law," says Kanter. "It's gratifying to see the strides disability rights are making in China, and I'm proud to say that College of Law and DLPP alums are in the vanguard of that evolution. We were able to connect with many Chinese students and faculty eager to learn more about the rich academic offerings of the College, and we anticipate plenty of interest in our DLPP and graduate programs as a result." 

During the two weeks, Kanter and Horsfall visited and lectured at Peking University, Tsinghua University, Chinese University of Political Science and Law, Wuhan University, Xiamen University, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. They also met with staff at EducationUSA, the Fulbright Commission, and other foundations.

“One of the highlights of the trip was meeting with members of College's growing Chinese alumni community,” says Horsfall. 

At a charter of Best Buddies International, a parent’s organization for children with disabilities, Kanter caught up with alumna Xuehong “Michelle” Wang LL.M.’18 and discussed recent developments in the field of inclusive education. Lecturer Xian Zhan L’18 hosted Kanter and Horsfall at the Chinese University of Political Science and Law, where they discussed future partnerships and trends in international legal education. Da Lu L’18 and Boliang Xia L'18 were the hosts for meetings at the ZhiLin Law Firm in Beijing, while Milan Tang LL.M. ’17 hosted the Syracuse delegation at the W&H Law Firm in Guangzhou. On Dec. 7, 2019, Kanter and Horsfall offered remarks at a lunch meeting of the Syracuse University Beijing Alumni Club.

“Even within the ever-shifting landscape of international higher education and geopolitics, China continues to offer exciting opportunities for engagement, student and faculty exchange, and a better understanding of our respective legal systems. Our alumni are eager to be part of the momentum the College of Law is building toward these efforts,” says Horsfall. 

College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program To Host Leading Human Rights Scholars as Part of CUSE Grant Project

The College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program (DLPP), through a Syracuse University Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant, will be hosting a lecture series throughout 2020 on the Effectiveness of Human Rights Treaties.

The speakers include:

Catalina Devandas Aguilar

UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Friday, Jan. 24, 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Location TBA

Professor Erika George

Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law, University of Utah College of Law

Thursday, Feb. 13, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

College of Law Collaboratory

Co-sponsored by the College of Law Office of the Dean

Professor Beth Simmons

University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics, University of Pennsylvania

Friday, March 13, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

College of Law Collaboratory

Co-sponsored by the College of Law Office of the Dean

Professor Kathryn Sikkink

Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights, Harvard Kennedy School 

Fall 2020

“This slate of speakers, representing the nation’s leading human rights scholars, is part of a two-year-long interdisciplinary CUSE Grant Project on the role of human rights treaties in effecting societal change,” says Professor Arlene S. Kanter, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence, Director of DLPP, Director of International Programs, and Principal Investigator for the grant. “Not only is this CUSE Grant Project bringing to the College of Law leading experts in the field of human rights;  it is also bringing together faculty from throughout the University, including my colleagues Professors Cora-True Frost and Zoli from the College of Law, Professors Klotz and Abdelaaty from Maxwell, Professor Gill from the School of Education, and Professor Bellows from Falk College,” Kanter explains.

Additional speakers and events will be announced in the months ahead. 

The CUSE Grant program was designed to be highly interdisciplinary, to spur growth in the research enterprise and to further support the University’s standing as a pre-eminent and inclusive student-focused research university. The CUSE Grant application and merit review processes were designed to emulate the most common practices found in leading external sponsors, with an expectation that CUSE-funded faculty members will seek extramural support for their developed projects and collaboration. The program’s ultimate goal is to increase both extramural funding and high-quality scholarly output, which in turn will increase national and international recognition of awardees, their programs, and the University.

Newsweek Quotes Professor William Banks on Iran Retaliation

William C. Banks

IRAN'S SUPREME LEADER SUGGESTS FURTHER RETALIATION AGAINST U.S., SAYING STRIKES ON IRAQ BASES 'NOT ENOUGH'

Newsweek | Jan. 8, 2020

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Wednesday that Iran would take further steps to escalate tensions with the U.S., saying military strikes carried out against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq were not enough.

"They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough," Khamenei wrote in a tweet.

However, the Iranian leader's post appeared to counter previous remarks by Iran's Foreing Minister Javad Zarif, which suggested that his nation did not plan to further retaliate against the U.S. at the present time ...

... William Banks, a professor of law, public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University, cautioned against further escalation in comments emailed to Newsweek.

"This is an escalation for sure but retaliation, revenge, or reprisals are unlawful at international law, not that Iran abides by international law," Banks said. "The risks are that the U.S. will play along and some escalatory act will be disproportionate to the circumstances, leading to something far worse," he said ...

Read the full article

Professor Doron Dorfman Explores the "Fear of the Disability Con" in Law & Society Review

Doron Dorfman
"Fear of the Disability Con: Perceptions of Fraud and Special Rights Discourse." Law & Society Review (November 2019). 

Professor Doron Dorfman presents a new framework for analyzing the development and implementation of disability law and policy: the prism of the "fear of the disability con"—popular perceptions of fraud and fakery. 

Although news stories and memes about falsely claiming disability rights abound, what the public makes of these stories or how disabled people experience this suspicion is something not integrated into a systematic analysis of law in everyday life. 

Yet, as Dorfman shows, these attitudes could well shape how people experience their rights, how they are willing to exercise them, and how the law itself is being shaped to respond to this suspicion. 

The article demonstrates how disability law plays out in everyday life. As the data demonstrate, negative attitudes and stereotypes laypeople hold against disability law currently negatively affects millions of Americans living with disabilities: it is the cost they bear for their civil rights, writes Dorfman. 

Dorfman argues that a legislative amendment, such as the 2008 ADAAA combating judicial backlash, is not a panacea for this issue. An elaborate, multifaceted effort is needed to overcome the challenges associated with altering attitudes about disability and disability rights.

Spring 2020 DCEx Session Begins with 15 Placements

DCEx Program

Fifteen College of Law externs have kicked off the spring 2020 semester in the nation’s capital, looking to gain essential practical experience at government, military, congressional, law firm, corporate, and nonprofit placements. 

One of the College's many externship options, DCEx provides students an intensive professional immersion, with a seminar that guides their understanding of the unique legal landscape of Washington, DC.

Federal Government Placements

  • US Department of Health and Human Services, Developmental Appeals Board
  • US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General
  • US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
  • US Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia
  • US Department of Justice, Civil Division, Office of Foreign Litigation (OFL) and Office of International Judicial Assistance (OIJA)
  • US Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section
  • US Department of Commerce, Office of General Counsel, Employment and Labor Law Division
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Trading and Markets
  • US Department of State, Bureau of Human Resources, Office of Overseas Employment

Local Government Placements

  • Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, Loudon County, Virginia 
  • Office of Public Defender, Montgomery County, Maryland

Law Firm Placements

  • Sanford Heisler LLP
  • Garfield Law Group LLP

Nonprofit Placements

  • Cold Case Justice Initiative
  • Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council

Natalie Hempson Elected as Member

Natalie Hempson

Bousquet Holstein PLLC is pleased to announce that Natalie P. Hempson-Elliott has been elected as Member of the firm. Natalie joined Bousquet Holstein in 2014 and is part of the firm's Real Estate, Business, and Public Finance Practice Groups. Natalie has over 10 years of experience representing clients in various business, real estate, and public finance transactions. She has served and advised clients in matters relating to real estate development, commercial lending and financing, leasing, and the acquisition and sale of real property interests.

The Soleimani Airstrike: An End to His Signature Middle East Strategy?

Corri Zoli

By Corri Zoli, Director of Research, Institute for Security Policy and Law

Less well-known than Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden or ISIS’s Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi, the covert Iranian commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani had widespread strategic influence throughout the Middle East. He was responsible for standing up and activating a clandestine infrastructure of organized armed groups from Hezbollah to Hamas and for ongoing instability and insurgency in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and elsewhere. It is for this reason that several terrorism scholars and expert observers—myself included—have identified Soleimani’s defeat as far more significant than that of Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

While the repercussions of his death for Mideast dynamics are still unknown, even in these polarized times, the defeat of Soleimani should warrant a clear-eyed recognition that his two decades of orchestrating a covert signature strategy for Mideast insurgency and instability has come to an end. 

First, the facts as currently known. On Jan. 3, 2020, Soleimani—head of the elite, external clandestine Quds Force, a division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—was targeted and killed by a US drone airstrike, authorized by President Donald J. Trump. The strike happened as Soleimani and four Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) members—including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Commander Jamal Jafaar Mohammed Ali Āl Ebrahim (Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis)—exited their aircraft at Baghdad International airport. 

The five has just arrived from Lebanon or Syria, signaling coordination between Iran’s IRGC and the Iraqi-state supported umbrella PMF, often called the new Iraqi Republican Guard. PMF includes more than 40 largely Shia militia and terrorist groups, including Iran-supported KH, the Khazali Network, and Badr Brigades. 

While some commentators have pointed to a post-US strike escalation of tensions, the drone strike that killed Soleimani and company was in fact a response to KH’s provocative 31 Dec., 2019, attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad—a breach of international law—and its 27 Dec., 2019, attack on the Iraqi K-1 Air Base in Kirkuk, which hosts US Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) personnel. During that attack, KH rockets—more than 30—killed a US civilian contractor and injured four US and two Iraqi military personnel. It is for these immediate precursor reasons that the Department of Defense has characterized the Soleimani strike as “defensive.” 

