Podcast category: Legal News

ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

Freedom isn’t the end of the story for exonerees

When we hear about the wrongfully convicted, media coverage usually ends with the person being released from prison or reaching a large settlement with the state. But for the exonerated, life goes on–lives for which prison did not prepare them. Often they’re stymied by red tape which keeps them from finding employment or housing. The families they left behind may be almost unrecognizable to them. Technology which is commonplace now—such as cell phones—may have been completely absent when they went to prison.

Journalist Alison Flowers has made the post-prison lives of exonerees the topic of her new book, “Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence and Identity.” She profiled four Illinois exonerees in the book, following them for months and years as they adjusted, or failed to adjust, to life outside prison walls. In this episode of the Modern Law Library, she discusses with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles the experience of writing the book, the issues facing exonorees, and what efforts have been made to help the wrongfully convicted reconstruct lives for themselves.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: North Carolina Voter and Election Laws After Shelby

This time On the Road at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, host Joe Patrice speaks with North Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Paul Stam about the Post-Shelby Voter and Election Laws panel. Paul states that the panel talked mostly about the North Carolina voter reform resulting from the Shelby County v. Holder case. He explains that the North Carolina voter ID law is virtually identical to one that was approved in Texas a few days ago and wonders why the Department of Justice is taking two different positions in two different circuits. Paul recalls that when they attempted redistricting for Congress, while Section V was still in effect, a U.S. Supreme Court decision said that they had to do majority minority districts if they could. He juxtaposes this decision with the Department of Justice’s later disapproval of their redistricting as a result of a subsequent case to illustrate how difficult redistricting can be with laws changing every 2-3 years. Paul reveals that one of the most disappointing parts of the ruling for him was its reform of their early voting and that under this Fourth Circuit ruling they are going to have to go back to more voting days, but with shorter operating hours (thus making voting less convenient for all voters). He closes the interview with reflections on his decade of service in leadership and a brief discussion of what he has planned for the future.

Representative Paul Stam is currently serving his eighth (and last) term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He was first elected to that position in 1989 and again in 2003. He has served as the House Republican Leader (2007-2010), the House Majority Leader (2011-2012), and is the Speaker Pro Tem (2013-present).

Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law

Pokémon’s Evolving Legal Landscape

Joe and Elie chat with Drew Rossow of the law office of Gregory M. Gantt in Dayton, Ohio, and author of Gotta Catch… A Lawsuit? about the legal challenges surrounding Pokémon Go. It’s worth noting that technology moves fast, and since recording this episode, Niantic has released updates via Pokemon Go that have begun to address how both players and businesses can “opt out” and “opt into” the game, along with addressing some safety concerns with more interactive disclaimers.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: The Global Immigration Crisis

This time On the Road at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, host Joe Patrice speaks with Immigration Law Clinic Associate Director Holly Cooper and Human Rights First President and Chief Executive Elisa Massimino about their panel covering legal issues surrounding the world immigration crisis. Elisa shares that the panel was framed around the concept of a global refugee crisis, which is the largest the world has faced since World War II. She states that the current situation puts huge demands on countries like the United States to provide leadership and that it’s important for us to remember that the crisis itself is less about refugees and more about the failure of governments to live up to their obligations under international law and provide refugees the protection to which they’re entitled. Holly focuses on some of the overlooked issues of our domestic policy and mentions that many Americans are unaware that we’ve seen one of the largest surges of refugees on our borders as well, but from a mostly Central American demographic. She talks about how Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala currently have some of the highest homicide rates of anywhere in the world that isn’t a war zone and emphasizes that our lack of domestic response, stigmatization, and privatization of the detention arena has incentivized the economics of a refugee crisis here in our own country. Both guests discuss how xenophobia can cultivate a climate that promotes radicalization and they close the interview with their thoughts on the importance of facilitating trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.

Elisa Massimino is president and chief executive officer of Human Rights First. She joined as a staff attorney in 1991 and served as the organization’s Washington Director from 1997 to 2008. Previously, Massimino was a litigator in private practice at the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where she was pro bono counsel in many human rights cases. She holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University.

