Sunday, December 31, 2006

Call for Papers: Youth and Law

S P E C I A L I S S U E :


The New York University Review of Law & Social Change is soliciting articles, essays, and comments from faculty, practitioners, and students for publication in a special issue on Youth and the Law

This is a broad topic encompassing many potential issues, including but not limited to:

Education | Juvenile Justice | Youth Organizing

Political Involvement | Issues Particular to Immigrant Youth

Family Law | Youth and the Police | Youth and Race

WHY THIS ISSUE? WHY NOW? Courts and legislatures have recently focused on a number of issues related to young people and the law. In November 2006, the New York Court of Appeals rendered a final decision in CFE v. State, a public school funding reform case. Congress is considering a bill (S. 403) that would punish doctors for performing abortions on teens from other states, as well as a non-parent relative’s decision to help the teens. In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roper v. Simmons, invalidating the death penalty as applied to crimes committed by minors. In December 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over race-based assignments in K-12 school districts. The Child Status Protection Act (2002) eases naturalization requirements for children of immigrants.

The consequences are complex and manifold, and we believe they are worthy of systematic discussion and analysis.

Articles selected for publication in this special issue will appear in the Fall of 2007.

ABOUT SOCIAL CHANGE. The NYU Review of Law & Social Change was created in response to students’ and faculty’s concerns that the dominant legal discourse in most law reviews failed sufficiently to address gross inequities along the lines of race, gender, class, sexuality, age, and ability. Over the past thirty-five years, Social Change has remained true to that commitment, while growing in scope and stature. Originally an annual publication, Social Change now publishes four issues per year, including articles by nationally recognized scholars, legal practitioners, and activists as well as NYU law students.

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2007

[email protected]

110 West Third Street

New York





Email Ravi Rajendra, one of the journal’s Article Selection Editors, at [email protected].


December 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

High Cost of Caring for Elderly Family Members

"To care for her ailing 97-year-old father over the past three years, Elizabeth Rodriguez, a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, has borrowed against her 401(k) retirement plan, sold her house on Staten Island and depleted nearly 20 years of savings.

The money has gone to lawyers’ fees ($50,000) to win a contested guardianship. It has gone for home-care equipment like the mattress for his hospital bed (about $3,000 in all) and for a food service to deliver meals ($400 a month). It has gone for a two-bedroom rental apartment big enough for herself, her dad and a home aide ($1,600 a month more than a one-bedroom apartment in the same building), and for a wheelchair-accessible van to get him to doctors’ appointments ($330 a trip). Asked to tally the costs, Ms. Rodriguez, 58, said she had no idea how much she was spending. “A shower chair, body cream with no alcohol, new shoes,” she said. “You don’t stop and calculate. You just buy what you have to buy.”

Ms. Rodriguez is among the legion of adult children — more than 15 million, according to various calculations — who take care of their aging parents, a responsibility that often includes paying for all or part of their housing, medical supplies and incidental expenses. Many costs are out of pocket and largely unnoticed: clothing, home repair, a cellular telephone." By Jane Gross, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 12-30-06 NVS)

December 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Questions Arise About James Brown's Marital Status

"The late soul singer James Brown's lawyer said Tuesday the fact that the woman who'd been described as the late singer's wife was locked out of his South Carolina home after his death is "not a reflection on her as an individual." Instead, the lawyer said that Brown and Tomi Rae Hynie were in fact not legally married and that she was locked out for estate legal reasons.

Brown's attorney said the woman was already married to another man in 2001 when she married Brown, making her marriage to Brown null.He said she later annulled the previous marriage, but she and Brown never remarried. However, Hynie told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she believes Brown's representatives are trying to discredit her so Brown's estate doesn't have to be shared with her. She also said she has the documentation to back up her marriage status." The Link to Article (last visited 12-27-06 NVS)

December 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Case Law Development: The Power of A Christmas Card

Some Christmas cards are more important than others...

The Ohio Court of Appeals held this past week that, even though a father's sole contact with his child during the year was a Christmas card and gift card, this was sufficient "communication" with the child to require the father's consent to the child's step-father's petition to adopt the child.

