July 12, 2019

Boyle Presents at International Cultic Studies Association

Professor Robin Boyle presented at the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) on July 4, 2019 in Manchester, England. Her topic was ‘Legal Developments in the USA: Combatting the Surreal- Human Trafficking, Child Marriages, and Predatory Alienation.’ The conference was jointly organized by ICSA; Psychology of Coercive Control Masters Program, the Connected Lives Diverse Realities Research Group, and Criminal Justice Hub at the University is Salford, UK; and Info-Cult/ Info-Secte of Montreal, Canada. It attracted over 200 registrants from around the world, including mental health professionals, lawyers, academics, sociologists, and former and current members of cults and high demand groups.

Boyle

Professor Boyle’s presentation covered several subtopics. First, she addressed federal laws in the US that can be used to achieve criminal prosecution of cult leaders, focusing on the recent federal case of United States v. Raniere; Keith Raniere led NxIvm, a purported self-help organization. That case concluded after 6 weeks of trial in E.D.N.Y. with a guilty verdict on all seven counts, including human trafficking and racketeering. Professor Boyle pointed out that these convictions were obtained without introducing the legal theories of undue influence and brainwashing, theories that have been challenged in U.S. courts. She mentioned California state law that expanded the factor test of undue influence. She pointed to recent national laws pertaining to coercive control in England and in Ireland.

Second, Professor Boyle  discussed U.S. federal law pertaining to immigration. Specifically, she described the legal challenges asylum seekers face when claiming that the cults from which they escaped on foreign soil meet the federal statutory definition of ‘social group.’

Third, Professor Boyle discussed the problems with child marriages. Advocates for raising the legal age of marriage have been successful in several states, including New York. There are 13 states that currently have no minimum marriage age.

Last, Professor Boyle provided recent information about developments in New Jersey. A few years ago the state authorized a study on the topic of Predatory Alienation, which was accomplished by the Center on Violence Against Women and Children at Rutgers University School of Social Work. As a result of that study, an advocacy group drafted legislation that is pending before the NJ House and Senate; these bills seek to define Predatory Alienation, authorize public awareness campaigns, and create referral services and screening programs.

Professor Boyle has written extensively about legal theories that can be used to combat cults and high demand groups. Her work appears in a book chapter, essays, and articles published in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews.

July 1, 2019

Cunningham Co-Chairs ABA Associate Deans’ Conference

Professor Larry Cunningham served as conference co-chair of the ABA Associate Deans’ Conference in Chicago, June 25-28, 2019.

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The three-day conference brought together associates deans of academics, student affairs, administration, and research to discuss management, legal issues in higher education, mental health, assessment, governance, and other issues in legal education.  Professor Cunningham presented on two plenary panels: communication and assessment.

June 24, 2019

Sovern Speaks at Consumer Law Conference, Authors Op-eds, and is Quoted

Last week, Professor Jeff Sovern spoke at the 17th Conference of the International Association of Consumer Law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Sovern Two[2]

The IACL brings together consumer law professors from all over the world and this year’s edition included professors from New Zeeland, Japan, Africa, South America, Australia, and Hong Kong, as well as the United States.  Sovern’s talk was titled “Do Markets Provide Consumer Protection?”

Professor Sovern’s recent op-eds include a June 11 Bloomberg Law Insight essay headlined CFPB Should Cut Back on Texts, Emails Debt Collectors Could Send, and a May 16 piece in The Conversation, which was reprinted widely, including by the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, and Fast Company, captioned Congress is considering privacy legislation – be afraid.

Bloomberg quoted Sovern in an April 18 article headlined Guns, Priests, and Drugs: New Targets for Old Consumer Laws and AdWeek quoted him on February 4 in an article, As Businesses Prep for California’s Data Privacy Law, They’re Also Fighting to Change It.

Sovern’s work also elicited attention in other forums. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cited two articles Sovern co-authored at various points in its proposed debt collection regulations. And in the last fortnight, two of his blog posts prompted news coverage by an industry publication (here and here).

