Obama Clemency Grants Pick Up Steam

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Federal Criminal Law & Process, Federal Sentencing, Marquette Law School, President & Executive Branch, Prisoner Rights, Public, Race & Law
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Somewhat lost amidst the wall-to-wall media coverage of the Clinton and Trump campaigns, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 111 federal prisoners on August 30. This builds on what has quietly become one of Obama’s most significant end-of-term domestic policy initiatives. He has now commuted 673 sentences, more than the previous ten presidents combined. The August 30 grants, however, had special significance for me and a small group of recent Marquette Law School graduates.

Commutation (that is, a reduction in the severity of a criminal sentence) is a form of executive clemency. The Constitution expressly grants clemency powers, and presidents since George Washington have used these powers in a variety of different ways. In recent decades, though, there has been a certain whiff of disrepute surrounding clemency. Reinforcing the negative perceptions, President Bill Clinton’s pardon of financier Marc Rich and President George W. Bush’s commutation of the sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby seemed to confirm that clemency was mostly used to benefit wealthy, powerful defendants.

The Obama Administration, however, envisioned a very different way to use clemency.   Read more »

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Summer Law Studies in Germany with MU Law

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Category: Human Rights, International Law & Diplomacy, Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Public, Uncategorized
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DSC09137Just one week remains in the 8th Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law taking place in Giessen, Germany.  In the photo you can see me with some of my students in the Comparative Constitutional Law class.  It is a great group, mixing U.S. students from Marquette and the University of Wisconsin Law Schools (and one attendee from Touro Law School in New York) with students from Brazil, Italy, India, Russia and Georgia.  We had fun comparing the constitutions of our home countries and talking about the ways that the preambles of the various constitutions reflected similar yet different values.  For example, India’s Constitution is adamant that the national government is secular in nature — reflecting that countries enormous diversity of religious faiths and unfortunate history of religious strife.  Meanwhile, Russia’s Constitution is clear that the union of nations into one country is permanent unless unanimously dissolved, in a way that reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s view of the United States.

After two weeks with me and Professor Thilo Marauhn from Justus Liebig University Law School, discussing and comparing topics related to constitutional structure, we turned the class over to Professor Heinz Klug of the University of Wisconsin and Professor Ignaz Stegmiller from Justus Liebig University Law School.  They focused on comparing civil rights and liberties under various constitutional systems.  All in all, a very thought-provoking course. Read more »

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When is it Plagiarism?

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Category: Higher Education, Legal Education, Legal Ethics, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public
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trump obamaLast night’s Republican National Convention has thrust “plagiarism” to the forefront of the news. One of last night’s speakers was Melania Trump, the wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. Trump’s speech sounded to many strikingly similar to one given eight years earlier—by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

How similar?

Incredibly so. Not just identical words, but nearly identical context and sentence structure. At one point, Trump says, “Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them” (emphasis added). Eight years earlier, Obama had said, “Because we want our children — and all children in this nationto know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them” (emphasis added).

That is plagiarism.

(You can see a side-by-side text comparison here and here and side-by-side video comparison here.) Read more »

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Schultz Receives Recognition from the Wisconsin Law Journal

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Category: Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public
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Kindness, patience, and compassion—those were the key words in the description of Angela Schultz when the Wisconsin Law Journal recognized her as one of this year’s outstanding “Women in the Law” at an event attended by more than 300 people last week at the Pfister Hotel.

Schultz is Marquette Law School’s assistant dean for public service. She worked as an advocate for victims of domestic violence in Oregon and as a lawyer in Milwaukee focusing on elder and disability law before joining the Law School in 2011. She has helped hundreds of law students become involved in pro bono work and has become a leader in Milwaukee in helping thousands of people receive legal help that would otherwise have been out of their reach.

Angela SchultzIn an article in the Wisconsin Law Journal, Mary Ferwerda, director of the Milwaukee Justice Center, praised Schultz. “She’s very knowledgeable about access to justice issues and how what we do makes a difference,” Ferwerda said. “She has a lot of forward thinking in how to structure a program so that it is effective for clients and for student learning.”

