DCEx Students Meet with Principal AUSA Alessio Evangelista L’95

Friday 12/7/2018
Alessio Evangelista L’95

On Nov. 30, 2018, Distinguished Guest Lecturer Alessio Evangelista L’95 hosted the Fall 2018 DCEx Program at the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Evangelista is the Principal Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) in this office, which also happens to be the largest US Attorney’s Office in the country. 

Evangelista is responsible for overall leadership and management of the office, and he stands in for matters where the chief US Attorney is recused or otherwise unavailable. 

Evangelista’s seminar included significant discussion about the hiring process for becoming an AUSA (which he is in charge of) as well as general advice about professional success. During his detailed account of what it takes to be hired as a federal prosecutor, Evangelista took the class through each step of the interview process and shared insight on what employers are looking for at each stage. He explained that these positions are in high demand, but he assured the students that good grades, clerkships, and experience would make success attainable.  

Another Syracuse alum, Jason Feldman L’13, is an AUSA in the same office, and he also participated in the seminar. Feldman weighed in on the hiring process and told the students what made him successful in his own interview. Evangelista also invited Feldman to talk about his experience as a new attorney. Feldman listed his many responsibilities and described a typical day in the office. He gave the externs an honest account of how much work the job requires, but he stressed how much he loves his work and what a rewarding experience it is.

Evangelista and Feldman answered questions from the students, identified the challenges that prosecutors face every day, and explained how they overcome them. Ultimately, both expressed passion for the job and gratitude for their ability to serve the public. 

After this final seminar, the DCEx students attended a closing reception for the program.

Senate Committee Recommends Adopting Uniform Act on Guardianship, Drafted by Professor Nina Kohn

Tuesday 12/4/2018
Nina A. Kohn

The US Senate Special Committee on Aging has recommended nationwide adoption of the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Protective Arrangements Act (UGCOPAA), for which Professor Nina Kohn served as Reporter, or principal drafter. The recommendation was made in a new report by the Committee—"Ensuring Trust: Strengthening State Efforts to Overhaul the Guardianship Process and Protect Older Americans"—released following a Nov. 30, 2018, Capitol Hill hearing on "Ways Ways to Strengthen Guardianship Programs."

"The Senate Aging Committee has been alerted [to] appalling stories from Americans across the country regarding abusive guardianships that take advantage of vulnerable individuals," state the Committee members, led by Chairwoman Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME), in a press release. "These guardians are entrusted with significant power over those who rely on their support. Their authority can range from deciding where an individual will live and when to seek medical care to choosing if family members are allowed to visit and how to spend retirement savings."

The latest Committee hearing and report are the culmination of a yearlong examination of ways in which the guardianship system can be improved to better protect individuals subject to guardianship and similar arrangements from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The bipartisan report addresses the importance of guardianship oversight, alternatives to guardianship, and the need for improved data collection.

The report makes 13 recommendations, among them the "nationwide adoption of the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Protective Arrangements Act." The report notes that, "State guardianship laws need greater uniformity to ensure better protections and control for individuals being considered for guardianship and those pursuing a restoration of their rights."

Kohn's April 2018 testimony before the Committee's "Aging and Abuse of Power: Exploitation of Older Americans by Guardians and Others They Trust" hearing is cited in the report. In particular, the report cites Kohn's advocacy of limited guardianship and her support for adopting UGCOPAA. The report observes that "States should encourage courts to utilize alternatives to guardianship through state statutes and public awareness campaigns. Such efforts would officially promote less restrictive alternatives such as limited guardianships and supported decision-making." Moreover, nationwide adoption of UGCOPAA will help to encourage less restrictive alternatives, the report adds.

As a result of the Committee’s investigation,  Collins and Ranking Member Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA) announced that they are introducing the Guardianship Accountability Act. "This bipartisan legislation would promote information sharing among courts and local organizations as well as state and federal entities, encourage the use of background checks and less restrictive alternatives to guardianship, and expand the availability of federal grants to improve the guardianship system," the senators explain in their press release. 

The College of Law Celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Monday 12/3/2018
Arlene Kanter

By Professor Arlene Kanter

Each year, since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been observed on December 3. This year’s theme is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” Here at the College of Law, we are committed to the recruitment, inclusion, and empowerment of students with disabilities. The College’s Disability Law and Policy Program (DLPP) was founded in 2005 not only to foster the inclusion and acceptance of students with disabilities but also to train future lawyers in the emerging field of domestic and international disability law. 

In the United States today, one in five people—or 56 million Americans—have a disability. Throughout the world, it is estimated that at least 1.8 billion people have a disability, and many are denied their legal rights. Although people with disabilities are the largest minority in the world, they have often been ignored under international and domestic laws, as well as by their own governments, education systems, employers, neighbors, and perhaps many of us too. 

DLPP was founded to raise awareness about disability rights within the legal academy, the University, and the College. It is home to a joint degree program in Disability Studies, offered with the School of Education; other dual degree programs with schools and programs throughout the University; an LL.M. Fellowship Program in Disability Law, sponsored by the Open Society Foundation; the Curricular Program in Disability Law and Policy; the Disability Rights Clinic; disability-related externships; the student-run Disability Law Society; and an array of courses, research, and extra-curricular opportunities. 

Since its founding, faculty and students of the Program have worked with the UN to draft the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and in more than a dozen countries to implement this treaty. Students enrolled in my International Human Rights and Comparative Disability Law course, for example, have provided research and analysis to international organizations and disabled persons organizations (DPOs) around the world. They also have published articles and testified before international bodies. Moreover, the LL.M. students and Fulbright scholars who come to the College of Law to study comparative disability law in my courses have returned to their home countries to become leaders in the field, working for the inclusion of people with disabilities in education and employment and in initiatives to stop violence against girls and women with disabilities. 

Locally, students in the Disability Rights Clinic represent clients in the Syracuse community to secure their rights under US disability laws. And this year, Professor Cora True Frost organized the participation of College of Law students, staff, and faculty in a celebration of World Cerebral Palsy Day on the steps of Syracuse City Hall. 

The College of Law is proud of the many accomplishments of its DLPP students. Therefore, on this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the College recognizes the accomplishments and abilities of people with disabilities worldwide, as well as DLPP’s contribution by providing future leaders in the disability law field with the skills they need to make the world more just and inclusive for all. 

Arlene Kanter is Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence; Professor of Law; Director, College of Law Disability Law and Policy Program; Faculty Director of International Programs; and Professor of Disability Studies, School of Education (by courtesy appointment). 


International and Comparative Disability Law Class, November 2018.
International and Comparative Disability Law Class, November 2018.

Robert Ashford Addresses Syracuse Poverty in The Daily Orange

Thursday 11/29/2018
Robert Ashford

5 ZIP codes in Syracuse are among most economically distressed in US

(The Daily Orange | Nov. 28, 2018) Several communities in downtown Syracuse ranked 90 or above in levels of economic distress, on a scale from 0 to 100, nationally from 2012 to 2016, according to a report by the Economic Innovation Group.

The report, which was released last month, assessed the levels of economic well-being of United States ZIP codes. It included a measurement that combined seven factors: adults without a high school diploma, adults not working, poverty rate, housing vacancy rates, median income ratios, changes in employment and changes in business establishments.

Scores revealed that the same central New York communities have remained distressed, and worsened, when compared to data from 2007 to 2011. Based on ZIP codes, five neighborhoods in downtown Syracuse have distress scores higher than 90: 13202, 13203, 13205, 13208 and 13210. ZIP code 13202 had the highest distress score at 98.4 and ranked No. 6 in the state’s overall distress rank. ZIP code 13210 includes the University Hill area.

Robert Ashford, a Syracuse University College of Law professor, said the report brought necessary attention to the persistent problem of economic distress in the area. The fact that the distress continues to be unevenly distributed along socioeconomic, racial and geographic lines, made worse by unequal educational and other economic opportunities, is also an important takeaway from the report, he added ...

Read the full article

LocalSyr.com Covers Goldfarb Book Donation

Wednesday 11/28/2018
Jan Fleckenstein

SU law school gets donation with RFK connection

​(LocalSyr.com | Nov. 27, 2018) 

Nov. 26 - Dec.14: Law Library Access Limited to College of Law Users Only

Monday 11/26/2018

​During the College of Law exam period (11/26 - 12/14), access to the Law Library is limited to College of Law students and COL faculty/staff only.  A Law ID is needed to swipe into the Law Library during this time.

Nina Kohn Presents on Elder Care & Contracts at Harvard Law Roundtable

Monday 11/26/2018
Nina A. Kohn

Associate Dean of Online Education and David M. Levy L'48 Professor of Law Nina A. Kohn joined colleagues on a civil rights/civil liberties roundtable on Nov. 14, 2018, hosted by the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, a publication of Harvard Law. 

At "Fighting Day to Day Injustice: Stories of Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Infringements," Kohn presented her article "For Love and Affection: Edler Care and the Law’s Denial of Intra-Family Contracts." 

Joining Kohn were Professor Andrew Siegel of Seattle University College of Law, who discussed "Of Dress and Redress: Student Dress Restrictions in Constitutional Law and Culture," and Brian Highsmith, of the National Consumer Law Center, who discussed "Crimsumerism: Combating Consumer Abuses in the Criminal Legal System."

William C. Banks Discusses Posse Comitatus & the US Military's Southern Border Deployment

Monday 11/26/2018
William C. Banks

The controversial deployment in late October 2018 of 5,800 US servicemembers to the US-Mexico border in response to a perceived migration and asylum crisis has caused a media stir. Not unsurprisingly, questions about the legality of the deployment have arisen, especially in the wake of a November 20 White House "Cabinet Order" further allowing troops to perform law enforcement functions and use lethal force, potentially in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Professor Emeritus William C. Banks, author of Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military, has answered some of these questions for Military Times, Vox, PRI, Just Security, and elsewhere. 

What’s a Posse Comitatus, Anyway? The Military Role at the Southern Border

(ACSBlog | Dec. 3, 2018) ... What about the “crowd control, temporary detention” and “cursory search” permitted by the order? Secretary Mattis responded to a question about involvement in law enforcement this way: “We do not have arrest authority. Detention, I would put it in terms of minutes. . . . [We would stop an assault on a CBP agent] and deliver them to a Border Patrol man, who would then arrest them" ...

What Trump’s “lethal force” authorization means at the border

(Vox | Nov. 27, 2018) “On one hand, it is kind of ridiculous because there is nothing approaching an invasion there,” William Banks, a national security expert with Syracuse University, said. “There is no indication that there is a force lining the border that [Customs and Border Protection] couldn’t take care of. But on the other hand, if you take the Cabinet order’s language at face value, and take what the president is saying as credible threats, then it becomes grayer.”

Military at the southern border and the Posse Comitatus Act 

(PRI The World | Nov. 23, 2018) The White House has signed a memo allowing troops stationed at the border to take on some law enforcement roles including using lethal force, if necessary. Some experts say the directive is at odds with the Posse Comitatus Act. The federal law, which dates back to the 19th century, forbids active military members from engaging in civilian law enforcement roles. The World’s Carol Hills interviews William C. Banks, a professor of law at Syracuse University, and co-author of “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military.”

White House approves use of force, some law enforcement roles for border troops

(Military Times | Nov. 21, 2018) Posse Comitatus is “always looming in the background. You never invoke it as such because it is such a background principle,” said William Banks, author of “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military” and the former director of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University’s College of Law.

Legal Analysis of “Cabinet Memo” on the Military’s Role at Southern Border

(Just Security | Nov. 26, 2018) More important is what the Constitution, Posse Comitatus Act, and other federal laws represent – a longstanding legal norm disfavoring military involvement in domestic affairs except in dire circumstances. It is no exaggeration to say that avoidance of military involvement in civil society is part of our cultural heritage. Let’s hope that Secretary Mattis’ cool head prevails in the days ahead.

Fall Diversity Celebration

Wednesday 11/21/2018
“Disrupting Unconscious Bias in the Legal Profession

The College of Law’s Student Bar Association began its Fall Diversity Celebration on November 1, offering many opportunities for students to learn more about the College’s cultures and organizations and discover and explore various kinds of diversity. The Celebration concluded on November 14 with the annual SBA Thanksgiving meal.

Events included:

• A disAbility Law Society (DLS) “brown bag” presentation on disability activism featuring alumna Stephanie Woodward L’13 (pictured).

• A panel discussion on “Disrupting Unconscious Bias in the Legal Profession,” hosted by the Black Law Student Association, Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA), OUTLAW, DLS, and NYSBA.

• A “Dia de los Muertos” celebration hosted by LALSA, including a showing of the film Coco with Mexican hot chocolate served.

• A lecture on the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty, organized by the Native American Law Students Association.

• Tabling by College of Law student organizations.

• A film screening and “curry night” to celebrate Diwali (the Hindi “Festival of Lights”), offered by the South Asian Law Student Association.

• A panel discussion of comparative law organized by the Office of International Programs, featuring four current LL.M. students from Georgia, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Kosovo, moderated by Professor Arlene Kanter.

• A Mental Health and Substance Abuse Panel, organized by the Mindfulness in the Law Society, with the Hon. Patrick O’Sullivan, Thomas W. Seeley L’03, James E. Sparkes L’76, Chantal Wentworth-Mullin L’07, and Courtney Abbott Hill L’09 (moderator).

The annual fireplace lighting (sponsored by Bond, Schoeneck & King) and gifting to students of TV host Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime, the first book of the College’s new community read program.

• The annual Veterans Day Celebration.

Dean Craig M. Boise Named Co-Chair of NYS Attorney General-Elect Letitia James' Transition Team

Friday 11/16/2018
Dean Craig M. Boise

New York State Attorney General-Elect Letitia "Tish" James has named College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise as one of five co-chairs of her transition team. James was elected on Nov. 6, 2018, making her the first African American woman to hold the position. James, who until her election was New York City Public Advocate, will be sworn in on Jan. 1, 2019.

Her transition team announcement was made via Twitter on November 16: "Honored to welcome these five individuals, some of the nation's most well-respected lawyers, who have decades of experience at the top levels of government and academia. New Yorkers should be proud to have such leaders fighting to protect their most basic rights."

Joining Boise as co-chairs of the transition team are Former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch; Former New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams; Former Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals the Hon. Jonathan Lippman; and Former US Ambassador to Uruguay Julissa Reynoso. 

Describing her team, James added in an official statement, “There is no group better suited to help guide the Attorney General’s Office in assembling a team to tackle the most pressing issues impacting our state and country."

“The office of the New York Attorney General has long served as a bastion for those who believe in the law’s ability to right wrongs and achieve justice, and Tish James is an ideal leader for the office in these challenging times," says Dean Boise. "I am thrilled to co-chair this remarkable leadership team to assist Attorney General-elect James as she builds an office that will undoubtedly continue and build upon the office’s legacy."

Distinguished Guest Lecturer Paul Dimoh L’08 Discusses Legal Ethics with DCEx Students

Friday 11/16/2018

Distinguished guest lecturer Paul Dimoh L’08 recently hosted fall DCEx participants at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Dimoh currently serves as an ethics attorney in the Office of General Counsel at Akin Gump where he is actively involved in issues impacting firm risk management and client relations. 

Dimoh started the seminar describing how the legal market has evolved since he exited law school during the 2008 recession and the types of strategies he utilized to position himself for a successful career. Dimoh recounted beginning his career as a transactional corporate lawyer for Nixon Peabody LLP and how that experience prepared him for the complex issues he faces day-to-day in resolving conflicts of interest and assisting in the development of firm policies to support ethics compliance. 

In the second half of the seminar, Dimoh facilitated a discussion where participants were encouraged to resolve ethics hypotheticals he has faced in his current role. Students mulled over the difficult issues Dimoh presented by citing various rules from the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct and case law they had studied in Professional Responsibility. Dimoh clearly illustrated these issues often require a tenuous balance between firm interests and an attorney’s fidelity to professional conduct. 

“Participants left inspired and motivated by the work of an in-house ethics attorney and felt the seminar was very timely as the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination was administered the following morning,” said Professor Terry Turnipseed, Faculty Director of Externship Programs. 

Syracuse University College of Law Library Receives Significant Collection of Books from Ronald L. Goldfarb ’54, L’56 and Joanne J. Goldfarb ’57

Thursday 11/15/2018
Ronald Goldfarb

Known as the Goldfarb Family Collection, Dineen Hall is now home to more than 1,500 books generously donated to the law library by Ronald L. Goldfarb ’54, L’56 and Joanne J. Goldfarb ’57, on behalf of their family.

Ronald Goldfarb’s legal career started in the military, where he was a US Air Force Judge Advocate General, and subsequently the government, where he was a member of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Department of Justice. He was later Kennedy’s speechwriter. After working on the Kennedy campaign, Goldfarb became a successful trial attorney who focused on corrections reform, farmworker rights, and other public interest areas. He was Counsel to a House Judiciary Committee investigation, and one in California, and served on several national studies such as the Kerner Commission. Later, he became a highly regarded literary agent through his firm, Goldfarb & Associates. Through the years, he’s written and contributed to 16 books and written about 500 articles and reviews.

The collection spans Goldfarb’s broad and rich career and touches on a diverse array of subjects—from law and politics to literature and art. The Goldfarb Family Collection is located directly off the first-floor reading room of the law library. Volumes are displayed and ready for circulation. Browse the collection by clicking here.

“Choosing to donate the collection to my alma mater was an easy decision as I knew they would be used by future generations of College of Law lawyers in their understanding of the law and of society in general,” says Goldfarb. “I am honored to have them prominently displayed where students, faculty, staff, and scholars can easily use them.”

“Ronald’s exciting, varied career and interests are reflected in the breathtaking collection he’s graciously given to the College of Law,” says Dean Craig M. Boise. “We are fortunate to have this fascinating collection of material that our students, with their diverse interests and career aspirations, can draw on for inspiration and knowledge.”

Some of the unique items in the collection include The Enemy Within, written by Robert F. Kennedy and inscribed by him; other volumes in the collection also are inscribed from their authors to Goldfarb. Law library staff have spent several months sorting, researching, and cataloging the books to get them prepared for display and use. While the majority of the volumes will stay at the College of Law library, some will be located in other collections across the University. 

Joanne Jacob Goldfarb graduated from the architecture school with honors and has practiced in Virginia for many years, having won AIA design awards. The Goldfarbs’ daughter, Jody Goldfarb, graduated from the Liberal Arts College and has master’s degrees from Columbia University and New York University in social work. Their son, Maximillian Goldfarb graduated Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts with a degree in fine arts and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a master of science in visual studies. He now teaches at the University of Buffalo School of Art. Some of their books will be turned over to those schools.

“A donation of this magnitude and importance does not happen very often, and its impact on the student experience will reverberate for years to come,” says Jan Fleckenstein G'84, G'86, L'11, Director of the Law Library and Associate Teaching Professor. “On behalf of the College of Law library staff and community, I want to thank the Goldfarbs for their unselfish gift.”

Visit Ronald Goldfarb’s website for more information.

Cora True-Frost Invited to Workshops on Empirical Legal Studies, Public Choice Economics

Tuesday 11/13/2018
Cora True-Frost

Professor C. Cora True-Frost participated in two influential, interdisciplinary legal studies research conferences in November 2018, one at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School and the other at the University of Michigan Law School.

From Nov. 1-3, 2018, True-Frost was a guest of the Scalia Law School's Law and Economics Conference. The host—the Law and Economics Center—describes itself as the "nation’s leading supporter of research and education focused on economic analysis of legal and public policy issues."

True-Frost joined colleagues to discuss topics such as "Axioms and Assumptions of Public Choice Theory," "Rent Seeking and Rent Extraction," "Social Choice and the Law," and "Public Choice and Legislative Intent." 

The 13th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies was held Nov. 9-10, 2018, at the University of Michigan Law School. This wide-ranging, interdisciplinary meeting brought together scholars from law, economics, political science, psychology, policy analysis, and other fields interested in the empirical analysis of law and legal institutions.

True-Frost discussed Kristen Kao's and Mara Redlich Revkin's paper on postconflict reconstruction and the rule of law, “To Punish or to Pardon? Reintegrating Rebel Collaborators After Conflict in Iraq.” The paper's abstract notes that, "Rebel groups that govern territory require the support or cooperation of large numbers of civilians who are often perceived as 'collaborators' after conflict ends. Given the difficulty of conducting research in war zones, we know very little about public opinion toward collaborators." 

Professor Michael Schwartz to Deliver Keynote Address at Korean Disability Law Association Conference

Monday 11/12/2018

Michael Schwartz, Professor of Law and Director of the Disability Rights Clinic, will be the keynote speaker at the Korean Disability Law Association conference in Seoul, South Korea. The conference, being held Dec. 3 – 5, will focus on the 2017 publication of the Korean translation of Ruth Colker and Adam Milani’s book, “Federal Disability Law in a Nutshell.” The conference is sponsored by the US State Department.

Keith Bybee Discusses Post-Election Well-Being with Thrive

Thursday 11/8/2018
Keith Bybee

5 Ways To Prioritize Your Well-Being After the Election

(Thrive Global | Nov. 7, 2018) The months and weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 elections have embroiled us—individually and collectively as a nation—in heated, often life-draining debates. And while the election is over, the discord will surely ensue: Congress remains divided with Republicans maintaining a majority in the Senate and Democrats taking the House.

Across the country, stress levels as a result of politics are at an all time high. A majority of Americans (59 percent, age 18 and older) blame the state of American politics as the source of their stress, according to a survey published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). And 55 percent of Generation Z attribute their increased levels of stress to the same culprit, a newly released report from the APA found.

While the elections may have left you feeling tired, angry, or even numb, we must press on and fight for the change we want to see. But first, we must reflect and recharge. Thrive Global checked in with Keith J. Bybee, Ph.D., a professor of law and political science at Syracuse University and the author of How Civility Works, to gather some tips on how we can hit refresh on our lives after a tumultuous and tense year.

Protect yourself from political meanness 

Political discourse steeped in racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia has been impossible to escape — and consistently being exposed to messages of hate can be painful and damaging. But, Bybee urges us to remind ourselves that this ugly rhetoric is a strategy to rile and rally people against one another for political gain. Keeping that in mind, he says, may take away a bit of the sting.

Look for the positive takeaways

History bears out that change will eventually come—however slowly and grudgingly. Bybee points out that last night’s series of political firsts is the enduring fruit of social movements that began as far back as the 19th century with the suffragists and abolitionists. It’s worth savoring the evening's successes: Women spearheaded the charge to flip the House with two Muslim winners (Democrats Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan), a lesbian Native American (Democrat Sharice Davids of Kansas), and the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress (29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s 14th district). Since we all benefit from the improved status of our most marginalized and vulnerable, their successes are everyone's successes ...

Read the full article.

Leading Disability Studies Scholars to Join Burton Blatt Institute

Thursday 11/8/2018
Burton Blatt Institute logo

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI), housed in Syracuse University’s College of Law, has announced that two leading disability studies scholars have joined the institute and will be charged with launching a new initiative, known as Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach. 

Steve Kuusisto, University Professor, and Diane Wiener, currently the director of the Disability Cultural Center, will join BBI as the director of interdisciplinary programs and outreach, and research professor and associate director, respectively.

“The College of Law is proud of the Burton Blatt Institute’s long tradition of advancing the civic, economic and social participation of people with disabilities,” says Craig Boise, Dean of the College of Law. “The addition of these two experts to BBI’s team will enhance the incredible work being done at the institute and the strength of the innovative research occurring there. I am confident Steve and Diane are the right team to stand up this important initiative designed to enhance our interdisciplinary productivity and community outreach.”

The new Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach will create and advance interdisciplinary, intersectional educational programs, research and pedagogy focused on disability justice, identities, cultures and studies. 

The office also will engage with a wide array of University constituents to interface, network, and collaborate with local, regional, national and global partners, and pursue development and advancement opportunities that underscore, celebrate, and enhance the rich and nuanced experiences of disabled people. Disabled students, faculty, staff and alumni—including the significant experience and contributions of veterans—will be at the heart of this initiative.

“Though they’ve been longtime partners of BBI, we are excited to formally welcome Steve and Diane as members of our team,” says Peter Blanck, University Professor and Chair of BBI. “Syracuse University is fortunate to have such accomplished leaders in the field of disabilities studies, and we are grateful their collective expertise, talent and experience will be deployed in this new, cutting-edge initiative.”

Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey (Simon & Schuster, 2018); Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening (W.W. Norton & Co., 2006); and Planet of the Blind: A Memoir (Random House, 1997); and of the poetry collections Letters to Borges (Copper Canyon Press, 2013) and Only Bread, Only Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2000). A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Ohio State University. He is currently a professor of disability studies in the School of Education and previously served as director of The Renée Crown University Honors Program. He is a frequent speaker in the United States and abroad.

“Disability is everywhere, once you learn to search for it,” says Kuusisto. “From architecture to music, information and communication technologies to inclusive pedagogies, the age of critical thinking and innovation with respect to different bodies, minds and emotions is really upon us. We’re looking forward to moving disability into a central place of discussion and imaginative engagement with this new and exciting opportunity.”

Wiener joined Syracuse University in 2011 and currently serves as the director of the Disability Cultural Center. She has extensive experience in teaching, group facilitation, advising, and mentoring, as well as in program development and management, leadership, counseling, disability advocacy, assessment and supervision. Wiener has worked closely with people with disabilities/disabled people in non-therapeutic and therapeutic contexts in accordance with sociocultural models of disability.

Co-chair of the University’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion and a member of the Contemplative Collaborative, Wiener has published widely on subjects related to diversity, social justice, inclusion, pedagogy and empowerment, with attention paid in particular to interdisciplinarity, cross-disabilities perspectives and the Mad Pride movement. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, majoring in comparative cultural and literary studies and minoring in anthropology. Wiener has a postgraduate certificate in medical anthropology, also from the University of Arizona. She received a B.S. from Rutgers University and an M.S.W. from Yeshiva University.

Wiener’s first full-length poetry collection, The Golem Verses, was published in summer 2018 by Nine Mile Press.

“After having served for seven years as the founding director of our Disability Cultural Center, I am honored, delighted and grateful to begin this new chapter in my career at and devotion to Syracuse University, underscoring, as always, the lived experience and expertise of disabled constituents who study, live and work in our campus community and beyond,” says Wiener.

As Wiener moves into her new role at the BBI, a national search to identify the next director of the Disability Cultural Center will commence in the coming weeks.

Diane Weiner
Diane Weiner

Stephen Kuusisto
Stephen Kuusisto

St. John Fisher College, Syracuse University College of Law Announce 3+3 Partnership

Wednesday 11/7/2018

St. John Fisher College and the Syracuse University College of Law have announced a 3+3 Legal Education Accelerated Program (LEAP) which will allow a select group of undergraduate students at Fisher the opportunity to earn both an undergraduate and law degree in six years, while minimizing the cost of their education.

“This program provides a fantastic opportunity for our students to easily transition from our undergraduate program to one of the top law schools in the state, and to prepare them for a successful career in law and policy,” said Dr. Sebastien Lazardeux, chair of the legal studies and political science programs at Fisher.

To be considered for the program, students must meet a set of requirements for both institutions. At Fisher, they must matriculate as first-year students, complete the College’s First Year Program, Core Curriculum, major, and minor requirements; consult with a LEAP advisor to discuss educational and career goals; and earn a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students also must successfully complete the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) with a score at or above the median LSAT score for the College of Law’s previous year’s enrolled class. An application to the College of Law must be submitted through LSAC (the Law School Admission Council) during their third and final year at Fisher.

“The partnership with St. John Fisher College provides its students with an accelerated path to the College of Law and its unique offerings, including our top-rated Advocacy Honor Society program, innovative research centers focused on national security, technology commercialization and disability law, and our expansive externship opportunities offered around the country, among others,” said Denee Page, assistant dean of enrollment management at the Syracuse University College of Law.

This marks the fourth 3+3 LEAP program at Fisher. The College also holds agreements with Michigan State University College of Law, University at Buffalo Law School, and Ohio Northern University. Dr. Ann Marie Fallon, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Fisher, which houses the legal studies program, said these academic partnerships offer students the opportunity to continue their education in a timely and affordable manner.

“We are delighted to continue to support students accessing high quality educational opportunities, especially in our region,” Fallon said. “Our partnership with Syracuse is testament to our students’ abilities and the excellence of our own academic programming. We look forward to a long and dynamic partnership.”

Click here for more information about the partnership.

With the Innovation Law Center’s Help, an Engineer Innovates an Old Technology for a Life-Saving Purpose

Tuesday 11/6/2018
Fred Valerino

Think back to your last time at a bank drive-through. You likely deposited or received money through a tube that travels from your window, to the bank, and back in a minute or so. These systems—known as pneumatic tubes—have been a go-to resource for banks for many years. Yet when was the last time you actually went to the bank for such a transaction? Nowadays, thanks to technological advancements, more than half of Americans use digital and mobile as their primary method of banking, deeming pneumatic tubes and bank drive-throughs old-fashioned. 

However, one engineer sees a new life for this old pneumatic technology and—with help from technology commercialization students in the College of Law’s Innovation Law Center—is working to innovate this delivery system for a new, ground-breaking purpose. Meet Fred Valerino Sr.  

With a passion for innovation and a knowledge of healthcare needs, Valerino is in the midst of creating his new, yet-to-be-named company. However, before he conceived of his present project, Valerino built up a plethora of experience with engineering, manufacturing, and innovation over a long career. After graduating in Le Moyne College’s first class, he began working in service and parts distribution for Lamson Corporation, an innovator of conventional pneumatic tube and conveyor systems. Valerino then became a pneumatic tube system estimator, working in engineering systems and sales applications. A promotion led him to become a sales engineer and later a sales manager. 

Shortly thereafter, Lamson was acquired by Diebold Inc., a security systems company, and Valerino began leading the government sales engineering project. Valerino’s time with Lamson and Diebold led him to understand the reliability challenges, high maintenance requirements, and difficult-to-maintain nature of pneumatic tubes. This revelation drove him to solve these issues himself.

Valerino formed his own company, Pevco in May 1978 as his personal venture into pneumatic tubes and healthcare. The company, which developed from a core group of immediate friends and family, produces pneumatic tube systems for hospitals to accommodate deliveries from blood banks, laboratories, nursing stations, and pharmacies. Pevco’s goal upon creation was to provide pneumatic tubes with a 99.9% reliability factor. Valerino and his company accomplished the goal, and, in turn, the system has helped hospitals reduce product loss, improve turnaround times, and increase safety. Now, 40 years after its creation, Pevco is still growing, with a presence in more than 650 hospitals worldwide and a nucleus of members that have remained from the start. 

In 2015, Valerino took a step back from the company to develop his new idea. While attending a medical conference in Houston in 2015, Valerino met with numerous healthcare executives and learned that a major safety challenge for hospitals still has to be solved—and that his old technology could be the new solution. 

“The biggest liability in hospitals today is needle pricks,” says Valerino. “Addicts are accessing and sticking themselves with needles to get their fix, leading to unnecessary deaths. That’s where my idea came in.” 

The engineer’s knowledge of pneumatic tubes allowed him to design a simple, yet innovative structure that would take sharps from patient rooms to a designated disposal area and sort them into categorized safe removal buckets. The buckets, hooked up to sensors, would then notify personnel when they needed to be emptied. 

After conceiving the sharps system, Valerino realized that it could not only resolve the major issue with needles but deliver pharmacy products to patient rooms as well. Thus, a two-pronged company was formed, and the tube systems developed.

Valerino hopes his “Sharps Pharmacy Delivery System” will not only solve safety and delivery issues in hospitals but also eliminate cart travel, diminish and eliminate paperwork, and decrease the number of personnel handling medication on its path to the patient. According to Valerino, this combination of benefits will change the operation of hospitals.

“The system will save hospitals tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to the lives saved from increased sharps safety and decreased medicine delivery time,” Valerino states. 

While Valerino can be credited with the invention and creation of the new system, he credits the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC) with helping him arrive at his current stage of business development. Students of the NYSSTLC are working with Valerino on a patent landscape—researching and tracking technology patents—and analyzing his industry for potential competition. 

“With the assistance of the NYSSTLC’s student-led research and my patent attorney, it will be virtually impossible for anyone to circumvent this technology,” Valerino says. “We already have two patents, two provisional patents, and two future patents, and thanks to the students, I know that competition does not and cannot exist.”

Now, Valerino says his product is nearly ready to hit the market, with a successful first installation in a local pediatric urgent care center. The three-patient system has been in operation for 16 months now, and according to Valerino, “it works flawlessly.” Once formally announced, he hopes to install pilot systems in two or three hospitals for further testing. And although Valerino says that hospitals are historically resistant to change, he believes his product will be welcomed for its benefits.

“It’s not going to take long for hospitals to see what the cost saving is with the new system,” Valerino observes. “Once the technology becomes known, it will grow like wildfire.” 

By Julia Scaglione

Troops at the Southern Border: William C. Banks Speaks to Vox

Tuesday 11/6/2018
William C. Banks

The Pentagon is resisting Trump’s most controversial military requests for the border

(Vox | Nov. 5, 2018) Resistance to President Donald Trump’s strong-handed military proposals to counter a caravan of immigrants headed toward the US-Mexico border is coming from a surprising place: the Pentagon.

When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested troops at the border, it asked the military to perform emergency law enforcement functions like crowd control. But the Pentagon rejected that request in late October in part because it felt active-duty troops don’t have the legal authority to arrest individuals on US soil.

That’s not all: DHS also asked the Defense Department if troops could build detention facilities for migrants trying to enter the United States. The military didn’t like that proposal, however, and DHS didn’t include it in its final request to the Pentagon about what it hoped troops would do.

It’s not unusual for different government agencies to discuss how, exactly, they will work together. In this case, DHS and the Pentagon negotiated what kind of support the military will provide at the border and came to an agreement.

That’s why it’s so striking that Trump continues to say the military will take actions it likely won’t ...

... US troops can’t detain, arrest, or search anyone at the border. That’s a law enforcement function, and the military can’t perform those duties on US soil unless there’s no other way to enforce the law, William Banks, an expert on the military’s domestic authorities at Syracuse University, told me.

However, the military has been used for law enforcement needs in dire situations, such as during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Then-President George H.W. Bush invoked the Insurrection Act to enforce the law because he deemed it impossible for other law enforcement to do so.

But the roughly 7,000 troops at the border now can only improve walls and infrastructure, work in offices, transport border officials in aircraft, and offer medical help — little more. They shouldn’t have any interactions with individuals at the border unless absolutely necessary.

That, in part, led Banks to say the use of active-duty troops to defend against the caravan was unlawful on its own. “If we were attacked by Mexico, we’d be there lawfully,” he told me, “but there’s no justification for it here" ...

Read the whole article.

College of Law, Falk College bring advance directives legal support to local community

Monday 11/5/2018
College of Law students Chris Baiamonte and Esther Chung assist attendee Diane Underwood

Research estimates that only one in three Americans has an advance directive, a number that is substantially lower among communities of color, those of lower socio-economic status, and lower levels of education.  This semester, College of Law students in Professor Mary Helen McNeal’s Advance Directives in the Community course and Elder and Health Law Clinic (EHLC) gained hands-on experience educating local residents about the importance of planning for end-of-life care while helping them prepare advance directives in partnership with Falk College.

“Advance directives enable people to appoint a proxy to make decisions when they are no longer able to, and they lay out a person’s preferences for the care they want,” says McNeal, who directs the College of Law’s Elder and Health Law Clinic that she developed in 2008. Providing general practice legal assistance for those aged 60 and over with low or moderate incomes, the EHLC offers students the opportunity to represent clients with faculty guidance and oversight.

Earlier this year McNeal, Falk public health professor, Luvenia Cowart, and Maria T. Brown, assistant research professor in Falk College’s School of Social Work and faculty affiliate at Syracuse University’s Aging Studies Institute, identified ways to connect experiential learning for law students with an unmet need in the community.  Cowart is the co-founder of the Genesis Health Project that aims to reduce health disparities and promote healthy lifestyles among African Americans in Syracuse. The African American Dementia Caregiver Support Project’s 12-Week Healthy Living Program is a Genesis Project that promotes health and wellness, including education about dementia caregiving, nutrition, and physical fitness.  A two-part seminar series on advance directives was a natural fit for the Genesis Project. 

“Advance planning for medical decisions and preferences is never an easy conversation to have with loved ones, but it is a necessary and responsible thing to do,” explains Cowart.  “The students from the College of Law, under Professor McNeal’s leadership, filled a significant void within our community.”

Prior to the community clinic, McNeal and the students met in small groups to discuss advance directives, relevant ethical issues, and how to structure the educational session and clinics. College of Law students Chris Baiamonte, Esther Chung, Cynthia Moore, and Caleb Williamson developed a comprehensive presentation on end-of-life issues and advance directives, which they presented to the Healthy Living participants. The students returned a week later to help nearly 25 participants complete individualized documents through one-on-one guidance. 

“This collaborative project provided both a service to the community and a wonderful hands-on learning opportunity for the students, hopefully instilling in them the value of connecting with and contributing to our local communities,” says McNeal.

Student Cynthia Moore described this as “an invaluable experience, which gave me the opportunity to provide community education on complex issues and follow-up with one-on-one client counseling.”  Says student Esther Chung, “my experience with the advance directive project was an incredibly positive, reaffirming one. This project allowed me to step outside the confines of the school and expand my own role from scholar to educator, an important role in the legal field. Being able to fill that role in itself was valuable, but additionally I felt re-energized, humbled, and grateful for having had this opportunity, even for a brief moment, to share in this heart-warming and uplifting community.”

Participants expressed an overwhelming appreciation for the knowledge gained and the learning experience.  Several participants explained the importance of having the seminars held in the community, making them available to everyone.  

“I think this was a great learning experience for the students and opportunity to educate the community on legal issues.  I am hopeful that we can continue to work with the Healthy Living Program to benefit community members and law students,” says McNeal.

In 2016, professors Cowart and Brown received a five-year, $500,000 grant from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to fund programming to deliver Alzheimer's Disease and caregiving support to the African American community in Syracuse —including respite care and connections to community resources—as part of the Genesis Health Project. This initiative, led by Syracuse University’s Falk College, is part of the NYSDOH’s Alzheimer’s Disease Program, which implemented a $25 million strategy in 2015 to support people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias and their caregivers.

Arlene Kanter Invited to Speak at MSU Law School's Talsky Center

Monday 11/5/2018
Arlene Kanter

On Nov. 12, 2018, Laura J. & L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence Arlene S. Kanter will visit Michigan State University Law School as part of its Lori E. Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children Lecture Series and Symposia. Kanter will discuss "The Rights of People with Disabilities under International Human Rights Law: What the Future Holds in the US and Beyond."

The Talsky Center opened in 2012, and it has hosted many luminaries in the fields of international human rights and humanitarian law as part of its prestigious speaker series since then. Past speakers include Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire (Ret.), Commander, UN Peacekeeping Forces in Rwanda, 1993-94; Justice Bakone Moloto, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; and Phon Van Den Biesen, Co-Agent and Counsel for the Marshall Islands, in previous litigation before the International Court of Justice concerning nuclear disarmament. 

Kanter's prescient lecture topic—disability and International Human Rights Law—joins other "ripped from the headlines" topics in the 2018-2019 series. Other speakers will address the #MeToo movement and human rights violations against women; the death penalty under international law; the opioid crisis and the "right to health"; human rights, environmental health, and climate change; and voting restrictions in the US and International Human Rights Law. 

Browse the Talsky Center speaker series

Syracuse Law to Host VALOR Day for CNY Veterans, Service Members, and Families

Monday 11/5/2018

The College of Law will hold its biannual VALOR Day event on Saturday, November 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 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 (Veterans’ Advocacy, Law and Outreach) Day is one of the many ways Syracuse law students give back to the community and those who serve our country.

Services 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 provides our students, as well as local lawyers, with a way to make a direct impact in the lives of veterans, service members, and their families,” said Yelena Duterte, Director of the College of Law’s Veterans Legal Clinic. “Veterans who meet with our students and attorneys will come away from the event with a better understanding of the legal issue or claim, and will be put in contact with the  local legal or community resources they need.”

VALOR Day is coordinated by VISION (Veterans Issues, Support Initiative, and Outreach Network), a student-run College of Law organization. Since its inception in 2012, VALOR Day has assisted more than 280 veterans and their families by providing access directly to 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) 760-4617.

Gary J. Pieples Helps USA Today with a Small Claims Court Explainer

Friday 11/2/2018
Gary Pieples

Have a beef? Here's how to take it to small claims court

(USA Today Press Connects | Oct. 12, 2018) Patrick Gilboy got a quick lesson in business promises this past April: Don't always believe what you're told. When the retired law enforcement officer hired a local landscaper to remove a tree from in front of his City of Elmira home, he thought it was a done deal.

After all, Ray's Landscaping boasts, "We do it right or it's free," prominently across the face of its business card. Gilboy was anything but a satisfied customer. He didn't get his money back. Gilboy sued Ray's Landscaping, upset about a job he alleged was left half done. Ray's had removed a tree but didn't grind down the unsightly stump, part of the job promised in a contract written on nothing more than a Post-it note.

The venue for Gilboy's beef: Small Claims Court, the largely informal arena where petty cases are argued in a courtroom and before a judge. Plaintiffs and defendants make and state their own cases, often without benefit of legal representation.

The stump remained for months. After many excuses, a frustrated Gilboy finally hired a second contractor and paid an additional $270 to have the stump removed. He sued Ray's Landscaping for the for the added cost.