The court's anaylsis was premised on a strict reading of the statutory requirement:

Our reading of the statute indicates that the legislature intended to adopt an
objective test for analyzing failure of communication ***. The legislature purposely avoided the confusion which would necessarily arise from the subjective analysis and application of terms such as failure to communicate meaningfully, substantially, significantly, or regularly. Instead, the legislature opted for certainty. It is not our function to add to this clear legislative language.

In re K.R.G., 2006 Ohio 6705 (December 18, 2006)

Opinion on the web (last visited December 23, 2006 bgf)

December 24, 2006 in Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Family Law Writing Competition

"AFCC and Hofstra University School of Law are sponsoring the annual Family Law Writing Competition. The competition is run in cooperation with the editorial staff of Family Court Review, the academic and research journal of AFCC. The subject of entries may be within any area of family law, although topics which focus on international or interdisciplinary subjects of family law are especially encouraged. Articles should concentrate on a current legal issue and must have a strong foundation in legal research. Submissions must be received by March 15, 2007." By AFCC Link to AFCC e-newsletter (last visited 12-20-06 NVS)

Also see the AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts) E-Newsletter for family law information and announcements. Did you know that AFCC membership has grown 80% since the summer of 2002?

December 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Eminem Divorces Wife for Second Time

"Rap megastar Eminem and his high school sweetheart divorced for a second time, less than a year after they remarried.Eminem and Kim Mathers agreed to divide property under terms of a private settlement and to share custody of their 10-year-old daughter, Hailie Jade Scott. They told a judge they understood the divorce was final." AP, FindLaw, Link to Article (Last visited 12-20-06 NVS)

December 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Speed Dating for Book Lovers

"A 150-year old Australian public library has a new true-romance section after introducing speed-dating nights for lovers of classic texts. The state library of Victoria in Melbourne introduced dating with a literary twist after the idea was raised at a staff party. Those who attend must bring a book they either love or loathe as a conversation starter, ensuring there are no uneasy silences during the series of five-minute dates.

"It's speed dating with books. It's designed to bring book lovers together," the library's project manager, Jackie Felstead, told Reuters Wednesday." Reuters, Link to Article (last visited 12-20-06 NVS)

December 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Use of Mandamus to Review Trial Court's Refusal to Dismiss Child Protective Actions

Texas statutes provide that, a trial court must dismiss a child protective action filed by the state if the court does not render a final order within one year of the appointment of the state Department as temporary managing conservator of a child (with a maximum extension of 180 days).  Two years ago, in a case in which the the dismissal deadline had passed during a trial, the parents filed for and obtained a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals.  The Texas Supreme Court stayed that writ (with the child presumably staying in foster care).  In a decision this week, the Texas Supreme Court held that accellerated appeal was an adequate remedy to address the trial court's refusal to dismiss the action and it was error for the court of appeals to grant a writ of mandamus.  The court qualified its holding and commented on the statute:

We do not hold that a party complaining of a trial court's failure to dismiss a SAPCR within the statutory deadline could never be entitled to mandamus relief, but under the facts of this case, we cannot conclude that an accelerated appeal was not an adequate remedy. Impending transfer of physical possession of the children or a trial court's unreasonable delay in entering a final decree might alter this conclusion, but this record raises neither concern. .... We recognize that in particular cases the statute could work injustice or encourage gamesmanship to push litigation beyond the deadline. We presume the Legislature recognized this also. But the Legislature also recognized that a statutory deadline would expedite the trial of these cases to help provide a modicum of certainty for children whose family situations are subject to the outcomes in these proceedings. It is not the Court's task to choose between competing policies addressed by legislative drafting.

One judge dissented, noting that mandamus has been used in numerous other contexts in which appeal is also available.  The dissenting judge questioned whether the parents would even be able to appeal the trial court's termination of their rights at this point. Under these circumstances, the dissent concluded, "The error was clear, and the solution straightforward — an order directing the trial court to dismiss the case. While the overall effect on the legal system of the trial court’s failure to dismiss may not be widespread, the consequence to the family in this case is
deep and potentially irremediable."