“At the end of the day, we are a helping profession,” Schultz said. “We have a lot of compassionate, big-hearted people who come out of Marquette Law School who do all kinds of good things across the community.” Schultz has been a big success in helping make that happen.

A video recognizing Schultz may be viewed by clicking here.

 

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New Marquette Lawyer Sheds Light on Urban Neighborhoods—and Much More

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Marquette LawyerPair up the wisdom of a leading national expert on understanding urban neighborhoods with an effort to increase the vitality of a large section of Milwaukee’s west side and what do you have? You have the cover package of the Summer 2016 issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine.

Professor Robert J. Sampson, the Henry J. Ford II Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University, delivered the Robert F. Boden Lecture at Marquette Law School in September 2015, drawing on his work in Chicago and Boston examining the fabric of urban neighborhoods. ”Neighborhood Inequality and Public Policy: What Can Milwaukee Learn from Chicago and Boston?” offers an essay version of Sampson’s lecture, along with reactions from several Milwaukee leaders.

A partner piece describes efforts by Marquette University and other major institutions to improve housing, business and commercial life, safety, and community amenities in near west side areas of Milwaukee—generally between the Marquette campus and the Harley-Davidson offices and factory a couple miles to the northwest. “Writing a New West Side Story” describes the ambitious undertaking under the leadership of Marquette’s President Michael R. Lovell.  The piece concludes with a comment by Provost Daniel J. Myers.

The cover package also includes a reflection by Mike Gousha, distinguished fellow in law and public policy, on the Law School’s public policy initiative, which aims to increase dialogue about major issues and shed light on subjects such as what can help urban neighborhoods. The dean’s column at the beginning of the magazine also speaks to Milwaukee, urban America, and the Law School’s interest in these matters.  Read more »

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Applications Still Being Accepted for Study Abroad in Germany

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Category: International Law & Diplomacy, Marquette Law School, Public
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There is still time to join law students from Wisconsin, throughout the United States, and around the world as they come together in Giessen, Germany from July 16 to August 13, 2016 for the Eighth Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law. The program already has the minimum number of participants necessary to move forward, but additional participants are welcome and applications will continue to be accepted until May 27.

The faculty includes Marquette Law School’s own Professor Ed Fallone and Adjunct Professor Doug Smith, as well as Professor Heinz Klug from the University of Wisconsin Law School, Professor Thilo Marauhn of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, and Professor Sorcha MacLeod of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

Participants can choose two classes from the following four courses: 1) Comparative Constitutional Law: The E.U., Germany and the U.S.; 2) International Economic Law & Business Transactions; 3) Business Ethics and Human Rights Law; and 4) Comparative Corporate Governance. The schedule includes field trips to Berlin and Hamburg, as well as free time to travel Europe on your own.

Applications can be downloaded from the “Study Abroad” link on the Marquette Law School webpage. Interested students from Marquette or other ABA accredited law schools should contact Prof. Ed Fallone at edward.fallone@marquette.edu for more information.

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Congratulations to the 2016 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Winners

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Category: Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
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Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Amardeep (Simi) Singh and Sara McNamara. Congratulations also go to finalists Samuel Draver and Alan Mazzulla, who additionally won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief.  Simi Singh won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist.

The competitors argued before a large audience in the Appellate Courtroom. Presiding over the final round were Hon. Diane Sykes, Hon. Brett Kavanaugh, and Hon. Gary Feinerman.

Many thanks to the judges and competitors for their hard work, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship in all the rounds of competition, as well as to the moot court executive board and Law School administration and staff for their work in putting on the event. Special thanks to Dean Kearney for his support of the competition.  Thank you as well to the Moot Court Association for its work in putting this event together, and especially 3L executive board members Larissa Dallman and Andrew Otto.

