January 26, 2009
Law Clinic Victories at Washington-St. Louis
Professor Annette R. Appell, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at Washington-St. Louis, shares news of recent victories:
Washington University’s Civil Justice Clinic recently helped one of our clients toward a significant victory. Charity Sue Carey had served about a decade of her 30 year sentence for killing her cruelly abusive husband when, at the renewed request of fall 2008 semester clinic students and faculty, outgoing Governor Matt Blunt commuted her sentence. Since 2005, the Clinic worked to bring to light the extreme physical and sexual violence Ms. Carey suffered at the hands of her husband and the excessiveness of her thirty year sentence for his murder. Initially, the governor’s office was pessimistic about the merit of clinic’s renewed request for commutation, but during the winter break, Governor Blunt’s office called seeking more information about Ms. Carey and her case. Civil Justice Clinic Managing attorney Brendan Roediger and law student Tom Smith sprung into action. And their holiday work paid off. Two days before the Governor’s term ran, Brendan and Ms. Carey received the incredible news that her sentence had been commuted from thirty years to ten years, making her eligible for release in April of this year. This means that it may not be much longer before she is reunited with her son.
Numerous faculty, staff, and students worked tirelessly on Ms. Carey’s behalf over the years, including: Professors Brendan Roediger, Adele Morrison, Kathy Goldwasser, Kim Norwood, Jane Aiken, C.J. Larkin, and Steve Gunn; Clinical Administrative Coordinator Katie Herr; and students Tom Smith, Erin Nave, Emily Vance, Anne Siarnacki, Colin O’Brien, Michelle Weltman, Sarah Kuehnel, Claudine Chastain, Tonya Oliver, Sarah Schneider, James Beal, Meredith Schnug, Laura Bernatowicz, Christallyn McCloud, Anna Scheible, Catherine Guy, Nnamdi Ezeife, and Pamela Dixon. More information is available here.
The Civil Justice Clinic won another victory on behalf of adult and child domestic violence survivors, this time from the judicial branch. Here, the court determined that petitioners for a child order of protection may not be charged for guardian ad litem fees or other necessary costs of litigation or for the appellate court docketing fee if they choose to appeal. The appellate decision vindicated the clinic’s arguments presented by Professors Katherine Goldwasser, Brendan Roediger, and clinic student Ann Bindu Thomas. Professors Kim Norwood and C.J. Larkin also worked on the case over the years. During the oral argument, Judge Mooney of the Eastern District described the students’ appellate brief as a great example for other attorneys. More information is available here.
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