Holly Cooper is the associate director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California, Davis, School of Law. and is a nationally-recognized expert on immigration detention issues and on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Cooper is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, where she was on the Board of the King Hall Legal Foundation and an active member of the National Lawyers Guild. She received her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. As an undergraduate, she also studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Padua in Italy. She speaks, reads, and writes in both Spanish and Italian.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: Law School and Writing Legal Dramas for Television

This time On the Road at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, host Sandy Gallant-Jones speaks with former federal prosecutor, producer, and author Jonathan Shapiro about his work writing legal dramas for television. Jonathan gives a brief synopsis of his legal background as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and talks about the path that led him to become of counsel at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. He reminisces about his early career, meeting his wife, Betsy Borns, and selling his first script to writer and producer David E. Kelley. The work of writers, he says, is to use their experience to create new material, and he discusses how this relates to his new book, “Deadly Force,” and his current show, “Goliath.” Jonathan closes the interview with an analysis of the high numbers of alcohol abuse among attorneys and his suggestions on how law schools can better teach students to form cogent persuasive arguments and revitalize the nobility and idealism of the legal profession.

Jonathan Shapiro has spent the last 16 years writing and producing some of television’s most iconic shows, including “The Blacklist,” “The Practice,” “Life” and “Boston Legal.” He has won an Emmy, Peabody, and Humanitas Award and also authored “Liars, Lawyers, and the Art of Storytelling” (ABA Publishing) and the novel “Deadly Force” (Ankerwycke Press). Prior to writing for television, Jonathan spent a decade as a federal prosecutor and as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School and the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. He is a member and the former chairman of the California Commission on Government Economy and Efficiency, as well as the founder and director of the Public Counsel Emergency for Torture Victims. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oriel College, and received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: The Militarization of Law Enforcement

After the last year, many if not all Americans are focused on the relationship between law enforcement officials and the public, particularly in communities of color. A panel at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting addressed the increasing militarization of law enforcement and considered forward-thinking proposals to address the problem. This time On The Road, Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti and ABA Law Student Division Chair Kareem Aref sit down with the panelists to further dive into this controversial issue. Rashidah Grinage from the Coalition of Police Accountability, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, former sheriff Dub Lawrence, and ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice Vice Chair Cathleen Yonahara discuss congressional involvement in local police departments’ access to military equipment and why they must legally use it (or lose it). They question police force training and suggest a bigger focus on de-escalation of life-threatening situations. Dub Lawrence then goes on to talk about changes in his 50 years of experience with law enforcement and the documentary made about the death of his son-in-law. The guests finish the interview by discussing the importance of discourse and Congress’ reform in reducing the problem of increased police militarization and public mistrust.

Kareem Aref is a law student at the University of California, Davis – School of Law. He is also chair of the American Bar Association Law Student Division.

Rashidah Grinage lives in Oakland, California, and is coordinator for the Coalition of Police Accountability. Previously, she was the director of PUEBLO: People United for a Better Life in Oakland. Rashidah has worked on police accountability since the mid 1990s.

Dub Lawrence is the former sheriff for Davis County, Utah. He founded the first SWAT team in Davis County in 1975 and has observed the things that have occurred in law enforcement since then from a civilian perspective, an elected official perspective, as a county sheriff, and as a law enforcement officer. In 2015, a documentary was released about the death of his son-in-law and other shootings related to an increase in violent SWAT team raids.

Jeff Adachi is the elected public defender of San Francisco, a pension reform advocate, and a former candidate for Mayor of San Francisco. As the only elected public defender in the state of California, Mr. Adachi oversees an office of 93 lawyers and 60 support staff who represent over 23,000 people each year charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses.

Cathleen Yonahara is an employment partner at Freeland Cooper & Foreman. She is also vice chair of the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the civil rights and equal opportunity committee of the ABA which sponsored this panel.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: America Votes

As this is an election year, many people (including lawyers) are paying closer attention to election and voting rights. So what’s trending in election law and what could these developments mean for the upcoming American election? In this On the Road report recorded at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, Joe Patrice interviews C. Robert Heath and Ben Griffith, contributing authors to the book “America Votes! A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights.” They begin by talking about Evenwel vs. Abbott, a case in which the Supreme Court allowed states to use total population, not those who can vote, when drawing legislative districts. They then address the state of voter identification cases and whether rigid voter ID laws have a significant impact on certain classes of people. Robert, Ben, and Joe finish by discussing political and racial gerrymandering, which is likely the root cause of the U.S. Congressional gridlock.