Gilboy spent 15 minutes in front of Elmira City Court Judge Ottavio Campanella. The defendant was a no-show, despite having been served with an official notice of the hearing through registered mail and confirmation with a return receipt. Judge Campanella accepted the contract as valid and found Gilboy's case credible. With no one at the defense table, Gilboy won his case.

"I paid him the money to do the job and he didn't do the job," Gilboy said.

Across New York, thousands of petty claims are adjudicated in just such an informal setting. More than 18,000 small claims cases were heard in city courts in 2017, not counting the five boroughs of New York City. Small claims cases adjudicated in town and village courts are not included in those numbers ...

... While there some basic parallels between the television version and real-life experience, there are also some major differences.

For example, don't expect a judge in actual small claims court to berate the plaintiff or defendant, as sometimes occurs on the entertainment side of proceedings.

"Television shows don't really give you a real accurate picture," said Gary J. Pieples, director of the Securities Arbitration and Consumer Clinic at the Syracuse University College of Law. "In real small claims court, the judge is just trying to solve a problem."

And those problems can run the gamut from contractor disputes, as Gilboy experienced, to squabbles between divorced couples about who is going to pay the summer camp bills for the children ...

Read the full article.

Motherboard Speaks to William C. Banks About Social Media Surveillance

Wednesday 10/31/2018
William C. Banks

Pentagon Wants to Predict Anti-Trump Protests Using Social Media Surveillance

(Motherboard | Oct. 30, 2018) The United States government is accelerating efforts to monitor social media to preempt major anti-government protests in the US, according to scientific research, official government documents, and patent filings reviewed by Motherboard. The social media posts of American citizens who don’t like President Donald Trump are the focus of the latest US military-funded research. The research, funded by the US Army and co-authored by a researcher based at the West Point Military Academy, is part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to consolidate the US military’s role and influence on domestic intelligence.

The vast scale of this effort is reflected in a number of government social media surveillance patents granted this year, which relate to a spy program that the Trump administration outsourced to a private company last year. Experts interviewed by Motherboard say that the Pentagon’s new technology research may have played a role in amendments this April to the Joint Chiefs of Staff homeland defense doctrine, which widen the Pentagon’s role in providing intelligence for domestic “emergencies,” including an “insurrection" ...

... How far that caution applies in the context of a DOD led by a Trump appointee is an open question. But Aftergood also described the amendments as a potential danger to American democracy: “The whole subject bears careful monitoring, since it potentially poses a challenge to civilian control of government and to the integrity of democratic institutions,” he said.

I also spoke to William C. Banks, distinguished professor and founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University’s College of Law, who largely agreed with Aftergood’s assessment. “There is cause for concern due to the ambiguities embedded in the law and the federal guidance supplied through civilian and military agencies on homeland defense,“ Banks warned. “It is not unusual for doctrines like this to be quietly updated and they do this almost every year. But these changes are always worth monitoring due to the risk to democracy.”

I asked Banks, co-author of Soldiers on the Homefront: The Domestic Role of the American Military, about the doctrine’s description of an “insurrection” as a “homeland defense“ issue.

“The US military role in the homeland is not new, but in this case there’s a tension between DSCA [Defense Support for Civil Authorities] and homeland defense, because in one setting civilians are in charge, and in another setting the military are in charge,” he said. “The changes to doctrine are not dramatic, but they could make it more likely, maybe inevitable, that those jurisdictional issues might come together or clash in some way.”

The outcome of such a clash could end up putting Trump’s Defense Secretary in charge of a response to a domestic emergency categorized by Trump as an “insurrection.“ Taken in tandem with the US military’s sudden interest in predicting anti-Trump protests after the 2016 elections, the Pentagon’s upgraded homeland defense doctrine seems to be part of a wider effort by the Trump administration to prepare for domestic civil unrest in coming months and years.

Indeed, according to Banks, the changes to the doctrine in April could well have occurred as an effort to adapt to the technological developments in social media surveillance under the Trump administration described earlier in this story.

“One reason that doctrines are updated is due to changes in technology—military intelligence capabilities will adapt to new technologies, the power of social media, new cybersecurity capabilities,” he said. “The more we learn about those, the more we can envisage new threats and new opportunities to address them. So this new research on social media surveillance is exactly the kind of thing that could prompt changes in doctrine. The Pentagon’s support for this kind of research is concerning and should be closely monitored" ...

Read the full article.

Military Times Interviews William C. Banks About Troops at the US Border

Wednesday 10/31/2018
William C. Banks

The 5,239 Troops Headed to the Border is Just the Beginning

(Military Times | Oct. 30, 2018) The number of troops who will deploy to the U.S.-Mexico border will rise beyond the 5,239 personnel already on orders and expected to be in place within days, U.S. Northern Command chief Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said Tuesday.

O’Shaughnessy did not have a cost estimate for the rapidly-growing — and without recent precedent — mission of dispatching thousands of active-duty forces to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to counter a caravan of an estimated 3,500 migrants traveling from Central America.

“There will be an additional force, over and above the 5,239,” O’Shaughnessy said. “The magnitude of that difference, I don’t have an answer to right now" ...

Even though smaller numbers of active-duty forces have supported drug interdiction efforts on the border, they have not been the go-to to address immigration influxes, and certainly not in an order of this magnitude, border security experts said.

Responding to immigration influxes has typically been the purview of the National Guard, such as Operation Jump Start from 2006-2008 under former President George W. Bush, said William Banks, author of “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military” and Founding Director of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University’s College of Law ...

Read the full article.

Arlene Kanter & Peter Blanck to Join University's "Population Health Symposium" on Nov. 2, 2018

Tuesday 10/30/2018
Syracuse University Seal

The Population Health Symposium, a one day mini-conference, will be held on Nov. 2, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m in the Schine Student Center. The event aims to build interdisciplinary relationships between University population health scholars in order to generate proposals for external funding.

The day will consist of lightning round research talks by faculty members from Syracuse University, SUNY-Upstate, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. It will highlight the resources and focus of research centers at the institutions.

Among the researchers will be the College of Law's Professor Peter Blanck, Chair of the Burton Blatt Institute, and Professor Arlene Kanter, Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program. Kanter will present, “Disability is not a Health Category" during a Lightning Round. 

Participants also will have the opportunity to brainstorm ideas for specific funding proposals during break out sessions centered around major themes: child and maternal health; environmental health; addiction and mental health; veterans, trauma, and violence; disability; and health-related policy.

The Population Health Symposium is a CUSE Grant project convened by The Lerner Center, Aging Studies Institute, the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, SUNY-Upstate, and SUNY-ESF.

Keith Bybee Speaks to the BBC World Service in the Wake of Attempted Mail Bombings

Tuesday 10/30/2018
Keith Bybee

Vice Dean Keith J. Bybee spoke to the BBC World Service program Business Matters on Oct. 26, 2018. Bybee was asked whether a breakdown of political comity, etiquette, and civility has led to a crisis in American politics and civil life, and, specifically, to the recent attempted assassinations against politicians and press outlets alleged to have been perpetrated by Floridian Cesar Sayoc. Bybee puts recent political discourse in context by looking at the history of shifting definitions of "civility" in American life. 

Listen to the segment (Keith Bybee's interview starts at 29m 00s)

Corri Zoli Discusses Mail Bomb Attacks & Domestic Terrorism on Spectrum News

Monday 10/29/2018
Corri Zoli

Are Recent Suspicious Packages an Act of Political Terrorism?

(Spectrum News | Oct. 25, 2018) One after the other, suspicious packages were delivered to the media and liberal leaders, many in New York City.

"This is a very painful time in our nation. It's a time when people are feeling a lot of hate in the air," said Bill de Blasio, (D) New York City Mayor.

Some are calling it domestic terrorism and others call it political terrorism.

"Someone one who might be trying to  use scare tactics or trying to enhance political passions, make partisan divisions worse," said Corri Zoli, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism Research Director.

It is a scary thought for a country largely functioning on a two-party system.

Zoli said, "It's not accurate to characterize opposition groups as enemies in a two-party system that structures the United States."

But, is that what we're seeing?

In 2017, the target appeared to be on the other side of the aisle, members of Republican Congressional baseball team.

"Is this a retaliatory attack for those attacks? This is the problem with polarization. You get these kind of escalating dynamics...clearly this is an expression of partisanship gone awry," said Zoli ...

Watch the whole segment.

3Ls Donya Feizbakhsh & Dennis Scanlon Triumph at the 41st Annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition

Friday 10/26/2018
Winners, judges, and evaluators of the 41st Grossman Trial Competition.

The Advocacy Honor Society held the 41st Annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition in the Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom on Oct. 18, 2018. Third-year students Donya Feizbakhsh and Dennis Scanlon, for the prosecution, defeated the team of 3L Ahmed Khattab and 2L Kevin Risch, for the defense. Feizbakhsh also received the Frank H. Armani L’56 Advocacy Award from the award's namesake himself. 

Created in 1978, this annual competition offers students the opportunity to grow as oral advocates and to hone their experience in trial advocacy. The competition was established by Richard Grossman ’51, L’55 and Dr. Murray Grossman ’43, G’45, as an 80th birthday gift in honor of their father, Lionel O. Grossman, a 1916 graduate of the College of Law.  

This year's trial was the State of New Hope v. Richard Walker, Defendant. The Great State of New Hope had charged Richard Walker with Murder in the Second Degree for the death of his wife, Evelyn Walker, and with Tampering with Physical Evidence.

The Presiding Judge was the Hon. Norman Mordue L’71, Senior US District Judge, Northern District of New York. Evaluators were Adjunct Professor Stefano Cambareri L’89, of Cambareri & Cambareri LLP; the Hon. Thérèse Dancks L’91, US Magistrate Judge, Northern District of New York; William Fitzpatrick L’76, District Attorney, Onondaga County; and Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin. 

Pictured in the larger photo (L to R) William Fitzpatrick L’76; 3L Dennis Scanlon; Frank H. Armani L’56; 3L Donya Feizbakhsh; Stefano Cambareri L’89; the Hon. Norman Mordue L’71; and the Hon. Thérèse Dancks L’91.

"A Worrisome Case": William C. Banks Examines Election Season Mail Bomb Attempts with Bloomberg Law

Thursday 10/25/2018
William C. Banks

Law Enforcement Probes Attempted Mail Bombs 

(Bloomberg Law | 10.25.18) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse Law School, discusses law enforcement efforts after several high-profile democrats, public figures, and the CNN newsroom in New York received apparent explosive devices over the course of several days ...

Listen to the segment.

Peter Blanck Discusses Law Firms & Disability with ABA Journal

Thursday 10/25/2018
Peter Blanck

Are law firms committed to disability diversity? A handful of firms have taken action

(ABA Journal | Oct. 24, 2018) Five years ago, Luke Debevec was worried that his career, and maybe even his life, was in jeopardy. He started having seizures at work and was diagnosed with epilepsy, a disability that impacted his billable hour statistics.

The diagnosis couldn’t have come at a worse time. He was up for partner at Reed Smith, and his sudden health threat filled him with concern that his firm would deny his promotion.

He need not have worried—Debevec got his promotion. “When a business makes a decision to promote people, that’s visible and speaks a lot to the values of the organization,” he says. “People see that.”

Ensuring that other disabled lawyers can make partner is a prime reason that Debevec co-founded Reed Smith’s disability affinity group, LEADRS (Looking for Excellence and Advancement of Disabled Attorneys). Attorneys with disabilities need more room for opportunity, he says. “There’s plenty of ability, but if we’re always focusing on the thing the person can’t do, you don’t focus on what the person can contribute,” he argues.

As the nation in October celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month, statistics show that the legal profession as a whole either isn’t doing its fair share to recruit, retain and advance attorneys with disabilities, or it has failed to be inclusive enough for disabled lawyers to feel comfortable disclosing their impairments. Many law firms state generally that they’re welcoming to people with disabilities, but only a handful have put their words into meaningful action ...

... Society has placed a stigma on disability, an obstacle that stops many disabled attorneys from telling their firms, says Peter Blanck, a Syracuse University College of Law professor and chairman of the university’s Burton Blatt Institute, which works to better the lives of people with disabilities. He says lawyers with mental health disabilities—who often don’t even recognize their condition as a disability—face the biggest stigma, while there’s less stigma attached to physical disabilities like blindness, hearing loss and mobility.

“There’s always an unfortunate link made between competency and mental or physical perceived abilities of others,” he notes ...

Read the whole article.

Nina Kohn Pens "JDinteractive: An Online Law Degree Program Designed to Expand Access to Justice" for NYSBA Journal

Tuesday 10/23/2018
Nina A. Kohn

In February 2018, the American Bar Association granted a variance to Syracuse University that will allow the College of Law to launch the nation's first fully interactive online J.D. program. This program - called JDinteractive (JDi) - will combine live online class sessions, self-paced online class sessions, in-person residential courses, and applied learning experiences.

This article describes the program and its implications for the legal profession and those the profession serves. Specifically, it discusses the potential of this rigorous, yet flexible, approach to legal education to reach talented students who cannot reasonably attend a residential law school. It then explores how the approach may help increase diversity within the legal profession, produce lawyers with client-relevant experience, and expand access to justice in underserved communities.

Read the article here

Distinguished Guest Lecturer Kurt Wimmer L’85 Discusses Data Privacy and Security Law with DCEx Students

Monday 10/22/2018
Kurt Wimmer

On October 15th, Distinguished Guest Lecturer, Kurt Wimmer L’85, hosted the Fall 2018 DCEx Program at Covington & Burling’s office in Washington, DC. Wimmer is a partner at the firm and is chair of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group that has 60 attorneys. He represents major social media companies and global technology companies on privacy, cybersecurity, and technology law issues. During the visit, he spoke about his experience at the College of Law, explained his current practice, and offered insight on lawyering in Washington, DC. 

To begin, Wimmer discussed his transition from a news reporter to a lawyer. He looked back on Syracuse University and expressed a positive school experience. Since he had an interest in media, he felt fortunate to get a dual degree at the law school and Newhouse. In fact, he said the thesis from his dual degree was invaluable to his job hunt. Also, he spoke highly about his clerkship and strongly recommended that the students do one themselves.

Afterward, Wimmer described his practice at Covington. He explained how he saw that the Internet was causing a huge shift in law and took the initiative to form a practice group to address these new issues. This focus on technology eventually led to his leadership of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Later, he answered questions from the students regarding cybersecurity strategies and the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

Lastly, Wimmer expressed how much he enjoyed being a lawyer in Washington, DC. And explained the advantages of lawyering and offered advice to the students. 

Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L'10 Discusses the Growing Interest in the College's Two-Year J.D. Program

Friday 10/19/2018
Andrew Horsfall

Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L'10 discusses the growing interest in the College's two-year J.D. program among foreign-trained attorneys.

In the National Jurist article, he notes that, “The program can be a great fit for the right student who has a strong academic background and seeks to pursue a professional career with a license to practice in the US.”

"Going About His Business:" Bloomberg Discusses the Mueller Probe's Effect on the Midterms with William C. Banks

Wednesday 10/17/2018
William C. Banks

William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses the latest progress in the Mueller Probe, and how the probe, which began in the spring of 2017, could impact the midterm elections. 

Listen to the segment.

"Disability & Society" Publishes Michael Schwartz Article on "Deaf Access to Justice in Northern Ireland"

Monday 10/15/2018
Michael Schwartz

International and interdisciplinary social science journal Disability & Society has published "Deaf Access to Justice in Northern Ireland: Rethinking ‘Reasonable Adjustment’ in the Disability Discrimination Act," co-authored by Associate Professor of Law Michael A. Schwartz and Brent C. Elder of Rowan University.

Published online on Sept. 19, 2018, the article provides the findings of a qualitative study exploring the interactions of eight Deaf participants and one hearing ally with the justice system in Northern Ireland, where the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requires solicitors to make "reasonable adjustments" in order to provide effective access to Deaf clients. 

Three thematic categories emerged from Schwartz's and Elder's study: barriers to accessing justice; work Deaf people do for access; and the need to educate solicitors about access. 

"A central strain ran through these themes," the authors note. Specifically, there emerges the idea that "reasonable adjustment" must reflect the value of sign language interpreters in facilitating effective communication access for all the parties.

When dealing with complex legal issues, the article observes, a solicitor writing notes to a Deaf person cannot ensure both parties have thoroughly exhausted issues of mutual concern.

The authors suggest that a test case should be filed under the DDA to establish that a "reasonable adjustment" in the context of a visit to a solicitor or the police requires, for many Deaf people, the provision of a sign language interpreter.

Furthermore, Schwartz and Elder propose that a centralized fund for the provision of sign language interpreters for the stakeholders must be established.

Read the article online

Setting the Terms: William C. Banks Discusses Christopher Wray's Senate Testimony

Friday 10/12/2018
William C. Banks

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks discusses the recent Senate testimony by FBI director Christopher Wray, who named China as the number one threat to the US. Banks also discusses the FBI's handling of the second Justice Kavanaugh background check and the future of domestic unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) regulation, among other topics raised at the hearing. 

Banks' segment starts at 6m 09s

NEXT Conference to Feature University Law & Technology Centers

Thursday 10/11/2018
NEXT logo
The New York State Science and Technology Law Center at Syracuse University College of Law (NYSSTLC) and Syracuse University’s Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering (CASE) will welcome an audience of 250 members of the CNY technology and manufacturing community this November at NEXT 2018.

A one-day conference held in Syracuse each fall, NEXT features the latest trends in business and technology with a focus on manufacturing excellence, law and commercialization, and innovations in biotech. The event features keynotes from global thought leaders, a technology showcase of cutting-edge research and innovation, and workshops where attendees gain first-hand experience with state-of-the-art technologies and strategies, learning from experts and one another. NEXT is a part of Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The conference, broken down into three workshop sessions, offers a series of tracks to attendees. NYSSTLC will host NEXT’s Technology & the Law tracks throughout the day. Panel topics include Innovation and Intellectual Property, Legal Issues for Technology Companies, and New Venture Innovation and Capitalization Assistance. NYSSTLC’s tracks feature a variety of experts in technology law, including Jack Rudnick, Director of the College of Law’s Innovation Law Center (ILC), and Molly Zimmermann, Associate Director of NYSSTLC, which is incorporated within ILC.

“Understanding the legal and regulatory landscapes of a new technology is a critical part of the innovation process, necessary to protect intellectual property, seek investment, and compete in the marketplace,” says Rudnick. “Attendees at NEXT 2018 will be introduced to these issues by innovation practitioners who have years of real-world commercialization experience. For technology entrepreneurs, this is a must-attend event.”  

CASE will host NEXT’s CNY Drone Industry Update, focusing on the latest developments in unmanned aircraft systems and other “drone” technologies, and their impact on the CNY region. Led by Dr. Pramod Varshney, Director of CASE and a Syracuse University distinguished professor, the panel includes speakers specializing in air traffic, technology, and security. 

“The Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering (CASE) is the founding partner of NEXT and was an integral part of the team that landed the UAS test site in CNY. I expect that the emerging UAS ecosystem will attract a number of companies from outside the region and spawn numerous startups,” says Varshney.  

The Keynote Speaker for NEXT 2018 is Chris Kelly, Silicon Valley investor and former Chief Private Officer of Facebook. With cybersecurity trending in international news, Kelly’s appearance in Syracuse couldn’t have better timing. His keynote will address the latest challenges and advances in cybersecurity, as well as paint a picture of the future of technology from his unique perspective as an active investor in companies looking to move the mark in media, finance, and technology. NEXT 2018 also will feature Rob Shepherd, from Cornell’s Organic Robotics Lab. Shepherd’s work with 3D prosthetics offers the potential for “soft” robots that can feel, change color, and interact safely with humans.

NEXT is a collaboration between four organizations focused on expanding economic opportunities in Central New York: CASE, NYSSTLC, Central New York Technology Development Organization, and CNY Biotech Accelerator. Attendees will engage with next-generation companies and products and develop new channels for growth and innovation. 

Through generous sponsors and grant funding, the full-day event costs only $25 to attend. For more information and to register, visit next-syr.com.

Joseph DiScipio L’95, SVP, Legal and FCC Compliance for Fox Television, Discusses Political and Issues Advertising with DCEx Students

Wednesday 10/10/2018
Joseph DiScipio L’95

Students from the Fall 2018 DCEx Program were recently hosted by Distinguished Guest Lecturer Joseph DiScipio L’95 at the 21st Century Fox offices. DiScipio is the Senior Vice President, Legal and FCC Compliance at Fox Television Stations LLC. He is responsible for all FCC regulatory matters relating to the Fox owned-and-operated television stations; negotiating retransmission consent and other distribution agreements; spectrum matters; merger and acquisition activity; and other special projects.