Forgotten in recent news, however, were a series of highly provocative attacks since 2017 by IRGC across the region. Last year alone, these include the May 2019 Gulf of Oman oil tanker attacks damaged six commercial ships, including two Saudi Aramco oil tankers; the May 2019 Saudi pipeline attack and the Sept. 14, 2019, unprecedented drone hit on Saudi Aramco’s two major oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais; and the June 20, 2019, attack on a US RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone for which Trump intended to respond but reversed his decision, instead requesting a United Nations Security Council closed-door meeting on Iranian regional escalation. This pattern is why former US military commanders in the region, such as Gen. David Petraeus, have framed the Soleimani strike as a need to reestablish “deterrence.”

From a broader strategic perspective, for those unfamiliar with the region, the killing of Soleimani uncovers plenty of questions about the region’s politics and conflicts: Why in the world would Iran sponsor an irregular militia to attack a sovereign embassy, which Iraq as the host nation is required to protect? Why would Iran support the targeting of a neighbor’s military airbase, particularly when the world’s most powerful military force is on base? Broadening the aperture, why would Iran—with Soleimani as its operational mastermind—ally with Russia to support Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, since 2012, in the Syrian Civil War with brutal atrocities against his own people? Moreover, why would Iran seek to destabilize Yemen—supporting the Houthi insurgency—at Saudi Arabia’s doorstep, thus drawing the Gulf Arab states into the fray? 

Welcome to the dynamics of proxy warfare and Soleimani’s signature strategy in the Middle East. At its core, Soleimani aimed to blend the power of the state (Iran, and its political power) with the dynamic activism of violent extremist and militant groups, much like the model of Hezbollah in Lebanon, as Middle East expert Ali Soufan observed. That strategy alone—where nonstate groups can draw on the power of a state—warrants a more disruptive response which utilizes all instruments of national power, including economics and kinetics.

Still one of the best strategic profiles of Soleimani is Dexter Filkins’s 2013 New Yorker essay, “The Shadow Commander” in which Filkins explains how Soleimani was shaped by the 1980s Iran-Iraq War (with its use of chemical weapons) and then tasked as early as 1998 to advance the 1979 Iranian Revolution and reshape the Middle East into the Shia Crescent zone of influence. As part of this vision, Soleimani went on—all at the same time—to help direct and fund Assad’s war in Syria, Hezbollah’s control of Lebanon, and the ongoing insurgencies against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq (since 2001). 

Soleimani’s endgame was to reshape the Mideast into a zone of Iranian influence, thus, advancing the Iranian revolutionary flame ever forward. While this goal is by no means unique to Soleimani—Iran’s Supreme Leaders share this core aspiration—what was unique to the general was his powerful execution of this goal by building a vast covert organizational infrastructure of dozens of Iran-backed militant and terrorist organizations. These proxies and special groups have been increasing at rapid rates due to fighting against US coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Syria and against Islamic State. 

In light of Soleimani’s long-term signature strategy, it is not surprising to see successive US administrations designate these proxy and covert forces as terrorist organizations. On April 8, 2019, Soleimani’s IRGC and Quds Force were both designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, augmenting earlier Obama-era Treasury designations in 2007 and 2010. Likewise, in July 2009 under executive orders 13438 and 13224—covering those who threaten stabilization efforts in Iraq—the Obama Administration designated Kata’ib Hezbollah a terrorist organization, the only Iraqi Shiite militia so designated by the US. Soleimani himself was a “specially designated national” (SDN) since 1999, again in 2010 under EO 13382, with additional sanctions after his foiled plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in the United States.

Such tactics also were used at home. In early December the world witnessed an Iran “convulsed” by what The New York Times called its “worst unrest in 40 Years,” with anti-government protests across 21 cities. These protests were followed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “brutal crackdown”—with IRGC involvement—resulting in more than 1,500 protesters killed. Iranians were protesting rising fuel prices, the result of economic mismanagement and EU and US sanctions issued in response to IRGC provocations. These included the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which passed overwhelmingly by both houses in 2017 (including sanctions against Russia and North Korea).

There’s no doubt Soleimani will be replaced, but his successor will have very large strategic shoes to fill. Reports indicate that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has regrouped and will replace the head of its agile, covert militant network with Quds Force deputy Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani

Governments in and beyond the region are collectively holding their breath, hoping that violence will not escalate. Some—such as Russia, Iran’s ally in Syria—criticized the US action and, in turn, praised Soleimani for having “faithfully served and defended the national interests of Iran.” Any realistic account must address the conflicting, multiperspectives in the region. In addition to celebrations among communities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere, journalist Kim Ghattas notes that Soleimani was not only a problem for the US, he “haunted the Arab world,” so his death has been greeted with often-quiet “elation.” While Iraq’s parliament will ask for the removal of US forces, some see the post-Soleimani moment as a win for a stronger Iraq. No doubt, US military servicemembers, directly targeted by the IRGC especially in Iraq, offer important insights.

Critics of this action will fixate once again on the Trump Administration’s strategy, positing the US as responsible for Mideast conflict and crisis. Some of these critics ignore Soleimani’s two decades of militant infrastructure-building or the audacity of Kata’ib Hezbollah to target its neighbor’s embassy and airbase. They also forget that KH Commander Muhandis—killed along with Soleimani—was the alleged mastermind of the US and French embassy bombings in Kuwait in 1983, as well as the assassination attempt on Kuwait’s emir in 1985. Such forces have been hard at work for a long time. 

While we do not know what happens next, with Soleimani’s demise, Iran and its proxies have lost their strategic architect. 

Professor Corri Zoli's Expertise in Demand as Media Make Sense of Iran Crisis

Corri Zoli

Corri Zoli, Director of Research for the Institute for Security Policy and Law, helped local media make sense of the Jan. 3, 2019, assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the subsequent Iran Crisis,  and what this US military action means for the security of an already volatile Middle East region.

SU Professor: "Something Had to be Done" to Stop Gen. Soleimani's Influence in Middle East Conflicts

WAER | Jan. 6, 2020

"Something had to be done. Former General David Petraeus was in the news the other day saying, listen, we had to reestablish deterrence somehow because the moves were getting more and more audacious. Closer and closer to US civilian populations, closer and closer to armed forces."

Read more

SU Counterterrorism expert: Soleimani death may be more significant than Osama bin Laden

CNYCentral | Jan. 3, 2020

... Zoli says Soleimani had even greater military reach throughout the region. He was a man, Zoli says, who helped support unrest in Yemen, Syria and was a key figure behind insurgencies against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

"The IEDs were as a tactical strategy in the field was pioneered by Soleimani. So many American service members think of him as responsible for these," Zoli said. 

She says Soleimani was covert but calls him an operational mastermind who built an enormous infrastructure of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East ...

Read more

What Led to Airstrike That Killed Iranian Military Commander?

Spectrum News | Jan. 3 2020

"I think everyone is holding their breath in the Middle East right now, there's significant concern that there will be increased conflict, escalation, dynamics that will involve retaliation,” said Zoli. "There's no doubt that the US is preparing for that."

Read more

Corri Zoli interview by CNYCentral on Jan. 3, 2020.
Corri Zoli interview by CNYCentral on Jan. 3, 2020.

COL (R) James R. McKee selected Senior Civilian Attorney

James McKee

COL (R) James R. McKee, Class of 1991, was selected to be the Senior Civilian Attorney for the 902D Military Intelligence Group, Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Meade, MD, which is the Army’s premiere counterintelligence organization, focusing his efforts on counterintelligence and counterespionage investigations, operations, collection, and analysis on foreign intelligence entities, international terrorism, and insider threats to U.S. Army Forces. 

Adam Kuhn guest on "Law You Should Know"

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn appeared as a guest on the radio talk show “Law You Should Know” on WHPC 90.3 FM to explain why a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is necessary, which assets it applies to, and the steps for the practitioner to supervise its preparation

Shannon Tahoe appointed Acting Commissioner of Education

The New York State Board of Regents has appointed Shannon Tahoe as acing commissioner of education. 

Joshua O'Neill joins Bond, Schoeneck & King

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Joshua M.C. O’Neill has joined the firm’s Rochester office as an associate in its litigation department.

David Hutter joins Barclay Damon

David Hutter

Barclay Damon announces David Hutter has joined their Syracuse office as an associate. Hutter is a member of the Torts & Products Liability Defense and Professional Liability Practice Areas. In addition to his role at Barclay Damon, he serves as a first lieutenant in the NY Army National Guard.

Erin McCrady Head of Dorsey & Whitney Missoula office

International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP is pleased to announce that it has named Corporate Finance and Public Finance Partner Erin McCrady as head of the Firm’s Missoula office effective January 1, 2020. 

Patrick Di Domenico joins Jackson Lewis P.C.

Patrick DiDomenico has joined national workplace law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. as Chief Innovation Officer.  As Chief Innovation Officer, Mr. DiDomenico will develop and implement strategies driving innovation and technology within the firm.

Andrea Barraclough appointed Federal Administrative Law Judge

In August of this year, Andrea Rachiele Barraclough, Class of 2001, was appointed and sworn in as a federal Administrative Law Judge for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. She serves in the Seattle, WA field office. 

Oliver Blaise elected NYS Supreme Court Justice

Oliver Blaise

Oliver Blaise was elected on November 5, 2019 as a NYS Supreme Court Justice for the Sixth Judicial District, which covers ten counties in the Southern Tier of New York. 

Joe Mancuso Name in Best Lawyers

Joe Mancuso

Joseph T. Mancuso has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for 2020. Mr. Mancuso is a partner in the Banking & Finance and Corporate Practices. 

Dean Craig M. Boise to Moderate NYSBA Panel on Legal Implications of White Nationalism

Dean Craig M. Boise

Dean Craig M. Boise will moderate a panel discussion on the legal implications of white nationalism at the 2020 New York State Bar Association Summit. The Jan. 29, 2020, panel will be part of a Presidential Summit at the state bar association’s week-long annual meeting.

