Racial Discrimination in Wisconsin Jury Pool Practices

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law & Process, Federal Criminal Law & Process, Judges & Judicial Process, Poverty & Law, Prisoner Rights, Public, Race & Law, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process1 Comment on Racial Discrimination in Wisconsin Jury Pool Practices
A courtroom is filled with women dressed in long black dresses and wearing hats.
Crowd of women register for jury duty after gaining the right to vote, Portland, Oregon, 1912.

“It requires little knowledge of human nature to anticipate that those who had long been regarded as an inferior and subject race would, when suddenly raised to the rank of citizenship, be looked upon with jealousy and positive dislike, and that state laws might be enacted or enforced to perpetuate the distinctions that had before existed.” – Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 306 (1879)

As ominously foreshadowed by the Supreme Court in 1879, current state and federal laws and practices continuously present disadvantages to people of color. Removed from enslavement and the oppressive nature of the Jim Crow Era, today many of the participants in our justice system and in politics are blind to discrepancies within this nation’s criminal justice system and erroneously believe that the black defendant enjoys the same rights as the white defendant.  The black defendant is seldom given a jury that racially represents him or her, and this lack of representation is a product of case precedent, judicial reasoning, and discriminatory practices. In Wisconsin, these discriminatory practices take the form of both state and federal jury pooling procedures. As such, the purpose of this blog post is to draw attention to the disproportionate jury pooling practices in Wisconsin circuit courts as well as federal district courts in our state, and to provide a forum for debate on this important issue.

Federal Jury Pooling in Wisconsin and the Depleted African American Voting Population

The right to a jury is so critical to the makeup of our system of justice that the Constitution mentions juries in four different sections. However, while individuals have a constitutional right to a jury, the pooling and selection of such juries is not always constitutionally executed. Both the Eastern and Western District Courts of Wisconsin have jury pooling practices that raise constitutional concerns due to the disproportional impact that those practices have on black criminal defendants. Continue reading “Racial Discrimination in Wisconsin Jury Pool Practices”

Meet Our December Guest Blogger

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, PublicLeave a comment» on Meet Our December Guest Blogger

Photo headshot of attorney Nicole Muller.We are pleased to welcome Nicole Muller as our Alumni Blogger for the month of December.

Attorney Nicole A. Muller, of Birdsall Law Offices, S.C., graduated from Marquette University Law School in May 2018, and now spends her hours zealously advocating for her clients as a private criminal defense attorney. Before coming to Milwaukee, she received a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and Studio Art from The Catholic University of America and a Masters Degree from Columbia University. During her time at Marquette, Attorney Muller worked on issues surrounding the impact  that cash bail programs have on Milwaukee’s and Wisconsin’s  urban poor, as well as ways to address racial discrepancies in American courtrooms.  A native of New York,  Attorney Muller states that she decided to stay and practice law in Wisconsin because “the beer was just too good to leave behind . . . oh, and due to the serious issues that need to be addressed within the criminal ‘justice’ systems of Milwaukee and greater Wisconsin.”

We look forward to reading your posts!

Congratulations to Marquette’s National Criminal Procedure Tournament Team

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Congratulations to 3Ls Olivia Garman and Samuel Simpson for placing in the Octofinals in the National Criminal Procedure Tournament in San Diego. The team’s advisors are Professors Susan Bay and Thomas Hammer, and the team coaches are Attorneys Brittany Kachingwe, Sarah McNutt, and Mary Youssi.  All three coaches are former Marquette moot court competitors.

A Bible for AI: The Need for Ethics in AI and Emerging Technologies

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Photo of a model of a human skull with the top of the skull removed, revealing computer circuitry inside.Recently, I attended the Compliance & Ethics Institute of the SCCE in Las Vegas. One of the keynote speakers was Amber Mac, a well-known public speaker for business innovation, internet of things, online safety, artificial intelligence (AI), and other topics. That morning, her keynote address was titled “Artificial Intelligence: A Day in Your Life in Compliance & Ethics.”

It was completely mind-blowing.

From her comments, I had a profound realization that ethics will be extremely important for AI and other emerging technologies as society progresses towards integrating these technologies into our daily lives. Note that this integration is starting to be, or is already, in our homes and workplaces. “Alexa” might already be part of your family. This development is growing in an exponential rate, and there’s no slowing it down. In fact, Waymo (the self-driving subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet) is launching the first ever commercial driverless car service next month. Yet, have we stopped to consider if an ethical “backbone” to all of this progress should be put in place as a guide for AI and all emerging technologies?

