Angelos Law Center named to Md. architectural ‘must see’ list

For SI -- law center dusk

UB’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center

UB’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center is among 25 “must see” structures in Maryland, according to a recent report by USA TODAY and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The 12-story Angelos Law Center, designed by Behnisch Architekten and Ayers Saint Gross, opened in 2013 and was the first U.S. law school building to receive a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Click here to read the story and to see a photo gallery of the 25 noteworthy Maryland buildings and monuments, which include several other structures in Baltimore: Orioles Stadium at Camden Yards, the Washington Monument and the George Peabody Library, among others.

Click here to learn more about the law center and to take a virtual tour.

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Heading for the beach? Don’t miss the alumni reception!

MSBA 2017

Join us for an alumni reception during the MSBA Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will take place in the Horizons Main Bar at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel (10100 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD 21842).

Click here or on the image above to RSVP.

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Pretrial Justice Clinic issues report summing up inaugural year

Colin and Zina in office 4

Pretrial Justice Clinic co-directors Zina Makar and Colin Starger

The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Pretrial Justice Clinic, or PTJC, has just published a report that summarizes its work during the 2016-17 academic year and presents its findings and recommendations so far.

Click here to read a flipbook version of the report.

Funded by the University of Baltimore and the Abell Foundation, the PTJC opened its doors in August 2016 with the general goal of promoting pretrial justice in Baltimore City through litigation, lobbying and education.

Co-directors Colin Starger and Zina Makar report that, over the past nine months, the PTJC has made significant progress in each of these areas.

From the Executive Summary of the Pretrial Justice Clinic report:

  • In partnership with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, the PTJC screened more than 75 cases and PTJC student-attorneys represented 21 low-income Marylanders in their efforts to secure pretrial release. PTJC students met with success in these efforts and most PTJC clients enjoyed favorable case outcomes.
  • The PTJC worked with institutional stakeholders and the Coalition for a Safe and Just Maryland to help secure an important pretrial rule change adopted by the Maryland Court of Appeals that will go into effect on July 1, 2017. When the bail-bond industry attempted to undo the rule change during the legislative session, the PTJC assisted in ultimately successful coalition efforts to defeat regressive legislation.
  • On the educational front, the PTJC held a well-received symposium, “Money Bail and Its Role in Mass Incarceration,” that brought together advocates and stakeholders for strategic discussion and launched #BailReformMD. In addition, the PTJC helped focus the attention of media on bail issues.

Based on its work and on an analysis of its internal data, the PTJC found that: (1) too many Marylanders are unnecessarily incarcerated before trial; (2) the presumption of innocence is undermined in the pretrial context; and (3) the new rule from the Court of Appeals is likely to help reduce the role of money bail in Maryland but may also exacerbate the problem of excessive preventive detention.

In light of these findings, the PTJC report recommends more careful review of evidence before holding defendants without bail, greater collaboration to facilitate review of bail determinations, training and education about the new procedural rule, and legislation to improve pretrial data collection.

Learn about the Pretrial Justice Clinic.

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On Capitol Hill, Tiefer stresses investigatory role of Congress

Professor Charles Tiefer

Professor Charles Tiefer

Professor Charles Tiefer was among three professors invited to take part Wednesday afternoon in a Capitol Hill hearing on Congress’ role in investigating the Russian hacking scandal and related matters.

The June 7 hearing was organized by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), a ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia is among the other Democratic representatives on the subcommittee.

Tiefer, who served as general counsel (acting) of the House before he began teaching at UB in 1995, wrote about the briefing in Forbes.com the following day, hours after fired FBI director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Read “In Comey’s Wake, the House Needs to Investigate Trump More” (June 8, 2017).

The June 7 House hearing was titled “Special Counsel: What are the next steps? What are the constitutional duties of the United States Congress?” Also taking part were Allan Lichtman, professor of U.S. political history at American University, and Michael Gerhardt, professor of constitutional law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Tiefer was the special deputy chief counsel of the House Iran-Contra Committee in the late 1980s. He has written extensively on investigative issues, including the matters that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Tiefer told the House subcommittee and audience members that included several members of Congress that congressional investigations of the Russia matter should proceed even though a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller III, has been appointed to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

“Washington has a strong history of simultaneous investigations by special prosecutors and congressional committees,” Tiefer said, citing inquiries into the Watergate, Iran-Contra and Monica Lewinsky affairs.

During the Watergate scandal, he noted, special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski worked at the same time as the House Judiciary Committee under leader Peter Rodino.

In the case of the Reagan-era Iran-Contra affair, Tiefer spoke from personal knowledge: “I served as special deputy chief counsel of the House Iran-Contra committee,” he said. “Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh worked at the same time as our House committee, which included House Judiciary leader Peter Rodino (again).”

Tiefer noted that numerous congressional investigations took place during Clinton’s tenure, culminating in the House Judiciary Committee impeachment action by Chairman Henry Hyde over the Lewinsky affair, which took place while independent counsel Kenneth Starr worked simultaneously on the same matter.