The panelists—representing a diverse set of viewpoints on how to address domestic terrorism, including mass shootings—will be former US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Nan Whaley, the Mayor of Dayton, OH; David Cole, National Legal Director for the ACLU; Leonard Zeskind, author of Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream; and Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence.

"The five panelists, coupled with Boise as moderator, should provide an interesting discussion for anyone interested in how civil rights intersect with issues such as domestic terrorism and stronger gun control," says Hank Greenberg L'86, President of the State Bar Association and a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig.

Read the full story.

Professor William C. Banks Comments on FISA Reform for USA Today

William C. Banks

Sinclair Speaks to Professor William C. Banks About Horowitz Report, FISA Reform

William C. Banks

Amid partisan warfare over Russia probe, lawmakers agree FISA reforms needed

(Sinclair Broadcasting Group | Dec. 12, 2019) The release of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long-awaited report on the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and its surveillance of a former aide to President Donald Trump’s campaign has fueled a heated partisan debate over the extent to which the 480-page document refuted the president’s claims of a politically-motivated conspiracy to spy on his campaign.

But the political theater on Capitol Hill this week threatened to overshadow a central point of Horowitz’s report: that safeguards put in place to protect Americans from inappropriate government surveillance appear to have utterly failed multiple times and need to be fixed ...

... Investigators obtained a FISA order to wiretap Page in October 2016 and the permission for surveillance was renewed three times in the following year. Horowitz’s review provided an unusually in-depth look at the applications and the evidence within them, and the results were troubling for national security experts, civil rights advocates, and many members of Congress.

“For many of us who’ve been FISA people for a long time, it came as a surprise and a disappointment,” said William Banks, founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and professor emeritus at Syracuse University.

When concerns have been raised about FISA in the past, proponents have often stressed how thoroughly FISA applications are vetted before they are submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. However, Horowitz identified at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” in the four Page FISA applications ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse University College of Law and Martin J. Whitman School of Management Launch Nation’s First Online Joint JD/MBA Degree Program

Online Joint JD/MBA Degree Program

Syracuse University College of Law announces the launch of the nation’s first online joint JD/MBA degree program, in partnership with Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. The new joint degree combines the College of Law’s ground-breaking, ABA-accredited JDinteractive program with the Whitman School’s highly ranked MBA@Syracuse program.   

“As we’ve learned from decades of success with our joint residential JD/MBA with the Whitman School, there is strong demand for a joint law and business education,” says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “JDinteractive attracts many students whose careers, credentials, and ambitions are a natural fit for a dual law and business curriculum. It makes sense to partner with our colleagues at the Whitman School to make this curriculum available online.”

“In a globalized, interconnected marketplace, business leaders must constantly consider legal and regulatory frameworks. Across the spectrum of daily business transactions, legal considerations increasingly occupy a prominent place in boardroom discussions,” says Whitman Dean Gene Anderson. “An unprecedented option for students who wish to change careers or improve credentials, the new online JD/MBA provides even greater access to the high-quality legal and business education offered by two nationally ranked schools.” 

Students admitted to the joint program will earn their JD degree through the College of Law’s innovative JDinteractive (JDi) program. JDi courses are conducted primarily online, with each course consisting of both self-paced class sessions and live class sessions taught by the College's faculty. In addition, JDi students participate in six intensive residencies, which provide them with an opportunity to develop key professional skills. JDi students take all courses required of students in Syracuse's residential JD program, select from elective courses, participate in student organizations, and receive hands-on experiential learning and skills-building training. 

Online JD/MBA students earn their master's degree in business administration through the Whitman School’s MBA@Syracuse. Recognized for its strong alumni outcomes, MBA@Syracuse is ranked among the Top 40 Best Online MBAs by U.S. News & World Report and among the Top 25 Best Online MBAs by The Princeton Review. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, MBA@Syracuse features the same curriculum content as the on-campus MBA program and blends multimedia coursework with live, online classes and hands-on residency experiences.

JDi students will be eligible to apply to the joint JD/MBA degree program starting in 2020. Before starting the online MBA portion of the joint degree, JDi students must be separately admitted to the Whitman School, have completed 34 credits of law school, and meet all defined academic requirements. 

“This is a real first for legal education,” explains Nina Kohn, David M. Levy Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education at the College of Law. "Through the JDi program, we've been able to expand access to legal education to remarkably talented students for whom a residential JD education was out of reach, whether because of family obligations, military service, or the demands of their careers. Now we are poised to open the door of opportunity even wider—finally making a joint JD/MBA a real possibility for these students."

Those interested in earning their JD/MBA through the new program may email onlineJD@law.syr.edu or call 315.443.1262. 

Professor Roy Gutterman Interviewed for PolitiFact Article Fact-Checking Trump on Libel and Prison

Roy Gutterman

Fact-Checking Donald Trump on Libel Law and Prison

(Politifact | Dec. 5, 2019) At a NATO summit in London, President Donald Trump took aim at one of his adversaries back across the pond: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a key figure in the inquiry into impeaching the president.

Trump has repeatedly referred back to the time when Schiff paraphrased Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — an event at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. 

Trump has portrayed Schiff’s words as a fabrication that twisted what he said, but Schiff prefaced his remarks by saying they were not verbatim but were rather "the essence of what the president communicates" and "in sum and character, what the president was trying to communicate."

In a press conference at the NATO summit, Trump once again attacked Schiff over his remarks, suggesting that Schiff could be arrested for what he said ...

... The vast majority of libel or slander cases are civil rather than criminal, said Leonard Niehoff, a University of Michigan law professor. This means the speaker’s money could be at risk if they lose a libel or slander case, but they would not be imprisoned.

However, criminal libel laws of one kind or another do exist on the books in almost half the states. According to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Committee to Protect Journalists, two dozen states have criminal libel laws. 

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1964 case Garrison vs. Louisiana that the standard for criminal conviction is the same as in the landmark case from the same year, New York Times vs. Sullivan, that addresses civil libel cases. "The prosecution must prove falsity and actual malice, beyond a reasonable doubt," Wasserman said.

Some of today’s 24 state laws wouldn’t be relevant to the Schiff example. The laws in Illinois and Texas only cover slanders against financial institutions, while the one in Massachusetts concerns hate speech based on race or other classifications. Three others specifically exclude imprisonment as a possible sentence. (The states that do set maximum prison sentences top out at one year, possibly including fines.)

In addition, the Committee to Protect Journalists cites court cases in seven of these states that would seem to make these laws unconstitutional today, meaning that their existence on the books is archaic.

Even the states that have criminal libel laws rarely use them.

"As a general proposition, prosecutors have vastly better things to do with their time that pursue charges of criminal libel," Niehoff said.

In addition, such laws "would likely be deemed unconstitutional under the First Amendment if they were applied," said Roy S. Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Importantly for Schiff’s case, there’s no criminal libel statute for the District of Columbia, or an equivalent federal statute. Nor is there one in Schiff’s home state of California. 

"So even if Schiff's summaries of the conversations were knowingly false and he were not immune, I am not sure what law he could be prosecuted under," Wasserman said.

Read the full article

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Preapproved for 2020 IRS Matching Grant; Director Robert Nassau Speaks at Annual LITC Grantee Conference

LITC Director Robert Nassau (far right) and Earned Income Tax Credit panelists

The College of Law’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) is preapproved for a matching grant for 2020 by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For 21 years, the LITC has provided legal assistance to lower-income taxpayers in Central New York who have controversies with the IRS while providing law students with hands-on experience representing clients in these matters.

In addition, LITC Director Robert Nassau recently participated on the “Earned Income Tax Credit” panel at the annual LITC Grantee Conference.

Professor William C. Banks Comments to China Daily on Impeachment, 2020 Elections

William C. Banks

Impeachment Seen as Impacting 2020 Election

(China Daily | Dec. 11, 2019) As the US House Democrats sought on Monday to bolster the case for impeaching President Donald Trump, analysts said the move would have political repercussions on the campaign trail even if the result is "impeached but not removed".

Trump "constitutes a continuing threat to the integrity of our elections and to our democratic system of government," Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said after the panel heard from House Intelligence Committee staff members on their investigation of Trump on Monday.

"Such conduct is clearly impeachable. This committee will proceed accordingly," said Nadler, a New York Democrat ...

... William C. Banks, a Syracuse University College of Law professor, said the scenario that Trump is subjected to a trial and ultimately acquitted may help him politically, but "only time will tell how voters react".

"For those who believe in the rule of law and the importance of constitutional norms, his impeachment is nonetheless important because it upholds and reinforces the importance of those norms," Banks said.

Banks, who co-authored National Security Law and the Power of the Purse, a 1994 book about tensions between the executive and legislative branches over security and spending, said there will undoubtedly be an impact on the 2020 campaign.

"Biden is of course central to the Ukraine scandal, and his testimony will be more damning of the president than harmful to Biden," Banks said.

Banks also said it is impossible to know the immediate repercussions of the impeachment for Democrats in next November's election.

"Trump continues to have a constant 40 percent approval rating, but given the electoral system, he could win again with less than a majority of votes. It's too soon to tell," Banks said ...

Read the full article.

Professor Michael Schwartz weighs in on the ADA and tribal casinos in regard to a case about service dogs.

Professor Michael Schwartz

Professor Michael Schwartz spoke with Casino.org on an ADA-related case at Seneca Niagara Casino, and the broader implications for casinos (including tribal casinos) and service dogs. 

Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic Director Beth Kubala Joins Women Veterans for the “Women In Boots” Workshop at University of Chicago

Beth Kubala, Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, recently served as a panelist along with other women veterans at the University of Chicago Law School for a workshop titled “Women in Boots.”  Part of its Diversity Scholar Speaker Series, the University of Chicago Law School Veterans Organization hosted the event during November as part of its month of Veteran-focused activities.   