In re Tex. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs., 2006 Tex. LEXIS 1265 (December 15, 2006)
Opinion on the web
Dissenting Opinion (last visited December 20, 2006 bgf)

December 20, 2006 in Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

China Tightens Adoption Restrictions

China is planning to issue new, tighter restrictions on foreign adoptions of Chinese children, which would prohibit adoptions by parents who are unmarried, who are obese or who are older than 50, according to adoption agencies in the United States. The new regulations, which have not yet been formally announced by the state-run China Center of Adoption Affairs, are to take effect on May 1, 2007, and seem certain to slow the rapid rise in applications by foreign parents to adopt Chinese babies.

Read the New York Times article on the new adoption policies. (last visited December 20, 2006 bgf)

December 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rates of Premarital Intercourse Have Risen

The Washington Post reports on a new study of trends in premarital intercourse over the past half-century.  The study, based on a 2002 survey of about 12,500 men and women,  found that 97 percent of people who were no longer virgins at age 44 had sexual intercourse for the first time before they married. By age 20, only 12 percent of people interviewed had married, but 77 percent had sex, and 75 percent had sex before marriage. By age 44, 99 percent of people were no longer virgins, 95 percent reported having had premarital intercourse, and 85 percent had married at some point.

Read the Washington Post article (last visited December 20, 2006 bgf)

December 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Donor-Conceived Child Speaks Out

"When she was 32, my mother -- single, and worried that she might never marry and have a family -- allowed a doctor wearing rubber gloves to inject a syringe of sperm from an unknown man into her uterus so that she could have a baby. I am the result: a donor-conceived child. And for a while, I was pretty angry about it.I was angry at the idea that where donor conception is concerned, everyone focuses on the "parents" -- the adults who can make choices about their own lives. The recipient gets sympathy for wanting to have a child. The donor gets a guarantee of anonymity and absolution from any responsibility for the offspring of his "donation." As long as these adults are happy, then donor conception is a success, right?

Not so. The children born of these transactions are people, too. Those of us in the first documented generation of donor babies -- conceived in the late 1980s and early '90s, when sperm banks became more common and donor insemination began to flourish -- are coming of age, and we have something to say. I'm here to tell you that emotionally, many of us are not keeping up. We didn't ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion." By Katrina Clark, Link to Article (last visited 12-18-06 NVS)

December 19, 2006 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Shortage of Egg Donors in UK

"British couples desperate for a baby are travelling abroad for fertility treatment because of a shortage of egg donors in the UK. Patients blame the change in the law that gives children born through egg or sperm donation the right to trace their biological parents.

Some UK hospitals have closed their waiting lists because they are unable to recruit egg donors. Women are going abroad or making their own efforts to find egg donors at home." By Helen Briggs, BBC News Link to Article (last visited 12-18-06 NVS)

December 19, 2006 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Collaborative Reproduction

". . .In the United States, donated sperm is used in 80,000 to 100,000 inseminations each year. In 2003, at least 15,000 in vitro fertilization procedures -- in which the gametes, a woman's eggs and a man's sperm, are united in a petri dish and the resulting embryos are transferred into a uterus -- were performed with donated eggs; that number grows by 20 percent annually. More than 1,000 babies are born each year through surrogacy, in which a woman carries a child for another woman or, increasingly, for two gay men.

