Podcast category: Legal News

ABA Law Student Podcast

Pairing Legal Activism with Restorative Justice

Even though research shows that African American males are no more likely to use or sell drugs than Caucasian males, in at least 15 states they are admitted to prison on drug charges at rates 20 to 57 times higher. Some law students are drawn to pursue legal careers with the goal of bringing positive change to these and other statistics and to impact the criminal justice system on a neighborhood level. What can law students do to learn more about what restorative justice means and help to build a better criminal justice system professionally?

In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast host Fabiani Duarte invites guest host Amanda Joy Washington to sit down with organizer, law student, and activist Ruby-Beth Buitekant to discuss restorative justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. Ruby-Beth opens by sharing some of her early work experience with the Center for Court Innovation, through the Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets program, and discusses the transformative effects the program has had on her Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood. She then explores the concept that humans should be free of state and interpersonal violence, an approach that is the basis for a lot of her work. The group then analyzes the use of disruption as a tactic in activism and ponder the statement “All Lives Matter” that has arisen in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ruby-Beth then wraps up the discussion with some information on how law students can get more involved in, and learn more about, restorative justice.

Ruby-Beth Buitekant is a law student, organizer, and activist attending City University School of Law in New York City. Buitekant bases her work on the radical idea that humans should be free from state and interpersonal violence. This summer she will be working with the Center For Constitutional Rights as part of their Ella Baker Summer Internship Program.

ABA Law Student Podcast

Ending Mass Incarceration Through Restorative Justice

A big motivator for some individuals to attend law school is the ability to positively influence the communities from which they come. However, what assistance can a lawyer provide for their neighborhood if they feel the community is being unfairly targeted by law enforcement? How can members of the profession have a positive effect on incarceration rates through the application of restorative justice techniques?

In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast, host Fabiani Duarte, along with guest host Andrew Scott and guest attorney Sarah Walton, take a look at mass incarceration in our criminal justice system and how restorative justice concepts could be applied. Sarah begins the interview by explaining her self-proclaimed moniker as a “free range attorney and abolitionist” and gives some insights into what those labels mean to her. She then talks about her work to help reduce the number of incarcerations through programs like pre-arrest diversion and some restorative justice tactics that law enforcement can implement to ensure the safety of all parties involved. The group then takes a moment to reflect on the disparate effects that The War on Drugs has had on low income communities and how new harm-reductive approaches to drug policing can improve public safety. Sarah then wraps up the discussion with an analysis of the stigma citizens returning from incarceration face in their communities and the things that law students can do, like attending court proceedings, to support members of their communities.

Sarah Walton, Esq. is a 1989 graduate of the New York University School of Law. She graduated from Earlham College in 1981 with an interdisciplinary major in human development and social relations. She is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maine and is co-author of Maine Law Enforcement Officer’s Manual. For ten years, she was professor of criminal justice and justice studies at the University of Maine at Augusta. Since September 2012 she has resided in Georgia where she assists individuals, community groups, and governmental agencies in working to increase public trust in the criminal justice system and to enhance the safety of everyone in the community, including law enforcement officers. She is Director of Policy and Community Outreach for the Parental Empowerment Institute, where she is working to bring a pre-booking diversion program to DeKalb County in metro Atlanta.

ABA Law Student Podcast

Applying Restorative Justice Concepts to Capital Cases

When it comes to a capital case, prosecuting or defending an individual whose life rests on the verdict can be a personal struggle. How does a lawyer cope with the loss of a client and what restorative justice options can they seek in lieu of the death penalty?

In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast, host Fabiani Duarte and guest host Linsey Addington speak with Professor Sarah Gerwig Moore and Dr. Melissa Browning about the death penalty and ways restorative justice concepts can be used in capital cases. Sarah and Melissa begin by listing a few concepts and common misconceptions, such as the cost to the taxpayer for executing an inmate, that they believe should be considered when approaching the death penalty debate. Dr. Browning then goes into detail about how she learned about the Kelly Gissendaner case and what inspired her to get involved in seeking parole for Gissendaner. Professor Moore also gives some insight into her experience of being lead counsel seeking clemency for a death row inmate named Josh Bishop and explains the type of relationships lawyers can develop with these clients. The group then considers processes within the criminal justice system where restorative justice concepts can be applied and how these concepts, like seeking life without the possibility of parole, can reduce death row executions and promote communal well being.