 

June 20, 2019

Professor Goldweber Moderates Panel at Annual NYC Elder Abuse Conference

Professor Ann Goldweber moderated the panel “Working with Clients when Capacity is an Issue” at the Annual NYC Elder Abuse Conference at the New School on June 5, 2019.

 

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The panel focused on the attorney’s ethical duty to evaluate a client’s mental capacity and ability to understand the legal proceedings and assist in their representation. The discussion also evaluated least restrictive alternatives when capacity is an issue, including Supported Decision Making. Panelists included Professor Rebekah Diller, Co-Director, Cardozo Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and Donna Dougherty, Attorney-in-Charge, Legal Services for the Elderly in Queens. St. John’s University School of Law was a co-sponsor of the conference, with 250 attendees.

June 17, 2019

Professors Gina Calabrese and Ann Goldweber Honored for their roles as founders of Queens CLARO

On June 10, 2019, Professors Ann Goldweber and Gina Calabrese were  honored for their role as founders of Queens CLARO (The Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office).

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Queens CLARO provides pro bono legal services to low-income residents representing themselves in consumer debt lawsuits. The program was started eleven years ago Professors Calabrese and Goldweber, along with the Honorable Bernice Siegal (former Chief Administrative Judge, Queen’s Civil Court), The Honorable April Newbauer (former Attorney-in-Charge, Queens Legal Aid Society, Civil) and Mark Weliky (Director, Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project).

goldweber

Since that time, Queens CLARO has provided services to 10,400 people. St. John’s law students have played a prominent role in assisting volunteer lawyers since the inception of the program. St. John’s alumnus Christopher Newton ’13 was also honored for his role as student coordinator.  The award was presented by the Honorable Edwina Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, Office for Justice Initiatives, at the Feerick Center for Social Justice, Fordham Law School.

June 13, 2019

Roberts Quoted in Commission on Civil Rights Report

The United States Commission on Civil Rights repeatedly quotes and cites the work of Professor Anna Roberts in its new report “Collateral Consequences: The Crossroads of Punishment, Redemption, and the Effects on Communities.”

Roberts

Professor Roberts gave testimony before the Commission in 2017, and the report draws on her articles Casual Ostracism: Jury Exclusion on the Basis of Criminal Convictions and Disparately Seeking Jurors: Disparate Impact and the (Mis)Use of Batson.

June 11, 2019

Roberts Presents at Law & Society and Cardozo; Publishes Articles in Alabama Law Review and the Indiana Law Journal’s The Supplement

In early June, Professor Anna Roberts presented her article, Convictions as Guilt, at the annual Law & Society Conference as well as at the NYC Criminal Justice Ethics Schmooze at Cardozo Law School.

Roberts

Convictions As Guilt is forthcoming in the Fordham Law Review.  Here is the abstract:

A curious tension exists in scholarly discourse about the criminal justice system. On the one hand, a copious body of work exposes a variety of facets of the system that jeopardize the reliability of convictions. These include factors whose influence is pervasive: the predominance of plea bargaining, which presents carrots and sticks to innocent and guilty alike, and the subordination of the defense, symbolized by resource disparities that prevent even narratives of innocence from getting a fair hearing. On the other hand, in a variety of contexts, scholars discuss those with criminal convictions in a way that appears to assume crime commission. This assumption obscures crucial failings of the system, muddies the role of academia, and, given the unequal distribution of criminal convictions, risks compounding race- and class-based stereotypes of criminality. From careful examination of this phenomenon and its possible explanations, reform proposals emerge.

Also in June, Professor Roberts’ article,  Arrests as Guilt , was published in the Alabama Law Review and her essay, LEAD Us Not into Temptation: A Response to Barbara Fedders’s “Opioid Policing,” was published in the Indiana Law Journal’s online component, The Supplement.  Here are the abstracts:

Arrests As Guilt

An arrest puts a halt to one’s free life and may act as prelude to a new process. That new process—prosecution—may culminate in a finding of guilt. But arrest and guilt—concepts that are factually and legally distinct—frequently seem to be fused together. This fusion appears in many of the consequences of arrest, including the use of arrests in assessing “risk,” in calculating “recidivism,” and in identifying “offenders.” An examination of this fusion elucidates obstacles to key aspects of criminal justice reform. Efforts at reform, whether focused on prosecution or defense, police or bail, require a robust understanding of the differences between arrest and guilt; if they run counter to an implicit fusion of the two, they will inevitably falter.