These explosively popular science-enabled multi-parent arrangements are altering our understanding of what parents are and how families can be formed. And they're confusing our thinking about genetic relationship and its importance to the parent-child bond. Collaborative reproduction is becoming widespread at precisely the moment when we've become ultra aware of how genes run the show in the unfolding of a human being: controlling everything from physical attributes such as height and hair color to a predisposition for certain illnesses to a tendency toward shyness or a taste for fine wine." By Liza Mundy, Link to Article (last visited 12-18-06 NVS)

December 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Questions to Ask Before Marriage

"Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking. . . " N.Y. Times Link to Questions (last visited 12-18-06 NVS)

December 19, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Team Approach to Child Welfare

"In an effort to correct dysfunctional foster care systems, a growing number of child welfare agencies around the country are reaching outside their ranks to involve troubled families and the people in their lives in wrenching decisions about where endangered children should live. Some agencies find that by enlisting help from grandparents, church members, school counselors and sports coaches, they can reach faster, safer and more lasting decisions that result in fewer children languishing in foster care. Under the practice, known as team decision making, a group is assembled within 24 to 48 hours after a state agency is called into a crisis situation.

Programs exist in at least 21 states. Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee have adopted the team-approach statewide, while other programs are run at the county level. Officials in Denver County, Colo., credit the team approach for a 32 percent drop in out-of-home placements since 2002. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the program has reduced the number of children in foster care by more than half since 2001. Tennessee has reduced the number of children in state care by more than 1,000 since March 2004, when there were 10,600 in the system." By Lynette Clemetson, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 12-18-06 NVS)

December 19, 2006 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Jersey Legislature Approves Civil Unions

The New Jersey Legislature voted this evening to allow civil unions between same-sex couples.  According to the New York Times article, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who has supported civil unions, he would give the measure careful review but added, “I think we’re doing the right thing.” The Assembly approved the bill in a 56-to-19 vote; the Senate vote was 23-to-12. New Jersey would be the third state, after Vermont and Connecticut, to establish civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Same-sex marriages are allowed only in Massachusetts, which has a residency requirement, although many gays and lesbians have married in Canada.

The legislation comes after the New Jersey Supreme Court decision of seven weeks ago (See October 26 Family Law Prof Blog posting) which required that the gay couples be given access to the same rights and benefits as married couples.


December 14, 2006 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Russian Teen Sues Over Evolution

"A Russian court on Wednesday held hearings in an unprecedented lawsuit brought by a 15-year-old student who says being taught the theory of evolution in school violates her rights and insults her religious beliefs." AP, Yahoo News Link to Article (last visited 12-13-06 NVS)

December 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Child Workers in India

"Despite a government ban on child labor, Prabhu is one of tens of thousands of children in India who work in horrific conditions in often dangerous industries to support their poor families. Across the country, children stuff explosives into fireworks to be lit during religious festivals and extravagant wedding celebrations, or weave carpets, sew textiles and make everything from footballs to cricket bats to sulphur-tipped matchsticks. Around the town of Firozabad, about 230 km (140 miles) southeast of New Delhi and the hub of India's glassware industry, 50,000 child workers endure lives similar to Prabhu's laboring away in dozens of factories, rights groups estimate." By Palash Kumar, Reuters Link to Article (last visited 12-13-06 NVS)

December 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Woman Denied Abortion Takes Poland to European Court of Human Rights

"When Tysiac, who suffers from an acute eye disease, found she was pregnant for a third time in 2000, she was told by a doctor that the pregnancy, if carried to term, could leave her blind. She asked for an abortion but approval was delayed until she had passed the 12-week limit for the procedure. After the birth of her third child, Tysiac's eyesight degenerated until she was almost totally blind, unable to care for her children. Now 36, she is registered as disabled.

Tysiac has taken Poland to the European Court of Human Rights saying her rights were violated. But even as she fights her case, a movement within overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Poland wants to make having an abortion more difficult." By Gabriela Baczynska, Reuters Link to Article (last visited 12-13-06 NVS)

December 14, 2006 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Women-Only Taxi Company in Iran

"Iran will launch a women-only taxi company in Tehran aimed at women who feel uncomfortable riding in close proximity with members of the opposite sex, a newspaper reported Saturday.

"The Ladies' Safe Trips" taxi company, due to open for business in the next few weeks, will be the first such private sector firm in the capital. Similar taxi lines have been operating in some provincial cities for several years. The company will only employ female drivers who will wear uniforms and must be married, the Tehran-e Emrouz newspaper said." Reuters Link to Article (last visited 12-13-06 NVS)

December 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)