Professor Sarah Gerwig-Moore‘s teaching and scholarship interests center around constitutional criminal law, appellate and post-conviction practice and procedure, and experiential public service learning. Since joining the Mercer faculty in 2006, she has created and now teaches the Habeas Project, the only pro bono effort in Georgia to offer representation in non-capital post-conviction cases. She received her BA, summa cum laude, from Mercer University, her Master of Theological Studies from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and her JD from Emory University School of Law.

Dr. Melissa Browning is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Contextual Ministry at Mercer University. Dr. Browning is a community-based participatory action researcher and Christian ethicist. Browning’s recent academic work has focused on ethnographic research in East Africa. Browning is also an anti-death penalty activist and the organizer of the Kelly on My Mind Collective. Dr. Browning received her Ph.D. in Christian Ethics from Loyola University Chicago (2011). She also holds an M.Div. in Global Missions from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University (2002) and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Gardner-Webb University (1999).

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Orlando Shooting and Gun Laws

On June 12, 2016, tragedy struck at Pulse, a popular nightclub within the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida, after a gunman, Omar Mateen fatally shot 49 people and injured 53. This tragedy is one of  the deadliest mass shootings in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11. In a Father’s Day address, President Obama said gun violence was “preventable” and too common. “It’s unconscionable that we allow easy access to weapons of war in these places,”  he said.  And just yesterday, a divided Senate voted down 4 gun control measures.

So what needs to change when it comes to gun laws, all while protecting the Second Amendment? And can bipartisan gun legislation curb gun violence and prevent future mass shootings?

In this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosts J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi join attorney Steven W. Dulan, first vice chair of the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners and Arkadi Gerney, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, as they take a look at gun laws and the tragedy in Orlando. They will talk reaction, the gun control debate, the Second Amendment, Florida gun laws and potential legislation.

Attorney Steven W. Dulan is first vice chair of the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners. MCRGO is the largest state-based firearms advocacy organization in America and its mission is to promote safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation. Steve has appeared on various media outlets to discuss gun ownership, including CNN (with Christiane Amanpour and Piers Morgan), FOX and Friends, NPR, and HuffPost Live.

Attorney Arkadi Gerney is senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he focuses on crime and gun policy. Arkadi previously worked as special advisor and first deputy criminal justice coordinator to former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he managed Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national coalition that Mayor Bloomberg co-chairs. During four and a half years in the New York City mayor’s office, Gerney oversaw the coalition’s growth to more than 600 mayors, led successful campaigns to influence federal legislation, partnered with Walmart to develop a landmark gun seller code of conduct, and led New York City’s undercover investigation of out-of-state gun shows.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

On the Road

2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: The Public Interest Law Division

In this Special Report, Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section incoming chair Sarah Sullivan talks with Legal Talk Network Executive Producer Laurence Colletti about her division, the joys of serving the public, and the challenges this type of law practice can bring. Sarah shares that her division is comprised mostly of legal aid practitioners who work for restricted or unrestricted legal aid programs, law professors, clinical professors, and managers of nonprofits. She also reveals that the kind of law that they practice consists mostly of housing law, family law, veteran work, disability work, nonprofit work, and that the common goal of serving the people unifies them all. Sarah provides insight into her work as a clinical professor at the Florida Coastal School of Law and presents a brief explanation of the services that her students provide through the experiential law firm run by the school. She closes the interview with a few reasons attorneys should join her division and some examples of the most rewarding cases she has experienced through her practice of law.

Sarah Sullivan is The Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section incoming chair. Professor Sullivan worked as a staff attorney from 1997-2001 and a senior staff Attorney with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. from 2005-July 2009. As a senior staff attorney, Professor Sullivan created a regional legal services project in Northeast Florida serving individuals with developmental disabilities. The project defends disabled individuals against denials, terminations or reductions of their essential services. In 2001, Professor Sullivan represented the South Carolina Department of Social Services in abuse and neglect cases before the Charleston County Family Court. While in Charleston, Professor Sullivan collaborated with the judiciary, pro bono lawyers, and social service agencies to create South Carolina’s first family recovery court for drug-dependent parents and their children. She currently leads the Disability and Public Benefits Clinic at Florida Coastal.

On the Road

2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Criminal Law Update

In this Special Report, host Laurence Colletti talks with criminal defense attorney Denis deVlaming about his Florida Criminal Law Update at the 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention. Denis discusses cases, such as Hurst v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama, that have had significant legislative impacts on the Florida criminal justice system. He also provides definitions for important verbiage, like aggravating factors, to help all law practitioners better understand the effects these subsequent rulings will have on practicing lawyers in Florida. Denis analyzes the impact that the recent changes to the death penalty in Florida will have on the inmates sentenced to death and the pro bono committee of lawyers that will be representing them. He closes the interview with his top tips for lawyers who have recently graduated or who are seeking to start their own law firms in Florida.

