Friends of the Court: Cincinnati Law students contribute to SCOTUS ruling

By Guest Contributors Francesca Boland(’19), David Wovrosh (’19), and Prof. Janet Moore 

On June 19, 2017, Cincinnati Law students saw their work cited in a 5-4 majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court. The case, McWilliams v. Dunn, resolved a lower courtdcsxxa-xoaafsoq split over what the Constitution requires when prosecutors seek to impose the death penalty against defendants who have mental illness, but cannot afford to hire mental health experts to present an effective defense.

First-year students researched the issue during the spring semester for an amicus brief filed by the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD). The Court cited that brief in holding that Alabama courts violated a right that was clearly established in its 1985 decision, Ake v. Oklahoma.  Continue reading “Friends of the Court: Cincinnati Law students contribute to SCOTUS ruling”

From Catastrophe to Intervention, Support, and Love

Adam J. Foss shares his vision for prosecutors at the YWCA Racial Justice Breakfast.

In less than ten years, Adam J. Foss has demonstrated how one young lawyer can make a difference.  A cum laude graduate from Suffolk Law School in Boston in 2008, Foss became

a_foss-9_doespc
Adam J. Foss via http://www.newprofit.org

a prosecuting attorney who quickly realized just how much power he wielded.  Choosing solutions over a high conviction rate, Foss worked with criminal defendants to achieve justice, something he said never learned in law school.  Foss shares his insights on criminal justice at the YWCA Racial Justice Breakfast on Tuesday, March 21.  The Center will livestream his talk in room 118 at 8 a.m.pic1-5413200bc8a56

Foss has since left the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, to work full time at Prosecutor Integrity, which he co-founded with John Legend and his manager Ty Stiklorius.  This new organization seeks to broaden prosecutors’ perspectives by training them to see defendants as individuals not defined by their crimes and, in so doing, challenge a mindset that measures success in terms of convictions.  In his popular TED talk, Foss said that prosecutors can be the difference between catastrophe and intervention, support, or even love.

To see Foss’s talk at the College of Law, register here.  It’s free and breakfast will be provided.

 

 

Tyra’s Christmas

Governor Kasich should end Tyra Patterson’s 22-year wrongful incarceration.

For the twenty-second consecutive year, Tyra Patterson will spend Christmas in prison for crimes she didn’t commit.  It’s time for Governor Kasich to grant this woman clemency.

northeast-ohio-pre-release-center-cc30078da0b50e9aIn 1994, when she was 19, Tyra was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In the wee hours of a September morning, Tyra and her friend took a walk and wound up embroiled in a robbery that ended in the murder of 15-year-old Michelle Lai.  Tyra left before any gunfire; but police arrested and subjected her to abusive questioning.  By the end, they had a confession.  A false one.  Tyra wasn’t the only young woman who succumbed to the state’s will.  Holly Lai Holbrook, the victim’s sister, says police and prosecutors were intimidating and urged her to say what was necessary to put Tyra behind bars.

But the truth that Holly shared at the scene was that Tyra was a bystander.  That Tyra played no part in harassing, stealing, or shooting that took her sister.

Now, after living with the contradiction between what she said in court and what she told the police that night, Holly has come forward to recant her testimony, even going so far as writing a letter to Governor Kasich. Continue reading “Tyra’s Christmas”

We’ve Come A Long Way… But Not Far Enough

Some progress, but miles to go in eradicating domestic violence.

tiffanny-smithGuest Contributor: Tiffanny Smith, Litigation Attorney, Ohio Justice & Policy Center

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  We’ve all seen the newspaper articles, social media posts, and awareness events.  Is that enough?

More than 10 MILLION people suffer physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner each year in the U.S.  Continue reading “We’ve Come A Long Way… But Not Far Enough”

The Female Criminal Defense Attorney Flying Solo

The Bollywood Lawyer shares her perspective from the trenches.

Guest Contributor:  Seema Iye0a1a120r

These days everyone thinks it’s like Viola Davis a la “How to Get Away with Murder” – strutting into court in skin-tight sleeveless suits with a legal entourage of paralegals, investigators and interns.

Hardly.

The female criminal defense attorney’s life is nothing like that. Though I’m all in praise of network television paying homage to our life of solitude; a woman solo practitioner is a rarity.  Continue reading “The Female Criminal Defense Attorney Flying Solo”

Capital Punishment and Race: Join the Conversation

Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Rachel Lyon’s “Race to Execution” comes to Cincinnati Law on September 21.

I no longer ask, “Do these people who committed these crimes deserve the death penalty?” I ask, “Does society deserve to kill people, when they’re so unwilling to engage in an honest conversation about the impact of race?”

Bryan Stevenson’s blunt question is at the heart of the provocative documentary Race to Execution. Cincinnati Law’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice and the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati will screen the film and host a panel discussion including filmmaker Rachel Lyon on September 21, 2016. Continue reading “Capital Punishment and Race: Join the Conversation”