In preparation for the seminar, participants viewed political candidate and issue-related advertisements. During the seminar, DiScipio reviewed some current cases, and students worked with DiScipio to conduct step-by-step substantiation for a few unusual commercials. Substantiation comprised comparing the claims made in the advertisement to facts collected from the public record. This exercise was followed by a discussion related to the realities in maintaining the brand’s ethical reputation, a candidate's FCC rights to access the public through media, and sustaining ad revenues.  

According to Faculty Director of Externship Programs Terry L. Turnipseed, the seminar’s topics resulted in a "genuinely engaging and timely discussion at a juncture when viewers are inundated with political ads on television and social media." 

DCEx students
DCEx students

Professor Ron Krotoszynski of the University of Alabama School of Law Visits College of Law to teach Comparative Privacy Law Course

Monday 10/8/2018
Professor Ron Krotoszynski

Professor Ron Krotoszynski, John S. Stone Chairholder of Law and Director of Faculty Research at the Culverhouse School of Law at the University of Alabama, taught a short course on Comparative Privacy Law at the College of Law this fall. He also presented a chapter of his forthcoming book “The Disappearing First Amendment” (Cambridge University Press) as part of the College of Law’s Faculty Colloquia series.

Professor Nina Kohn discusses guardianship law with AARP Magazine

Monday 10/8/2018

In the article, Kohn notes that “Guardianship cases are typically messy, because they occur when there’s been a breakdown in other systems.”

Read the entire article here.

David Driesen Offers a 25th Amendment Primer on The Capitol Pressroom

Friday 10/5/2018
David Driesen

Recently, The New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein talked with colleagues about invoking the 25th Amendment. The Capitol Pressroom  got a primer on the amendment from David Driesen, University Professor at Syracuse University’s College of Law.

Listen to the segment.

Robin Paul Malloy Weighs In on Removing Snow from Sidewalks

Thursday 10/4/2018

Professor Robin Paul Malloy weighs in on the issue of removing snow from sidewalks, the ADA, and the legality of policies in communities around Syracuse in this letter to the editor in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

"Questions About Character": William C. Banks Speaks to Bloomberg About Kavanaugh Probe

Tuesday 10/2/2018
William C. Banks

Trump Advocates "Very Comprehensive" Kavanaugh Probe

(Bloomberg Law | Oct. 1, 2018) William Banks, professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses President Trump’s Monday comments, where he supported a "very comprehensive" investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Plus, Bloomberg News Supreme Court reporter Greg Stohr, discusses the start of the Supreme Court’s fall term and how Kavanaugh’s confirmation is impacting the high court. They speak with Bloomberg’s Peter Barnes and Amy Morris.

Listen to the audio.

As Kavanaugh Hearing Unfolds, College of Law Students Offer Reactions

Monday 10/1/2018
2L Bo Hershey

The ongoing hearings surrounding the US Supreme Court nomination of the Hon. Brett Kavanaugh, and in particular the Sept. 28, 2018, testimony of both Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct while both were high school students, have gripped the nation. For law students, the hearings are an especially fascinating illustration of lessons they are learning in the classroom, about separation of powers, constitutional law, administrative law, evidence, and more.

As the Kavanaugh/Blasey Ford hearing played out on live TV, local media asked Syracuse law students—as well as Professor Cora True-Frost, who played the hearings in her classroom—about their thoughts on this historic moment in American jurisprudence. 

Knickerbocker, Grummons Win Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition

Monday 10/1/2018
Third-year students Sarah Knickerbocker and Lacey Grummons.

Third-year students Sarah Knickerbocker and Lacey Grummons won the seventh annual Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition, which took place in the Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom on Sept. 27, 2018. The other finalists were 2Ls Madison Calkins and William M.X. Wolfe. 

Organized by the Advocacy Honor Society (AHS), this annual competition is open to two-person teams consisting of second- and third-year law students. The competition gives students an opportunity to practice resolving clients’ conflicts through arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. Practitioners evaluate teams over the course of three days of rounds which culminate in a final round that is open to the public.

This year's final round judges were Brian Butler L’96, Chair of Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC's litigation department; Daniel G. Cantone L’81, a family law settlement advocate and conflict resolution specialist; and James L. Sonneborn, an attorney at Bousquet Holstein PLLC.

The final problem—introduced by 3L Kari Gibson, Bond, Schoeneck & King ADR Competition Director—involved a dispute between two parties involved in a contract to purchased a house that, unfortunately, is infested with snakes. One party had filed a breach of contract suit.

The AHS—led by Executive Director 3L Gabrielle Bull—thanked the team of alumni, professors, and other volunteers who judged earlier rounds of the competition:

  • Professor Elizabeth August L’94
  • John Boyd L’16
  • Professor Emily Brown L’09
  • Brian Butler L’96
  • Professor Dan Cantone L’81
  • Stephanie Fedorka L’17
  • Stephen Ganetis L’14
  • Professor Shubha Ghosh
  • Melissa Green L’18
  • David Katz L’17
  • Amber Lawyer L’17
  • Ashley Menard L’17
  • Annie Millar L’18
  • Julian Modesti
  • Professor Gary Pieples
  • Diane Darwish Plumley L’01
  • Jenny Pratt L’18
  • Tom Seeley L’03
  • Marc Waldauer L’73
  • James Wright L’08

Disability Rights International Releases Report Co-Authored by Arlene Kanter

Friday 9/28/2018
Arlene Kanter

On Sept. 27, 2018, Disability Rights International (DRI) released a powerful report—co-authored by Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence Arlene Kanter and alumna Milanoi Koiyiet LLM’16—documenting the intense pressure that Kenyan parents face if their children are born with a disability. Kanter and Koiyiet collaborated during Kanter's 2017 sabbatical research trip to Kenya. The photos that accompany this story were taken by Kanter during her visits to two orphanages. 

In Kenya, children with disabilities often are considered "cursed" or "possessed," notes the report, and throughout the country many believe that having such a child is punishment for the sins of the mother.  

"Over a two year investigation, DRI interviewed 90 women who elected to keep their children born with disabilities. All the women said it was common for parents to be pressured to kill their babies with disabilities, and they reported to us that many babies are killed at birth," says DRI Associate Director Priscila Rodriguez.

According to the report, many of the mothers told DRI that they were discharged from hospitals after giving birth without ever being told that their child had a disability. In some cases, doctors and nurses did not want to treat them or their babies for fear that the "curse" or disability might be contagious. They also described being shunned by families and the community; children with disabilities are not allowed to attend school, and parents will not permit their children to play with them. 

During the compiling of the report, DRI researchers visited 21 orphanages across the country where severe neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and torture were documented. 

The DRI team notes that orphanages for children with disabilities are particularly appalling.  "We found one facility where there were 500 children crammed into several filthy rooms and passageways. An older child was guarding the door with a machete and whip, to prevent them from escaping," says Rodriguez.

Read the full report (please note some details and images may be disturbing).

International press coverage:

The Cold Case Justice Initiative Commemorates 10th Year Anniversary

Friday 9/28/2018
Paula Johnson

The Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI), at Syracuse University College of Law, will commemorate over 10 years of seeking justice and accountability for racially motivated crimes during the Civil Rights Era with an awards dinner on Saturday, September 29, 2018, at Syracuse University College of Law.  

Professors Janis L. McDonald and Paula C. Johnson created CCJI over 10 years ago in response to the request from the family of Frank Morris, a 53-year-old African American shoe repair shop owner who was murdered in his shop in December 1964 by reputed members of the Ku Klux Klan.  Law students work under the supervision of the co-directors Johnson and McDonald.  CCJI students work on case investigations, identification of victims of racial violence, legislative advocacy, and scholarly research.  CCJI was instrumental in helping ensure passage of the Emmett Till Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of (2106).  

The celebration will bring together family members of victims of racially-motivated murders, CCJI alumni and current student volunteers, and advocates and activists for racial and social justice.  Speakers at the event include Deborah Watts, cousin of Emmett Till and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation; Wharlest Jackson, Jr. and Denise Ford Jackson, son and daughter of Wharlest Jackson, Sr., who was killed by reputed Klan members when a bomb was detonated under his truck in February 1967; and Shelton Chappell, whose mother, Johnnie Mae Chappell, was killed by gunshot in Jacksonville, FL, in 1964.  

The Frank Morris Racial Justice, Civil & Human Rights Award will be bestowed to several recipients at the dinner, including Deborah Watts, Wharlest Jackson, and Denise Jackson Ford. Says Ford, “The knowledge that I received and persons involved in this case and publicity over the previous years would not have been possible had it not been for this great organization.  I am highly honored to be presented with the Frank Morris Award.  Mr. Morris and my father died brutal and unjust deaths because of the color of their skin.  Today, I stand with and on the shoulders of these great individuals.”

Frank Morris Award recipients also include Attorney Pooja Sethi L’05, an Austin, TX-based attorney who is the managing partner of Pooja Sethi, PLLC, and Founder & Co-Director of Immigration for All, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in immigration law.  Sethi recently received a Resolution in the State of Texas for her immigration work and help with families who have been separated at the Texas-Mexico border.  Sethi says, “I am beyond moved at being recognized in this role of activism.  So often, the work we do for immigrants goes unnoticed, because frankly, Immigrants these days are being pushed aside on all sides of the system.”  

Local Syracuse, NY attorney Tashia Thomas Neal L’09, who is a former CCJI student volunteer, is another Morris Award recipient.  Says Neal, “My work with the Cold Case Justice Initiative was some of the best and most fulfilling work I’ve ever done.  Investigating the murders of Mr. Frank Morris and Mr. Joseph Edwards puts a lot of things in perspective for me, as a bi-racial Black woman.  Having the opportunity to call the granddaughter of Mr. Frank Morris and tell her that we identified the group of Klansmen responsible for her grandfather’s murder was an honor that I will carry with me throughout my life.”  

The 10th anniversary dinner also will be an opportunity to recognize CCJI co-founder Professor Janis L. McDonald on her emeritus status, and Scott McDowell, former Executive Director of Regional Strategic Communications at Syracuse University Lubin House.  Although Professor McDonald recently retired from the College of Law, she remains active in CCJI and also provides legal assistance in the federal Civil Rights lawsuit for the family of Rexdale Henry.  Henry was a 53-year-old member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who died in his jail cell from alleged negligence and callous disregard for his extreme alcohol withdrawal medical condition by Philadelphia, MS jailers and other officials. 

Reflecting on CCJI, McDonald states, “The Cold Case Justice Initiative, and the work that we have all done on behalf of hundreds of families seeking justice, changed my life.  The families humbled me with their courage, their determination and their belief that despite real risks every little step toward justice mattered.”  She adds, “The failure to acknowledge the crimes committed during that time make possible today’s resurgence of White nationalist and neo-Nazi groups of hate, as well as law enforcement shoot to kill actions against Black, Brown, Native American and other minorities.  I am so proud of our collective efforts to take a stand against the efforts to bury all records of racist domestic terrorism that existed in our country.”

Courtney Abbott-Hill Quoted by Student Lawyer Magazine

Thursday 9/27/2018
Courtney Abbott-Hill

Courtney Abbott-Hill L’09, Associate Director for Student Affairs, Academic and Bar Support Programs, is quoted in a September ABA Student Lawyer magazine article on joining a study group while in law school. 

In the article, Abbott-Hill says, “Many students can succeed without participating in a study group, but I can’t overemphasize the importance of seeking feedback to check your understanding and application of the law. For some students, this happens during a formal study group. But for others, the discussion may happen informally, or a study group may evolve out of a group of peers in the same place at the same time.”

Read the full article

“A Saturday Night Massacre on a Monday?” William C. Banks Speaks to Bloomberg Law

Tuesday 9/25/2018
William C. Banks

Rosenstein, Trump Set Thursday Meeting at White House 

(Bloomberg Law | Sept. 24, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses Rod Rosenstein’s future in the Justice Department after Monday reports that he offered his verbal resignation to the White House. Plus, Steve Sanders, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, discusses Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, which is in further doubt on Monday after a second woman accused the appeals court judge of sexual misconduct. They speak with Bloomberg’s June Grasso.

Listen to the audio.

Keith Bybee Helps Thrive with "5 Lessons from the Constitution on Living a Happier, Saner Life"

Monday 9/24/2018
Keith Bybee

5 Lessons from the Constitution on Living a Happier, Saner Life

(Thrive Global | Sept. 8, 2018) 231 years ago today, the final draft of the U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after a multitude of revisions and cacophonous disagreements. While pundits and politicians continue to commemorate the occasion across social media, we turned to Keith J. Bybee, a professor of political science at the Maxwell School and vice dean in the College of Law at Syracuse University to help us find the lessons it bears for living a healthier, saner life. Here are five microsteps we can gather from the dusty (but crucial) doc.

1. Meet People Where They Are

The constitution was designed around dark assumptions about human nature -- we’re vain, power hungry, selfish, plotting -- which is why we have a system of checks and balances between our main branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial) to rein in our self-interest for the greater good. Bybee likens it to yoga: “You show up and they meet you where you are. You don’t have to be able to do a perfect camel pose,” he jokes. “They work with you with what you got and move you along. Much of the constitution works that way.”

2. Power Is Less Corrupting When It Is Shared

All the power in the constitution is divided between the three main branches of government “with the assumption that if people participate in the process,” Bybee says, “they work things out as things move from the house to the senate to the president,” which will ultimately, hopefully, result in good legislation. It works like magic for the breakdown of power in my three-person household!

3. Embrace Conflict

Arduous and contentious conflict went into creating the Constitution, but through those verbal brawls and heated arguments came one of the most influential and sacred documents ever written. “Conflict in community is the gas in the tank that makes the deliberative process go,” says Bybee. “It’s through conflict,” he emphasizes, “that we arrive at a shared understanding of what the public interest is. It shouldn’t be avoided, it should be embraced and relied upon" ...

Read the whole article.

William C. Banks Speaks to the Media About FISA Declassification

Wednesday 9/19/2018
William C. Banks

Trump: Declassified Russia probe papers expose ‘bad things’

(Associated Press | Sept. 18, 2019) President Donald Trump is flexing his executive power to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move he says will ensure that “really bad things” at the FBI are exposed. But the decision, made against the backdrop of Trump’s spiraling outrage at the special counsel’s Russia investigation, may expose sensitive sources and methods and brush up against privacy law protections, experts say.

The order is likely to further divide the president from the intelligence agencies he oversees and raises new concerns that Trump is disclosing government secrets for his own political gain. Critics of the move say the president has a clear conflict by trying to discredit an investigation in which he himself is a subject ...

... William Banks, a Syracuse University national security expert, said that by making the information public, Trump is essentially overruling the decisions of career officials intent on keeping it from foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups and other adversaries.

He said while there’s nothing to prevent Trump from releasing the bulk of the information identified by the White House, he may face some problems releasing the Russia-related text messages because of the federal Privacy Act, which governs the type of personal information the government can make public.

“The Privacy Act is a big hurdle here unless Congress takes control of the materials and tries to release them themselves,” Banks said.

The FBI earlier released in heavily redacted format 412 pages of surveillance applications and court orders related to Page. Monday’s declassification order covers 21 pages of a 101-page June 2017 application to renew the warrant — the last of four filed by the Justice Department. His communications were monitored for nearly a year starting in October 2016 ...

Read the whole article.


Trump says declassifying Russia docs is about 'total transparency,' but some disagree

(WJLA ABC 7 | Sept. 18, 2019) President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants “total transparency” in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, calling some of the details revealed so far “a disgrace to our nation,” but critics say his latest effort to shine light on the probe is a self-serving attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller.

“This is a witch hunt,” Trump told reporters before a meeting with President Andrzej Duda of Poland. “Republicans are seeing it. The Democrats know it's a witch hunt, too, but they don’t want to admit it because that's not good politics for them. But it's a terrible witch hunt, and it's hurt our country.”

In a statement issued Monday night, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced the president is ordering the declassification of selected documents related to the FBI’s applications to a Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act court to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to Trump’s campaign, and text messages sent by several officials involved in the investigation. Sanders said Trump was acting “at the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency" ...

... “What’s being released here has been reviewed by officials in the executive branch already and they decided the documents should not be declassified,” said William Banks, former director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University.

National security law experts say there is no precedent for a commander in chief selectively declassifying materials from an investigation of his own conduct, but they agree it is within Trump’s authority to do so ...

... According to Banks, FISA proceedings are secretive for good reason, and pulling back the curtain could demoralize intelligence and law enforcement officers.

“Anytime the FISA materials see the light of day, our adversaries can learn more about the processes we use to keep tabs on them,” he said ...

... Experts and former DOJ officials have warned of the risk to intelligence-gathering methods in this investigation and others if the sources identified in the documents are exposed

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., dismissed these concerns, telling Fox News host Laura Ingraham Monday night it is “laughable” to claim this declassification endangers national security.

"This is really full transparency for the American people," Nunes said.

Banks rejected the notion that declassifying 21 hand-picked pages of the FISA applications is about “full transparency.”

“If you want a more complete understanding of what went on here, you wouldn’t declassify two pages here or four pages there. You’d declassify all of it, and that’s not what they did,” he said ...

Read the whole article.

Nazak Nikakhtar L’02 Addresses DCEx Students

Monday 9/17/2018
Nazak Nikakhtar L’02

On Sept. 7, 2018, fall 2018 DCEx participants had the privilege of meeting the Hon. Nazak Nikakhtar L’02 in her office at the US Department of Commerce. Nikakhtar currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.

As a DCEx Distinguished Guest Lecturer, Nikakhtar discussed how she started her career, what obstacles she faced, and how she successfully managed to forge those hardships into stepping stones that helped form her career. While pointing out that her master's degree in economics degree, along with her J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law, formed the basis of her career, she pointed out that “grit” and “perseverance” were what fundamentally differentiated herself from others and that, mostly, Syracuse law students and graduates have more grit and perseverance than those from other schools.

After telling her story, Nikakhtar answered questions from the externs. Her office, which, according to Faculty Director of Externships Terry L. Turnipseed, resembles a "war room," seemed to be a fitting place to ask and answer questions about her involvement in the current US trade policies. Aided by insight provided by Nikakhtar, the participants were able to catch a glimpse of how trade and tariff policy is made at the highest levels of the federal government.

A Welch Allyn Veteran Guides Innovation Law Center Students

Wednesday 9/12/2018
Chris Horacek

Every semester, College of Law students in the Innovation Law Center (ILC) benefit from the extensive expertise and broad experience of practitioners who supervise student research projects for real-world clients. 

One of the adjunct law professors overseeing the Innovation Law Practicum class is Chris Horacek, former Vice President-Deputy General Counsel for Welch Allyn, a leading medical device manufacturer based in Central New York, and currently Deputy General Counsel for medical technologies company Quadrant Biosciences. 

Horacek's lessons for his student teams are grounded in 20-plus years providing legal counsel on intellectual property (IP), compliance, and business transactions. But he also understands intimately the strategic thinking, leadership qualities, and communications approach a corporate counsel must bring to a company looking to manage and leverage an IP portfolio. 

Summarizing the advantages of ILC's applied learning course, Horacek says, "I wish I had had the benefit of a program like this when I was starting out!"

At the beginning of a semester, Horacek introduces his practicum team to an emerging technology client in need of a review of its IP, regulatory, and market landscape. Clients often are referred to the Innovation Law Center by a regional business incubator. Medical industry clients typically find ILC via the Central New York BioTech Accelerator at Upstate Medical University, SUNY-Stony Brook, SUNY-Buffalo's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, and MedTech, a biomedical industry group. 

The student team's job is to write a comprehensive report about the client's IP, its market competition, and the regulations that will impact its technology. The report then helps the client make wise business, legal, and funding decisions.

"When I joined Welch Allyn, I had been practicing transactional law, and that's what I was hired to do," recalls Horacek. Nevertheless, given Welch Allyn's industry and its wide portfolio of products—everything from blood pressure cuffs to vital signs monitors to sigmoidoscopes—Horacek, like his students, soon found himself reading up on IP law and medical industry regulations. 

"After Welch Allyn encountered some regulatory issues, the company had to up its FDA compliance game, and someone needed to lead the legal aspects of the effort—that was me," he says. "So I know what our students are going through learning all this. For a young corporate counsel, ILC's Innovation Law Practicum projects are immensely useful, learning how laws apply to a company and how to use them to a company's advantage." 

What Horacek means by using IP laws and regulation advantageously is that protecting copyrights, patents, and trade secrets can help a company differentiate itself in the marketplace, fight off competition, and grow its business. It was this IP-based growth strategy that Horacek helped to craft over an 18-year career at Welch Allyn. 

"Not every patent has to be a blockbuster," Horacek continues. "Sometimes we'd look to patent a new feature on an existing product so that a competitor couldn't copy it. Our patent strategy was to ask, Who are our competitors? How can we differentiate? and How can the legal team help drive sales? One of our jobs at Welch Allyn was to protect performance advantage." 