The purpose of “Women in Boots” was to increase awareness of legal and policy issues affecting veterans within the greater Law School community, and to help achieve a fuller recognition of the value of veterans in the community, in particular, women veterans.  The panel of women veterans all had their roots in diverse service experiences, and they spoke about their military service and how their time in uniform influenced their post-service careers.  

Panelists included a former surface warfare officer, Army Engineers, a medics, and in Kubala’s case, an Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps officer.  She shared how her military justice experiences while serving as an Army JAG Corps officer honed her advocacy, litigation and leadership skills, all which apply both while wearing the uniform and after transitioning from the military.  

All of the women on the panel continue to serve veterans today in their careers and collectively affirmed that continuing to serve others after transitioning from the military provides tremendous job and personal satisfaction.    

Professor Doron Dorfman Spearheads a new empirical study: The 2019 Municipal Accessibility Index in Israel

Professor Doron Dorfman

Professor Doron Dorfman, along with a team of researchers from the “aChord Center – Social Psychology for Social Change” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, provided research and assessment for the 2019 Municipal Accessibility Index in Israel. The annual survey research examines the Israeli public opinion towards people with disabilities, as well as perceptions of accessibility in different areas of life (including social life, labor market participation, and healthcare), among disabled individuals.

Key findings suggest:

- There was a decrease in the public view of disabled people as incompetent and as a homogenous out-group.

- There was a positive trend in the public’s willingness to form various relationships with people with disabilities. However, people with disabilities perceived this willingness to be of lesser magnitude than what nondisabled individuals reported. 

- People with disabilities were found to put less trust in medical providers, felt they could not talk with them openly about their needs, and that the providers do not believe them when they say they are in pain (all compared to nondisabled survey respondents).

- People with disabilities believed that employers in the private and public sectors are not likely to employ them. People with disabilities were also more likely to refrain from applying to jobs in the first place (compared with nondisabled individuals).  

“Taken together, the findings from this research showcase the complexity of looking at disability both from an “inside view” (of people living with disabilities) and an “outside view” (that of nondisabled individuals),” concludes the researchers.  “The findings provide an empirical basis that can be used for developing laws and policies designed to promote the rights and wellbeing of Israelis with disabilities.”

The survey research was commissioned by The Ruderman Family Foundation, the Ted Arison Family Foundation, the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities within the Israeli Ministry of Justice, and JDC Israel.

The full report, in Hebrew, is here.

An English language summary of the findings is here.

From "Justice for Jenny" to "Justice for All": The Burton Blatt Institute Redefines “Supported Decision-Making”

BBI Senior Director for Law and Policy Jonathan Martinis pictured with Jenny Hatch.

By Julia Scaglione

Think about all the decisions you make in your life. From where you work, to what you eat, to whom you associate with, to where you live, to politicians you vote for—human lives are ruled by myriad decisions that people, for the most part, make themselves. Now, imagine someone else making those important life decisions for you. How would it feel to not be in the driver’s seat of your own life? Would it make you feel out of control, anxious, or even helpless? 

Fortunately, most people do not have to experience those feelings in their everyday lives; however, individuals with disabilities are not as lucky. Guardianship, in which the individual with a disability loses his or her decision-making rights to another person, has been written in law for hundreds of years, dating back to Ancient Rome. Sadly, this practice has become the norm for people with disabilities as society assumes that they cannot make their own choices. Now, a Syracuse University disability rights research organization is actively working to remediate this issue. 

Headquartered at the Syracuse University College of Law, the Burton Blatt Institute’s (BBI) mission is to better the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. Named for the former dean of the University’s School of Education and a pioneering disability rights scholar, BBI also has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Lexington, KY, and Atlanta, GA. 

BBI Senior Director for Law and Policy Jonathan Martinis leads the Institute’s “supported decision-making” research and policy initiatives. A disability rights attorney, Martinis has represented and advocated for people with disabilities for more than 20 years. He joined BBI following his work on the nationally acclaimed “Justice for Jenny” case (Ross, et al. v. Hatch). 

During the case, Martinis represented Jenny Hatch, helping her secure her decision-making rights. The case was the first trial to declare that a person with disabilities has the right to engage in supported decision-making, rather than face unnecessary guardianship. This celebrated decision helped solidify that “an individual’s right to choose how to live and the government’s progress in providing the help needed to integrate even those with the most profound needs into the community” is a right guaranteed by law.

Since representing Jenny Hatch, Martinis has presented to and trained thousands of individuals on supported decision-making, emphasizing how important awareness and action is for the issue. “When people with disabilities are making their own decisions,” Martinis states, “they’re more likely to be employed, healthier, and independent. When we take away those choices, there’s research that shows that their lives get worse.” After all, Martinis explains, decision-making rights in the United States go back to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which exhort that everyone deserves an equal chance. 

Looking towards the future, Martinis says he and BBI will continue advocating for people with disabilities to create a better tomorrow for this population. “People with disabilities are people and rights are rights,” he says. Part of that advocacy involves decreasing the stigma surrounding supported decision-making, and he does just that in his new book, written in collaboration with BBI Chairman and University Professor Peter Blanck. Supported Decision Making: From Justice for Jenny to Justice for All (2019) aims to raise awareness among individuals without disabilities and educate those with disabilities about getting support, education, and employment and earning a living. 

Between the new book and his work at the Institute, Martinis knows that BBI’s will continue to make a positive impact on the disabled community and create change around the world. “The phrase ‘supported decision-making’ shouldn’t exist,” Martinis observes. “Instead, it should just be ‘people making decisions.’” With the path that BBI is on now, that hope is likely to be realized. 

"Bring That Dream to Us": Innovation Law Center's Jack Rudnick Profiled on Syracuse.com

Jack Rudnick

Jack Rudnick on Leadership: Show Compassion, Build Trust, Ask Questions to Accelerate Innovation

(syracuse.com | Dec. 3, 2019) Jack Rudnick had a front-row seat for innovation and entrepreneurship in Central New York – and still does.

He was general counsel at Welch Allyn. He retired in 2010 after nearly 20 years helping the Skaneateles company grow into a medical-devices giant, spinning off a number of businesses. Earlier, he worked nearly 20 years in the legal department at Oneida Ltd. when it was an American manufacturing icon and darling of Wall Street. He’s also a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.

Now, he is a professor of practice at the Syracuse University College of Law and runs the Innovation Law Center.

The center schools SU’s law students in what it takes to help inventors, entrepreneurs, and companies bring products to market. CNY companies benefit from the law students’ research into patents, compliance, regulations, and similar work.

To succeed in leadership, he lists a number of vital traits: Honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, curiosity, and compassion.

Tell me about the Innovation Law Center and your role.

I became aware of it as the general counsel at Welch Allyn. There were really bright students here in law and business that would look at early-stage technologies, medical or any kind, and do a landscape research to advise clients, Welch Allyn or whoever it was, about the prospects for that tech being commercialized.

We’re designated by New York as the state’s Science and Technology Law Center. I'm the director of that. I'm also director of the Innovation Law Center. I think that’s enough directorships. (Laughter)

When I came, it was my idea to grow from six projects to 60 and then to 106 like we have now. Obviously, I didn't do that myself.

By project, I mean an invention, someone’s patent to be, perhaps a prototype or device. It’s an idea from an ambitious student or a doctor at Upstate Medical University or some bright person at Syracuse Research Corp. The person or the company will bring that idea, that invention, that patent-to-be, that dream to us, and we will research it.

We mostly do startups, which is why I go to Upstate Venture Connect events. The success rate of startups is minimal – about 10 percent. When you have volumes – not six but 106 – you start to get successes, and success breeds success.

It’s a little bit of the faculty, sure, but mostly it's law students who have been trained and now they are in their third year and they act as mentors to other students. It’s one way we train them to be leaders ...

Read the full article

College of Law Team Wins Boston Regional of the National Moot Court Competition

Shannon Bausinger, Joseph Tantillo, Aubre Dean

The College of Law team of 3L Aubre Dean and 2Ls Shannon Bausinger and Joseph Tantillo won the Boston Regional of the National Moot Court Competition. The team also tied for first for the Best Brief and Tantillo won the Best Oralist award during the final round.

The team advances to the National Finals that will be held in New York City in February.

Professor Emily Brown L‘09 and David Katz L’17 coach the team.

College of Law Reaches Semifinal Round of the Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Competition

2L Troy Parker, 2L Christopher Doak, 3L Richard Miller, 3L Davida Hawkes, 2L Joseph Celotto

The College of Law team of 3Ls Davida Hawkes and Richard Miller and 2Ls Joseph Celotto, Christopher Doak and Troy Parker reached the semifinal round of the Buffalo- Niagara Mock Trial Competition. This is an annual invitational comprised of teams from 34 law schools across the nation. 

Jeffrey Leibo L’03, Jennifer Pratt L’17, Peter Hakes and Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin coached the team

With the Innovation Law Center’s Help, a SUNY-ESF Professor “Ticks Away” at a Growing Bug Problem

Brian Leydet

By Julia Scaglione

The world measures 510 million square kilometers in surface area. Think about how small you are on that scale. Now, think about something—an arachnid—even smaller, around 10 millimeters at biggest. One would assume that such a small speck couldn’t possibly have an impact on our massive planet. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, as those specks are wreaking havoc around the globe. That 10-millimeter creature is a tick, and as of 2019, the threat of ticks spreading diseases to humans is rapidly increasing.

However, one scientist is working to uncover technology that will stop the threat and change the way ticks impact humanity. Meet Brian Leydet.

