The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that putting a tracking device on a suspect’s car violated his rights, although they differed on why.
But the justices divided 5-to-4 on the rationale for the decision, with the majority saying that the problem was the placement of the device on private property. That ruling avoided many difficult questions, including how to treat information gathered from devices installed by the manufacturer and how to treat information held by third parties like cellphone companies.
Walter Dellinger, a lawyer for the defendant in the case and a former acting United States solicitor general, said the decision “is a signal event in Fourth Amendment history.”
In a major victory for privacy, today in U.S. v. Jones the Supreme Court unanimously held that, “The Government’s attachment of the GPS device to the vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.” The Court found that the government violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects American from unreasonable searches, when it placed a GPS device to Antoine Jones’s car and tracked his movements continuously for a month.
This case is particularly significant because it is the first time the Supreme Court has had to consider the constitutionality of location-tracking technology. While this case is specifically about whether police need a warrant to put a GPS tracking device on a person’s car, it is the closest the Court is likely to come anytime soon to addressing location tracking, and the decision could influence the law on cell phone tracking.
The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Court to find that the wealth of personal details gleaned from the 24/7 surveillance of GPS tracking rises to the level of private information that is covered by the Fourth Amendment. We’re very pleased to hear the Court recognized that 24-7 GPS tracking is so intrusive and should be prohibited under the Bill of Rights except when authorized by a court based on probable cause to believe that criminal activity is afoot.
Tablet and E-book reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period, Lee Rainie Director, Pew Internet Project"
The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period. The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January. These findings are striking because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers. However, as the holiday gift-giving season approached the marketplace for both devices dramatically shifted. In the tablet world, Amazon�s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble�s Nook Tablet were introduced at considerably cheaper prices than other tablets. In the e-book reader world, some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell well below $100."
" ... I spent the early evening yesterday at the Berkeley anthropology library, which was officially to close at 5 p.m. It did not, because Occupy Cal occupied it — after a resolution taken three days ago — and because a healthy squad of Anthropology professors organized themselves to be present in shifts, all night, and negotiated with the Administration to obviate the “necessity” of sending police to kick the students out. At 4:45, a work-study student announced that the library would be closing in fifteen minutes — to general approval — and then, at 5, he declared the “The Library is Now Closed!” A hearty round of applause and finger-snapping greeted this bit of cognitive dissonance from the 80 or so students still in the (small) library, and he smiled broadly.
The library did not close, and the students are still there this morning. Occupy Cal held a general assembly on one side of the space to discuss what to do next — which eventually reached the decision to vote on whether to take a decision now or later, and produced a perfect tie — and that eventually evolved into an interesting discussion between students and Anthropology faculty on what the role of faculty should be. I assume they’re still there. At some point last night a working group produced this statement on their occupation, which I reproduce in its entirety:
We love our libraries and are here to protect them. Libraries are critically important for excellent education for all. We students, faculty, and community members collectively have decided to occupy the Anthropology Library at UC Berkeley to protest the dismantling of the library system on campus and public education as a whole.
We chose to occupy this space because the Anthropology library is a recent victim of extreme service cuts. The hours of operation are being cut from the previous, already slim, 9am-6pm to the current 12pm-5pm, because the university has not taken the necessary steps to sufficiently staff the library. The multiple attacks on campus libraries are a reflection of privatization and the devaluation of the public education system.
We are here to reverse this process. We call on the administration to take immediate action to hire another full-time librarian to ensure full access to this valuable resource.
The administration may claim that there are insufficient funds, but in reality these resources exist, but their allocation by UC administrators and the state does not adequately reflect the values of excellent public education. Why have the UC Regents continued to approve 21% increases in administration salaries, while students are being denied access to their libraries? Why are the taxes of the 1% so low while essential social services are being cut across the state and country?
We stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement as a whole and the protestors at UC Riverside who were met with violence in their attempt to protest the austerity policies of the UC Regents, Sacramento, and Washington D.C.
Defend our libraries and schools. Occupy together.
— The Anthropology Library Occupation
January 19, 2012
The UC Regents meeting had a little of everything this week: UCR students came up with a new way to fund the university, a long list of new salary increases was released , UCSF asked to quit the system, a retired professor was fired, protesters disrupted the meeting, Regents met behind closed doors, and police attacked protesters who were using books as shields.
What does it all mean? Perhaps, it all adds up to the demise of the modern Western social contract. Without being too dramatic, we are seeing an attempt to resist the destruction of the central institutions of modernity: the university, the public commons, and the welfare state. Although it was once taken for granted that everyone should sacrifice for the common public good, this social contract has been broken, and now some are fighting to maintain it, while others are pushing us forward to a more premodern mode of social organization.
A case in point is the UCR “Student Investment Proposal,” which argues that students should pay no tuition while they are in school, but once they graduate, they should pay 5% of their income for 20 years. At first, this appears to be an elegant solution, but it really represents the final privatization of the public university. Instead of relying on state and federal funds and a common tax base, the new system would rely on private citizens to fund their own education through the use of a non-progressive flat tax. Just as UCSF wants to break its ties with the state and the rest of the UC system, this new funding model would allow students to “pay for their own education,” and would get rid of messy things like financial aid and family contributions.
[ Attacking protesters is wrong. It's wrong in China. It's wrong in Syria. It's wrong in Riverside, CA ]
By Alyse Shorland, CNN
(CNN) – At Monday’s Republican debate in South Carolina, candidates sparred over whether people with felony convictions should be allowed to vote.
Former Senator Rick Santorum said he supports felons regaining the right to vote after they’ve completed their sentences, and noted that felony disenfranchisement disproportionately affects black voters.
[ ... Felon disenfranchisement is wrong, and I'm shocked Rick Santorum would say as much ]
On January 18, the U.S. Supreme Court (7-2) ordered a new hearing in federal court for Cory Maples, an Alabama death row inmate whose state and federal appeals had been rejected by lower courts because his lawyers quit and missed a critical filing deadline. Copies of an Alabama court ruling in Maples’s case were sent to a volunteer New York law firm handling his appeals but were unopened by the mailroom and returned to the state court because the attorneys representing Maples had left the firm. Justice Samuel Alito, concurring in the Court's opinion, wrote that the circumstances surrounding this case created a “veritable perfect storm of misfortune.” On behalf of the majority, Justice Ruth Ginsburg wrote, “Maples was disarmed by extraordinary circumstances quite beyond his control. He has shown ample cause, we hold, to excuse the procedural default into which he was trapped when counsel of record abandoned him without a word of warning.”
Because Maples missed the filing deadline to appeal in state court, his federal habeas corpus petition was also defaulted, thereby ending his appeals and opening the door to his execution. Federal courts allow an exception for such default if the defendant can show there was good cause for the default, and that not being able to appeal prejudiced his case. Generally, a mistake by one's appellate attorney during this phase of the appeals is not considered good cause. However, in this instance the Supreme Court held that the appellate lawyers at the New York firm had done more than make a mistake--they completely abandoned Maples at a critical time in the process. Since Maples had no effective representation at a time in which he was relying on his lawyers to file his appeal, there was good cause for the default. Justice Ginsburg wrote,"In these circumstances, no just system would lay the default at Maples’ death-cell door." The Supreme Court sent the case back to federal court to determine if his case was hurt by not being able to appeal his conviction or sentencing.
For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia. Learn more.
Taking over the main gallery area and some of the adjacent rooms at the popular art hub KGB Studios in Downtown, the permanent exhibit will be a place to relive the raucous music and rebellious spirit that fueled Los Angeles' (and the world's) hardcore music scene, concentrated mostly in the seminal late 70's and early 80's, and featuring an array of audacious art celebrating pivotal punk rock figures and bands of the era.
Lina Lecaro It was on Dec. 3, 1980 outside of the legendary Starwood club where Mockingbird made the fateful promise to Los Angeles' most tragic punk rock hero that inspired the museum.
National politicians continue to speak about higher education from a perspective of almost total ignorance. In fact, Mitt Romney has actually argued that for-profit colleges are the solution for making higher education more affordable and accessible. Of course, Romney does not say that these schools have some of the highest tuitions and lowest graduate rates. As the New York Times points out, Romney may be influenced by the fact that he is receiving large campaign contributions from for-profit institutions. His position also connects with his belief that these schools represent the free market at its purest. Of course, what he ignores or does not know is that most of the funding for these schools comes from federal Pell Grants.
Even more scary is VP Joe Biden’s recent presentation on higher education. Based on his own experience as an adjunct law professor, he argues that the salaries of adjuncts are driving up the costs of higher education. This is wrong on so many levels that one wonders if there is any hope of having our political officials understand anything about the economics of higher ed.
As the President pushes his goal to have the United States regain its position as the country with the highest number of college graduates, all of our state and national policies are moving in the opposite direction. As I have discussed in regard to the reversal of the California Master Plan, what is happening is that as more students are being crowded out of community college and state universities, they are turning to high-cost, low-performing for-profit schools. The end result is that students are paying more and going into greater debt, but we are producing fewer degrees.
One possible solution is to have the federal government take all of the money it is spending on for-profit schools and spend it on public universities. Another solution is to have the Fed bail out student debt and to move to a system where higher education is made free and universal. For a discussion of these issues, you can listen to a radio show in which I participated.Posted byBob Samuels
Installation view of "Under The Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981" at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. (Brian Forrest / MOCA)
By Jamie Wetherbe, Special to the Los Angeles TimesJanuary 12, 2012
The early SoCal punk scene wasn't all guitars, mosh pits and visions of chaos — although there was a good dose of that, thanks to bands such as the Germs and Black Flag. Rather, the music was experimental, arty and all over the map. "Everything from hard-core punk, electro-punk and new wave music all fit together; there weren't those genre distinctions," says Adam Hyman, executive director of the Los Angeles Filmforum, who curated "Strange Notes and Nervous Breakdowns: Punk and Media Art, 1974-1981," a program of rarely shown films from the early scene premiering Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The shorts, part of Filmforum's Alternative Projections exploration of experimental film in Los Angeles and MOCA's ongoing show "Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981," look back at L.A.'s punk roots with a 100-minute collection of rarely and never-screened performances. Get best bets in local dining, movies, music and more delivered to your inbox with our The Hot List newsletter. Sign up » Works capturing influential bands include "Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here's the Bullocks," a 30-minute black-and-white capsule shot mostly in 1977 documenting performances by the Avengers, the Bags, the Dead Boys, the Screamers and the Weirdos. There are also clips from the early 1980s cable access show "New Wave Theater" featuring Black Flag and performance artist Johanna Went, known for wild, transgressive works involving elaborate costumes, punk music and often lots of fake blood. The frenetic rock energy in "Strange Notes" is spliced with playful early video manipulation, such as video splitters, doubled-up images and psychedelic color effects, as a generation explored the new visual medium that was taking off at the same time. "The original wave of punk tends to be rooted in a lot of art students who were working with music that was hip at the time, and the music that was hip at the time was punk," says Hyman. "If it had been done five years earlier, they would have been filming folk rock bands."UCLA students in the '70s and early '80s captured bands on campus and in clubs, including Eugene Timiraos' 1979 video of the X song "I'm Coming Over," shot for experimental filmmaker Shirley Clarke's course. Classmate Bradley Friedman directed an 111/2-minute video of the Screamers in 1981 performing "Eva Braun," a synth-punk song named for Hitler's mistress, in front of TV monitors. He also shot the stern and synthesized Anti-Sex League in 1980 playing a song with an unpublishable title enhanced with blurred-out images from a porn film. "It directly related to the name of the band and the lyrics of the song and the performance, and the video was a response to a perceptions of sexual restrictions at the time," says Hyman. "Filmmakers were [manipulating video] to add to the music or add political commentary with the alternative imagery they were bringing." "The period between Nixon's resignation and Reagan's inauguration is unique for more than artistic experimentation, but for an overlap between visual arts and music not seen since the Dada movement of the '20s," says MOCA chief curator Paul Schimmel. "I think the punk generation and the artists came through the Vietnam War and Watergate having a very different relationship with the government. There was this antiart art and that was also true with the punk bands … it wasn't intended to be stylish, but to capture raw energy." "Strange Notes" has a three-minute comic interlude with a Jonathan Demme-directed pre-MTV music video of the Suburban Lawns' single "Gidget Goes to Hell," last seen on "Saturday Night Live." Think of it as a Lonely Island video shot in 1980. The screening also includes what Hyman has dubbed D.I.Y. documentary — no-frills, no-budget media art — including UC Irvine student-turned-artist Richard Newton's "I'm Going Out in the RAIN." "I didn't find as much of this as I would have liked, but I'm sure most of it ends up in closets and falling to pieces," says Hyman. For the most part, each video of the nearly 20 works featured in "Strange Notes and Nervous Breakdowns" follows a simple punk premise. "It's energetic; it's somebody young," says Hyman. "It's short and right to the point and combative and anti-establishment." "Under the Big Black Sun" is on exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA through Feb. 13 and focuses on experimental art in California from 1974 to 1981. Exhibit activities also include a performance by the seminal punk bands X, the Dead Kennedys and the Avengers on Jan. 28, alongside works by more than 130 artists. The exhibit even borrows its name from an X album: "I wanted a title that would capture the political dystopia of the late '70s and the punk movement," says MOCA's Schimmel.firstname.lastname@example.org'Strange Notes and Nervous Breakdowns: Punk and Media Art, 1974-1981'Where: MOCA Ahmanson Theater, MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., Los AngelesWhen: 7 p.m. ThursdayPrice: Free, reservation requiredInfo: (213) 621-1736, moca.org
A video emerges showing US Marines pissing on three Taliban corpses in Afghanistan. The outrage machine grinds into motion. The media bestirs itself from its slumber. Americans momentarily pay attention to the war in Afghanistan again. Politicians rush to add their names to the chorus of identical statements. All inflamed over the least bad thing that soldiers do in war.
Do you know what is worse than having your dead body urinated upon? Being killed. Being shot. Being bombed. Having your limbs blown off. Having your house incinerated by a drone-fired missile that you don't see until it explodes. Having your children blown up in their beds. Having your spouse killed. Having your hometown destroyed. Being displaced. Becoming a refugee. Having your entire life destroyed as a consequence of political forces far, far beyond your control.
War is horrible. War is sickening. Wars started for supremely righteous causes are just as horrible an sickening in their consequences as wars started for less than righteous causes. Politicians who sit in office chairs and start wars and wave flags as young men and women go off to kill and die and be psychologically and emotionally damaged for life are the most sickening of all. Politicians start wars and are rewarded with an appearance on weekend talk shows and Very Respectable Discussions with Very Respectable media figures and jokes at the White House Correspondent's Dinner and appearances on Leno and ghostwritten self-glorifying memoirs and lavishly catered fundraising parties with corporate executives. They should be rewarded with outrage. They should be rewarded with scorn. Starting a war is a monstrous, monstrous crime against humanity, as we know when it begins that no matter how cleanly it is conducted it will result in thousands upon thousands of bullets smashing men's skulls and arms and legs blown off by shrapnel and mothers and children incinerated by high explosives. And every extra day that a war is perpetuated unnecessarily is a crime anew.
[ nailed ]
Free Willy ...In many institutions, women are steadily replacing men because prisons prefer to hire guards without criminal records and with some education beyond high school—both of which favor female applicants. Female guards have another virtue: In most jurisdictions, they can legally oversee housing units for both male and female inmates, whereas men often are permitted to guard and conduct pat-searches only on other men. The result is that male inmates are accorded less privacy in which to masturbate than female inmates, says Brenda Smith, the law professor. “Women are in these environments, and they can look into the cell. They come by and the guy is masturbating and all of a sudden [the guards think] it's about them. When in fact it isn't. Then those guys get written up, when they didn’t even know she was coming.”
Prisons must also protect female guards from the hostile work environment that ensues if inmate masturbation is not held in check. This was established in a case that reached the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 involving a female guard who was repeatedly exposed to exhibitionist masturbation. In 1998 and 1999, Officer Deanna Freitag was sometimes tasked with monitoring the exercise yard at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Secure Housing Unit, which holds many of California’s most violent criminals. Somehow it became an inmate tradition to openly jack off when she was in the control tower. Freitag started writing up the serial masturbators, but her superiors ignored her reports—they told her exposure to misbehavior was part of the job and that “it’s only sex.” Freitag filed a formal complaint with the state. Pelican Bay found a reason to fire her. The fight wound up in court.
