EXPERTS IN THE NEWS: Prayer, Executions, Porn, Arbitral Awards, and RICO

BY:  
CREATED:  

Legality of Legislator-Led Prayer Still Murky, Scholars Say I Bloomberg News

Town of Greece “upheld a legislative prayer practice where most of the prayers were Christian,” Caroline Mala Corbin, a professor who teaches constitutional law at the University of Miami law school, Coral Gables, Fla., told Bloomberg BNA by e-mail Feb. 16.

Corbin said she believes Town of Greece “was wrongly decided.” But she said the “key” to that decision “was that the government had not intentionally discriminated against non-Christians,” unlike the commissioners in Bormuth.

In Bormuth, the Sixth Circuit found that Jackson County’s commissioners “punished people” who didn’t participate in the Christian prayers, Corbin said.

Leading Nurses Association Takes Official Stance Against Death Penalty I The Huffington Post

The impact of the ANA’s statement could potentially ripple up to the courts ― though death penalty experts cautioned against quickly expecting too much of a direct effect. 

“You’d like to think when large, storied organizations take this position they’d have a big impact, but unfortunately in jurisdictions that have the death penalty, they don’t really have all that much legal impact other than what lawyers call ‘persuasive authority,’” said Craig Trocino, who directs The University of Miami Law’s Innocence Clinic. 

Meet The Women Waging War On Revenge Porn I A Plus

For victims of revenge porn in the U.S., their ability to press criminal charges largely depends on which state they're in. 34 states and the district of Washington currently have non-consensual pornography laws, but before 2012, less than a handful had legislation that was applicable to these cases. Much of that progress can be credited to the efforts of Holly Jacobs and Professor Mary Anne Franks. 

They first met when Jacobs, then a Ph.D. student, approached Franks after she discovered photos she had sent her ex-boyfriend were plastered on the internet. "Holly came into my office with binders full of evidence and documentation about what had happened to her," Franks said. As a law professor at the University of Miami who had a particular focus on how technology's rapid progress shaped the means of abuse toward women and minorities, Franks realized that Jacobs' case essentially encapsulated all the areas of her work. She wasn't sure how she could help — she was a legal academic who wrote articles, not a prosecutor — but Jacobs was after bigger fish. "What Holly said to me was, 'I want you to help me change the law,'" Franks recalled. 

Eyes On High Court To Weigh In On Annulled Arbitral Awards I Law360

The New York Convention, one of the most widely used global tools providing for the reciprocal enforcement of arbitral awards, gives courts discretion to enforce annulled arbitral awards, but the scope of that discretion is a matter of debate.

"I think the concerning element of the Pemex decision and its confirmation ... is the treatment of a judgment of a court ... of another contracting state. International comity is a critical element in international law, and it was an important consideration for the drafters [of the New York Convention] in 1958," said Marike Paulsson, director of the Miami Law International Arbitration Institute and an expert on the New York Convention. "One needs to consider the risk of political and diplomatic backlash."

Courts must also consider how their role interplays with the role of the court at the seat of arbitration, and which court is able to better assess the applicable law, she said.

‘My son will walk free’: Parents, NAACP concerned with Lake Boyz arrest I Fort Myers News-Press

Tamara Lave, an associate professor of law at the University of Miami, said it is good that the NAACP is stepping in to determine whether these were rightful arrests.

“The state wants to put these people in prison, and it’s easier to do it with the RICO statute,” she said. “That’s what they are trying to do. The problem is whenever you make it easier to convict somebody, it means you may end up convicting people you should not be convicting.”

It’s easy to understand why the NAACP would find this problematic, Lave said.

“Prosecutors have a lot of power, and it’s important to see that it’s using its power correctly,” she said. “The NAACP putting the prosecutors’ feet to the fire –  that’s a good thing for society.”

CONTACT: Catharine Skipp at 305-284-9810 or cskipp@law.miami.edu