Leydet began researching tick-borne diseases as a master of public health student at the University of North Florida. He continued his advanced studies as a doctoral student at Louisiana State University’s (LSU) School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon completing the doctoral  degree, he continued to study at both the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, NY, and Southern Research in Birmingham, AL. Now, Leydet teaches and runs his own lab at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), collaborating with fellow researchers, students, and faculty to develop his tick technology—a necessary project as the threat of diseased ticks spreads. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the total number of tick-borne disease cases in the United States has nearly tripled since 2004, an unsurprising trend as climate change allows for ticks to thrive in new environments. Ticks spread both familiar and emerging bacterial, viral, and protozoan diseases—such as typhus, Lyme disease, Q fever, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever—and, in the case of the lone star tick, they can even cause an allergy to red meat, called alpha-gal syndrome. 

Upon first glance, one may think that ticks can be taken out using pesticides or repellents; however, those treatments are often not effective. Allison Burrows, a student at Syracuse University College of Law’s Innovation Law Center, working with Leydet, explains that “we have products that kill and repel ticks, but they don’t do a very good job at it and many are poisonous to the environment.” Leydet adds that, “the ones that kill ticks create genetic resistance, rendering them unusable in the future.” 

The combination of a growing problem and lack of a solution led Leydet to his current research: developing technology to standardize the testing and identification of new chemicals to create effective types of tick repellants. Leydet believes that the technology will enable him to identify behavior-modifying chemicals that will not kill the ticks or create genetic resistance, but rather keep them off of humans. “Not only will this technology combat the increasing diseases in humans, but it will also protect ecosystems from harmful sprays and toxins,” says Leydet.

As there has been no advances in combating ticks in the past few decades, Leydet’s work is the first of its kind, and thus he is collaborating with faculty and students at the New York State Science and Technology Law Center—housed in the Innovation Law Center—to patent his work. 

The students are currently working on a variety of projects for Leydet, including developing IP and market landscapes and identifying regulatory implications. Additionally, the students are helping Leydet explore patentability for both his innovative tick repellant technology and the theory behind it. The overall work will help identify whether the technology is marketable, which in turn will determine what path the researcher will take in the future. 

Looking forward, Leydet believes that his work has the potential to effect change and save lives. In the meantime, he’ll continue to gather ticks in the coming months to conduct the essential tests for the technology. “Theoretically and logically, the technology should work,” Leydet states. “But science can always throw you a curve ball,” he adds with a laugh. 

Overall, Leydet says he wants to better our world by helping people and the environment. With the path he’s on now, there’s no doubt that he’ll do just that. So, keep an eye on those CDC reports of tick-borne illnesses, as in the coming years—if things go right for Leydet and his new technology—a great decrease is expected.

Dean Craig M. Boise's Statement on November 2019 Events at Syracuse University

College of Law

As you may know, several incidents of hate speech and graffiti have occurred on and near the Syracuse University campus since early November. These incidents have caused pain and anxiety across the University community, and the care and safety of our students are our primary focus. Chancellor Kent Syverud is addressing concerns raised by students, and the University has made available multiple resources to ensure our University community remains safe.

The disquiet caused by these incidents on the University campus is shared by the entire College of Law community. I am proud that our law students have mobilized in support of one another and of their student colleagues across campus. Their acts of leadership, care, and solidarity reflect our resolve—we are stronger than those who sow hatred and division. 

Many of our students come to the College of Law to help reverse these kinds of ugly societal challenges. Here, the education they acquire and the skills they develop equip them to combat racial bias, intolerance, discrimination, bigotry, and hate. My goal as Dean is to maintain an inclusive and welcoming learning environment for every student at Dineen Hall. Together, we continue to work toward equity, inclusion, and opportunity for all. Our graduates will carry these core values with them wherever they choose to live and work, across our country and all over the world.

Sincerely,

Craig M. Boise

Dean and Professor of Law

Beth G. Kubala Named Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic

Beth Kubala

Beth G. Kubala has joined Syracuse University College of Law as the new Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC). Kubala comes to the College of Law from Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), where she was most recently Senior Director for Strategy and Performance. Before joining IVMF, Kubala retired from the US Army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel following 22 years of active service.

Kubala received her commission as a military intelligence officer from West Point. Following graduation, she served at Fort Hood, TX. Selected for the Army’s Funded Legal Education Program, she attended law school and then transitioned into the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

As an Army lawyer, Kubala initially served as Administrative Law Attorney, Ethics Counselor, and Prosecutor at Fort Hood. Later, while assigned to the Pentagon, she served as a legal advisor to the Army Inspector General, and then as a legal advisor to the Army Staff in the Office of the Judge Advocate General. From the Pentagon, she performed public affairs duties as the Media Spokesperson for the Military Commissions trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Kubala is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point (B.S.); the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (J.D.); and the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School (L.L.M.).

At the College of Law, Kubala will oversee VLC operations, supervise student attorneys in representation of veterans, teach the Veterans Legal Clinic Seminar, and support veterans community relations efforts.

Says Associate Dean of Clinical and Experiential Education Deborah Kenn, "Beth's service and range of experiences, on behalf of her nation and her fellow military veterans, will be a clear benefit for our College, the VLC, and our students. I would like to thank Interim Director Chantal Wentworth-Mullin for taking such good care of the Clinic and its students and clients." 

  

New Online Group Study Room Reservation System

​Law students can now book the Law Library's 9 group study rooms through an online web application.  Each student can book 2 hours of group study room time per day.  Reservations can be made 15 days in advance.

Additional Information:

  • Only current SU College of Law students can book group study rooms.  When completing the online booking form, users must authenticate using their SU NetID.
  • Study rooms are intended for use by groups of two or more.  You must enter the name of at least one other group member on the form.
  • After successfully booking a room, the user will receive a confirmation e-mail to their syr.edu e-mail.  Reservations can be cancelled by using the cancel link in the confirmation e-mail.  Reserved rooms must be claimed within the first 15 minutes of the reservation or the room will be made available for others.
  • If a room is available after a time slot has begun and there is no conflicting booking, a law student who already has used 2 hours of booking time may book the room.  In this case, the room booking needs to be completed by a staff member at the Circulation Desk.  (Circulation staff are available during regular service desk hours.)
  • Reservations can also be made at the computer kiosk next to the Circulation Desk.
Questions?  Please ask at the Circulation Desk.  (The policies provided here are subject to change as this system evolves.)

David M. Crane L'80 Publishes "Every Living Thing: Facing Down Terrorists, Warlords, and Thugs in West Africa"

Every Living Thing

David M. Crane L'80, Syracuse University College of Law Distinguished Scholar in Residence, has published a memoir of his time as Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court of Sierra Leone (SCSL). Every Living Thing: Facing Down Terrorists, Warlords, and Thugs in West Africa—A Story of Justice is drawn from Crane's personal journals and is the first ever detailed account written by a chief prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal. 

Appointed by then-United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, from 2001 to 2005, Crane—the first American since Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg in 1945 to be named the Chief Prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal—worked with a team of intrepid investigators to unravel a complicated international legal puzzle. In doing so, he became the only prosecutor in the modern era to take down a sitting head of state for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Set in the ravaged West African country of Sierra Leone, Every Living Thing shows how multiple countries were devastated by an international criminal enterprise led by presidents Muammar Gadhafi of Libya, Charles Taylor of Liberia, and Blasé Compare of Burkina Faso, with an assist from a vast network of terrorists—including Al Qaeda—vying for the control of diamonds. 

Following the creation of Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2002, a small band of lawyers, investigators, and paralegals changed the face of international criminal law with their innovative plan to effectively and efficiently deliver justice for the tens of thousands of victims, most of them women and children. Among those Crane indicted was Taylor, the first sitting African head of state to be held accountable in this way. Taylor was found guilty in April 2012 of all 11 charges levied by the SCSL, and he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Writes Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “In Sierra Leone, David Crane masterfully built up a fully-fledged court, investigating and prosecuting some of the worst cases of international crimes and many of the most notorious war criminals of our era. He brought with him a deep commitment to justice, and genuine empathy for a country and people who had endured unbearable atrocities. The memoirs of this admirable and learned public servant will undoubtedly convey important lessons on how—and why—we must strive to deliver justice for all victims, even in the most challenging circumstances.”

Professor William C. Banks Reviews Impeachment Day Two with KPCC

William C. Banks

Impeachment Hearing: Day 2 With Marie Yovanovitch

(KPCC Los Angeles | Nov. 15, 2019) On the second day of impeachment hearings, former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee. 

Yovanovitch was removed from her post in May by what she described as a “smear campaign” by the Trump Administration and the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yurij Lutsenko. Yovanovitch had clashed with Lutsenko over alleged corruption in his department, say Ukrainian officials. 

Yovanovitch previously testified to Democrats behind closed doors last month that she was warned to “watch her back,” before being ousted as ambassador. She said that she was the victim of a “campaign of disinformation” by Trump’s allies working through “unofficial back channels.” She attributes her loss of position to her anti-corruption stance. Without sustaining any criticism from the State Department itself, Yovanovitch was removed from office in May. 

Republican House members largerly wrote off the relevance of Yovanovitch’s testimony. California Representative Devin Nunes said she “is not a material fact witness.” But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff asserted that by removing Yovanovitch, Trump and his allies had “set the stage for an irregular channel” of foreign policy communication with Ukraine led by Rudy Giuliani to pressure Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden and the Democratic Party ...

Listen to the segment.

Professor LaVonda Reed Featured in Veterans Week "Stories of Service"

LaVonda Reed

For Syracuse University Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Law LaVonda Reed, service runs deep. The lawyer and academic was born in Quantico, Virginia, after her father, the late U.S. Marine Corps Col. Henry Leon Reed, returned from his first deployment to Vietnam. 