Said Tiefer: “There are many important reasons for this consistent pattern of congressional investigations of presidential matters, with Judiciary Committee members in the forefront, at the same time as special counsels. A special counsel has his limits. Apart from trials, he has no forum like briefings, hearings, or even floor speeches and press releases, to present the press and the public with the evidence. He proceeds in secret and no one knows what he uncovers.”

Moreover, Tiefer pointed out, a special counsel focuses on prosecutions.

“A special prosecutor might, as Independent Counsel Walsh did, focus on the figures whom he might indict and convict, like Oliver North,” Tiefer said, emphasizing that a special prosecutor might not think of the president as someone readily subject to indictment and conviction. (Tiefer noted that neither the Watergate special prosecutors, nor Walsh or Starr ever indicted a president during his term.)

In short, Tiefer said, a special prosecutor may not focus on the president the way Congress would.

In contrast, Tiefer said, “Congressional investigations of presidential matters, especially by the House Judiciary Committee with its special mandate, have a different and necessary reason for their consistent pattern of proceeding even with special counsel out there.”

Such congressional investigations are the “eyes and ears of the nation,” Tiefer said.

“They are the avenue through which the House performs its function of examining presidential matters,” he continued. “And as elected leaders, they are allowed to, and expected, under the Constitution, to bring a kind of publicly representative judgment to presidential matters – in fact, crystallizing the judgment of the nation — that a special counsel does not.”

Another question that must be asked, Tiefer said, is: When can the members of the House Judiciary Committee start doing their investigative job?

“As House counsel, I worked with House committees countless times, including when they got started, and I have a very practical sense of what it means to ‘start doing their job,’” he said. “It means to get up out of their seats, if you excuse my putting it so bluntly, and go out to gather documents and interview witnesses. … In my experience, to get going all you need is a pad and pen and some ideas about whom to talk to.”

Tiefer emphasized that “there is a whole universe of material to be gathered from sources who are not recalcitrant.”

Posing a rhetorical question, Tiefer asked if the custodians of documents and witnesses would consider the current matter serious enough to merit their working with the House Judiciary Committee.

Tiefer then reminded his listeners that House Judiciary Committee leader Henry Hyde took the Monica Lewinsky matter with great seriousness and gathered the evidence for his impeachment of President Clinton.

Concluded Tiefer: “I think many knowledgeable sources will view the matters at issue today to be at least as worthy of inquiry by the House Judiciary Committee, if not more worthy of inquiry, than Monica Lewinsky.”

Learn more about Professor Tiefer.

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4th Circuit hands win to pro-bono client of Dolin, 3L student

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Thursday issued a precedential and unanimous opinion in a case argued for the appellant by Professor Greg Dolin and 3L Meghan Ellis Brennan.

The opinion in Stacy Lewis v. Nancy Berryhill, Acting Administrator, Social Security Administration (No. 15-2473), was a victory for Lewis, a pro-bono client of Dolin and Brennan, who argued the case in January.

Read the opinion.

Read the judgment.

Lewis appealed a decision by the U.S. District Court in Baltimore that upheld the Social Security Administration’s denial of disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income to her.

The Fourth Circuit panel vacated the judgment of the District Court, saying an administrative law judge who reviewed Lewis’s appeal of a Social Security Administration decision did not give appropriate weight to the opinions of Lewis’s physicians and failed to adequately explain his decision to deny Lewis benefits.

“It’s a great day for our client and for the Center for Medicine and Law,” said Dolin, who is co-director of the center.

The case has been remanded to the Social Security Administration for further proceedings consistent with the Fourth Circuit’s decision. Dolin said he hoped the tenor of the opinion would cause the Social Security Administration finally to grant benefits to Lewis.

Learn more about Professor Dolin and the Center for Medicine and Law.

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UB is 7th in percentage of grads with state judicial clerkships

Roughly 24 percent of Class of 2016 UB law graduates secured state judicial clerkships, putting the University of Baltimore School of Law at No. 7 on the Above the Law blog’s list of law schools with the highest percentage of graduates landing the coveted positions.

Read “The Law Schools Where the Most Graduates Got State Clerkships (2016),” which was posted today on the popular law blog.

Of the 277 members of the Class of 2016, 68 – or 24.54 percent — secured state judicial clerkships. (It’s unclear why Above the Law’s percentage is slightly different.)

In addition, one graduate landed a federal judicial clerkship.

See the ABA’s employment summary for UB’s Class of 2016 graduates.

In all, 88 percent of the Class of 2016 found solid law-related or other professional jobs within 10 months of graduation. Of the employed 2016 graduates, approximately 27 percent landed state judicial clerkships.

Here is Above the Law’s top 10 list of schools with the highest percentage of graduates landing state judicial clerkships:

  1. Seton Hall Law: 54.04 percent
  2. Rutgers Law: 46.11 percent
  3. UNLV Law: 28.45 percent
  4. Drexel University Kline School of Law: 27.21 percent
  5. Penn State (Dickinson) Law: 26.47 percent
  6. Roger Williams Law: 24.42 percent
  7. