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Pace Law School hosted the Annual First Year Louis V. Fasulo Moot Court Competition for the January Start Class on July 9th and 10th, 2014. About 40 lawyers and judges participated as judges for the competition. The students were well prepared and the heat of the evening matched the heat of the competition courtrooms. The arguments were well reasoned, enthusiastically presented and persuasively delivered.

The students argued the merits of a criminal case People v. Gorman, authored by Prof. Peter Widulski, involving two issues: 1) sufficiency of evidence supporting jury charge of extreme emotional disturbance in a second degree murder trial and 2) sufficiency of judge’s instruction to cure alleged prejudice caused by the prosecutor’s inappropriate comments during her closing statement. Professors Tamar Gribetz, Lucie Olejnikova, Gail Whittemore and Peter Widulski guided the students and prepared them for their presentations. A great panel of experienced judges and attorneys peppered our students with a series of challenging questions and many of our alumni provided great insight to our 1Ls.

The camaraderie and the intensity of the students made it a stimulating competition. After Wednesday preliminary rounds, the top 16 students competed on Thursday in the quest for top oralist. Our congratulations go to top 16: Washington Alvarez, Christine Aziz, Michael Calabrese, John Carriel, Annettte Gershovich, Sophia Gregg, Perri Hom, Elen Krut, Timothy Martin, Margaret Obligin, Amy O’Donohue, Christina Romano, Westri Stalder. Garvey Turnier, Minika Udoko, and Charisma Wright.

After a competitive round of top 16, the following students moved on to the top 8: Michael Calabrese, John Carriel, Perri Hom, Margaret Obligin, Amy O’Donohue, Christina Romano, Garvey Turnier, and Charisma Wright. The top 8 students argued passionately and made it a difficult job for the judges to pick the four finalists.

imageNevertheless, the final four, John Carriel, Perri Hom, Christina Romano, and Charisma Wright made it and did a fabulous job giving the spectators an exciting final round. At the end, Charisma Wright took home the crown of Best Advocate and Christina Romano followed closely in a second place.

Special Thanks go to Loretta Musial, Professor Louis Fasulo, the 1L Legal Skills Writing and Research faculty for coming to support the students, Dean Yassky, Chartwell Food Services, the Moot Court Board including Catherine Peña, Kiersten Schramek, Arthur Muller, CJ Croll and our wonderful and committed volunteer judges.

Congratulations to Charisma Wright and Christina Romano on this great achievement!

The top 16 students are invited to take Advanced Appellate Advocacy (AAA) class in the Fall and should register as soon as possible. Students who did not advance but still have a strong interest in taking AAA class, may petition Professor Fasulo via email [lfasulo@law.pace.edu].

Detail from the 1215 King John Magna Carta of Lincoln Cathedral

Detail from the 1215 King John Magna Carta of Lincoln CathedralFor those interested in legal history, the Library of Congress will exhibit one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta, the great charter of rights and liberties, from Nov. 6, 2014, through Jan. 19, 2015. The exhibition celebrates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, and tells the story of the charter’s creation in England, reinterpretation through the centuries, and emergence as an enduring document of constitutional law in the United States. The 1215 Magna Carta is on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England. The document is traveling first to two locations in Massachusetts from July 2 through Nov. 2, 2014. Its final stop in America will be the Library of Congress. The Library’s 10-week exhibition features medieval manuscripts, published works, prints, photographs, maps, posters and annotated draft opinions by justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The exhibition shows how the interpretation of Magna Carta through the centuries led to the constitutional guarantees of individual liberty brought forth by the Founding Fathers of the United States. It describes how a number of the most basic principles of the U.S. Constitution—consent of the governed, the right to a trial by jury, the right to due process of law, freedom from unlawful imprisonment, and limited government under the law—can be traced to Magna Carta. Many of those rights are still being litigated in U.S. courts today.

The narrative of the presentation starts with the creation of Magna Carta (“Great Charter”), which was sealed in 1215 in a grassy meadow at Runnymede, by the Thames, when English barons coerced King John into granting them a number of rights and liberties. It covers the contents and purpose of Magna Carta, and the great charter’s re-issue by subsequent English kings and Parliament. The exhibition focuses on Magna Carta’s rediscovery by English jurists of the 17th Century, especially Sir Edward Coke, who made Magna Carta into the fundamental source of constitutional guarantees of individual liberties; Magna Carta’s adoption and interpretation in Colonial America; and its influence on the creation of the Constitution. The relevance of Magna Carta is shown by tracing four important areas of constitutional jurisprudence from their medieval origins through present-day litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court. A small section of the exhibit will highlight the interpretation of Magna Carta in art, music, drama and cultural commemorations.

dcThe most recent article, by John R. Nolon and Jessica A. Bacher, is the 1000th paper added to the Faculty Publications collection in the Pace Digital Commons. Their article, Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing: A Role for Local Zoning?, is scheduled to be published in the fall in Zoning and Planning Law Report.