“My father was the oldest of eight children—five boys and three girls,” says Reed. “All five boys served in the military, and all three girls married military service members. My paternal grandfather and a paternal great-grandfather and also two maternal great uncles were military veterans as well. One of those uncles, who will celebrate his 102nd birthday this month, was a World War II veteran and retired from the U.S. Navy.” Reed’s father, Henry, met her mother, Brenda, at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) while in line registering for freshman classes and paying fees. He was from Beaufort, South Carolina; she was from Mathews, Virginia. 

They began dating and were married just after graduation. Reed deployed as an infantry officer shortly thereafter. At the time of his commissioning, he was among the first black commissioned officers in the Marine Corps ...

Read the full article

Can the President Be Banned from Twitter? WHBC Interviews Professor Roy Gutterman

Roy Gutterman

Can the President Be Banned from Twitter?

(WHBC Canton, OH) Jack Dorsey announced he will ban political ads on his Twitter platform because he said “A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people,” the tech mogul wrote on Twitter. “We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”  

The decision is based on growing concern that tech platforms could spread misinformation or depress voter turnout. Though Twitter only gets about $3 million in revenue for ads, they say the move had nothing to do with money, but rather principles.  

But is this move constitutional? Is it even operating from a place of fairness, to candidates and the President? 

Director of the Syracuse University Newhouse School’s Tully Center for Free Speech and an expert on communications law and the First Amendment,  Roy Gutterman,  spoke to WHBC’s Gary Rivers about the possibility ...

Listen to the interview.

Newly Re-Named Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law Expands Mission Toward Emerging Technologies, Intelligence Community

Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law

Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL) is the new name for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT), a collaboration between the Syracuse University College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. 

Founded by Professor of Law Emeritus William C. Banks in 2003, the Institute has its roots in the global response to terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It has since expanded to work across the Syracuse University campus and beyond on a wide spectrum of national and international security topics, including homeland security, the law of armed conflict, violent extremism, postconflict reconstruction, disaster response, the rule of law, veterans’ affairs, critical infrastructure, cybersecurity, and emerging technologies.

The Institute’s new name and identity reflect this growth in topics and activities, and it acknowledges the Institute’s longstanding flexibility in addressing evolving security challenges—both within the United States and around the world—through interdisciplinary research, teaching, public service, and policy analysis. 

The Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law is led by the Hon. James E. Baker, former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council. The Institute’s Deputy Director is Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett (Ret.), former Director of the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and former Director of Naval Intelligence. 

“Our new identity recognizes the essential interdisciplinary nature of contemporary security challenges,” says Judge Baker. “As the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law, we continue our mission to conduct leading-edge policy and law research and analysis across disciplines and to educate and inspire the next generation of security thought-leaders and practitioners.”

"A prime mover in national security policy and law for more than 16 years, the re-positioned Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law is poised for the future," says Dean Craig M. Boise, College of Law. "I am particularly excited about the Institute's expansion into emerging technologies, the private practice of security, and diversity in the intelligence community. These changes are transforming the workplaces our students are entering. By staying abreast of these trends, the Institute is and will remain a premier training ground for future practitioners across all security sectors."

"This new identity change reflects the expansive ways in which policy, law, and governance intersect a broad array of issue areas that shape not just US national security but human security around the world," says Dean David M. Van Slyke, Maxwell School. "As a top-ranked research institution, Syracuse University provides boundless opportunities for us to explore these intersections across campus."

SPL’s growing subject-matter expertise and diversity is evident in the range of sectors that the Institute’s certificate program graduates work across, in the national and international security community, for US and foreign governments, international humanitarian organizations, the intelligence community, public health agencies, the private sector, think tanks, and NGOs. Alumni serve in all five branches of the US military.

SPL offers three interdisciplinary certificates of advanced study, in Security Studies, National Security and Counterterrorism Law, and Postconflict Reconstruction. It has graduated more than 700 students from its academic programs since 2003. 

Adding to its emerging research and practice areas of expertise, the Institute recently played a key leadership role in generating external funding for two major collaborative research initiatives.

The first award is a research and production partnership with the Georgetown University-based Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). As part of the $500,000 agreement, SPL will assist CSET in investigating the legal, policy, and security impacts of emerging technology; supporting academic work in security and technology studies; and delivering nonpartisan analysis to the law and policy community. Judge Baker is the grant’s Primary Investigator.

In the second, federal award, Syracuse University was named as a US Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (ICCAE) with total support for the new program up to $1.5 million over five years. Known as the Partnership for Educational Results/Syracuse University Adaptive, Diverse, and Ethical Intelligence Community Professionals (PER/SUADE), Syracuse University is leading a consortium of universities and colleges to recruit and educate talented, diverse students interested in public service careers in the intelligence and national security fields.

The grant’s goal is to help diversify the US government’s intelligence and national security pipelines. The program is open to all Syracuse University students—graduate and undergraduate—from all schools and colleges, as well as partner schools (Wells College, the Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Norfolk State University). PER/SUDAE’s Primary Investigator is Vice Admiral Murrett and Judge Baker is the Co-Primary Investigator. Multiple University faculty are helping to design the program as co-investigators, including the SPL Director of Research Corri Zoli and faculty from the College of Law, Maxwell School, College of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, College of Engineering and Computer Science, University College, and elsewhere.

College of Law Team Advances to the national round of the ABA Negotiation Competition

Allison Kowalczyk and Jacqueline Chilbert

The team of 2Ls Jacqueline Chilbert and Allison Kowalczyk finished as regional co-champions and have advanced to the national round of the ABA Negotiation Competition. The College of Law hosted the regional round in Dineen Hall. More than 20 teams from the region competed.

In addition, the team of 3Ls Esther Gabriel and Jill Tompkins finished in third. A third team of 3L Josh Steele and 2L Annette Scott competed as a “ghost team” [unable to advance] to give the competition an even number of teams. Adjunct Professor Daniel Cantone L’ 81 coached all teams.

Chilbert and Kowalczyk will compete in the national round in Chicago in the spring.

The College of Law would like to thank all the Advocacy Honor Society students, faculty members, alumni, and the local legal community for their hard work to make the regional round a success.

Professor Nina Kohn Appointed as Adviser by American Law Institute

Professor Nina Kohn

Professor Nina Kohn, Associate Dean for Online Education, has accepted an invitation from the American Law Institute (ALI) to serve as an Adviser on the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Concluding Provisions project.

The Advisers to the project are a group of experts who work with the Reporters to review drafts and lend advice.  Advisers are selected from among members of the ALI.

This project focuses on, among other things, medical liability, vicarious liability, statutes of limitation, and wrongful death and survival actions.  

“This project will play an important role in clarifying some of the most dynamic areas of tort law,” says Kohn. “Serving as an Advisor will allow me to support the project, while also informing my own scholarship and teaching.  I look forward to working with a distinguished group of tort experts and bringing the resulting experience and ideas back to Dineen Hall.”

College of Law to Hold VALOR Day for CNY Veterans, Service Members, and Families

Valor Day 2018

The College of Law will hold its biannual Veterans’ Advocacy, Law and Outreach (VALOR) Day event on Saturday, Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Center of Progress Building at the New York State Fairgrounds.

Local attorneys and law student volunteers will provide free legal advice and counseling to local veterans, active duty service members and their immediate families. Conceived by College of Law students, VALOR Day is one of the many ways Syracuse law students give back to the community and those who serve our country.

Law students at VALOR Day 2018Services provided by volunteer attorneys during VALOR Day include legal counseling in matters such as veterans’ law (including VA benefits applications and appeals and disability upgrade applications), family law, estate and planning issues, and other related areas.

VALOR Day is coordinated by Veterans Issues, Support Initiative and Outreach Network (VISION), a student-run College of Law organization. Since its inception in 2012, VALOR Day has assisted more than 300 veterans and their families by providing access directly to the services they need the most.

Appointments made in advance are strongly suggested, but not required. For more information or to arrange an appointment, contact VISION@law.syr.edu, or call 315.313.4364.

Valor Day 2018
Valor Day 2018

Impeachment & Public Opinion: Professor William C. Banks Speaks to China Daily

William C. Banks

Public opinion could be telling as impeachment proceedings unfold

(China Daily | Nov. 2, 2019) The impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump could shape and sway public opinion and impact the 2020 presidential campaign, analysts said.

The House of Representatives, in a 232-196, mostly party-line vote on Thursday, approved rules for the next, more public, stage in the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into Trump's attempt to have Ukraine investigate former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Over the past five weeks, the probe has primarily been shaped by closed-door testimony from several officials who have raised questions about whether Trump and his inner circle withheld nearly $400 million in security aid for Ukraine in order to pressure Kiev to investigate Trump's political rivals, thehill.com reported.

The probe focuses on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymr Zelenskiy, to investigate Joe Biden, a 2020 candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son Hunter, who had served as a director for Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings ...

... William C. Banks, co-author of National Security Law and the Power of the Purse, a 1994 book about tensions between the executive and legislative branches over security and spending, said that to win a second term, Trump would need the impeachment effort to fail and backfire, showing the Democrats as interested only in partisan victory and not the rule of law.

"If the public impeachment process builds the Ukraine abuse of office case clearly, so that average Americans can see what the president did, it should lead to impeachment and a trial in the Senate," said Banks, a Syracuse University College of Law professor.

"From there on, everything depends on events that have yet to occur," he said ...

Read the full article.

Can the White House Ignore Subpoenas? Professor David Driesen Quoted in AP Story

David Driesen

Experts: White House has dubious reasons to ignore subpoenas

(AP | Nov. 4, 2019) The impeachment process is fundamentally unfair. Congress lacks authority to investigate the president. Witnesses should have executive branch lawyers.

White House attorneys are throwing out an array of arguments for keeping its officials from cooperating with the congressional impeachment inquiry. But legal experts say they are making a weak case.

Some even say the refusal to cooperate with the probe run by House Democrats could amount to obstruction that might itself become an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump ...

