June 11, 2007
AALS Section on Professional Responsibility Newsletter Is Hot Off Presses
Posted by Alan Childress
Previously we posted the highly useful section newsletter with the permission of the section's board and general editor Randy Lee (Widener), and our thanks (as well as the star-studded list of contributors) were noted in our post AALS Section Newsletter Contains Wealth of Updates, Resources. We thank them again for this service and have posted the newest edition here as a PDF file: Download aals_pr_june_2007_newsletter.Final.pdf. This one is mainly announcements for those interested in legal ethics, teaching professional responsibility, ABA and AALS conferences, and committees. Readers of the newsletter will be pleased to note that it has an ending, unlike the Sopranos.
Magistrate Suspended After Criminal Charges Filed
A West Virginia magistrate was suspended without pay after serious criminal charges were filed against her. The magistrate's son was incarcerated for delivery of a controlled substance. A witness against him was housed in the same facility. On the son's request, the magistrate obtained copies of the testimony of the witness and provided it to the son "apparently to prove that Dailey [the witness] was a snitch." As a result, Dailey was moved elsewhere for safety reasons. The son's phone call to the magistrate was recorded per jail policy. Dailey saw the documents, which led to the magistrate's arrest on a charge of conspiracy to retaliate against a witness.
The magistrate has denied the charges. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that a conviction is not a necessary predicate to a judicial suspension. The court rejected the suggestion that the matter was "entirely personal in nature." A magistrate cannot "simply pick and choose when he or she wishes to be subject to the obligations" of a judicial officer. The magistrate may seek back pay if she prevails on the criminal charges. (Mike Frisch)
Conflict Requires Reversal Of Conviction
May a public defender represent a criminal defendant who claims that the crime was committed by another person who is represented by the same public defender's office on unrelated charges? No, according to the Maryland Court of Appeals. The defendant was charged with a home invasion robbery of a marijuana dealer. He advised his appointed public defender that the crime had been committed by a man named Muse, who the office also represented. The conflict prevented the public defender from seeking to interview Muse. The public defender sought a continuance after learning of the issue, which the administrative judge denied. The court held that "counsel's predicament created an actual conflict of interest" and ordered a new trial. The court rejected the state's claim that there was no conflict because Muse was not a co-defendant in the case. (Mike Frisch)
More On Senior Lawyers
We recently posted a link to a report of the National Organization of Bar Counsel and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers concerning the special issues that face senior lawyers. The District of Columbia Bar has announced a project to provide senior lawyers with pro bono opportunities. The project hopes to give experienced and talented senior lawyers the chance to donate legal services to clients in need. (Mike Frisch)
June 10, 2007
Bernstein on Teaching Transnational Law and Practice the Right Way
Posted by Alan Childress
Anita Bernstein (New York Law School and Emory) has posted to SSRN her essay, "On Nourishing the Curriculum with a Transnational Law Lagniappe." Here is the abstract:
Transnational law remains in fashion among those who revise the curricula of U.S. law schools. Supplementing traditional domestic materials with studies of international, transnational, and comparative law is indeed a solution. But what is the problem? Pedagogical reform is an experiment, and no experiment can succeed without a plan followed by observation. Much of what passes for transnational legal education (especially in brochures and on websites) lacks seriousness. It is what denizens of New Orleans call a “lagniappe” -- that is, a lightweight frill, devoid of intentionality and perceived consequences. The article acknowledges the appeal of a lagniappe, and also offers suggestions for curricular planners who seek to give their students heartier transnational fare.