 

LEAD Us Not into Temptation: A Response to Barbara Fedders’s “Opioid Policing”

In “Opioid Policing,” Barbara Fedders contributes to the law review literature the first joint scholarly analysis of two drug policing innovations: Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and the Angel Initiative, which originated in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Even while welcoming the innovation and inspiration of these programs, she remains clear-eyed about the need to scrutinize their potential downsides. Her work is crucially timed. While still just a few years old, LEAD has been replicated many times and appears likely to be replicated still further—and to be written about much more. Inspired by Fedders’s call for a balanced take, this Response examines a variety of sources that have described the LEAD program, investigating what they tell us about the ability of commentators to examine (and contribute to) the list of the program’s costs and benefits. Part I examines the way in which the positive potential of this program is described, and possible tendencies to paint a picture that may be unnecessarily rosy. Part II turns to the other side of the equation and highlights potential risks that commentators may downplay, or even compound.

June 11, 2019

Salomone’s Commentary on Philippine Court Decision Cited in Petitioner’s Letter of Protest to Court

Professor Rosemary Salomone‘s commentary, “Court Decision on Language Provokes Cries of Neo-Colonialism,” published in the June 8th issue of University World News, was cited by the petitioners in a “letter of protest” filed with the Court.

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Rosemary Salomone

The petition asks the Court, “in the spirit of dialogue and armed with the conviction that history should record all sides,” to reconsider “matters of public interest” that the Court had failed to scrutinize in their recent denial of a rehearing “with finality. “

June 10, 2019

Salomone Publishes Commentary in University World News

Professor Rosemary Salomone‘s commentary, “Court Decision on Language Provokes Cries of Neo-Colonialism,” was published in the June 8th issue of University World News.

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Rosemary Salomone

The commentary examines the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the Philippines denying “with finality” a rehearing on the Court’s prior decision upholding the Commission on Higher Education’s Memorandum Order removing Filipino language and literature from the university core curriculum. The plan’s intent was to open the way for higher level language competencies, preparing students for the global knowledge economy presumably in English. The petitioners, including professors from more than 40 colleges and universities, students, writers, artists, lawmakers, and cultural activists, plan to again request a rehearing despite the Court’s definitive language.

Both the Order and the Court’s ruling have sparked heated debate, plumbing the depths of nationalism, globalization, the legacy of colonialism, and the country’s conflicted relationship with English which the American occupiers used as a tool of cultural conditioning. Using Facebook and other social media, some charge the Commission and the Court with “kill[ing] the nation’s soul” and the people’s “capacity to think freely” while others point to Filipino as the main cause of “economic stagnation” and English as the language of “business and technology.” The debate is significant, and the Order somewhat baffling, given the country’s turn toward extreme nationalism, confused with patriotism.

In the end, Professor Salomone concludes that, regardless of the constitutional merits of the petitioners’ claims, their concerns are not unreasonable, nor are they inconsequential. Eliminating Filipino language and literature from the core curriculum weakens the intellectual worth of the language and its unifying role as a symbol of national identity. Without denying the role that English has played in driving the Philippine economy and its business processing industry, the Commission’s Order demands reconsideration at least as a matter of policy.

The commentary draws from a book project on global English, identity, and linguistic justice that Professor Salomone is completing for Oxford University Press.

June 10, 2019

Subotnik is Invited Fellow at IPIL National Conference in Santa Fe

On Saturday June 1st, Professor Eva Subotnik participated as an invited fellow in the 2019 Symposium by the University of Houston Law Center’s Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law (IPIL), held each year in Santa Fe.

Eva Subotnik

The topic for this year was “What’s Real? – IP from a Property Theory Perspective.”  Symposium presenters included Professors Michael A. Carrier, TJ Chiang, Brett Frischmann, Irina Manta, and Carol M. Rose.  In addition to Professor Subotnik, the Symposium fellows included Professors Robert Heverly, Alina Ng, and Deepa Varadarajan.  More information about the Symposium can be found here and here.

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