Daniel M. Coble
At the age of 17, Donte Lamar Jones shot and killed a store clerk as she laid down on the floor during a robbery. He was spared the death penalty by agreeing instead to die in prison at the end of his life.
Bridget J. Crawford
The word “trust” has multiple meanings.
Kristine L. Bowman
Ongoing education reform litigation arising out of Detroit, Michigan presents an innovative claim: Children have an unenumerated federal constitutional right of access to literacy. On June 29, 2018, the district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss. The case is now on appeal to the Sixth Circuit and is expected to be argued in the first […]
President Donald Trump constantly reminds United States citizens about the myriad circuit and district court appointments that his White House is making to the federal judiciary. Last September, Trump proposed the seventh “wave,” which included three people of color among sixteen judicial nominees. This wave permitted the administration to triple the number of ethnic minority […]
Thomas M. DiBiagio
A fundamental principle of criminal law is that to hold a defendant accountable, the prosecution must prove that he culpably participated in the criminal activity. To prove culpable participation, the government can prove a defendant’s direct knowledge of and active participation in the criminal conduct. However, because of the nature of financial crimes and corporate […]
Benjamin M. Flowers
The constitutional-doubt canon instructs that statutes should be interpreted in a way that avoids placing their constitutionality in doubt. This canon is often said to rest on the presumption that Congress does not intend to exceed its constitutional authority. That presumption, however, is inconsistent with the notion that government actors tend to exceed their lawful […]
The Zika epidemic caused serious concerns about fetal health throughout Latin America and some southern states in the United States. The prevailing governmental response throughout the region continues to emphasize two disease control factors: pregnancy delay and mosquito abatement. This essay argues that the current health policy approach of the World Health Organization, the Centers […]
Recently, legislative efforts have taken aim at sexual harassment in the workplace. Among these may be a surprising but effective approach—disallowing tax deductions for sexual harassment settlements subject to non-disclosure agreements. This Essay analyzes such a 2017 tax reform provision.
Julian Redmond Murphy
In recent years body-worn cameras have been championed by community groups, scholars, and the courts as a potential check on police misconduct. Such has been the enthusiasm for body-worn cameras that, in a relatively short time, they have been rolled out to police departments across the country. Perhaps because of the optimism surrounding these devices […]
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) recently declared that the Commonwealth’s statutory ban on stun guns violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The SJC had previously upheld the statute against constitutional challenge in Commonwealth v. Caetano, but the reasoning behind this holding was rejected in a brief per curium opinion by the U.S. […]
Next term, in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court will consider whether a baker’s religious objection to same-sex marriage justifies his violation of Colorado’s public accommodation law in refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. At the centerpiece of Masterpiece Cakeshop is a clash between the First Amendment’s Free […]
Now that President Donald Trump has commenced the fifth month of his administration, federal courts experience 121 circuit and district court vacancies. These statistics indicate that Mr. Trump has a valuable opportunity to approve more judges than any new President. The protracted open judgeships detrimentally affect people and businesses engaged in federal court litigation, because […]
The Supreme Court recently heard the case of an Alabama death row inmate, James McWilliams. A thus far overlooked argument could save his life and help level the playing field in other capital cases. The Court in 1985 promised independent expertise. Now is its chance to make good on that promise.