The Pace Law School collections comprise 70% of Pace University’s Digital Commons, and account for 74% of the article downloads. The Digital Commons is hosted by bepress, and the papers therein are included in the open-access repositories Law Commons and the Law Review Commons.

The Faculty Publications collection was the first to go up in 2006. It includes law review and journal articles authored by Pace Law full-time and part-time faculty. As of July 8, there are 1,000 articles that have been downloaded over 790,000 times. It includes important scholarly work by our distinguished faculty, including Jay Carlisle, Bridget Crawford, Bennett Gershman, and John Nolon.

Our law reviews comprise a large part of the Law School collections. We began to build the law review collections in 2010, and currently they hold over 2,000 papers, with over 1 million downloads.

We have two additional collections:

Dissertations and Theses include papers authored by our LL.M. and SJD students as a requirement of their degrees. Student Publications includes papers submitted by Pace Law students, including notes and comments written for our law reviews.

Our Digital Commons collections are all open access, and included in Google Scholar. We are planning a new collection of New York historical documents, and hope to have it available sometime in 2015.

Below please find a list of select environmental reports published in June 2014.

Congressional Research Service Reports

Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

International Energy Agency

National Academies Press

Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD)

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

  • South-South trade in renewable energy: a trade flow analysis of selected environmental goods (2014)
  • Valuing plastic: the business case for measuring, managing and disclosing plastic use in the consumer goods industry (2014)
  • UNEP Programme Performance Report, 2013
  • The environmental crime crisis: threats to sustainable development from illegal exploitation and trade in wildlife and forest resources (2014)
  • Our Planet: The First United Nations Environment Assembly (2014)
  • Emerging Issues for Small Island Developing States (2014)

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)

World Bank

World Resources Institute

The New York Court of Appeals struck down the NYC ban on the sale of large sugary drinks, upholding the Appellate Division decision. The Court based its decision on separation of powers, stating that

We hold that the New York City Board of Health, in adopting the “Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule”, exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority. By choosing among competing policy goals, without any legislative delegation or guidance, the Board engaged in law-making and thus infringed upon the legislative jurisdiction of the City Council of New York.

This rule was proposed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and adopted by the NYC Board of Health in 2012. It proposed to amend Article 81 of the NYC Health Code to state that “[s]ugary drinks may not be sold or provided in cups or containers that can contain more than 16 fluid ounces,” and established a fine of $200 for each time the rule was violated by a food service establishment.

This rule was part of the effort by the NYC Obesity Task Force to combat obesity. The Court of Appeals suggested other ways the task force could accomplish its goals, including “instruction (i.e. health warnings on large containers or near vending machines) to outright prohibition.”

The case is N.Y. Statewide Coal. of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene, No. 134, 2014 NY Slip Op 04804 (June 26, 2014).

Additional reading:

Researching Human Trafficking? There are two great case law databases publicly available online.

Human Trafficking Law Project (HTLP) Database, launched in February 2011 by the Human Trafficking Clinic at Michigan Law School, is a publicly available database of human trafficking cases within the United States. The database is fully searchable even though it does not employ Boolean search capability. As such, searches using AND, OR, and NOT will not work. But, the retrieved results can be effectively filtered by either a case name, year of verdict, type of court, type of case, or when it was last modified. To help users sift through the retrieved results, the database editors assign case categorization for each verdict (i.e. military contractor, domestic servant, commercial sexual exploitation, prostitution, pornography, etc.) identifying major issues of each case. Additional tips on how to use the HTLP database are posted online.

UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database, created and maintained by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, offers almost 1,000 case briefs from 80 different countries and two supranational courts. Case law can be browsed by either a country or by keywords, or case law can be searched. Countries are listed in alphabetical order and can be filtered by the name of the country. Keywords are divided into six major categories: acts, means, purpose of exploitation, international cooperation, form of trafficking, and sector in which exploitation takes place. When searching case law, retrieved results can be further filtered by: country, decision/verdict date, sentenced date, victim’s nationality, victim’s gender (including the child category), defendant’s nationality, defendant’s gender, verdict, appellate decision, court, legal system, latest court ruling, type of court/tribunal, and keyword. Users may subscribe via RSS feed and be informed every time a new case brief is added to the database. Visit the FAQ section for more information about the database.