The facts were not really in dispute: A state inspector general’s report showed that female officers at Pelican Bay were regularly exposed to exhibitionist masturbation, and that administrators knew about it and did little to prevent it. (Many prisons install semi-opaque, one-way glass on control towers so officers can see out but inmates can’t see in.) Several female Pelican Bay officers testified that the pattern of masturbation had undermined their authority. The court concluded “with little difficulty” that the state was liable for maintaining a hostile work environment.
[ yes? ]
The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 majority decision, overturned the conviction of Juan Smith on Tuesday because New Orleans prosecutors had withheld important evidence of his innocence from the defense. Prosecutors have announced that they intend to retry the Smith case. Smith’s 1995 murder conviction provides yet another example of misconduct by the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office. From the Huffington Post:Most notably, in 1999 Louisiana came within 48 hours of executing John Thompson, convicted in a 1985 murder in New Orleans, before a private investigator hired by his defense attorneys chanced upon blood evidence buried in crime lab archives that ultimately led to a retrial and a full acquittal. A prosecutor later confessed that he and others had “intentionally suppressed” the blood evidence, according to federal court documents.Thompson brought a civil lawsuit against the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office and was awarded $14 million dollars in damages for the 14 years he wrongly served on death row. In March 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court stripped Thompson of his compensation in a decision that granted prosecutors almost complete immunity for their misconduct. . Thompson has now joined the Innocence Project and other advocacy groups in calling for greater prosecutorial accountability.Read the full article. Read more about Thompson’s case and the Prosecutorial Misconduct tour.Above: John Thompson, (c) Echoing Green
The court heard arguments [JURIST report] in the case in November. The petitioner argued that it was fundamentally unfair to allow potentially erroneous eyewitness identifications into the trial simply because they were not orchestrated by police. New Hampshire, supported by the US Solicitor General as amicus curiae, argued that the rules of evidence provided sufficient safeguards and that cases where the erroneous identifications were disallowed were aimed at deterring police misconduct, which no one has alleged in the case at hand. In addition, the government urged it is the primary role of the jury to assess the reliability of evidence and handing that determination to the judge would be a fundamental shift in our trial practice. The court questioned whether the role of these due process protections was strictly deterrence or whether it also included prevention of injustice, as urged by petitioner.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.
It's a banner year for the Association of American Law Schools, as far as new members are concerned. The AALS's House of Delegates during its annual meeting in Washington approved four law schools for membership, its largest yearly increase since the 1970s. "This is a very special year, as far as membership," said AALS Executive Director Susan Westerberg Prager, who noted that the last major membership surge occurred in the aftermath of World War II. "Each one of these schools brings its own personality to our membership."
The House of Delegates on Jan. 5 approved the membership of the Drexel University Earl Mack School of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law, the St. Thomas School University of Law and Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.
AALS now counts 176 schools as members. Drexel's law school opened in 2005. North Carolina Central University School of Law, one of the first law schools at a historically black college, opened in 1939. St. Thomas operated a law school from 1923 to 1933 before closing it, then reopening it in 1999. What is now known as the Texas Wesleyan School of Law opened in 1989. After welcoming its new members, ABA President William T. (Bill) Robinson III told the assembled group of law professors that he had prepared remarks, but decided instead to "speak from the heart." "These are difficult times in legal education," Robinson said, referring to the tight legal job market, skyrocketing costs and criticism from The New York Times and elsewhere. "The attacks are not fair, in our opinion."
That comment came two days after the ABA filed its initial response to a suit filed in federal court in late December by Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law after the ABA denied it accreditation, and just one day before both parties were scheduled to appear in a Knoxville, Tenn., courtroom for a hearing on the temporary restraining order that the law school is seeking. Duncan's lawsuit claims that the ABA violated antitrust law in denying its application. Robinson said he always visits with law students when he makes trips around the country and never fails to be impressed with their skills and knowledge. "They are, in my opinion, making very wise decisions about their future," he said. "These are very bright people." The decision to attend law school is not necessarily about job security, Robinson said, but rather about opportunity. A law degree offers the "widest potential variety of career opportunity" compared to other advanced degree programs, he said. The ABA is committed to defending law schools from attacks on its ability to produce good lawyers, he said "Our law schools can stand up and measure up against any other graduate program in this country," he said. Contact Karen Sloan at email@example.com.