For example, a few years ago Microsoft released an AI chatbot on Twitter where the AI robot named Tay would learn from conversations it had. The goal was that the AI would progressively get “smarter” as it discussed these topics with regular people over the Internet. However, the project was an embarrassment. In no time, Tay blurted out racist slurs, defended white supremacists and even advocated for genocide.  So, how did this happen? Well, the problem was that Tay’s learning was not supported with proper ethical guidance. Without proper guidance, such as the difference between truth and falsehood or the general knowledge of the existence of racism, it was vulnerable to learning unethical thought and behavior. Continue reading “A Bible for AI: The Need for Ethics in AI and Emerging Technologies”

Congratulations to Marquette’s National Moot Court Competitors

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Marquette hosted the Region VIII round of the NMCC on November 17-18, 2018.

Please congratulate team members Jessica Delgado, Emily Gaertner, and Sarita Olson, who received the highest brief score in the competition and award for best Petitioner’s brief. The team advanced to the quarterfinals. Professor Rebecca Blemberg advised the team, and attorneys Bryn Baker, Veronica Corcoran, and Chal Little coached the team.

Please congratulate Claudia Ayala Tabares, Katie Bakunowicz, and Kelsey Stefka for placing in the semifinal round. I had the privilege of working with this team, and the team was coached by Attorneys Jason Luczak, Brianna Meyer, and Max Stephenson.

Continue reading “Congratulations to Marquette’s National Moot Court Competitors”

Compliance: The Emerging Career Path for Lawyers

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Political cartoon from Puck Magazine in 1908 showing Moses holding the Ten Commandments and various business and Wall Street figures reacting with alarm.
From Puck Magazine, 1908. Various Wall Street figures react to Moses and the Ten Commandments.

When entering law school, and sometimes even before law school, students are put in front of this metaphorical “fork-in-the-road.”

Transactional or litigation?

In most law schools today, those are the two apparent options. However, this is just not the case anymore. There is at least one more, and emerging, option: the compliance route. It’s not completely transactional nor is it at all litigation. In some cases it takes ideas from both, and involves a bit of work in areas that would not necessarily be considered “practicing law.”

Oh, I’m sure I just hit a nerve for many of you. “Why would you go to law school and get into mountains of debt, and then get a job where you’re not completely practicing law?”

Bear with me and let me explain.

o In June 2016, a car manufacturer was forced to spend $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers on its diesel vehicles.

o In September 2016, a banking giant was hit with $185 million in fines by governmental authorities after thousands of its employees illegally opened unauthorized bank accounts. Earlier this year, new regulatory restrictions were imposed against the bank essentially halting the growth of the business until there has been sufficient improvement in its business practices. Continue reading “Compliance: The Emerging Career Path for Lawyers”

The Mirror of Racial Tyranny in The Civil Rights Cases

Posted on Categories Civil Rights, Constitutional Interpretation, Constitutional Law, Legal History, Public, Race & Law, U.S. Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on The Mirror of Racial Tyranny in The Civil Rights Cases
Political cartoon from the nineteenth century showing an African American holding a copy of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 while standing at the Gates of Heaven
This 19th Century Thomas Nast cartoon shows an African American at the Gates of Heaven, telling Saint Peter that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 opens all gates for him.  Nast’s caption calls on white churches to desegregate.

On the 135th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s opinion in The Civil Rights Cases, it is worth reflecting on how that opinion — which came after Reconstruction but before Jim Crow—reflects the tensions at play today concerning how constitutional law can, through unrelenting formalism and a preference towards denying the power of the history of slavery and the salience of race, contributes to enduring white supremacy.
This week marks the 135th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883). While to some this is a mere historical footnote, the decision is worth remembering because it reflects the tensions at play today concerning how constitutional law can, through unrelenting formalism and a preference towards denying the salience of race, contributes to enduring structural oppression. The reasoning in The Civil Rights Cases is an object study in how to maintain white supremacy—and a mirror to our society today.

The opinion overturned the Civil Rights Act of 1875. It sought to protect recently freed African-American slaves from discrimination in the use of “inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement.” In striking down this nineteenth-century public accommodations law, thus allowing private businesses to deny services to African Americans because of their race, Justice Joseph P. Bradley, speaking for the 8-1 Supreme Court majority, made three arguments. Continue reading “The Mirror of Racial Tyranny in The Civil Rights Cases”

Meet Our November Bloggers

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Marquette Law School, Public, Student Contributor, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Meet Our November Bloggers
Headshot photo of law student Emily Gaertner
Emily Gaertner
Headshot photo of attorney Alen Lagazo
Alen Lagazo

We are happy to have two guests submitting blog posts during November.

Our Student Blogger of the Month is Emily Gaertner.  Emily is a 3L at Marquette University Law School.  She is Chief Justice of the Marquette Moot Court Association and Vice President of the Legal Writing Society.  During her time at Marquette Law School, Emily has competed in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, and will represent Marquette Law at the National Moot Court Competition.  Emily has also interned for Judge Paul Reilly at the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District II, and currently interns for Judge Diane Sykes at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Emily serves as a Student Ambassador and tour guide, and volunteers her time at the Domestic Violence Injunction Clinic.  Prior to coming to law school, Emily graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2015 and earned a dual baccalaureate in philosophy/pre-law and criminology.

Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Alen Lagazo.  Ioua Alen Marcyn Lagazo (“Alen”) serves as Compliance Counsel to CNH Industrial, a leading global manufacturing company for industrial equipment. In addition, he is a board member and co-Director of Social Media and Marketing for BYU Alumni Association – Chicago Chapter.

He is a 2018 graduate of Marquette University Law School, where he completed internships at SoftwareONE, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, BP Peterman Law Group, and CNH Industrial. He is a 2014 graduate of Brigham Young University, where he focused on international studies and business management. For 26 months between 2009 and 2011, Alen served a full-time voluntary assignment as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to that, in 2007, he received his Eagle Rank from the Boy Scouts of America.

Ioua Alen Marcyn has been married to Glenna for 6 years and together they have a daughter, Hermione, born just before entering law school. He enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his daughter’s soccer team, entertaining guests and networking. He also volunteers as an adult leader for the youth program for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Welcome Emily and Alen!

Congratulations to the Marquette Law Mock Trial Team

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on Congratulations to the Marquette Law Mock Trial Team

Congratulations to the Marquette Law Mock Trial Team who competed at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Trial Advocacy Competition on November 3, 2018.

The team advanced to the Semi-final round of the competition, placing within the top four teams.  Team members include Cole Altman, Katie Dvorak, Dan McCrackin, and Rohit Rangarajan.  The team was coached by Katie Halopka-Ivery and Emil Ovbiagele.

Congratulations, Team!  We are proud of your hard work and success.

Wisconsin and the Startup Community: Why Attorneys and Law Students Should Become Engaged

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Next week from November 5th to November 11th, Wisconsin is celebrating its Startup Wisconsin Week. Cities across the entire state of Wisconsin will be hosting programs and events geared toward helping Wisconsin grow its startup community. For the entrepreneurial-minded, this week provides an array of opportunities to network, learn tricks of the trade, and become more involved in the startup process. For transitionally focused attorneys, this week offers a variety of opportunities to meet new potential clients and learn more about how entrepreneurs can affect Wisconsin.

Wisconsin itself has a lot of success with maintaining new businesses. According to the Kauffman Index of Main Street Entrepreneurship, out of the 25 largest states, Wisconsin ranks second in small business activity. Out of this same group of states, Wisconsin also ranks fourth for the highest rate of female business owners and fourth with the highest rate of business owners between the ages of twenty to thirty-two.  Continue reading “Wisconsin and the Startup Community: Why Attorneys and Law Students Should Become Engaged”

Heartbroken in Pittsburgh

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I thought that teaching the Kavanaugh hearings in a careful and respectful manner a few weeks ago would be the biggest teaching challenge of the semester. I was wrong. This weekend, as you have all no doubt heard, a gunman with a history of anti-Semitic rants and far too many legally acquired guns in his possession, entered a synagogue and killed 11 people there in the middle of Saturday morning prayers.

Tree of Life is a synagogue in the heart of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh. This is my home. I went to Hebrew School at Tree of Life, my mom was a teacher there—it is one of several synagogues in this neighborhood that we have belonged to over the years and those killed are parents, cousins, dear friends of our community—two learning-disabled men, leaders of the synagogue, the list is too painful.

As the newspapers have noted, Squirrel Hill has been a Jewish enclave in Pittsburgh for years but that also misses the point of its diversity.  Continue reading “Heartbroken in Pittsburgh”

New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More

Posted on Categories Legal Scholarship, Marquette Law School, President & Executive Branch, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More

The bald eagle symbolizes the strength of the United States, not least when the country uses its military power. The eagle on the cover of the Marquette Lawyer magazine, Fall 2018 issue, shows the determination, even the fierceness, of the eagle during times of war.

But the process involved in deciding where and how that eagle flies is more complex than many people may realize. In the cover story in the new Marquette Law School magazine, David J. Barron, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and formerly a Harvard Law School professor, insightfully examines three chapters in American history when a president and leaders of Congress had differing positions on use of power. Barron focuses on three of the nation’s most revered presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The article is an edited and expanded version of the E. Harold Hallows Lecture that Barron delivered at the Law School in April 2018. To read the article, click here.

Interspersed throughout the article are reactions by three individuals with different perspectives on the relationship between Congress and the commander-in-chief: Russ Feingold, former three-term U.S. senator from Wisconsin and currently distinguished visiting lecturer in international studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Julia R. Azari, associate professor of political science at Marquette University and a scholar of the American presidency; and Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

Barron’s article, together with the reactions, is only one of the thoughtful and thought-provoking pieces in the new Marquette Lawyer. Elsewhere in the magazine: Continue reading “New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More”