When Donald Trump became President, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had four judicial vacancies that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) identified as “judicial emergencies.” The court also faces a larger caseload than all the other regional circuits, and has frequently decided appeals the least swiftly. The 2016 […]
This article describes regional institutional organizing efforts to bring racial justice to the Charlotte courts and community through a collaborative called Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ). The authors explain community and institutional organizing in-depth using the example of minority overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system, but recognize the pervasiveness of racial and ethnic disparities. […]
When discussing the issue of transparency at the United States Supreme Court, most commentators focus on the line between public and private. Yet, transparency is not always such a black-or-white issue. There are, in fact, a surprising number of significant Court moments that occur neither wholly in public nor completely in private. Through policies that […]
On February 25, 2016, President Barack Obama appointed United States District Court Judge Lucy Haeran Koh for a judicial emergency vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The jurist has served professionally for more than six years in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, ably […]
This term, the Supreme Court will consider Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools. Fry implicates a circuit split on the proper scope of the exhaustion requirement in 20 U.S.C. § 1415(l) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). That section requires parents of students with disabilities to exhaust state administrative remedies “before the filing of […]
The “Cashgate” scandal has had far-reaching consequences for the southern African nation of Malawi and its people. Western donors suspended budgetary aid—circa $150 million annually—upon learning that civil servants and senior cabinet ministers in former President Joyce Banda’s administration had manipulated the government’s financial management system to embezzle more than $45 million over an eighteen-month […]
The territoriality principle, basic to United States trademark law, provides that foreign uses of a trademark do not give the user trademark rights in the United States. An important exception to this principle is the well-known marks doctrine, which allows a foreign user to obtain priority rights in the United States over a mark used […]
On January 13th, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle. The question that the Court must decide is whether the federal government and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause. This essay argues that the Supreme Court […]
In late April 2015, the Supreme Court of Virginia announced that Justice LeRoy F. Millette, Jr. would retire on July 31, 2015. Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe expeditiously created an open process for tapping a worthy successor. At July’s conclusion, the Governor appointed Fairfax County Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush, an experienced, consensus jurist. On a […]
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Baldwin v. Foxx opined—for the first time—that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Article tackles the two administrative law questions that Baldwin poses: what level of deference should a court afford Baldwin, and should such deference force that […]
For over 130 years, scientific sleuths have inspected hairs under microscopes. Late in 2012, the FBI, the Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers joined forces to review thousands of microscopic hair comparisons performed by FBI examiners over several of those decades. The results have been astounding. Based on the first few […]
In March 2015, the debt ceiling was hit again and sovereign default loomed. Refusing to timely raise the debt ceiling, congressional ideologues have four times pushed our nation to the brink of a catastrophic debt default in as many years. Our struggling economy is again threatened, financial institutions are again spending millions planning for default, […]
In a federal system with state lines that are easily crossed, physically and electronically, legal disputes often raise choice-of- law issues. Common among those disputes are torts and contracts cases. The courts have taken a variety of approaches to these cases, leading to inconsistent results that depend largely on which forum the plaintiff selects. Judicial […]
The State of Utah has a unique way of providing representation in criminal cases to defendants who are too poor to hire an attorney. In Utah, there is no statewide funding or supervision of indigent defense. Each county, city, or town is responsible for creating and funding their own indigent defense delivery system. Utah is […]
This speech was given at the 2015 Lewis F. Powell Lecture on April 1, 2015 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room at Washington and Lee University.
We are at the dawn of a new era of policing in the United States. In recent months, images of armed police officers patrolling the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and of a toddler burned by a Georgia SWAT team’s grenade have been indelibly branded into America’s social consciousness. There is a unique bipartisan outcry from […]
In its 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court struck down Virginia antimiscegenation laws prohibiting and criminalizing interracial marriages, holding that the challenged laws violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In recent federal appeals court decisions, Loving has been invoked as an authoritative […]
Within the past few years, the U.S. federal government has been forced to confront the massive but hard-to-quantify problem of foreign and state-sponsored cyberespionage against U.S. corporations, from Boeing to small technology start-ups, and (as of this writing) perhaps Sony Pictures Entertainment. As part of that effort, Congress has taken up the Defend Trade Secrets […]
The rule against hearsay covers a statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted but does not cover a statement offered for another purpose. Meanwhile, the Best Evidence Rule states that a party seeking to prove the content of a writing, recording, or photograph must produce the original or account for its non-production. […]
Cooperation agreements and plea agreements are separate and independent promises by criminal defendants to: (1) assist the Government in the prosecution of another person and (2) plead guilty. A defendant’s breach of one should not affect the Government’s obligation to perform under the other. All too often, however, these agreements are inappropriately intertwined so that a minor breach of the plea […]
In May 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicted five Chinese nationals for cybercrimes against American companies. That indictment was an impotent response. The United States has no extradition treaty with China, and the defendants will in all likelihood never be tried in the United States. The inefficacy of the indictments highlights a larger problem: […]
In Commonwealth v. Morris, the Supreme Court of Virginia properly decided that the writs of coram vobis and audita querela may not be used to modify a final criminal conviction order more than twenty-one days after its entry. The court decided the inapplicability of coram vobis under Virginia Code § 8.01-677 and its own precedent. […]