Denis deVlaming is a former Florida prosecutor turned board certified criminal defense attorney. He is also an adjunct professor at Stetson College of Law, teaching advanced criminal trial advocacy.

On the Road

2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Bankruptcy Update

In this Special Report, host Laurence Colletti sits down with attorney Barbara Leach to discuss her presentation for the Florida Law Update 2016 at the Annual Florida Bar Convention. Barbara gives a little background on her Orlando-based law practice and explains that her emphasis for the seminar is on updates to bankruptcy law. She reveals that bankruptcy cases are trending downward and lists credit card debt, medical debt, and overwhelming loan debt as major reasons for financial hardship. Barbara also discusses observations on trends toward the dischargeability of student loan debt. She also shared her 12 month reviews on bankruptcies during her seminar to highlight changes in exemptions, dischargeability, and general information that directly impacts lawyers both as bankruptcy practitioners and debtors. The interview closes with an analysis of recent foreclosure trends and some tips for non-lawyers who want to stay knowledgeable on bankruptcy legislations that might directly affect them.

Barbara J. Leach is the managing attorney of Barbara Leach Law, PL. She practices family law, consumer bankruptcy, and civil litigation, and concentrates on representing individuals and small businesses. Leach is active in her community as well as many professional associations, and was named a 2013 Leader in the Law by the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Tribal Law, Indian Child Welfare Act, and Custody

In a highly publicized custody case involving a 6-year-old girl, the use of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, a federal law that seeks to keep American Indian children with their American Indian families, has come into play.

The child was recently removed from her foster home after a lower court judge ruled that Lexi’s Choctaw Indian bloodline requires her to live with relatives in Utah.  According to court records, Lexi was moved to foster care four years ago due to her birth mother’s substance abuse problems, her birth father’s criminal history, and custody issues involving both birth parents and other children. Lexi’s foster parents, have since filed an appeal to the California High Court

In this episode of  Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosts J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi join attorney Lori Alvino McGill, partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz and Chrissi Nimmo, assistant attorney general for Cherokee Nation, who has represented the nation in tribal, state, and federal courts since 2008, as they take an inside look at this case, tribal law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and overall child custody cases.

Attorney Lori Alvino McGill is partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz. Lori’s practice focuses on all aspects of appellate strategy, including issue preservation, briefing, argument, and obtaining (and opposing) Supreme Court review. She has handled high-profile civil and criminal appeals involving a wide range of constitutional and statutory issues in state and federal appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Lori is presently representing the foster parents of Lexi and has appealed to the California’s highest court.

Chrissi Nimmo is assistant attorney general for Cherokee Nation and has represented the nation in tribal, state, and federal courts since 2008. Chrissi primarily focuses on the Indian Child Welfare Act and in-house counsel duties for the nation. She represented Cherokee Nation in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl before both the United States Supreme Court and the South Carolina Supreme Court and in Nielson v. Ketchum before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Chrissi also serves as the Adam Walsh Act Sex Offender Registration and Notification Compliance Office for Cherokee Nation.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

Overtime Rule Changes: Impact and Reaction

The Labor Department recently announced regulation changes pertaining to overtime pay for employees and their employers. Under these new rules, those who earn salaries of less than $47,476 a year will automatically qualify for overtime pay of time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours a week.

Once the new rules go into effect on December 1, 2016, they will impact 4.2 million workers in the United States.  So what does this mean for business owners and their employees?

In this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosts J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi join Jane Lauer Barker, a partner at the New York labor and employment firm Pitta & Giblin LLP and Thomas Wassel, a labor and employment partner with the New York firm Cullen and Dykman, as they take a look at these recent overtime rule changes and the impact, pros and cons, and reaction from business owners and the workforce.

Jane Lauer Barker is a partner at the New York labor and employment firm Pitta & Giblin LLP.  Jane concentrates in labor, employment, and employee benefits law and litigation and labor union representation.  Previously, Barker headed up New York State Attorney General’s Labor Bureau where she oversaw civil and criminal enforcement of state labor laws and handled appellate litigation.

Thomas Wassel is a labor and employment partner with the New York firm Cullen and Dykman. Tom has been advising employers on a wide range of labor and employment law matters since 1983.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

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