ILC medical industry clients in particular can benefit from an FDA regulation report, which helps them make an intelligent, informed business plan. "You need to make good assumptions when you write a business plan, including assumptions about IP, regulation, and competition," Horacek observes. Medical industry entrepreneurs must understand that medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and supplements are expensive to bring to market, he says. "Compliance isn't cheap. You need to budget for it, and not being aware of your regulatory issues and not budgeting correctly can lose a company credibility with an investor." 

At Welch Allyn, in addition to protecting critical improvements to existing products, Horacek says his legal team also created a foreign patent filing strategy to counteract IP theft and unfair competition from competitors abroad, and it worked closely with the company's R&D engineers to help identify IP possibilities while inventions were still young. "We'd spend a lot of time working with the engineers, and we brought them into IP strategy meetings," explains Horacek. "The beauty of doing it that way is, if their work couldn't be turned into a patent, perhaps we could find a way to protect it as a trade secret."

And here is another lesson for the apprentice counsels under Horacek's supervision: "A company needs to understand what its IP is. You find that a lot of companies don't know what their trade secrets are, for instance. At Welch Allyn, I think we did a pretty good job managing the company's IP." 

Horacek says he is impressed how quickly and competently the practicum students navigate the dense forest of IP law and regulatory compliance. "ILC students must learn three areas very quickly," notes Horacek. "They must learn IP law in a practical sense, in addition to the academic introduction they get in class; they must learn to communicate with clients, giving them complex information in plain language rather than as a memo or legal brief; and they need to learn clients' sometimes complex technologies."

"The hard part is doing all three things simultaneously," Horacek concludes, "but that's why we are here, to guide them. It's very nice to see the change from first to second semester, to see the students become more engaged and knowledgeable with the clients." 

"He Likes to Talk!": William C. Banks Discusses Trump's Mueller Interview Comments with Bloomberg Law

Friday 9/7/2018
William C. Banks

(Bloomberg Law | Sept. 7, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses President Trump’s Friday comments aboard Air Force One, where he said that he would be open to an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller "under the right conditions" ...

Listen to the segment

Maria C. Zumpano Joins Bousquet Holstein as Summer Associate

Wednesday 9/5/2018
Maria Zumpano

Maria C. Zumpano, Syracuse Law student, joined Bousquet Holstein as a Summer Associate.

She serves as an Associate Notes Editor on the Syracuse Law Review, is an Associate Member of the Moot Court Honor Society, and is President of the Syracuse Law Corporate Law Society. 

BBI Welcomes Jason Harris as new Research Associate

Friday 8/31/2018
Jason Harris

Jason P. Harris is joining the staff at the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, as a Research Associate, working to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities around the globe.

In 2018, Harris earned an M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education and a Certificate of Advanced Disability Studies from Syracuse University. He was also one of the founders of the student organization On The Spectrum at Syracuse University.

Harris also has a B.A. from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was introduced to disability advocacy in his class Disability, Culture and Equity that nurtured his passion for civil rights and to spread awareness and advocate for independence and inclusion to improve lives and empower people in the disability community. Harris graduated with Honors in December 2013.

In 2013, Harris founded the non-profit organization Jason’s Connection. Jason’s Connection is an online community promoting inclusion, independence, and equality of opportunity for individuals with disabilities, mental health, aging and diverse abilities and needs. It explores the cultural and social aspects of disability and shares ideas to change cultural perceptions of differences by featuring expressions of art and personal-experience blogs contributed by our online community, and one of the largest national, organic searchable directories for medical, housing, employment, and other resources. Additionally, it provides a personalized service to assist those with specific needs to locate resources in their area.  The site operates concurrently with an active Facebook page, which currently has over a quarter of a million followers.  Since its inception, Jason’s Connection has grown to be one of the largest, comprehensive, and diverse online presence that is run by a person with a disability.

Harris has actively participated in speaking engagements across the country including at ReelAbilities Film Festivals and continues to speak nationally to groups about hidden and invisible disabilities, and he works to build relationships with other national disability organizations.

William C. Banks Compares the Trump & Clinton Presidential Scandals on Bloomberg Law

Friday 8/31/2018
William C. Banks

Trump’s ‘Witch Hunt’ Finds Origin in Clinton Presidency 

(Bloomberg Law | Aug. 30, 2018) William Banks, professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses the similarities and differences between President Trump’s current legal situation and the legal situation that faced President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Plus, a look at the legacy of White House Counsel Don McGahn, who will be leaving his post later in the fall. Plus, Charles Warren, a partner at Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, discusses why lawyers for Exxon Mobil are telling New York’s Attorney General to "put up or shut up" as the state probes the oil giant for misleading investors about the financial impact of climate change. They speak with Bloomberg’s June Grasso.

Listen to the segment.

Law Library Prepares for the First JDinteractive Class to Start in January 2019

Thursday 8/30/2018

Thirty-four thousand electronic titles. Forty-seven licensed database systems. An interactive classroom for research training. Cameras and microphones at the ready. Marshaling these substantial academic and research resources, the librarians at the College of Law Library are preparing to welcome the inaugural class of JDinteractive online law degree program students when they arrive on campus for their first residency session in January 2019.

While they’re in Syracuse, JDi students will meet the librarians and library staff, get registered for online databases, and learn and practice the search techniques that they will use throughout their degree program. 

One of the features that distinguishes legal reference is that it’s almost never “short answer.” When a librarian meets with a student in Dineen Hall, they are sure to say, “Please, sit, so we can talk about the research problem you’re trying to solve.” Because JDinteractive emulates the first-class academic experience students receive in Syracuse's residential J.D. program, that’s also the reference experience JDi students will have remotely—using interactive video and split screen technology so librarians and students can see both each other and the online research tools they’re learning to use.  

What about traditional legal research tools for the online students? With 103,000 print titles and more than 1 million legal documents in microform, the College of Law Library has a wealth of resources to offer students through its Digitization on Demand and Document Delivery programs. In addition, specialized treatises will be sent to JDi students in upper level courses, the same way that libraries use Interlibrary Loan to share books with users.

“The services provided by the Law Library mirror the research environment that law students will find in law practice,” says Library Director Jan Fleckenstein. “Because all of our students—residential and online—have access to a wide range of online research tools, as well as librarians skilled in helping them navigate the legal information environment, they will be well prepared to do effective legal research throughout their careers.” 

 

Impunity Watch Announces IWLJ Essay Contest Winner at 2018 IHL Dialogs

Wednesday 8/29/2018
(L to R) Molly White L'16, David M. Crane, and Professor Cora True-Frost.

Professor Cora True-Frost, Director of Impunity Watch, announced the winner of the Impunity Watch-sponsored Essay Contest at the 12th International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, held from Aug. 26 to 28, 2018, at the Chautauqua Institution in Upstate New York.  

On behalf of the 2018-2019 editorial board of the Impunity Watch Law Journal (IWLJ), including Editor-in-Chief Aaron Records, True-Frost awarded Hannah Yi for her essay entitled “Silence is the Killer: Fighting for the Millions of Unheard Voices,” which will be published in IWLJ. The overall theme of the essay competition was, “Stopping Genocide Before It Starts: The Importance of Standing Up for Human Rights.”  

For more than a decade, the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Dialogs have brought together international prosecutors, ambassadors, diplomats, human rights leaders, and legal scholars from around the world to promote and explore the implementation of international humanitarian law across the globe. A number of former and current prosecutors as well as victims’ advocates engaged on the topic of this year’s Dialogs, "Is the Justice We Seek the Justice They Want?”. 

College of Law alumna Molly White L'16, a former IHL Dialogs Jackson Fellow and now a Program Analyst at the US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Policy, and Planning, introduced the Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement award winners on August 26. The Heintz Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate compassion, vision, and dedication in the pursuit of humanitarian justice. This year’s recipients were Allyson Caison and Christina Cowger, founding members of Stop Torture Now, a grassroots organization that has pushed for an investigation into North Carolina's role in the CIA secret rendition program that took place during the "Global War on Terror" after Sept. 11, 2001. In 2016, Caison and Cowger helped create the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. 

Influential international jurists and practitioners speaking at the Dialogs this year were former College of Law Professor of Practice David M. Crane, first Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court of Sierra Leone, who retired from teaching in August 2018; Ambassador Stephen Rapp, former Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone; Douglas Stringer of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals; Andrew Cayley of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; Mohamedou Ould Slahi, author of Guantanamo Diary; and Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of Mechanism, International Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria. 

Watch the 11th Chautauqua Declaration at the IHL Dialogs here.

Watch the Heintz Award ceremony here.

New York Judges Without a Legal Background? Keith Bybee Discusses on The Capitol Pressroom

Tuesday 8/28/2018
Keith Bybee

Keith Bybee on Judicial System Issues

(WCNY | Aug. 28, 2018) New York State’s legal system offers a variety of bail options to judges. However, many judges that don’t have a legal background resort to using cash bail. We took a deep dive into the issue with Keith Bybee, Vice Dean of the Syracuse University College of Law; Director of the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics and the Media; and the Paul E. and Hon. Joanne F. Alper Judiciary Studies Professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

Listen to the segment.

Legal Communication and Research Faculty Complete a Summer of Scholarship

Tuesday 8/28/2018

Led by Director of Legal Communication and Research (LCR) Ian Gallacher, members of the College's LCR faculty were active during late spring and summer with a variety of scholarly activities, including research and publishing, speaking at conferences, and teaching at partner universities. 

"We are lucky at the College of Law to have an extraordinary group of LCR professors engaged in interesting and relevant scholarship," says Gallacher. "Their recent accomplishments are in addition to their extensive teaching obligations and their service activities, including supervising student-written notes and comments for the College's journals. My hope is that this coming year will be even more productive."

In spring, Professor Aliza Milner presented "Eight Limbs and Three Branches: Yoga and Teaching Law" at the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference in Colorado. “What does practicing yoga mean for teaching law?" asked Milner. She discussed principles of teaching law and yoga, as well as integrating yoga into the classroom. The presentation was part of her deeper study into contemplative practices—including meditation—in legal study and practice.

"Professor Milner has completed 200 hours of training and is now a certified yoga instructor," explains Gallacher. "Yoga is integral to her scholarship and will, I hope, become an important part of her teaching and other activities at Syracuse." During summer, Milner became an Associate Editor of Legal Communication & Rhetoric: The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and, as a member of the JDinteractive online law degree program faculty, she has been building an online version of the College’s civil procedures class with Professor Margaret Harding.  

In early June, Professor Elizabeth August spoke at Emory Law School’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice biennial conference on "Teaching Transactional Law and Skills." Her timely presentation was called, “Does Donald Trump Really Have the Best Words: Using the Peggy Peterson/David Denison Confidentiality Agreement to Teach the Realities of Drafting in Practice.”

Also during summer, Professor Shannon Gardner and Professor Emily Brown taught a two-week course at University of Rome Tor Vergata, one of the largest public universities in Italy. They taught Introduction to the American Legal System and Introduction to American Legal Research and Writing to 34 students, both practicing attorneys and law students. "Some of the students showed interest in pursuing an LL.M. degree in the United States," observes Gallacher. "And Professor Gardner is speaking with Carolina Academic Press about writing an introduction for foreign students about studying law in the US."

In addition to teaching with Gardner, Brown spoke at the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) conference in Milwaukee, WI, on "Climate Comments: Leaders of Tomorrow Impacting Climate Change Today," which expands on a research project funded by a University Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability grant. Brown arranged for Milwaukee mayor, the Hon. Tom Barrett, to address attendees. "Mayor Barrett spent the first few minutes praising the work of Professor Brown to the assembled room of legal writing teachers from around the country," adds Gallacher. Brown also attended a week-long training at the Summer Institute for Technology and has begun to implement in the classroom many of the technologies she was introduced to. 

Continuing the LCR publishing record, Professor Richard Risman is working with West Publishing and looking to publish a book with the working title American Legal Writing and Rhetoric: A Direct Approach. He also has been invited by organizers of the 13th Global Legal Skills Conference to chair a panel at their conference in Melbourne, Australia. "This is a significant recognition of Professor Risman’s work in this area, and together with the work of professors Gardner and Brown, it allows us to demonstrate the skill and experience of our LCR faculty to prospective LL.M. students," observes Gallacher.

In May 2018, Professor Deborah O’Malley was awarded an SU Diversity and Inclusion Grant of $5,000. Her project—"SU College of Law Student Leader Transformative Dialogue"—will engage up to 15 student leaders in a dialogue group with their peers to help foster recognition and understanding of individual and group differences. "Thanks to this grant, Professor O'Malley was able to engage a pair of facilitators from InterFaith Works to lead the dialogue group, which will be launched this fall," says Gallacher. 

Gallacher adds that O’Malley submitted an application to the University's Office of Research Integrity and Protections to study the impact of this dialogue on the experience of law students. "Specifically, she aims to study whether intergroup dialogue can be an effective tool for helping law students develop key lawyering skills, particularly compassion, empathy, and an ability to recognize and appreciate multiple perspectives," says Gallacher.

For his part, Gallacher was awarded the LWI’s and the Association of Legal Writing Directors’ Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing and was recognized for 10 years' service to Legal Communication & Rhetoric. "I also have been asked to serve on the selection committee for the Blackwell Award, and I continue to serve on the selection committee for the Boyd School of Law Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship."

Additionally, Gallacher participated in the Wolters Kluwer Leading Edge conference; presented "Words, Words, Words: A Preliminary Exploration of the Relationship Between Words and Law" at the LWI conference; and placed two articles, one in the Capital Law Review ("My Grandmother was Mrs. Palsgraf: Ways to Rethink Legal Education to Help Students Become Lawyers Rather Than Just Thinking Like Them") and the other in Legal Communication & Rhetoric ("Four Finger Exercises: Practicing the Violin for Legal Writers").

3D-Printed Guns & National Security: William C. Banks Speaks to The Atlantic

Monday 8/27/2018
William C. Banks

(The Atlantic | Aug. 24, 2018) In 1971, a slim volume filled with instructions detailing how to create explosives and other weapons proliferated across bookshelves. The Anarchist Cookbook was one ideological young American’s attempt to make a political statement; in this case, the author was registering his opposition to the Vietnam War and the draft letter he had received. The book set off an urgent and fearful debate. In a letter to a top official at the Justice Department, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote “of the inherent threat that distribution of the book poses to this country’s internal security.” But, he lamented, “the FBI has no control over material published through the mass media.”

Five years ago, another ideological young American published another kind of how-to manual. In the 21st-century iteration of the story, the medium is the internet, not a book; and instead of half-baked plans to build ineffective bombs, there are blueprints that can be downloaded as code and used to create functional plastic guns from a 3-D printer. At the time the material was published, the State Department claimed that 3-D-printed guns posed a direct threat to America’s national security. The State Department argued that the publication violated its arms-export controls, and sued to force the removal of the plans from the internet. The blueprints’ creator—Cody Wilson, an anarchist firearms enthusiast who enjoys trolling gun-control advocates and is based in Austin, Texas—begrudgingly took the plans off his website.

This spring, Donald Trump’s State Department changed course by settling Wilson’s case out of court and granting him permission to publish his plans. The settlement would have allowed the blueprints to be published online this month. But a federal judge in Washington put Wilson’s plan on hold after Democratic attorneys general in eight states (including New York and New Jersey) and Washington, D.C., brought a lawsuit claiming the State Department had acted inappropriately. On Tuesday, lawyers representing these eight states, the State Department, and Wilson met in court in Seattle, where the judge announced that he will decide by Monday whether the plans must remain offline. Beyond the specifics of the case, the courts are again grappling with a recurrent question: When does U.S. national security trump the free-speech rights of U.S. citizens? Most agree that the First and Second Amendments give Americans the right to download plans for 3-D-printed guns off the internet. What the judge must decide is whether those freedoms should be abridged by the ability of foreign terrorists to download those same plans — and then use the guns to attack the United States ...

... But there was little to stop the plans being published, given both First Amendment free-speech protections and Second Amendment gun-ownership rights. In 2013, when Barack Obama’s State Department got involved, it became clear that this matter concerned national security, not domestic gun politics. “None of this has anything to do with any domestic control over anything,” said Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce Department official under Obama who worked on arms-export issues.

The foreign-policy interest here, a State Department spokesperson told me, was keeping the plans away from people in other countries who might pose a danger to America. “It seems like a no-brainer to me that, yes, they can get into the wrong person’s hands, and, yes, they can be harmful,” said William Banks, a Syracuse University law professor and national-security expert, in an interview.

Until June, the State Department—through the end of Obama’s term and the start of Trump’s—held a similar position. In 2015, a judge summarized the agency’s position: “The State Department is particularly concerned,” the judge wrote, that Wilson’s technology could be used “in an assassination,” to manufacture weapons by “terrorist groups, or guerrilla groups,” or “to compromise aviation security overseas … directed at U.S. persons.” Yet this year, the federal government changed course, with the State Department acceding that Wilson’s blueprints were legal under newly designed federal regulations ...

Read the whole article.

Jennifer Breen Joins College of Law as a Faculty Fellow

Thursday 8/23/2018

Jennifer Breen has joined the College of Law as a Faculty Fellow. She will be teaching Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, and Property courses.

Breen received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Cornell Law School. She also holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, along with a bachelor’s in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Most recently, Breen clerked for the Hon. Rosemary S. Pooler, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She also worked as an Immigration Associate at Miller Mayer LLP in Ithaca, NY. 

Breen’s research explores democratic politics in practice, from the evolving politics of work in the twentieth-century United States to more recent developments in immigration law. Her writing has appeared in scholarly journals including the Journal of Policy History and the American Criminal Law Review.

“We are delighted to have Professor Breen join us. She brings to the College of Law a background in teaching law and political science courses from her graduate studies, a strong record of publication, and invaluable experience as a judicial clerk and immigration lawyer,” says Vice Dean Keith Bybee. “Our students and faculty alike look forward to having Breen as part of the College of Law community.”

BBI Chairman Peter Blanck Quoted In Bloomberg News On "Blind Workers" And "Online Hiring Systems"

Wednesday 8/22/2018

BBI Chairman and University Professor Peter Blanck was quoted recently in a Bloomberg News article on “blind workers” and “online hiring systems": "Attitudes about inclusion is the real problem," Blanck said. Jobs-page "accessibility is just a symptom." Blanck is chairman of Syracuse University's Burton Blatt Institute and the author of several books on disabilities laws, including e-quality: The struggle for web accessibility by people with cognitive disabilities.

Blanck also said: "How many employers don't have fully accessible online job application systems? One of every four is a good "rough estimate."  He added, "Most Fortune 500 and other large employers have fully functioning job sites, so the problem is usually with smaller employers."

Read full article.

College of Law Convocation Video & Speech by Paul Dimoh L'08

Wednesday 8/22/2018
Paul Dimoh L'08

Watch a captioned version of the College of Law Convocation—including an eloquent, inspirational address by Paul Dimoh L'08—on YouTube:

"So, if I could encourage you this afternoon, here's what I want you to know: You're in the right place.

You might have had to sacrifice to get here. The circumstances surrounding your arrival might have been uncertain, but you're in the right place.

You might be feeling uneasy at the moment, nervous, not knowing what the next two or three years are going to look like, but you're in the right place.

You might have to learn a new way of studying. You will have to read more than you've ever read in your life, but you're in the right place.

You might have to join a study group every now and then. You might have to leave some study groups. It's all right. You're in the right place."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT5lntYRBQ0&feature=youtu.be

William C. Banks Discusses Giuliani's "Truth" Comments on Bloomberg Law

Tuesday 8/21/2018
William C. Banks

Giuliani ‘Truth’ Comments Put Trump Interview in Doubt 

(Bloomberg Law | Aug. 20, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses recent comments by President Trump’s lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who is casting new doubt on an interview between the President and special counsel Robert Mueller. Plus, Kevin Whitelaw, Bloomberg News deputy managing editor, discusses the bank and tax fraud trial of Paul Manafort, which is now in its third day as jurors deliberate on the eighteen counts being brought against President Trump’s former campaign chairman. They speak with Bloomberg’s Peter Barnes and June Grasso.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-08-20/giuliani-truth-comments-put-trump-interview-in-doubt-audio

From Northern Ireland to Vietnam to Japan: Michael Schwartz Advocates on Behalf of People with Disabilities

Friday 8/17/2018
Michael Schwartz

Early in 2018, Professor Michael A. Schwartz and colleagues received a $200,000 grant from the UK's Big Lottery funding program to study access to justice for Deaf people in Northern Ireland, which, as part of the United Kingdom, is signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). 

The study is part of the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL), an initiative led by disabled people and funded by the Big Lottery. Joining Schwartz on the study are Professor Brent Elder G'16 of Rowan University, an inclusive education specialist; Dr. Bronagh Byrne of Queen's University Belfast; and Holly Lane and Majella McAteer of the British Deaf Association, which is the lead partner for the DRILL grant.

