Tuesday, January 8, 2008
The New Jersey Law Journal celebrates the recent victory of Penny Venetis and ten years of students from the Rutgers-Newark law school's Constitutional Litigation Clinic. In Jama v. Esmor Correctional Services, a little over a month ago a federal jury found a private contractor, working with the former Immigration & Naturalization Service, liable for unlawful conditions of detention of immigrant asylum seekers at the detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The suit challenged a systemic pattern and practice of unlawful and deplorable detention conditions and inadequate training and supervision of detention personnel. Eight of the plaintiffs settled before trial; the ninth was awarded $100,001 in damages by the jury. The Clinic was awarded $108,000 in attorney's fees as a discovery sanction. See Jama v. Esmor Corrrections Inc., 2007 WL 4166016 (D.N.J. Nov. 20, 2007). The New Jersey Law Journal recognized the educational value of clinical legal education to students and service value to clients, the community and the legal profession:
"The Jama suit embodies much of what is good about our profession. We encourage Rutgers Law School to continue to support its legal clinics so they can continue to enhance the development of the law in such critical areas while training the next generation of lawyers to be creative and persevering advocates. We recognize and encourage the similar good work going on at the state's other law schools. Finally, we encourage law firms to help in these worthwhile causes, and to instill in their lawyers the lesson that one of the most noble aspects of the profession is its capacity to help those in need."