Archive for July, 2021

July 26, 2021

Roberts’s Article to be Excerpted in Fisher Evidence Casebook

Professor Anna Roberts has learned that Professor George Fisher will include an extract from her article Conviction by Prior Impeachment, 96 B.U. L. Rev. 1977 (2016), in the 2022 edition of his Evidence casebook. The abstract of the article is as follows:

Impeaching the testimony of criminal defendants through the use of their prior convictions is a practice that is triply flawed: (1) it relies on assumptions belied by data; (2) it has devastating impacts on individual trials; and (3) it contributes to many of the criminal justice system’s most urgent dysfunctions. Yet critiques of the practice are often paired with resignation. Abolition is thought too ambitious because this practice is widespread, long-standing, and beloved by prosecutors. Widespread does not mean universal, however, and a careful focus on the states that have abolished this practice reveals arguments that overcame prosecutorial resistance and that intervening developments have strengthened. It also reveals decades of courtroom experience, illustrating both the potential and weaknesses of existing bans on this form of impeachment. Examining and finding wanting the reasons for this practice’s ongoing existence, this Article proposes a model statute for states considering abolition.

Anna Roberts
Professor of Law
July 19, 2021

Salomone Presents at Conference Co-Hosted by Berkeley and University of Cape Town

Professor Rosemary Salomone recently participated in the workshop “Toward Transformative Equality: A Work in Progress” at the conference on Inequality in a Time of Global Crisis: What have we learned about effective & proportionate responses?, sponsored by the Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law and the University of Cape Town. Her presentation, “In Search of Transformative Justice: The South African Constitutional Court and the Right to Education in the Language of One’s Choice,” examined the intersectionality of race and language in post-apartheid South Africa in the context of three decisions on Afrikaans versus English instruction, the forward-looking shift in the Court’s perspective, and the implications for moving the country beyond the past and toward the Constitution’s promise of transformation and redress. Professor Salomone’s presentation was based on the chapter “Redress and Transformation” from her forthcoming book, The Rise of English: Global Politics and the Power of Language (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Rosemary Salomone
Kenneth Wang Professor of Law
July 16, 2021

Subotnik Quoted in The New Yorker Magazine

Professor Eva Subotnik was interviewed for an article published this week on The New Yorker magazine’s website. The article is entitled Who Owns Mike Disfarmer’s Photographs?, by Eren Orbey (July 13, 2021).

The article is about the legacy and legal questions surrounding the work of Mike Disfarmer, a small-town photographer in Arkansas who died in 1959, without a will, and found substantial fame only after death—in ways reminiscent of “nanny photographer” Vivian Maier.

Professor Subotnik is quoted toward the end of the article:

Last fall, much like Disfarmer’s family, more than a dozen of [Chicago janitor Henry] Darger’s relatives teamed up and retained a lawyer. Eva Subotnik, a law professor at St. John’s University who has written extensively on intellectual-property debates in photography, worries that such efforts may discourage future collectors from salvaging work that would otherwise never be seen. “It would obviously be a real shame if the next Vivian Maier is lost to history,” she said. “Likewise, it would be ironic if copyright law plays more of a role in burying great work than birthing it.”


Eva E. Subotnik
Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship
Faculty Director, St. John’s Intellectual Property Law Center (IPLC)

July 6, 2021

Boyle Presents at Dual Conferences

Professor Robin Boyle presented at the Association of Legal Writing Directors’ (virtual) biennial conference, which had the theme of Working on Our Core: Wellbeing, Equity, and Inclusion, held June 16th – 18th. Professor Boyle co-presented in the workshop Sharpen Your Pencils: Engagement, Inclusion and Scaffolding. Her co-presenters were Christine Coughlin and Sandy Patrick, who are also Professor Boyle’s co-authors of the workbook Becoming a Legal Writer. Professor Boyle also served on the Program Committee for the conference. 

More recently, on July 2nd, Professor Boyle presented at the International Cultic Studies (virtual) annual conference in a workshop entitled Legal Developments in the United States and Canada. Her co-presenters were Donald Netolitzky, Complex Litigant Management Counsel, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, and Lea Lavy, a Canadian doctrinal student. Professor Boyle focused her presentation on the legal case against Keith Raniere in the E.D.N.Y. (the NXIVM case) and the application of human trafficking laws to cults. She also discussed the developing issues of high-control groups in the context of seeking asylum in the U.S., the status of state child marriage laws, and theoretical models for cases of undue influence.  

Robin Boyle
Professor of Legal Writing

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