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 court 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.
OJ Simpson’s parole hearing provides another opportunity to consider race in the criminal justice system.
By Nikita Srivastava
Former football player and Hollywood star, OJ Simpson will have a parole hearing on Thursday, July 20th, 2017. In December 2008, Simpson was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison with the possibility of parole in 6 years. This, of course, was not Simpson’s first encounter with the law. In 1994, a jury acquitted Simpson of the murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ronald Goldman. His high profile case sparked a division on race relations in this nation.
Simpson’s parole hearing will occur when race remains a highly contested and hotly debated topic in this nation. As a result, it’s fitting to examine Joe’s Feagin concept of the white racial frame (WRF) helps us understand why Simpson and his legal issues embody issues of race. And, to watch the Oscar-winning documentary, OJ: Made in America, which brings these complicated issues to life. Continue reading “OJ Simpson Revisited”
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 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.
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.
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.
In 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”
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.
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”