Work on the two-year study has been ongoing throughout 2018, with Schwartz visiting Ulster during the summer and now preparing to return for the second of five trips in October 2018. "During our visits to Northern Ireland, we are speaking with key stakeholders in the system of justice, including judges, barristers, solicitors, and other court personnel regarding their views of the issues under study," explains Schwartz. 

"The CRPD is a United Nations treaty—which the US has not ratified—obligating signatories to meet certain standards in various milieus, including justice under Article 13," explains Schwartz. "Our goal is to see where the gaps in access to justice are and to make specific recommendations for reform."

Work on the DRILL grant has been just one project in a busy few months for Schwartz's international disability rights advocacy. Schwartz also visited Hanoi, Vietnam, during the last two weeks of May as part of a Mobility International USA training program for disability rights advocates, including Deaf leaders, aimed at preparing them to train others across Vietnam. 

The project—“Training the Trainers—received funding from the US Department of State and took place over seven days with representatives of the Vietnamese government in attendance. As Schwartz recalls, "My wife, Patricia, and I were honored to sit down with the leadership of the Deaf community in Vietnam. Although we are not fluent in Vietnamese Sign Language, everyone was able to communicate well, using universal signs, mime, gestures, and facial expressions!" The trainees have gone back to their communities, adds Schwartz, and are teaching their people what they learned from his team in Hanoi.

Professors Schwartz and Elder also are principals of Tangata Group, a non-governmental organization engaged in international human rights advocacy for people with disabilities. Tangata Group is accredited by the UN and participates in the Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the UN CRPD every June. 

In June 2018, between his trips to Vietnam and Northern Ireland, Schwartz joined Elder to present at the 11th COSP to the UN CRPD, featuring Judith Heumann as moderator. The topic was access to justice for Deaf people from around the world, and the presentation saw standing room only. In addition to Schwartz and Elder, the other Tangata Group board members are Janet E. Lord, an international human rights attorney and a key drafter of the UN CRPD, and Judith Heumann, a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation and, according to Schwartz, a legendary figure in the disability rights movement. 

In July, Schwartz presented at the Mobility International USA (MIUSA) Joining Hands Symposium in Washington, DC, a conference that brought together disability rights advocates, government officials, and academic representatives to encourage inclusion of people with disabilities in international education exchange programs. Schwartz spoke of Syracuse University’s leadership in providing appropriate accommodations for students and faculty with disabilities who wish to participate in study abroad programs. 

Finally, Schwartz led a group of Syracuse University students—joined by students from California State University-Northridge—on a 12-day trip to Japan, where the group studied the application of disability law in Japan, including its practices and processes that impact on people with disabilities. 

The group heard from four different lecturers and visited several disability-specific sites, including Hiroshima. “Several students had an ambulatory disability and one had a sensory disability,” observes Schwartz, “and the group learned how people with these disabilities move about in Japan.” Furthermore, according to Schwartz, the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), which assisted in handling the logistics of the program, noted that handling disability-related accommodations was a “learning experience, one welcomed by CIEE as a valuable lesson.” 

College of Law Names New Director of Student Affairs & Faculty Director of Inclusion Initiatives

Tuesday 8/14/2018
Syracuse University College of Law

As the College of Law welcomes the Class of 2021 and a new cohort of LL.M. students and begins a new academic year, Dean Craig M. Boise announces that Sarah D. Collins has been hired to the role of Director of Student Affairs and that Teaching Professor Suzette Meléndez has accepted the position of Faculty Director of Inclusion Initiatives. 

In her new role, Collins will be the primary point of contact for College of Law students, serve as the liaison between the College administration and student organizations, and coordinate and oversee student services.

With a strong background in student-centered education, Collins comes to the College from St. John Fisher College at Onondaga Community College, where she helped coordinate the Ed.D. program, recruiting and assisting students, liaising with alumni, and organizing dissertation and other critical committees. Before working for the St. John Fisher program, Collins was Director of OCC's Office of Student Leadership and Engagement with oversight of student leaders campus-wide, including leaders in student government and student organizations. In that capacity, Collins was responsible for training the Student Association Executive Committee, overseeing the Student Association By-Laws, and assisting the delivery of educational and entertainment programs for the entire student body.

Director of Student Affairs Sarah Miller
Sarah D. Collins 

Collins began her career at OCC on the College Committee Leadership Achieving the Dream (ATD) Core Team. ATD is a national organization dedicated to community college student success with an emphasis on low income students and students of color. She also was OCC's Student Development Judicial Coordinator, adjudicating and following due process for alleged student code and disciplinary procedures violations. Collins holds a B.A. in Sociology from Wells College and a J.D. from Albany Law School.

Because of the position's paramount importance to student life at the College, this search was ably assisted by input from students and with the participation of student leadership on the search committee.

Assisting Collins in her new role is Courtney Abbott Hill, who continues as Associate Director for Student Affairs, Academic and Bar Support Programs. Additionally, reporting to Abbott Hill will be a new Program Director for Student Services and Retention. This position will provide academic and other support services to the student body. The program director will focus on barriers to success in law school, including working with at-risk students, developing and implementing student support initiatives, and working with the Student Affairs staff and others to provide appropriate interventions to decrease attrition and transfer rates.

Collins will report directly to Dean Boise, in part to highlight the importance of her role to the College of Law's mission. 

Professor Meléndez adds her new appointment to her directorships of the Children's Rights and Family Law Clinic and the Syracuse Medical-Legal Partnership.

Professor Suzette Meléndez
Suzette Meléndez

As Faculty Director of Inclusion Initiatives, Professor Meléndez will lead a multi-dimensional inclusion effort that will continue to positively impact the work, life, and education of the entire College. She also will champion initiatives that the College began in the 2017-2018 academic year, when the College implemented more meaningful diversity and inclusion programming during Orientation, as well as faculty and staff training and a more substantive Diversity Week that put greater emphasis on educational programming over social events.

As part of her new duties, Professor Meléndez will lead a Committee on Inclusion Initiatives at the College. This Committee will be comprised of four faculty members, including Professor Meléndez; four staff members, including the Director of Student Affairs; and four students, including the SBA President (other students will be selected through an application process).

"I asked Professor Meléndez to accept this position in part because of her excellent and diligent service on behalf of University-wide diversity efforts," says Dean Boise. "She has represented the College on the First-Year Experience Steering Committee and, most recently, on the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion. The Workgroup has been asked to develop solutions to create a more diverse and inclusive climate at the University, and we plan to draw on those solutions to advance our own diversity and inclusion objectives."

Boise continues, "With Professor Meléndez at the helm, the College can look forward to a multi-faceted and tailored approach to diversity and inclusion that accounts for multiple perspectives, that is positively cognizant of differences, and that recognizes how diversity and inclusion enriches our College’s educational experience and informs the practice of law in the 21st century."

In Hot Water: Bloomberg Speaks to William C. Banks About President Trump's Latest Legal Issues

Tuesday 8/14/2018
William C. Banks

(Bloomberg Law | Aug. 10, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses the latest in the negotiations between President Trump’s legal team and Robert Mueller over a sit-down meeting between the President and the special counsel. He speaks with Bloomberg’s June Grasso on Bloomberg Radio’s "Politics, Policy, Power and Law."

Listen to the audio. 

Arlene Kanter Appointed Faculty Director of International Programs

Monday 8/13/2018
Arlene Kanter

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence Arlene Kanter has been appointed Faculty Director of International Programs. Kanter adds this appointment to her directorship of the Disability Law and Policy Program.

As Faculty Director, Kanter will work closely with Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L'10 and his team. Together Kanter and Horsfall will oversee the continued expansion of the Master of Laws program, the ongoing development of the S.J.D. degree, and the addition of new countries to the College's roster of international partners. 

Kanter recently returned to Syracuse from an extensive sabbatical project, during which she advocated on behalf of disability and human rights in Kenya, Israel and Palestine, Greece, and Japan. Thanks in part to Kanter's outreach to law deans and faculty during her two-week visit there, Japan is the newest partner to be participating in the College's international programming.

Recently, the College welcomed 34 foreign lawyers, representing the legal systems of 21 countries, into its Master of Laws (LL.M.) program. These students join the seven LL.M. students who began their studies in January 2018, along with five visiting researchers and two semester exchange students. 

 This LL.M. cohort, members of which were attracted to Syracuse through meaningful international partnerships and institutional relationships, includes nine Open Society Fellows, four Fulbright Scholars (one of whom was a Rhodes Scholar), one PRESTASI Fellow, and one Kosovo American Education Fund Fellow. Also arriving in Syracuse this Fall are several federal prosecutors from Brazil, thanks to partnerships established by Professor Antonio Gidi.

David Driesen Comments on the EPA vs. California Fuel Standards Controversy

Thursday 8/9/2018
David Driesen

Trump’s Assault On Auto Pollution Rules Is The Latest Salvo In A War On States’ Rights

(Huffington Post | Aug. 9, 2018) In February 2016, Republicans prevailed over a regulation a top GOP coal advocate once called the “death of federalism” when the Supreme Court granted a stay blocking President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The move handed a victory to the oil and coal industries who, backed by their patrons in 27 Republican-dominated states, had sued in what Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy called a 27-state “revolt” against “illegitimate abuse of power.” 

Two years later, Republicans control every branch of the federal government, EPA leadership has passed from one of the attorneys general who led that lawsuit to a former coal lobbyist who advocated for it, and President Donald Trump is working to dismantle any regulation that stands in the way of transforming the United States into a booming petrostate ― even if that means trampling on states’ rights in the process. 

On Thursday, Trump administration launched its most ambitious assault on state environmental regulations yet with a proposal to revoke the federal waiver that lets California set stricter automobile pollution standards than the rest of the country ― a rule that 13 other states follow. The move came as part of the White House’s announcement of a plan to gut an Obama-era rule requiring vehicles sold in the U.S. to double their fuel mileage by 2025, a plan that would have slashed oil consumption by an estimated 12 billion barrels. Without the rule, the American vehicles are expected to spew an additional 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2030 ― equivalent to the entire annual emissions of Canada. 

“There’s not an ideological push here, there’s just, ‘We’re going to do whatever industry wants, and if Obama did anything, it’s bad and we’ll undo it,’” Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA administrator under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, said in a phone interview. “I don’t think the president has thought through what used to be a basic principle of Republicans, and that’s states’ rights" ...

... It’s difficult to say whether the Trump administration can legally rescind the California waiver. A report New York University School of Law released Wednesday argued the EPA lacks the legal authority to withdraw the waiver. No president has ever tried. And, according to David Driesen, an environmental law professor at Syracuse University, arguing that the state’s CO2 rules don’t meet the standards set out in the Clean Air Act is “just not a plausible argument.” 

“California does have compelling and extraordinary conditions,” he said. “There are wildfires, and if the heat goes up in California, they have more severe local air pollution exacerbated by the heat, so it just doesn’t wash.”

The new EPA proposal accounts for the climate change, but notes that “EPA believes that any effects of global climate change would apply to the nation, indeed the world, in ways similar to the conditions noted in California.” 

“EPA does not believe that these conditions, mentioned above, merit separate GHG [greenhouse gas] standards in California,” the proposal reads. “Rather, these effects, as previously explained, are widely shared and do not present ‘unique problems’ with respect to the nature or degree of the effect California would experience" ...

Read the whole article.

 

Witnesses to History: Two Syracuse Law Students Go to Work on the Judge Kavanaugh SCOTUS Nomination

Tuesday 8/7/2018
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and 3L Kristina Cervi

This fall semester, two Syracuse University College of Law students will play their part in a judicial appointment that has the potential for momentous political, social, and historical significance. 3L Kristina Cervi and 2L Emily Green will be working for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Policy (OLP), helping with the confirmation process for US Supreme Court nominee the Hon. Brett Kavanaugh.  

"This is an exceptional opportunity for both students," says Faculty Director of Externships Professor Terry L. Turnipseed. "OLP is a highly prestigious division within DOJ. Most of the office's attorneys have had Supreme Court clerkships."  

Turnipseed says that Cervi's opportunity came via the College of Law's Washington, DC, Externship Program (DCEx). Thanks to the support of Turnipseed, Cervi externed at OLP during the Spring 2018 semester, working on nominations of federal courts of appeal judges. "Both the judges and OLP were very impressed by Kristina's intelligence and dedication," notes Turnipseed. "In fact, it is possible she will be offered a clerkship from a judge she helped prepare for his confirmation hearing."

"When Judge Kavanaugh was nominated," continues Turnipseed, "OLP reached out to Kristina to ask if she could rejoin them in August to work on the nomination. The attorney in charge of hiring externs specifically mentioned her performance and work ethic." Turnipseed says that it became clear that OLP was seeking additional interns to work on the project. "I recommended second-year student Emily Green, and after several interviews she was hired, pending her background check."

Led by Assistant Attorney General Beth A. Williams, OLP describes itself as the DOJ's "think tank." Its activities include legal policy and regulatory development, special projects, and assisting the President and the Attorney General with the selection and confirmation of federal judges.

For Green, the call to serve came as a surprise. “I had already registered for classes and was ready to go back to school in the fall when Professor Turnipseed came to me with this opportunity,” she says. “I realized I could not pass up a chance to work with a Supreme Court nominee. I got through the interviews, switched out my classes, and my dad drove me down to DC two weeks later.”

Adds Green, “I am grateful for the chance to work with such accomplished attorneys and do not take the honor lightly. I will work hard and do my best to further the College’s reputation so that future Syracuse externs get the chance to compete at this high level.”

“OLP is the ultimate place to observe the cross-section of law and policy.” says Cervi. “Having already externed there for five months, I have worked on numerous federal judicial nominations in addition to national security and violent crime policy initiatives, but nothing quite like a Supreme Court nomination.”

When she returns at the end of August, Cervi says the work environment will become “all-hands-on-deck.” “Every attorney has one mission in mind, the successful confirmation process for a new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” she adds. “Working on this nomination requires attention to detail as we review Judge Kavanaugh's extensive history as a jurist and prepare him for his day before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Cervi credits the College of Law's Externship Program with giving her this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “DCEx has allowed me to be a part of something truly much bigger than myself.”

Most likely, explains Turnipseed, Cervi and Green—in addition to helping to review Judge Kavanaugh's numerous judicial opinions—will help prepare written answers to Senate questions; work directly on mock confirmation hearings (“the so-called 'murder boards,’” explains Turnipseed); and attend his confirmation hearing. “They also likely will interact directly with the judge and possibly even be present for his investiture ceremony at the White House, should he be confirmed.”

“Working on this historic Supreme Court nomination will be a truly special experience for both Kristina and Emily, and no other law school will have more than one legal extern working on the nomination,” Turnipseed observes. “Their achievement is a credit to our externship program and Syracuse students more generally. When our students get their chance, they crush it!”


Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Helps Celebrate 20 years of the IRS LITC Program

Monday 8/6/2018
Robert Nassau

July 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the landmark tax legislation that created the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program. Part of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the LITC program grew out of a “Taxpayer's Bill of Rights” included in the law that enshrined the right of representation for taxpayers dealing with the IRS. 

Each year since then, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has awarded grants up to $100,000 to qualifying organizations to provide an LITC for low income taxpayers who have controversies before the revenue service.

The College of Law is one such organization. Its LITC—where student attorneys handle cases under the close supervision of Clinic Director Robert Nassau—has provided services to the Central New York community since 2002. To mark the anniversary of the legislation, Nassau has posted a video on the IRS's Taxpayer Advocate website to add his voice "to the chorus of happy birthday wishes to the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic program."

"It is an honor for the College to have been part of the national LITC community for 16 of its 20 years," says Nassau. "During that time, hundreds of College of Law student attorneys have assisted thousands of lower-income taxpayers in resolving tax controversies. The students not only gain real-life practical experience, they also help taxpayers get tax justice."

Specifically, Nassau says that in its 16 years of operation, 326 student attorneys have represented nearly 1,000 clients and informally advised approximately 1,500. "We have recovered $1,338,502.28 in cash for our clients, and we have helped them avoid or reduce tax liabilities of more than double that amount."

The College's LITC was created by Professor Martin Fried and the late Sherm Levey L'59, a tax expert who was a LITC Co-Director with Nassau. "They were involved in getting our first grant, along with Professor Arlene Kanter and Professor Deborah Kenn, when she was Acting Director of the College’s Office of Clinical Legal Education" Nassau explains. "We have gotten grants every year since, and for the last handful of years, we have gotten the maximum $100,000 annual grant."

According to Nassau, the College's LITC offers students a practical opportunity to learn how to represent taxpayers with real-world tax controversies. Students learn basic tax procedure and applicable substantive tax law, and they represent clients in administrative proceedings before the IRS and in judicial proceedings before the US Tax Court or federal district courts.

Nassau's video is one of several birthday wishes recorded by LITCs throughout the country, including those at Texas A&M University and University of Denver and at non-profits such as Bay Area Legal Services and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

Today, the LITC program consists of 134 clinics in 48 states and the District of Columbia. From 2012 to 2016, LITCs represented more than 52,400 low income taxpayers and educated more than 450,000 low income and English-as-a-second-language taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities under the US tax code.


Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program

DCEx Concludes Summer Semester with Distinguished Guest Lecturer Chris Beeler L’15

Friday 8/3/2018

On July 27th, Distinguished Guest Lecturer, Chris Beeler L’15, hosted the Summer 2018 DCEx Program at Arnold & Porter’s office in Washington, DC. Beeler joined Arnold & Porter as an associate about two years ago and works on cases involving national security, government contracting, and litigation. 

He began the seminar by describing his daily work and giving examples of services he provides to clients. He also spoke passionately about his pro bono work with a Syrian refugee. Overall, he described a rewarding and positive experience with the firm.

Later in the seminar, he brought in his military experience. Beeler was a Captain in the United States Army before law school and explained that it had a significant impact on his success as a lawyer. He shared a reading that was used in his leadership training called “Message to Garcia.” The students reflected on the story and had an insightful discussion on what makes a good employee. Beeler used it to encourage the students to become capable professionals who can handle responsibility. 

Finally, he shared his thoughts on law school and the inevitable job search, including interview tips and encouraged the students to show their true selves. He ended the seminar by fielding questions from the students and offering advice. 

DCEx Concludes Summer Semester with Distinguished Guest Lecturer Chris Beeler L’15

Friday 8/3/2018
Chris Beeler L

On July 27th, Distinguished Guest Lecturer, Chris Beeler L’15, hosted the Summer 2018 DCEx Program at Arnold & Porter’s office in Washington, DC. Beeler joined Arnold & Porter as an associate about two years ago and works on cases involving national security, government contracting, and litigation. 

He began the seminar by describing his daily work and giving examples of services he provides to clients. He also spoke passionately about his pro bono work with a Syrian refugee. Overall, he described a rewarding and positive experience with the firm.

Later in the seminar, he brought in his military experience. Beeler was a Captain in the United States Army before law school and explained that it had a significant impact on his success as a lawyer. He shared a reading that was used in his leadership training called “Message to Garcia.” The students reflected on the story and had an insightful discussion on what makes a good employee. Beeler used it to encourage the students to become capable professionals who can handle responsibility. 

Finally, he shared his thoughts on law school and the inevitable job search, including interview tips and encouraged the students to show their true selves. He ended the seminar by fielding questions from the students and offering advice. 

Communications Daily Discusses NYPSC vs. Charter Case with Shubha Ghosh

Thursday 8/2/2018
Shubha Ghosh

NY PSC Punishment Expected to Bring Charter to Table

(Communications Daily | Aug. 2, 2018) Charter Communications probably will feel pressure to talk deal after the New York Public Service Commission took back OK of the Time Warner Cable buy, experts said in interviews. Some said the PSC probably lacks authority to undo the deal. A Public Knowledge attorney said the PSC is within its rights. Charter will defend itself in court, if necessary, CEO Thomas Rutledge said Tuesday.

The PSC shocked observers Friday by ordering the cable ISP out of the state, seeking civil penalties for allegedly not meeting broadband expansion conditions in the 2016 TWC order. 

Charter claims it exceeded those conditions. “This will lead to … serious negotiations for Charter to come up with a plan to meet the state’s concerns,” predicted Phillips Lytle’s David Bronston. The agency’s “nuclear” action is “uncharted territory,” the New York telecom attorney said. “I don’t see this as creating the new norm,” but it shows the state following through on threats, he said. The company and commission didn’t comment Wednesday.

It seems like a “strategic move” to increase pressure on the company, since the regulator probably lacks authority to unwind a national deal DOJ cleared, said Syracuse University law professor Shubha Ghosh. 

But it’s not “government overreach” for the PSC to review and condition a deal with a regulated company, and the agency may have a case that Charter didn’t move quickly enough to comply with conditions, he said. 

Ghosh doubted a court would agree the appropriate remedy is to banish Charter, especially since the goal was expanded service. Ghosh sees two sets of issues: “whether [Charter] has complied or not, and then if it hasn’t complied, what the next steps should be" ...