C. Robert Heath is an attorney with Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta where he practices complex governmental litigation and counseling, election law and voting rights, open government and ethics, and many other areas of law. Robert has written and presented extensively about the topic of electoral law.

Ben Griffith is the principal of Griffith Law Firm in Oxford, Missouri. He focuses his practice on federal and state civil litigation, with emphasis on voting rights and election law, civil rights, public sector insurance coverage, and environmental law.

On the Road

ABA Annual Meeting 2016: The Current State of the Supreme Court

This time On the Road at the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting, host Joe Patrice talks with Rachel Moran, Dean Emerita and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law, and Nicole Austin-Hillery, Director and Counsel of The Brennan Center’s Washington, D.C. office, about the current state of the Supreme Court. Rachel reviews the gap left by Justice Scalia’s passing and states that she’s not sure if there is a clear heir to his seat but there are several justices who are aligned with him philosophically and jurisprudentially. Nicole notes that there seems to be a “lightness” to the current court without Scalia and that the justices appear to now share more of the decision making and influence in terms of the cases. The persistence of this climate, Nicole continues, really depends on who fills the vacant seat since the justices’ personalities have a huge bearing on the Court’s tenor and operation. Both guests contemplate Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s presumptive confirmation to the Supreme Court and the potential larger implications of Justice Sotomayor’s written dissent in the Utah v. Strieff case. They close the interview with a discussion of Justice Kennedy’s recent, uncharacteristic vote on affirmative action and upcoming court cases that attorneys should be on the lookout for.

Rachel F. Moran is Dean Emerita and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She received her A.B. in psychology with honors and with distinction from Stanford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. Following law school, she clerked for Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and worked for the San Francisco firm of Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe. Prior to her appointment at UCLA, Professor Moran was the Robert D. and Leslie-Kay Raven Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law.

Nicole Austin-Hillery is the first director and counsel of The Brennan Center’s Washington, D.C. office and serves as the organization’s chief liaison to Congress and the Administration. She practiced with the law firm of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC as part of the firm’s civil rights employment class action practice and as the George N. Lindsay Civil Rights Law Fellow at the national office of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. Nicole is a graduate of the Howard University School of Law and Carnegie Mellon University.

Lawyer 2 Lawyer

The Legal Issues Surrounding Pokémon Go

The Pokémon Go App developed by Niantic is the latest craze sweeping the world. The location-based augmented reality mobile game/app produced 15 million downloads in just the first week. The game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world.

Unfortunately, this popular app has caused some trouble amongst gamers and has created a big threat to public safety. Trespassing on property, muggings, driving distracted, walking into traffic, and falling from cliffs are just some of the incidents stemming from the use of this app. In addition, businesses are attracting customers by adding fantasy characters to their stores, so the implications for liability have increased.

On Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosts J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi join professor Adam Thimmesch, an assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska College of Law and attorney Brian Wassom from the firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP as they discuss the Pokémon Go App. They look at the very real legal implications surrounding this popular app, incorporating reality into a fantasy world, and whether Pokémon Go is here to stay or simply a passing fad.

Professor Adam Thimmesch is an assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Adam focuses his research on the impact of modern technology and markets on existing legal doctrines, with a particular emphasis on tax policy and the regulation of interstate commerce

Attorney Brian Wassom is from the firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Brian is the leader of the firm’s social, mobile and emerging media industry group and is a litigator with 15 years of experience focusing his practice on intellectual property matters related to copyright, trademark, trade dress, and publicity rights. He also handles many other types of complex commercial litigation cases, including invasion of privacy, defamation, false and deceptive advertising, data security, and product liability issues.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law

Law Firm Salary Extravaganza

Law firms all across the country fell all over themselves last month to hike associate salaries. Elie and Joe chat with Professor Bill Henderson of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, an expert in legal industry economics, to discuss what just happened and where the industry goes from here. Spoiler: he’s not sure everyone should have given out those raises…

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