... Even if Trump were to overtly claim executive privilege, some experts say there’s no constitutional provision that it would apply to impeachment.

“No communication involving the White House is subject to absolute immunity,” said David Driesen, a Syracuse University law professor who has studied the issue. “No person is immunized from appearing by any claim of privilege known to the law.”

This latest resistance to House subpoenas and testimony fits into the broader White House claim that the entire process is fundamentally unfair. Trump’s lawyers have also made immunity claims in seeking to keep his tax records secret, but a New York court ruled Monday they can be released in a case likely to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a recent letter to Democratic leaders, presidential counsel Pat Cipollone said Trump should have the kinds of due process rights typically found in court trials: the right to question witnesses, the right to see evidence, the right to cross-examine witnesses, and so forth. That position has been echoed by numerous Republican lawmakers.

“The president cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the executive branch from their work on behalf of the American people,” Cipollone wrote. “The president has a country to lead.”

However, legal experts note that the Constitution and even prior impeachment proceedings do not lay out a roadmap for those kinds of rights in the initial House inquiry. Instead, that would come in a trial before the Senate, if it gets that far.

“The Constitution says virtually nothing about the procedures the House and Senate are to employ in carrying out their respective impeachment roles,” wrote Georgia State University law professor Neil Kinkopf in recent article. “Indeed, the Constitution is completely silent regarding the procedures in the House.”

Driesen said all of the efforts by the White House to slow down or halt the impeachment inquiry are just that — none have a basis in the law.

“Trump defies the Constitution and tries to distract from that fact by making baseless attacks. This is a good example,” Driesen said ...

Read the full story.

3L Andrew Weekes and 2L Kenneth D. Knight Win the 8th Annual Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition

Kenneth D. Knight and Andrew Weekes

The team of 3L Andrew Weekes and 2L Kenneth D. Knight prevailed over 3Ls Ju-Juanna Perkins and Sara Pielsticker in the final round of the 8th Annual Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition. Perkins was named the Best Advocate for the final round.

The final round judges were: the Hon. Therese Wiley Dancks L’91, US Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York; Brian Butler L’96, Member, Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, and the managing member of the firm’s Syracuse office and chair of the firm’s litigation department; and James L. Sonneborn, member and head of the litigation department at Bousquet Holstein PLLC.

During a week of competition, 16 teams of two participated in the preliminary rounds, with a group of more than 20 professors, alumni, and local attorneys serving as volunteer judges. 

Commentary: The Burden of a Militarized US Foreign Policy

Corri Zoli

By Professor Corri Zoli

(Re-published from Medium.com | Oct, 30, 2019) What role should American troops play — some would say, standing in the crossfire — between distant governments and groups engaged in protracted armed conflicts, whose grievances long predate 9/11? What US obligations are owed to parties of these conflicts, even partners, particularly if their issues — which they believe are worth fighting and dying for — have little to do with US national strategic priorities? How many of the long-term conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which the US is often expected to manage, are defined by the same, solvable problems — ethnic strife, capitulation on human rights, bad actors using political violence rather than building pluralistic consensus — which could be solved if local governments would simply govern their own diverse constituencies with care and accountability? In the Mideast in particular, these “conflict drivers” create economic-conflict traps and erode region-wide stability. Should the US then pick up the pieces?

Unfortunately, there are far too many wars to which these questions apply — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen (between Saudi Arabia, the Houthis, and Iran), Pakistan and India, in fractured Syria, lawless Libya, Sudan, and South Sudan, even the longstanding Israel-Palestinian conflict. If we broaden the lens to include — not just active wars and internal strife — but low-intensity conflicts and hybrid threats, the numbers rise to include post-Arab Spring Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, and the Syrian-Civil War spillover into Lebanon. Is it reasonable to expect American servicemembers to protect and police these nations’ in light of their security threats, much of which stems from internal governance deficits? Can the American public feasibly support US intervention — at a cost of trillions, not to mention in lives — in 10 Mideast conflicts out of 16 nations?

What is bizarre about the uproar over the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out the small number of remaining US troops (1,000–1,500) in Northern Syria is that very few of these questions have even been asked, let alone answered. Few analysts mention the dismal empirics of war, the backdrop for weighing the merits of any lasting US presence in Syria, from policy, strategic, democratic, and other perspectives. From a democratic perspective, for instance, American voters have spoken, twice, in the last two elections, supporting both Obama and Trump Administrations’ promise of “no new wars.” From a policy perspective, the picture is even more bizarre: despite Obama’s best intentions, his own political appointees would not let him extricate the US from the Mideast. Hence, Obama called his Libyan intervention the “worst mistake” of his presidency, even as he initiated this and two other new US interventions in Syria and Yemen, adding three more wars to US ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (which Obama tried unsuccessfully to end in 2011). Biden, who presided over Obama’s withdrawal ceremony in Iraq in December 2011, said: “thank you, Obama, for giving me the opportunity to end this goddamn war.” Such a sentiment was short-lived and, as most analysts believe, the prerequisite for the rise of ISIS in the Levant.

These examples illustrate how easy it is for all of us — even Presidents with foreign policy authority — to get lost in the mixed media messages, the twists and turns of self-serving politics, the topsy-turvy world of policy recommendations, and the “fog of war” complexities of conflict, all of which inexorably push for more war ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Helps CNN Fact Check "Unconstitutional" Impeachment Claims

William C. Banks

(CNN | Oct. 31, 2019) Moments after the House passed a resolution establishing procedures for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, the White House condemned the vote.

In a statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the resolution "fails to provide any due process whatsoever to the Administration," calling it "unconstitutional."

Trump echoed his administration's complaints in an interview with British radio station LBC that aired soon after the vote. Referring to the resolution he said, "They gave us absolutely no rights" ...

... William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University, told CNN that "some will see the new procedures as providing due process, and there is no harm in that view. As such 'due process' is a synonym for 'fairness.'"

"There is nothing in the Constitution or any law, nor any rules of the House, that prescribes a particular procedure for impeachment proceedings," Banks added.

The Constitution notes only the basis for impeachment and that the House "shall have the sole power of impeachment" while the Senate "shall have the sole power to try all impeachments."

"The House resolution is not in any way 'unconstitutional,'" Banks said. "The resolution provides more than is required."

Read the full article.

Syracuse University College of Law Announces Joanna Geraghty L'97 as 2020 Commencement Speaker

Joanna Geraghty L'97

Syracuse University College of Law’s 2020 Commencement is ready to take to the skies on May 8 when the College welcomes Joanna Geraghty G'97, L'97 as Commencement speaker. The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in the Goldstein Auditorium, Schine Student Center on the Syracuse University campus. 

Geraghty is President and COO of JetBlue Airways, the sixth largest airline in the US and a Fortune 500 company, with a fleet of more than 250 planes, a workforce of more than 20,000 employees, and service to more than 100 destinations across the United States and internationally. 

As President and COO, Geraghty oversees the airline's day-to-day operations, including customer experience, flight operations, technical operations, and commercial functions. A trailblazer in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Geraghty is the first female president at a large US airline since the early 2000s. Her job has been described as one of the most challenging in the airline industry. 

A joint degree student at Syracuse, Geraghty received a master’s in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs as well as her juris doctor degree. She joined JetBlue in 2005 as a litigation attorney, working her way up through the airline’s legal department to Associate General Counsel and then leading the company’s human resources team—what JetBlue calls the "Chief People Officer"—before becoming Executive Vice President of Customer Experience in 2014. 

"Through her rise in a competitive industry, Joanna has never forgotten the value of a Syracuse law degree, citing it as important training for the problem-solving and leadership required in her high-profile career," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "I know Joanna is thrilled to return to her alma mater to join us on May 8, and I look forward to welcoming her back to Syracuse and to hearing—alongside members of the Class of 2020 and their parents and friends—a memorable and inspiring Commencement address."


3L John J. Dowling III Has Article Published by the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of New York

3L John J. Dowling III

3L John J. Dowling III, an extern at the Office of the Federal Public Defender of the Northern District of New York, recently had his article “U.S. Supreme Court Cabins Sentencing Courts’ Deference to Sentencing Commission” published in the Office’s biannual criminal defense newsletter (see page 13).

“The article suggests that the Federal Criminal Defense Bar should martial the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kisor v. Wilkie in every sentencing proceeding to ensure the Sentencing Commission’s application notes are not relied on as a backdoor to increase a defendant’s sentencing exposure unless the guideline at issue is ‘genuinely ambiguous,’” says Dowling.

Professor Kohn Provides Guidance to Elder Law Case in AARP Magazine

Professor Nina Kohn

Professor Nina Kohn provides perspective to an elder abuse legal quiz in AARP Magazine (take the first quiz and click to see the verdict for Professor Kohn's comments.)

Tournament of Champions Team Reaches Semifinals

Ariel Blanco, Lisa Cole, Christy O'Neil, Adam Leydig

The College of Law’s Tournament of Champions (TOC) team of 3Ls Ariel Blanco and Adam Leydig and 2Ls Lisa Cole and Christy O’Neil reached the semifinal round of the competition. Leydig was also recognized as the Best Overall Advocate in the preliminary rounds. Joanne Van Dyke L’ 87, Joseph Cote L'87, Justin St. Louis L'17, Dennis Scanlon L'19, and Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin coached the team.

TOC is an annual invitational tournament comprised of teams from 16 schools who have had the best records in subsequent years at the National Trial Competition and the American Association for Justice Competition.  By reaching the semifinals, the College of Law has earned an invitation to the Top Gun National Trial Tournament in June 2020.

Adam Leydig received the Best Overall Advocate award in the preliminary rounds.
Adam Leydig received the Best Overall Advocate award in the preliminary rounds.