Students are selected to participate in the competition based on their success in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy class at the Law School.

Here is a link to the final round video.

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NAAC Team Competes in Nationals

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Category: Marquette Law School, Public
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20160220_183458The National Appellate Advocacy Competition started with 193 teams. Six regional competitions later, only 24 advanced to the national competition in Chicago April 7-9. One team from Marquette was among those 24 teams.

Cassandra Van Gompel, Daniel Murphy, and Arial Rosenberg (in the above picture from left to right), all 3Ls, won the Brooklyn regional in February to earn their place at nationals. (Murphy also won best oralist at regionals.) The team argued two rounds on Thursday, April 7. Unfortunately, they did not advance to the next round. Each round they argued was very close; in their second round, they lost by less than one point to a team that made the final round.

Congratulations to the team for their outstanding representation of Marquette Law.

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Congratulations to the 2016 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

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Category: Legal Education, Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
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Congratulations to this year’s Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition finalists: Samuel Draver, Alan Mazzulla, Sara McNamara, and Amardeep Singh. All the semifinalists presented strong oral arguments.

Thank you to the semifinal round judges: Atty. Gil Cubia, Atty. Cathy LaFleur, Prof. Jonathan Koenig, Atty. Steve Meyer, Hon. Paul Reilly, and Atty. Jan Rhodes.

The final round will be held on April 13 at 6:00 p.m. in the Appellate Courtroom. The final round judges will be Hon. Diane Sykes, Hon. Brett Kavanaugh, and Hon. Gary Feinerman. The Law School community is cordially invited to attend the final round. Here is a link to rsvp for the event. The teams will be matched as follows:

Samuel Draver and Alan Mazzulla versus Sara McNamara and Amardeep Singh.

Best of luck to the finalists.

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Marquette Teams Excel in Negotiation Competition

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Category: Marquette Law School, Negotiation, Public
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Fordham National Basketball Negotiation Competition TeamI am delighted to report that two teams represented Marquette University Law School at the Fordham National Basketball Negotiation Competition in New York City this past weekend. Out of the 36 teams participating, the team of Vanessa Richmond and Gabriella Saenz advanced to the Quarterfinals. The team of Sean McCarthy and Brycen Breazeale advanced to the Finals, where the Team was awarded Second Place in a very close decision.  Congratulations to all!

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Congratulations to the 2016 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Semifinalists

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Category: Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
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Congratulations to all who competed in the 2016 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition and special congratulations to this year’s semifinalists:  Samuel Draver, Alicia Kort, Alan Mazzulla, Kayla McCann, Sara McNamara, Amardeep Singh, Natalie Wisco, Samuel Woo. Teams are advancing after four rounds of preliminary competition this past weekend.

Thank you to the numerous judges who graded briefs and heard oral arguments, as well as to all the competitors, who prepared hard for the competition and fought good battles this weekend.

The semifinal round will be held on Thursday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. The teams will be matched as follows:

Samuel Draver and Alan Mazzulla against Alicia Kort and Natalie Wisco in the Trial Courtroom; and Kayla McCann and Samuel Woo against Sara McNamara and Amardeep Singh in the Appellate Courtroom. Marquette students, faculty, and guests are invited to attend the rounds.

Good luck to the semifinalists.

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MU Team Excels at Corporate Law Moot Court Competition

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Category: Corporate Law, Marquette Law School, Public, Uncategorized
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ruby valeCongratulations to the team representing Marquette University Law School at the Ruby R. Vale Interschool Corporate Law Moot Court Competition in Delaware this past week.  Kyle Thelen, Alex Ackerman and Samuel Casson were awarded “Best Brief” at the competition and advanced to the Quarter Finals, where the judges deliberated for a full 45 minutes before declaring that our Team was edged out “by less than a razor thin margin.”  All in all, it was an outstanding performance.  Thank you to the Team, for all of their hard work, and to all of the faculty and students who helped the Team in its preparations.

Photo: Ruby R. Vale

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