[ congrats NCCU et al ]
CENTER ON JUVENILE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
JANUARY January 1, 2012.
California's proposed criminal justice realignment gains support from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) who issued a report with policy recommendations focusing on youth detention. The state will stop running juvenile detention and CJCJ said that shifting full responsibilities for juvenile justice services to the counties will spur innovation and produce substantial cost savings.
The report provides six policy recommendations.
Access the report here.
The National Society of Film Critics on Saturday, January 7th, 2012, chose “Melancholia” as Best Picture of the Year 2011. Kristin Dunst was named best actress for her performance in Lars von Trier’s film
An important new study based on capital cases in Connecticut provides powerful evidence that death sentences are haphazardly meted out.
A number of studies in the last three decades have shown that black defendants are more likely to be sentenced to death if their victim is white rather than black. But defenders of capital punishment often respond to those studies by arguing that the “worst of the worst” are sentenced to death because their crimes are the most egregious.
The Connecticut study, conducted by John Donohue, a Stanford law professor, completely dispels this erroneous reasoning. It analyzed all murder cases in Connecticut over a 34-year period and found that inmates on death row are indistinguishable from equally violent offenders who escape that penalty. It shows that the process in Connecticut — similar to those in other death-penalty states — is utterly arbitrary and discriminatory.
Balkinization: Was the New York Times Used by Duncan Law School (or were we duped by the Times)?
The theme of the final installment of the New York Times series on law schools, "For Law Schools, A Price to Play the A.B.A.'s Way," was that ABA accreditation is to blame for high tuition. The story revolved around the effort of Duncan School of Law to obtain provisional A.B.A. accreditation. In the article, Duncan administrators and the main benefactor complained that accreditation regulations were "massive, just massive." Without these requirements, they claimed, "Duncan could have cut its tuition in half, maybe by two-thirds."The article gave the clear impression that Duncan was awaiting a final decision on whether it would receive accreditation without any foreknowledge of its likely fate. ..."
The American Bar Association shed some light on its decision to deny accreditation to Knoxville-based Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law.
The ABA typically declines to discuss such details, but Duncan sued the organization last month, saying the school had fulfilled all requirements needed to received the ABA’s seal of approval.
The ABA, in an opposing brief filed late Tuesday, said it definitely had not.
Among the reasons stated for rejecting Duncan: It doesn’t have a strong academic plan; it lacks effective academic support program; LSAT and undergraduate grade point averages for incoming students have declined since the school opened in 2009; enrollment has failed to meet the projections; and one-third of its students who were academically dismissed were readmitted.
These findings and others put the school out of compliance with ABA standards, the brief said.
Duncan is trying to break in as a lower-cost alternative for students from distressed parts of the country, including the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. (Still, the school estimated that students would carry a debt load of $80,000 to $100,000 upon graduation, according to the brief.) Duncan has cast itself as a incubator for lawyers who could provide sorely lacking services in low-income communities.
The ABA, noting budget reductions in the legal-aid community, cited Duncan for failing to revise its strategic plan to reflect its lower-than-expected enrollment numbers and “changed conditions.”
For example, “[p]art of the mission of the Law School is to prepare young lawyers to serve a population that cannot afford legal services,” but Duncan acknowledged that “Legal Aid of Eastern Tennessee has had to lay off lawyers, due to budget cuts” and it was unaware of any anticipated increase in public funding for legal services.
Law Blog isn’t sure what the ABA is suggesting here. Shouldn’t Duncan aim to produce lawyers to serve the under-served even if legal-aid groups are under-funded? We’ve asked the ABA for some clarity.
Duncan dean Sydney Beckman declined to comment on the substance of the ABA’s filing.
“While we stand firm in our position that we are in substantial compliance with the ABA standards, it is our position that we desire to work with, not against, the ABA,” Beckman said in an email to Law Blog.
It’s inconceivable to me that someone with a college education, or a graduate-level education, would not know before deciding to go to law school that the economy has declined over the last several years and that the job market out there is not as opportune as it might have been five, six, seven, eight years ago
-William Robinson, president of the American Bar Association
Now that’s the kind of bluntness that makes news. Right or wrong, Robinson didn’t mince words in this interview with Reuters reporter David Ingram, published Wednesday night.