Syracuse University College of Law Announces 2019 New York Bar Exam Pass Rate of 88%

Dineen Hall

Syracuse University College of Law graduates who took the New York State Bar Exam for the first time in July 2019 have achieved an 88% pass rate. This first-time pass rate is significantly higher than 2018's first-time pass rate of 83%. The rate also surpasses the average of all New York State ABA law schools (85%) and all ABA law schools nationwide (86%).

"The entire College of Law community celebrates this significant achievement by our 2019 graduates," says Dean Craig M. Boise. "We continue to invest in our students with continuous improvements to our curriculum, bar readiness programs, and other academic support initiatives. Our goal is, and will always be, to help our students achieve a 100% bar passage rate."

Is Political Incivility on the Rise? Professor Keith Bybee Speaks to CNYCentral

Keith Bybee

The 2020 election could solidify a new standard of political incivility

(CNYCentral | Oct. 24, 2019) Ahead of what promises to be a volatile, contentious presidential election, the vast majority of Americans believe that divisions in the country are getting worse and the national dialogue is breaking down. According to a new poll, the average voter believes the country is two-thirds of the way to the brink of civil war.

Yet, while most voters lament the sad state of political discourse and claim that political leaders should try to find common ground, few want to see their political leaders compromise on their values. At the same time it is concerned about division and incivility, the American public also appears to want more.

Georgetown University released its second Battleground Civility Poll Wednesday. The poll showed that 87% of voters think their leaders should compromise and 84% would like to see them "stand up to the other side" rather meeting them halfway on ideals voters deem important ...

... Some of that acrimony is typical, particularly in an election year, when politicians will "tactical or strategic incivility" to attract attention or publicity, explained Keith Bybee, director of the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics and the Media at Syracuse University.

"The bigger concern is whether there's some kind of deeper problem here and whether we are, as the poll phrases the question, at the threshold of civil war," Bybee noted ...

... "I think we are in a period of people seeking to redefine what counts as civility, what counts as appropriate in public life," said Bybee.

President Trump is involved in that effort to "reset" what counts as civil discourse and that will also be part of what is at stake in 2020. "It's not just a campaign where the next president of the United States will be selected but we’re participating in a process that can have very longterm consequences for the nature of public life in the United States," Bybee said. He continued that while political leaders often shape public discourse, "civility the work of many hands," including the public ...

Read the full article.

Professor Gary Pieples Discusses NYS Bail Reform with The Daily Orange

Gary Pieples

State to Partially Eliminate Cash Bail, Pretrial Detention

(The Daily Orange | Oct. 23, 2019) More than half of Onondaga County’s jail population is currently being held in pretrial. A state bail reform law going into effect in January could help reduce that number.

The law will eliminate cash bail for most non-violent crimes and prohibit local courts from placing people accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies in pretrial detention. It is the first bail reform measure enacted in New York in almost 50 years, said Gary Pieples, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic and professor at Syracuse University’s College of Law.

Cases often take months to go to trial, leaving those in pretrial detention in jail for significant amounts of time, Pieples said. Individuals are placed in pretrial detention if a judge determines they aren’t eligible to be released on bail, or if the individual cannot pay the cost of their bail.

Of the average daily jail population in Onondaga County, 60% are being held in pretrial detention, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.

Under the new law, people accused of misdemeanors and certain non-violent felonies will be released on pretrial services. An agent, similar to a probation officer, will keep track of people released on pretrial to ensure they attend their court appearances.

“This should prevent people not accused of a violent crime from spending time in jail before they have been convicted,” Pieples said.

The state’s bail and pretrial detention reforms may endanger the public, said District Attorney William Fitzpatrick during a debate earlier this month for the upcoming DA elections ...

Read the full article.

BBI, SU Libraries Assume Publication of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature

Burton Blatt Institute

Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) and Syracuse University Libraries will assume publication in December 2019 of the digital open access journal and website Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature.  

Diane R. Wiener, Research Professor and Associate Director of BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach, will take over as Editor-in-Chief from Wordgathering’s founder and long-time editor Michael Northen. 

Further support and advisement will come from Syracuse University colleagues Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri, Administrative Assistant of BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach; Amanda Page, Open Publishing and Copyright Librarian at Syracuse University Libraries; and Kate Deibel, Inclusion and Accessibility Librarian at Syracuse University Libraries. 

As part of the transition, the journal will be made fully open access over the course of the next several issues. Assuming responsibility of open access publication of Wordgathering aligns with the University’s goal of providing shared competency opportunities for students around ethics, integrity, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“As we celebrate disability awareness and appreciation month and open access week in October, it’s fitting that we celebrate this Wordgathering transition too,” says Diane Wiener. 

Wordgathering was originally published in March 2007 to showcase the work of disabled poets. Later, audio versions were added to accompany the poems in text copy, enhance accessibility and increase readers’ aesthetic experience. The journal evolved to include poetry, essays, book reviews, interviews, fiction, art, excerpts, and other work from contributors with myriad disabilities, as well as work by non-disabled people. 

According to the current editor Michael Northen, the transition of publication to Syracuse University will enable “the marvelous archive of disability writing published in Wordgathering over the past thirteen years [to] be preserved and accessible to any interested readers or researchers ... [and] the available resources that Syracuse University has to offer. The journal, under Diane's direction, and with advisement, sponsorship, and support from Syracuse University Libraries, the Burton Blatt Institute and others, will be able to expand and develop in directions that have not been possible up to this point.”

Adds Wiener, “In thinking of disability arts and literature as facets of cultural diplomacy and communication, broadly, Wordgathering is well-situated … to engage actively in and be among the leaders of an ever-expansive discussion and demonstration of Disability, Deaf, Neurodivergent (including Autistic), Mad, and Crip poetics in the world today.” 

The Wordgathering editorial team.
The Wordgathering editorial team.

Professor David Driesen Weighs In on Syracuse Lead Remediation & Infrastructure Investment

David Driesen

National Reinvestment in Infrastructure Can Greatly Impact Syracuse

(The Daily Orange | Oct. 21, 2019) According to the Onondaga County Health Department, as of 2018, 10.4% of children living in Syracuse had elevated levels of lead in their blood. The city of Syracuse has demonstrated a keen awareness of this issue and successfully reduced that percentage from 17.1% in 2012. The efforts are laudable and necessary, but raise the question of how one of America’s most impoverished cities can be expected to handle this issue alone.

Government assistance is imperative. Syracuse and its citizens cannot do this alone. They need help from the state and national government — and with more than just lead.

But the quest for government funding is hard fought, especially when it comes to infrastructure.

While there is an overwhelming need for blood screenings and funding for repairs and temporary housing, it can be nearly impossible for a city like Syracuse to provide those services without help.

“I don’t think the city by itself has the financial basis to do that,” said David Driesen, a professor at SU’s College of Law who specializes in environmental law and economics.

Syracuse is one of the nation’s poorest cities, and its poorest neighborhoods are the ones most impacted by lead exposure. Driesen said that the costs of remediating a lead-exposed home and accessing necessary medical resources are “well beyond the means of almost all tenants and many landlords" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Antonio Gidi Publishes on "Incorporation by Reference"

Antonio Gidi

"Incorporation by Reference: Requiem for a Useless Medieval Tradition." Hastings Law Journal 70 (2019). 

American lawyers mechanically introduce each count in a pleading with the talismanic clause of “repeat and reallege” everything said before. 

This is a useless recitation, cluttering complaints, answers, and indictments. It has no purpose, makes no sense, and is not used in any other legal system. This medieval practice made sense in the formalistic common-law pleading of the 16th century, but it has no place in modern pleadings.

Professor Antonio Gidi's article traces the practice to a 1591 Queen’s Bench opinion, and he follows its evolution from English common law to American common law pleading to American code pleading to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 

The article explains how this useless tradition survived logic and common sense, and why it should have been abolished centuries ago. It concludes that it is an empty tradition with no basis in the law.

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Helps CNN Fact-Check Trump vs. Schiff

William C. Banks

Fact-checking Trump's shifting narrative on Adam Schiff

(CNN | Oct. 21, 2019) Over the last two years, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, has been a constant target of President Donald Trump's ire.

Recently, Trump has focused almost entirely on a statement Schiff made to the committee last month in which he gave his own interpretation of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Schiff's controversial statement included what he said was "the essence" of what the President communicated to Zelensky, rather than the "exact transcribed version of the call."

Since then, the President's characterization of Schiff -- while always negative -- has shifted dramatically, with Trump referring to Schiff's comments as illegal, criminal or treasonous at least 8 times. He has even threatened to sue Schiff ... 

Schiff's immunity

Recently, Trump has renewed his calls for Schiff to be punished, deploying a new tactic. The day of Schiff's statement to Congress, he shared a clip of it on Twitter. Although the Constitution includes a specific provision that allows members of Congress to speak freely during official meetings, Trump claims Twitter is not protected under the clause and as such Schiff should be prosecuted for fraud.

On October 18, Trump said: "I understand he has immunity, but he doesn't have immunity when he puts it on his Twitter, which he did."

Facts First: The constitutional provision that gives Schiff immunity from prosecution over his comments in Congress also gives him immunity over his tweet of a video of those comments, experts say.

Per a Congressional Research Service report, the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause has also been interpreted "to include all 'legislative acts' undertaken by Members or their aides."

Trump is partially right; Were Schiff to have tweeted his rendition of the call or other inaccurate characterizations of the President outside of the context of his congressional duties, it would not be considered a protected legislative act. However, because the tweet was of Schiff's speech to Congress, Schiff remains immune from prosecution over it.

"Rep. Schiff is protected by the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution from being questioned 'in any other place,'" said William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University. "The protection clearly extends to the offending Tweets."

Read the whole article.