Read the whole article (subscription)

Professor Michael Schwartz co-authored an opinion article on continued non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act affecting deaf people n

Thursday 8/2/2018

Professor Michael Schwartz co-authored an opinion article on continued non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act affecting deaf people needing medical care.

University Professor David Driesen writes on SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh

Wednesday 8/1/2018

University Professor David Driesen has written an opinion article for Law360.com on Supreme Court nomination Brett Kavanaugh and presidential powers concerns. 

47th VP Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Five Other Distinguished Members of the Syracuse University College of Law Community to Receive Law Honors Awards

Tuesday 7/31/2018
47th VP Joseph R. Biden Jr. L'68

On Sept. 28, 2018, the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association and the College of Law will celebrate the singular achievements of six esteemed members of its community with the prestigious Syracuse Law Honors Awards. Established in 2015, the Award is conferred on alumni and friends of the College for extraordinary career accomplishments and service to the College, Syracuse University, the legal profession, and society as a whole.

This year’s recipients have excelled in the areas of jurisprudence, advocacy training, service to the College, social justice, and public service. They are: 47th VP Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68, for his long service to the nation, first as a US senator and then as Vice President of the United States; Alexandra C. Epsilanty L'92, for her service to the College and University; the Hon. James E. Graves Jr. L'80, the first African American jurist from Mississippi on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; the Hon. William Q. Hayes L'83, a long-serving US attorney and current district judge for the Southern District of California; Dr. Natasha James-Waldon L'94, for her tireless work promoting social justice and advancing anti-poverty programs; and Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin, for his leadership and unparalleled support of the College’s advocacy programs.

As part of the College of Law’s annual Law Reunion Weekend, September 27-30, Dean Craig M. Boise, the SULAA Board of Directors, alumni, and other guests will celebrate the honorees and their many achievements at a ceremony, starting at 6 p.m., in Dineen Hall’s Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom. 

“This year’s Law Honors Award recipients distinguish themselves with a broad range of achievements in our legal profession, both inside and outside the courtroom, in local, national, and international communities,” says Dean Boise. “It is notable that among their successes are so many firsts, epitomizing the trailblazing spirit of these and many other College alumni. I commend the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association and the Law Honors Committee for compiling such a stellar slate of nominees, and I offer my gratitude and congratulations to the recipients.” 

“This year’s honorees display the breadth and influence of College of Law alumni, a community I am proud to represent,” says Amy Vanderlyke Dygert L’06, president of the SULAA Board of Directors. “What stands out is their collective commitment to serving, helping and educating others, a quality that is central to a Syracuse education.” 

Read the recipients' biographies here

Throughout Summer, College of Law Faculty in Demand by Top-Tier Media

Monday 7/30/2018
Dineen Hall

College of Law experts have been in strong and constant demand throughout the summer months, even as their classrooms await the return of students in mid-August. In fact, it's been an unprecedented summer of media requests to our faculty, with reporters regularly contacting the College media team for help with subjects ranging from the immigration crisis, patent cases, and disability and civil rights to the state of civility, New York State’s “cable crisis”, and veterans' health care.

A few national news stories have dominated the summer, and the College’s world-class professors are well-positioned to provide commentary and much-needed explainers about political and legal machinations on Capitol Hill. 

For instance, Professor Emeritus William C. Banks continued to educate Bloomberg Law listeners about the Mueller Probe; Professor Paula Johnson and Professor Emerita Janis McDonald spoke to news outlets across the US and beyond about the re-opening of the Emmitt Till case; and Vice Dean Keith J. Bybee helped NPR listeners and CBS Sunday Morning viewers put the contemporary state of political civility in proper context.

Here's a complete list, with hyperlinks, of all the College of Law faculty summer media appearances:

Shubha Ghosh Weighs In on the Spectrum Cable vs. New York State Battle

Kevin Noble Maillard in NYT: "When Being a Good ‘Dad’ Gets You Promoted to ‘Mommy’"

William C. Banks Speaks to Fifth Domain About the IG Report on NSA Surveillance

Nina Kohn Discusses Barriers to the Ballot in Care Facilities with Huffington Post

William C. Banks Explains the FISA Warrant Process to NBC News

Roy Gutterman Talks with Spectrum About New York Daily News Layoffs

BBC World Speaks to Janis Mcdonald About Emmett Till Cold Case

Keith Bybee Explores Political Civility on CBS Sunday Morning

BBI's Peter Blanck and Larry Logue Pen "PTSD and Suicide" OpEd for Stars and Stripes

Paula Johnson Discusses the Justice Department Reopening the Emmett Till Murder Case on KJZZ

Paula Johnson Speaks to the AP as Emmett Till Case Is Re-Opened

Newsweek Speaks to William C. Snyder about SCOTUS and Presidential Power

David Driesen Writes on Upcoming SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings

Arlene Kanter Pens OpEd for the Jerusalem Post

"The Problem With Civility;" Keith J. Bybee Speaks to NPR's On The Media

David Driesen Comments on Immigration Crisis in WAER Story

Corri Zoli Discusses North Korea Summit with WSYR

William C. Banks Discusses Mueller Probe Latest with Bloomberg Law

Shubha Ghosh Discusses the Restasis/St. Regis Mohawk Patent Case with Bloomberg

Corri Zoli Speaks to CNYCentral About Planning the North Korea Summit

Shubha Ghosh Talks to CNBC on the EU's Delay of "New Media" Copyright Legislation

Nina Kohn Comments on Guardianship in the Wake of a Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Segment

Peter Blanck Examines Biases Lawyers with Disabilities Face with Texas Lawyer

Shubha Ghosh Weighs In on the Spectrum Cable vs. New York State Battle

Monday 7/30/2018
Shubha Ghosh

New York's Order Kicking Spectrum Cable Out of State "Pretty radical"

Regulators' move to kick Spectrum, the largest cable provider in New York, out of the state is an unprecedented action that could lead to a long court fight, industry analysts and observers say.

"This is pretty radical," said Aija Leiponen, a professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University. "I've never heard of such a thing. It's very drastic."

The New York State Public Service Commission voted 3-0 Friday to rescind its 2016 approval of Charter Communications' merger with Time Warner Cable and ordered the company to cease its operations in the state ...

... Syracuse University law professor Shubha Ghosh said the commission may have taken such a drastic step to "give Spectrum a kick in the pants" to speed up its broadband build-out. 

If the dispute winds up in court, a judge will have to decide whether the company really has failed to meet its obligations, he said. But even if the court sides with the commission on that point, it would not necessarily order Spectrum out of the state, he said.

"The court does have some leeway on what the remedy would be, and it could be just a fine," said Ghosh. "The court could order the company to expedite the expansion and fine it if it fails to do so. I would think the effort would be to get the company to move faster" ...

Read the whole article.

Kevin Noble Maillard in NYT: "When Being a Good ‘Dad’ Gets You Promoted to ‘Mommy’"

Friday 7/27/2018
Kevin Noble Maillard

When Being a Good ‘Dad’ Gets You Promoted to ‘Mommy’

(The New York Times | July 27, 2018) I’m a sucker for dramatic homecomings. I love stories of reunited siblings and I devour videos of dogs greeting returning soldiers, but I participate in my own reunion spectacle every weekday. When I pick up my 3-year-old from preschool, she charges at me like I’m an unattended bowl of Cheddar Goldfish. It’s the best feeling to witness her happiness upon seeing me. From across the room, she olympically hurdles, jumps and pole vaults into the pillow of my outstretched arms.

“Mommy!” she squeals, horseshoeing her tiny arms around my neck, before she quells the emotion with a demand for food. “Mommy, you have snack?”  My partner, “Mamma,” who is female, is not there. When our daughter says “Mommy,” she’s talking to me — her father.  

When my partner heard about this, she laughed. Neither one of us corrected our daughter. We assumed it was part of language development. Then she went all in, announcing that she has two mommies, to the amusement of the lesbian parents at school.

I’m a professor of family law, so it’s my job to analyze these types of occurrences as part of some larger issue. Academia is a discursive enterprise. In this case, I’m intrigued by children’s selection of names for their parents, and what it possibly signifies ...

Read the whole article

Roy Gutterman Talks With Spectrum About New York Daily News Layoffs

Friday 7/27/2018
Roy Gutterman

Newhouse professor talks New York Daily News layoffs

About half of the New York Daily News' editorial staff was laid off Monday by its owner, Tronc.

"It's tough to see and aside from just people losing their jobs and families, losing their income, we see a huge gap in coverage of public affairs and things that really matter to people so there's going to be a huge gap about what people find out about what's going on in their world," said Newhouse [and College of Law] Professor Roy Gutterman.

But, the Daily News isn't the only news organization that's restructured recently.

Back in March, dozens were laid off at Gannett's Press & Sun Bulletin in Johnson City.

Printing operations were moved to another Gannett facility in Rochester.

And in Syracuse, the Post-Standard and Syracuse.com cut jobs and reduced printing operations with the creation of Syracuse Media Group.

"We've obviously seen the shift to digital and app-based delivery, which is fine. I read several newspapers several times a day online or on my phone so we recognize that. And many reporters have been able to diversify our skillset to provide more types of information across platforms which is great," he said ...

Read the whole story.

"Machine-Driven Mistakes": William C. Banks Speaks to Fifth Domain About the IG Report on NSA Surveillance

Thursday 7/26/2018
William C. Banks

NSA criticized for 'increased risk’ of jeopardizing civil liberties

(Fifth Domain | July 25, 2018) The National Security Agency is at an “increased risk” of jeopardizing civil liberties and the privacy of American citizens, according to an inspector general report that comes just months after a controversial program that collects emails and phone calls was extended.

The NSA watchdog said that agency analysts performed “noncompliant” searches using the organization’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Authority, which were caused by “human error, incomplete understanding of the rules, and gaps in guidance.”

According to the report, which covered the period from October 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018 the unauthorized searches were related to the FISA’s counterterrorism authority.

“This has been going on for some time,” said William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University. He said that noncompliance was a heated topic when the section 702 of the FISA act was reauthorized earlier this year. “A fair amount of it was apparently mechanical or machine-driven mistakes ... you would expect it might take the better part of a year for improvement in implementation to show results.”

Previously, privacy groups have raised issue with the noncompliance searches of digital and electronic records ...

Read the whole article.

Robin Paul Malloy Appointed to Central New York Research Corporation Board

Wednesday 7/25/2018
Robin Paul Malloy

Distinguished Professor of Law Robin Paul Malloy has been appointed to the Board of the Central New York Research Corporation (CNYRC).

CNYRC was established in 1989 to conduct, promote, and support the medical research and education activities of the Syracuse, Canandaigua, and Bath VA medical centers and to advance the wellbeing of veterans and the general public by these endeavors.

CNYRC's active research program has more than 50 certified research professionals and their staffs working on research initiatives that address, among other issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, behavioral neurosciences, diabetes, gastroenterology, and prostate cancer.

Other board members are Dr. Douglas Walsh; Dr. S. Asif Ali; George W. Chapman; Judy Hayman Ph.D.; Nick Armstrong, Senior Director for Research and Policy at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University; Dr. Michael Cynamon; Paul Dougherty D.C.; Jay Henderson, Associate Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, Syracuse University; Peter A. Jones; and Dr. Kristopher Paolino. 

David M. Crane Appointed Chair of UN Commission on Alleged Violations During Palestinian Protests

Tuesday 7/24/2018
David M. Crane

Syracuse University College of Law and Professor of Practice and INSCT Faculty Member David M. Crane has been appointed Chair of a United Nations Human Rights Council Independent International Commission of Inquiry into alleged violations of international law "in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" that occurred during May 2018. 

The protests—primarily in Gaza and East Jerusalem—came in the wake of the announcement that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem and coincided with the 70th anniversary of Nakba (the 1948 Palestinian Exodus). The Guardian noted that May 14, 2018, was "the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war". At the time, The Guardian reported, other United Nations human rights bodies—including UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination—urged Israel to halt "excessive force" against Palestinian protesters, and Amnesty International accused Israel of violating international law. 

In his letter of appointment to Crane, UNHRC President Vojislav Šuc observed that the Commission has been formed as a result of the UNHRC Resolution S-28/1. In the resolution, the Council decided "to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council." 

The Resolution grew out of a May 18 Special Session of the UNHRC, at which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called attention to the "[a]ppalling recent events in Gaza." She explained to the Council that, "Since ... protests began on 30 March, 87 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli security forces in the context of the demonstrations, including 12 children; 29 others, including three children, were killed in other circumstances. And over 12,000 people have been injured, more than 3,500 of them by live ammunition."

Resolution S-028/1 also "Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, and all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and to facilitate its access, requests the cooperation, as appropriate, of other relevant United Nations bodies with the commission of inquiry to carry out its mission."

"The focus of the investigation is to be open minded, fair, and neutral," says Crane. 

The two other members of the Commission of Inquiry will be Sara Hossain, a Bangladeshi lawyer, and Kaari Betty Murungi, a Kenyan lawyer and human rights activist. The commissioners have been asked to convene a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, "with a view to agreeing on terms of reference and methods of work, establishing contacts with relevant stakeholders, and preparing [a] programme of work."

Nina Kohn Discusses Barriers to the Ballot in Care Facilities with Huffington Post

Tuesday 7/24/2018
Nina A. Kohn

How To Bring The Ballot To Aging Americans

(Huffington Post | July 23, 2018) Kathleen Henry, 80, wants all her neighbors to vote, even if they can’t drive, read or remember as much anymore.

Soon after the former civics teacher moved to the Greenspring retirement community here in 2003, she took a leading role in running the campus’s polling place and registering voters.

Just this year, Henry said, she’s registered 72 residents as new voters. If a resident doesn’t have an up-to-date government form of identification — as is the case for 18 percent of citizens over 65 — Henry works to bring in a county official to take their picture to comply with Virginia’s voter ID law.

When Election Day rolls around, she and a small group of volunteers set up polling stations in the conference center, a short elevator ride down from the cafeteria and library. The community’s Democratic and Republican clubs post tables with candidate information just outside the voting area. Volunteers shuttle in residents from assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities. The roughly 2,000 residents of Greenspring, average age 80, are the only voters in this precinct ...

... Access to the ballot for the 8.4 million residents of long-term care facilities nationwide is an issue of equity, said Nina Kohn, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law.

Running elections the way Greenspring does requires resources and a high degree of volunteer labor, which are more available at a facility where it costs several thousand dollars a month to live than at a nursing home funded by Medicaid, Kohn said.

“Some of these facilities couldn’t have better access,” she said. “At a high-amenity facility, access to voting might be treated as another amenity. ‘We have plays, we have good food, and you can vote here.’ But there are many other facilities that have individuals with similar needs that don’t have polling.”

The lack of ballot access at certain facilities affects specific populations. Nearly two-thirds of publicly funded nursing home residents are women, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Residents of these facilities, Kohn said, also tend to be poorer than residents of other long-term care facilities.

“We are essentially undermining access to entire interest blocs,” Kohn said.

Barriers to the Ballot

For many residents at publicly funded facilities, absentee ballots may be their only access to voting. Every state will mail an absentee ballot to voters who request one. But relying on absentee ballots brings its own challenges, Kohn said.

In some facilities, residents may not have access to information about candidates and deadlines for requesting a ballot. Ballots may be hard to read and fill out for those with disabilities.

In Louisiana and North Carolina, staff at residential facilities are banned from helping residents vote. And in states where staff can help, ethical questions arise over the independence of residents’ vote, Kohn said.

While there is no evidence of systemic voter fraud at nursing homes, Kohn said, she is concerned staff may have filled out absentee ballots without a resident’s permission and that residents may have been unduly influenced by staff. She said she has seen scattered reports of this in her research ...

Read the whole article.

"Probability of a Possibility": William C. Banks Explains the FISA Warrant Process to NBC News

Tuesday 7/24/2018
William C. Banks

Why Team Trump is wrong about Carter Page, the dossier and that secret warrant

(NBC News | July 23, 2018) Mueller's Russia probe wasn't launched because of Carter Page, and the dossier compiled by an ex-spy was only part of the evidence cited to get a warrant.

President Donald Trump and his allies are claiming that the partial contents of a secret national security "FISA" warrant, released Saturday, vindicate their claim that special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation was improperly launched on the basis of a speculative opposition research document paid for by Democrats.

The Trump camp says the probe has its roots in the "Trump dossier" compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which alleges collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"So we now find out that it was indeed the unverified and Fake Dirty Dossier, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC, that was knowingly & falsely submitted to FISA and which was responsible for starting the totally conflicted and discredited Mueller Witch Hunt!" the president wrote in a tweet Monday morning.

Trump also continues to suggest that the electronic surveillance of his one-time campaign aide, Carter Page, which was authorized by the FISA warrant, launched the Russia probe.

Both of these assertions are false.

Here is why ...

National security experts who have reviewed the document say that even the parts that aren't blacked out contain more than enough information to provide a judge reason to rule that the FBI had probable cause to believe that Page was an agent of Russia.

Probable cause is much lower than the reasonable doubt the standard required to convict someone of a crime. "It's the probability of a possibility," said William Banks, founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University College of Law. Page had already appeared on the FBI's radar as a target of Russian intelligence recruitment in a separate spy case. He has acknowledged that he traveled to Moscow and met with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. It would have been malpractice for the FBI, confronted with allegations that Page was helping the Russians, not to investigate, Figliuzzi says ...

The FBI disclosed to the court that Steele was paid by people seeking to discredit Trump. But the FBI viewed Steele as credible.

"They dealt with the Steele stuff in an extensive footnote with bolded language," Banks said. The note didn't disclose that the dossier was paid for by Democrats because the document didn't use any names or identities. It called Trump "Candidate 1" even after he was elected president. But the note did say that the dossier appeared to be funded by people seeking to discredit Trump.

In addition, Steele was seen not as a partisan operative, but as a credible source, according to the warrant. The document doesn't say this, but Steele had helped the FBI for years, including providing crucial information in the U.S. investigation of corruption in international soccer.

Read the complete article.

BBC World Speaks to Janis McDonald About Emmett Till Cold Case

Monday 7/23/2018
Janis McDonald

(BBC World Service | 7/13/2018): The US justice department has reopened its investigation into the murder of black teenager. In 1955 Emmett Till from Chicago was visiting relatives in the southern state of Mississippi when he was abducted and killed. Janis McDonald from the Cold Case Initiative said the new investigation had great significance for the Civil Rights Movement.

"This is a guidepost for all the other people. There are hundreds of people who lost relatives and had never been accounted for. There has never been a full accounting of how many people killed during that era. We've turned over hundreds of cases to the FBI that they did not investigate. If they re-open an investigation that is so well-known as Emmett Till, then there are so many more. We need an accounting in the United States" [Professor Emerita Janis McDonald].

Our Washington correspondent reports on the details of the case. The US government not saying exactly what new evidence is has prompted it to reopen the 63-year-old murder case but it does followed the revelation that a white woman who accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of making sexual advances towards her hand ultimately lied under oath.

It was her accusation in 1955 that led her husband and friend of his to drag the young African-American from his bed in rural Mississippi and then to torture, beat, and shoot them before dumping his body in a river at his funeral. Emmett Till's mother insisted on an open casket so the world could see just how barbaric attack had been and how much it had disfigured him.

The two attackers were acquitted by an all-white jury but later admitted they had killed Emmett Till ...

Listen to the BBC World clip.

College of Law Welcomes Tillman Scholar Robin Evans to the Class of 2021

Monday 7/23/2018
Robin Evans

Robin Evans, a 2018 Tillman Scholar, will matriculate at the College of Law this fall with the Class of 2021. Evans, soon to retire as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army with 22 years of military experience, is the first Tillman Scholar at the College of Law.

“While stationed in the Washington, DC, area I met a Syracuse University graduate, Dr. Daryll Dykes ‘88, who spoke very highly of the University,” says Evans. “Once I examined the College, I found a great enthusiasm throughout the school and commitment to the veteran community.”

The first in her family to serve in the armed forces, Kansas-native Evans initially enlisted to repay her undergraduate student loans and planned to only serve a few years. She went onto serve as a logistician, providing fuel, food, ammunition, and maintenance support to soldiers for 22 years, through 14 relocations and multiple deployments and leadership roles.

Inspired by the adoption of her son from Ethiopia, Evans has become a passionate advocate for both domestic and international adoption reform. Evans plans to use her degree to start a nonprofit that will ensure comprehensive pre-adoption education, post-adoption support, and the necessary training for those who serve children and families to better understand the adoption and foster care experiences.

“I hope to use my voice and law degree to advocate for families, improving the adoption and foster care experience,” says Evans.

About the Pat Tillman Scholarships

In 2002, Pat Tillman was a starting safety for the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals. He put his football career on hold to serve his country and died in April 2004 while serving with the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Following his death, family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation, which invests in military veterans and their spouses through scholarship and programmatic support, and is dedicated to building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.