Related Readings:

Three Florida lawyers have been accused of setting up opposing counsel for a DUI arrest. In a story that reads like a script for some variation of Law and Order:

The simmering legal scandal centers on a bitter defamation trial between warring radio shock jocks Todd Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

In January 2013 after a day in court, attorney C. Philip Campbell, who represented Schnitt, sat in an upscale steakhouse bar downtown. A young paralegal from the Adams & Diaco firm [representing Clem] took the stool next to him, lied about where she worked, flirted and drank with him, according to witnesses. Campbell was later arrested for DUI while driving her in her car.

Then came the revelation of multiple cellphone calls and texts that flew that night between the paralegal in the bar, her bosses and a Tampa police DUI sergeant outside Malio’s Prime Steakhouse.

Read the entire sordid story: Florida Bar Files Complaints Against Lawyers in Tampa DUI Scandal, Tampa Bay Times, June 4, 2014.

In April, the ABA issued Formal Opinion 466, stating that it is acceptable for lawyers to look at a juror’s social media profile, but not acceptable to contact a juror via social media. This includes friending via Facebook and sending Twitter or LinkedIn requests to jurors who restrict access to their accounts. A lawyer must notify the court if, while viewing a juror’s publicly available social media information, she learns that the juror is engaging in conduct that appears to be “criminal or fraudulent, including conduct that is criminally contemptuous of court instructions.”

Mark A. Berman, Ignatius A. Grande and Ronald J. Hedges, writing for the New York Law Journal, are critical of the ABA opinion, believing that it does not go far enough in protecting jurors.

We suggest that the ABA opinion does not appropriately protect jurors and insulate them from outside influences such as contact by counsel. We believe that the appropriate way to proceed when seeking to investigate jurors is set forth in the “Social Media Ethics Guidelines” issued on March 18, 2014 by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association. Guideline 5.B provides that: “[a] lawyer may view the social media … of a prospective juror or sitting juror provided that there is no communication (whether initiated by the lawyer, agent or automatically generated by the social media network) with the juror.”

Additional reading:

2010 Orientation 40During the summer, the acquisition of new materials is usually a bit slower, but nevertheless, we have two new additions in our Law in Film Collection. Our film collection is housed on the main level of the library, in the student lounge. All Pace library patrons with borrowing privileges may check movies out for up to five days at no charge. Come by and check it out.

Environmental Law

Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle (Electron Project presents a film by Rebirth Productions and the Press & the Public Project, Inc. in association with Gallant Films, Naked Edge Films, Steven Latham Productions; directed by Robbie Gemmel, John Kirby) [HD9502.5.W554 C374 2012 DVD] – “A surreal, fascinating, tragicomic story of the battle over what would be America’s largest clean energy project. Cape Wind was slated to be the U.S.’s first offshore windfarm… But strange alliances formed for and against: Kennedys, Kochs, and everyday folks do battle with the developer and green groups over the future of American power.”

Criminal Law

An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story (written and directed by Al Reinert; co-directed by John Dean & Nellie Gonzalez; produced by Marcy Garriott, John Dean, Al Reinert; presented by Blue Bandana Productions & Glass House Productions LLC) [KF9756 .U57 2014 DVD] – “In 1986 Michael Morton’s wife Christine is brutally murdered in front of their only child and Michael is convicted of the crime. Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, estranged from his son, he has years to ponder questions of justice and innocence, truth and fate. Though he is virtually invisible to society, the innocence Project and Michael’s pro bono attorney spend years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene.”

The U.S. General Services Administration publishes an annual Consumer Action Handbook, a guide to help citizens make smarter decisions with their money. It is a compilation of buying tips from across government agencies, with updates on the latest scams and a consumer contact directory, and is available in both print and online formats. The Handbook also provides a sample consumer complaint letter wizard to help frustrated consumers experiencing a problem with a product or service: the Consumer Complaint Wizard asks a person to answer a few questions, and from the answers produces a downloadable letter that can be edited and mailed to the company responsible for the product. The Wizard takes the user through a 5-step process:

  1. Explanation of the product or service (including date of transaction)
  2. Mailing address of the company
  3. Description of the problem
  4. Choices for resolution of the problem, and
  5. A preview of the letter.

The Complaint Wizard also features “help” text and examples associated with a light bulb icon. The new online tool intended for consumer use supplements the resources available through the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (http://www.cpsc.gov) and other government agencies.

For those interested in keeping up with the development of the situation in Ukraine, check out the Ukrainian Crisis 2014 guide created and maintained by the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library. This page is being updated regularly and includes the following information:

Further, Ukraine, although a non-State party to the Rome Statute, has referred its situation to the International Criminal Court for investigation. The Office of the Prosecutor has issued a decision to open preliminary examination into the situation in Ukraine to determine whether the Rome Statute requirements for opening an official investigation are met.

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