Founded in 2008, the program supports active-duty service members, veterans and their spouses with academic scholarships, a national network, and professional development opportunities, so they are empowered to make an impact at home and around the world. The scholarship program covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books and living expenses, for scholars who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degrees as a full-time student at a public or private, U.S.-based accredited institution. The selection process for the Tillman Scholars program is highly competitive.

Each year, the foundation collaborates with 15 University Partners to identify and select qualified applicants on their campuses for the Tillman Scholar screening process. Now in its second year as a University partner, Syracuse University was selected for its innovative veteran services, a strong culture of support for military veterans and spouses and its rigorous academic programs.

Keith Bybee Explores Political Civility on CBS Sunday Morning

Monday 7/23/2018
Keith Bybee

Will Politics Be the Death of Civility?

(CBS Sunday Morning | July 22, 2018) Just how rude has today's life become? And just how much is the tone of our politics to blame? Our Cover Story is reported by Martha Teichner:

Does it sometimes feel as if our politics has us all backed into our ideological corners? Does it seem as if insults and name-calling have taken the place of civil dialogue – that incivility has gone viral?

Whether it's coming from the President of the United States or somebody in a restaurant, you may be disturbed by it all. But should you be alarmed?

Even that's a touchy subject ...

... Keith Bybee, a professor at the Syracuse University College of Law and author of "How Civility Works" (Stanford University Press), says what we are seeing now is a revolution in manners. "But maybe a better way to describe it is a gerrymandering of the boundaries of polite society," he said.

"Any period of American history where there's been intense political conflict, you can find severe breaches of etiquette."

If you think it's bad today, consider the incident in 1856, when pro-slavery South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks went into the Senate and beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, an ardent abolitionist, with his cane, nearly killing him.

Now, consider the civil rights movement more than a century later.

"The civil rights movement, in a fundamental way, led to the revision of our understanding of what constitutes appropriate behavior and the baseline of respect," said Bybee.

The peaceful protests, often met with violent push-back, upended notions of civility and incivility as a means to an end … as good or bad ...

Watch the full segment.

BBI's Peter Blanck and Larry Logue Pen "PTSD and Suicide" OpEd for Stars and Stripes

Friday 7/20/2018
Burton Blatt Institute

Vets, PTSD and Suicide: An Age-Old Problem?

By Larry M. Logue and Peter Blanck

(Stars and Stripes | July 20, 2018) July observances are more about patriotism and independence than soldiering, but the two are never far apart. This past Independence Day, you may have seen the two concepts dovetail on yard signs notifying revelers that “A COMBAT VETERAN LIVES HERE — PLEASE BE COURTEOUS WITH FIREWORKS.” These signs have engendered a lively debate about veterans’ mental health and the public’s proper response, but what is less debatable (and what is assumed by the signs) is that veterans are a class apart. They are men and women whose exploits are at once admirable and unfathomable, especially when it comes to the psychological wounds of war.

Scholars have done their best to demystify soldiers’ and veterans’ experience, but they have found psychological traumas especially intractable. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is among the “signature casualties” of conflicts from the Vietnam War onward. However, the condition’s relationship to earlier conflicts and warfare in general is less clear. Is PTSD a genuine product of today’s extraordinarily lethal technology, or is it a new name for an age-old response to the horrors of combat?

Both sides in this dispute have marshaled evidence. Advocates of PTSD’s timelessness point to the occurrence of its symptoms — flashbacks, irritable behavior, depression, and the like — as far back as the Civil War. Their critics point to the specificity with which those who coined PTSD invoked the Vietnam War, and to warnings against “retroactive diagnosis.”

Our recent book investigates assertions about the Civil War’s psychological damage. Our principal source is military and pension records for approximately 72,000 Union army soldiers, digitized by the Center for Population Economics at the University of Chicago. When they examined applicants for federal pensions, physicians reported signs of mental illness (mania, dementia, hysteria and the like) in approximately 5 percent of white veterans. This incidence is close to the proportion of 21st-century veterans who develop PTSD, but the similarity masks the perils of comparison across centuries. While the Union army diagnoses were recorded by physicians, the 21st-century occurrence of PTSD comes primarily from self-reports. The earlier information also reflects the prejudices of physicians who ignored most instances of mental illness in black veterans...

Read the whole post.

Nanoelectromechanics to Polyfluoroalkyls: Not Your Typical Summer Job at the Innovation Law Center

Wednesday 7/18/2018
(Clockwise from left) Collaborating in the ILC are rising 3L Amanda Wang and rising 2Ls Kristian Stefanides and Christina Brule.

Dineen Hall incorporates many natural light-filled spaces throughout its design, places where faculty and students can sit together and collaborate, and that is certainly true for the Innovation Law Center's (ILC) suite in the southeast corner of the College of Law’s third floor. This is where a team of six students—supervised by adjunct professors—has been working diligently throughout the summer on IP, patent, and market landscape projects for the Law Center's numerous emerging technology clients.

In fact, over the summer months the students—Senior Research Associates 3Ls Cody Andrushko, Parker Mincy, Amanda Wang, and Xiaotong Wang, and Research Associates 2Ls Christina Brule and Kristian Stefanides—have been assisting more than 20 start-ups. Referred to the Law Center via relationships with GENIUS NY, NEXUS-NY, the CNY Biotech Accelerator, and other statewide research centers and innovation economy partners, these clients are seeking help commercializing inventions that range from eye-tracking technology and weather drones to anti-microbial coatings and a carboxylate fermentation process. 

In addition to assisting these clients, the students also have presented on IP protection for computer applications to the Syracuse-based StartFast Venture Accelerator and have updated guidebooks on FDA regulations and computer apps for Empire State Development's Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR). 

Normally, the summer ILC projects are tackled by rising third-year students, so the rising 2Ls Brule and Stefanides are somewhat unusual recruits, explains ILC Associate Director Molly Zimmermann. “We had a number of openings this year and found room for two first-year applicants who had already impressive résumés,” says Zimmermann. “The advantage for these two students is that they will go into the ILC Research Center course in the fall with good experience in the process of helping clients, and they will be able to guide their peers.” 

On a hot Friday morning in July, Brule and Stefanides were joined by rising third-year law student Amanda Wang around one of the conference tables in the sunny Law Center suite. Working as a kind of study group, the students were in the midst of researching and writing reports for ILC clients with various technology commercialization challenges. 

One of Brule's clients, for instance, is water remediation company RemWell. This company was referred to ILC via clean energy accelerator NEXUS-NY. RemWell's new technology addresses drinking water contaminated with an emerging class of chemical contaminants, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. “RemWell proposes groundwater remediation using a specialized reactor that can destroy harmful chemicals,” explains Brule, who is writing a patent landscape for the company, as well as a technical language section that has emerged from her own understanding of the technology. “The technical language section will help these highly specialized engineers explain their concept to other audiences using less technical terms,” notes Brule. 

As Brule immerses herself in the green and clean economy, for one of her clients Stefanides is mastering a relatively new market that combines real estate, interior design, and furniture making. “My client—called essem|BLÉ—is exploring a line of lightweight furniture for the real estate market,” says Stefanides, who is preparing essem|BLÉ’s IP and market landscape report. Stefanides explains that her client “stages” (in other words, decorates and customizes) homes so that prospective buyers to get a feel for a room, whether visiting in person or viewing the property online. “Currently, my client requires a warehouse full of furniture in order to stage homes, but her lightweight furniture idea means her job could be done more effectively and easily.” 

While Stefanides gets to grips with the real estate and interior design industries, across the conference table Amanda Wang is becoming something of an expert in mechanical engineering, having worked with numerous inventors in this field. Wang is currently working with Xallent, a company in the extremely specialized area of nanoelectromechnical characterization, measurement, and probing. “Xallent is a repeat customer,” explains Wang. “They liked the job we did with a previous project so much, they asked ILC to work with them again. Their new technology uses ‘nano-probes’ to image or test the hardness of compounds at an atomic scale.” Wang says that the company has been researching this technology for more than a decade and has a lot invested in it, “so I'm performing a comprehensive IP landscape, as well as researching other competitors in this niche market.” 

All three students agree that this summer work experience is not just leveraging what they have learned in the classroom, it's synthesizing their book knowledge—and even their undergraduate experiences and specialties—into highly marketable curricula vitae, for when it's their turn to enter the job market. 

Observes Stefanides, “Working at the Law Center gives you the ability to use what you have learned through the College of Law's technology commercialization curriculum, including IP law, business law, and even writing skills. It helps you develop a very large skill set to utilize not only in law school but also after graduation.” 

Brown, Gallacher Present at LWI Biennial Conference

Monday 7/16/2018
Emily Brown L'09 and Ian Gallacher present at LWI Conference.
Professors Ian Gallacher and Emily Brown L'09 recently spoke at the Legal Writing Institute's  Biennial Conference, which took place at Marquette University Law School in Wisconsin from July 11-14, 2018. 

During a Scholarly Research/Work in Progress section, Brown spoke about the interdisciplinary "Climate Comments" project, which she directs. This website, developed by law students and undergraduate communications majors and funded by an SU Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability Committee grant, helps to make complex environmental laws and regulations accessible to a general audience.

The Shakespeare-inspired title of Gallacher's workshop address echoes Hamlet's seemingly facile reply to Polonius when asked about his reading choice: "Words, Words, Words". In the workshop description, Gallacher explained that his presentation examines the role words play in the law: "I'll propose the idea that words have no meaning, and suggest that this might prove a problem for legal textualists. Paradoxically, or not, I'll use words to do this."

At the conference, Gallacher was presented with an award in recognition of his 10 years of service with the Journal of the the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

Professor Helfman Hosts DCEx Seminar at DOJ

Friday 7/13/2018
Professor Helfman speaking to DCEx participants.

The Summer 2018 DCEx participants met with Professor Tara Helfman at the US Department of Justice on Tuesday, July 10. Professor Helfman currently serves as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Professor Helfman welcomed the participating students to an educational experience in the Civil Rights Division’s historic conference room (the former office of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover). There, students learned about the Division’s role and duty in upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly through the enforcement of federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin. Students also learned about the various career options available to them in the private, public, and academic sectors. 

Afterward, students went on a guided tour of the Department of Justice, indulging in the history and significance of artworks and sculptures throughout the building. Highlights included the Office of the Solicitor General, the Office of the Attorney General, the DOJ’s Main Library, the courtyard, and the Great Hall.

In Their New Book, Larry Logue & Peter Blanck Analyze Military Veterans’ Psychological Wounds Through a Civil War Lens

Friday 7/13/2018
Heavy Laden

The psychological after-effects of war are not just a modern-day plight. For instance, following the US Civil War, numerous soldiers returned with damaged bodies and damaged minds, but compassion was often lacking in their treatment. Published at a time when American public consciousness is recognizing more than ever the psychological wounds of war, and the veterans' health crises of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and self-harm, Heavy Laden: Union Veterans, Psychological Illness, and Suicide (Cambridge University Press, 2018) is a look at the “hidden wounds” that remained open in the aftermath of the war between the states.

Drawing on archival materials—including digitized records for more than 70,000 white and African-American Union Army recruits, newspaper reports, death registers, and census returns—Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University (BBI) scholars Larry M. Logue, BBI Senior Fellow, and Peter Blanck, University Professor and BBI Chairman, uncover the diversity and severity of Civil War veterans' psychological distress. 

A compelling book that brings to light the continued sacrifices of men who went to war, its findings about the recognition of PTSD, veterans' treatment programs, and suicide rates will inform current studies on how to effectively cope with this enduring disability in former soldiers.

In the book's Foreword, psychiatrist Elyn Saks, author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, explains, “Logue and Blanck offer groundbreaking analyses and insights of how veterans across the spectrum of humanity perceived and coped with warfare’s consequences. The authors brilliantly open up new historical vistas, reminding me of the promise by which I closed The Center Cannot Hold, ‘The humanity we all share is more important than the mental illness we may not.’”

Jay Winter, editor of The Cambridge History of the First World War, writes, “The hidden injuries of war are by no means an invention of the last hundred years. Veterans of the American Civil War carried the often silent and unacknowledged traces of combat with them, in body and soul, for the rest of their lives. Logue and Blanck merit our gratitude for having brought the American soldiers of 1861–1865—Northerners and Southerners, black and white—into the growing body of literature on the war-related mortality and morbidity of soldiers who return from war.”

“Suicide amongst veterans is an enigma. It is shocking, deeply disturbing, and tragic in nature, with the potential of damning the impact of war,” observes Eric T. Dean Jr., author of Shook Over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War. “Logue and Blanck recognize the subtleties of the subject and deliver a nuanced consideration of the plight of Civil War veterans, centering on the topic of suicide. A must-read for those concerned about the impact of this or any war.”

Paula Johnson Speaks to the AP as Emmett Till Case Is Re-Opened

Thursday 7/12/2018
Paula Johnson

Government Reopens Probe of 1955 Emmett Till Slaying

(AP | July 12, 2108) The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till, the black teenager whose brutal killing in Mississippi shocked the world and helped inspire the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.

The Justice Department told Congress in a report in March it is reinvestigating Till's slaying in Money, Mississippi, in 1955 after receiving "new information." The case was closed in 2007 with authorities saying the suspects were dead; a state grand jury didn't file any new charges.

Deborah Watts, a cousin of Till, said she was unaware the case had been reopened until contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The federal report, sent annually to lawmakers under a law that bears Till's name, does not indicate what the new information might be.

But it was issued in late March following the publication last year of "The Blood of Emmett Till," a book that says a key figure in the case acknowledged lying about events preceding the slaying of the 14-year-old youth from Chicago.

The book, by Timothy B. Tyson, quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as acknowledging during a 2008 interview that she wasn't truthful when she testified that Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a store in 1955.

Two white men -- Donham's then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam -- were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of Till, who had been staying with relatives in northern Mississippi at the time. The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview, but weren't retried. Both are now dead.

Donham, who turns 84 this month, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. A man who came to the door at her residence declined to comment about the FBI reopening the investigation.

"We don't want to talk to you," the man said before going back inside.

Paula Johnson, co-director of an academic group that reviews unsolved civil rights slayings, said she can't think of anything other than Tyson's book that could have prompted the Justice Department to reopen the Till investigation.

"We're happy to have that be the case so that ultimately or finally someone can be held responsible for his murder," said Johnson, who leads the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University ...

Read the whole article.

"A Slow Check & Balance": Newsweek Speaks to William C. Snyder About SCOTUS & Presidential Power

Wednesday 7/11/2018
William C. Snyder

BRETT KAVANAUGH HAS POWER TO STRENGTHEN DONALD TRUMP, BUT SUPREME COURT HAS BOOSTED PRESIDENTS FOR DECADES

(Newsweek | July 20, 2018) Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s opposition to a sitting president potentially facing an indictment, as well as the court’s lengthy history in bending the Constitution to favor a president’s powers, could raise as much concern among opponents of President Donald Trump's nominee as his potential threat to abortion rights.

For a president who has openly flaunted what he believes is the power to pardon himself, Trump may have taken into account Kavanaugh's views on executive power and how much power the U.S. Constitution places in the president.

The nominee's belief in presidential power may even extend to criminal prosecutions. Kavanaugh, who Monday said would "keep an open mind in every case," distinctly laid out his view over whether a sitting president should face criminal charges while in office in 2009 for the Minnesota Law Review. He based the interpretation on his experience with George W. Bush’s administration ...

... Many of these decisions by the court would suggest the judiciary often bows to the executive branch, but William C. Snyder, Teaching Professor at Syracuse Law School and expert on federal courts, disagreed.

“Our federal courts are reactive. They only respond to actual cases and controversies. So, they seem to be a slow check and balance in a world that moves fast. But, the Supreme Court does come around,” Snyder told Newsweek in an email.

But as Snyder noted, the court is “retroactive” and thus reactionary. And that leaves it beholden to the actions taken by a president, one who Snyder admits could have ulterior motives.

“Yes, it may well be that this president is more concerned with finding a justice who will uphold executive power in general than with finding one whose position on a particular policy or right matches his own,” Snyder said. “[T]his president is known to shift his own positions, so a justice who would uphold executive power, in general, would be more useful to him.”

Read the whole article.

CCJI to Assist With Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit filed by the Family of Native American Rexdale Henry who Died in Custody in Neshoba County Jail

Tuesday 7/10/2018

On Friday, July 6, 2018, the family of Rexdale Henry filed a lawsuit alleging constitutional claims and violations of federal civil rights that resulted in Mr. Henry’s death while in custody at the Neshoba County Detention Center in July 2015. 

53-year-old Mr. Henry was a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and was arrested on July 9, 2015, on warrants for minor traffic fines. Five days later, on July 14, 2015, he was found dead in his cell.  Mr. Henry developed serious alcohol withdrawal disease after he was held in jail without being treated for obvious symptoms. Left untreated, he suffered and was in severe pain and disoriented from these effects.  

“We never thought that Rexdale received just treatment,” says Lonie Henry, Rexdale Henry’s widow. “Not in jail and not in the criminal court system. They put Rexdale at risk and did not help him when his life was in danger. We are thankful that attorneys, advocates, and civil rights leaders are fighting for justice on our behalf.”

“Neshoba County jailers’ treatment of Henry defied basic humanity,” says Janis McDonald, Professor Emeritus of Syracuse University College of Law. “Despite his pleas for medical attention, jail officials ignored his requests and instead treated him with callous disregard, including physical and mental abuse, and also allowed other inmates to abuse him while he was under the complete care and custody of the jail.” 

Paula Johnson of the Cold Case Justice Initiative adds, “The jailers’ response to Mr. Henry’s medical condition to was simply ‘throw him into the detox tank,’ rather than obtain necessary medical personnel to provide treatment for him. Even more egregious, they were aware that it directly violated a consent decree previously ordered by Judge Thomas Lee, of the Southern District of Mississippi, for identical practices in 1994-1997.”

Last year the state charged Mr. Henry’s cellmate, Justyn Schlegel, with his death.  Schlegel subsequently was convicted of criminal homicide, which he has appealed. The family’s lawsuit will prove that State authorities remain ultimately responsible for Henry’s death.

Other defendants in the suit include members of the Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Tommy Waddell, Investigator Ralph Sciple, Jimmy Reed, Administrator of the Neshoba County Detention Center, Stephen Collins, Neshoba County Coroner, and several others. The authorities and other defendants’ abusive actions, lack of proper medical care, and failure to protect Henry constitute the basis of the family’s claims of violations. Violations include 42 U.S.C. §§1983, 1985, 1986, and 1988, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

Handling this case for the family is Natchez, Mississippi Attorney Paul Sullivan, a veteran personal injury attorney, who filed the lawsuit on Friday, July 6, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Janis L. McDonald, Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University College of Law will join him as counsel.  McDonald and Professor Paula C. Johnson co-founded the Cold Case Justice Initiative (CCJI), at Syracuse University College of Law.

Sullivan is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law. He was a state prosecutor in Florida for two years, and 28 years representing people charged with various crimes.  An experienced criminal trial attorney, Sullivan has tried approximately two hundred jury trials, both as prosecutor and defense attorney, including first-degree murder, drug trafficking, sex crimes, and robbery. He has extensive experience representing people charged with DUI, including over 140 DUI jury trials and has a long history of representing people charged with crimes throughout Mississippi and Florida. 

“There is no excuse for the persistent inhumane and racially biased treatment against detainees of color in Neshoba County Jail,” says Sullivan.  “Officials must be held accountable for the heinous results of their cruel disregard for Rexdale Henry’s life and the loss that his family and community have suffered.” 

In July 2015, just after Rexdale Henry was discovered dead in his cell at the Neshoba County Justice Center, civil rights icon Diane Nash contacted the co-directors and requested help in obtaining answers and accountability for those responsible for his death.  McDonald, Johnson, and CCJI law students volunteered to assist the family to obtain the answers and justice they sought for Mr. Henry’s death.  This included helping to secure an independent autopsy on the cause of death and helping them find legal representation in Mississippi.  Nash and other civil rights activists have continued to seek justice for Rexdale Henry.   

Mr. Henry’s survivors include his wife Lonie Henry, mother Winnie Willis, daughter Patricia Mitch, sons Kinsey Henry, Sr. and Anselm Henry, brother Ronnie Henry, and 12 grandchildren. His mother, Winnie Willis, recently passed away. Rexdale Henry was a medicine man and a civil rights activist on Native American rights and other social justice issues. He also coached stickball and made traditional equipment for the sport.

“The Cold Case Justice Initiative will continue to assist the Henry family in their quest for justice. This is an important part of our racial justice mission,” says Johnson. 

“This lawsuit is an important step toward holding the authorities responsible for their inhumanity against Rexdale Henry,” McDonald emphasizes. “And by extension, bring attention to the plight of other detainees, the neglect of those with dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and those who are mostly poor people of color caught up in their vicious cycle of arrest, detention, and inhumane treatment.”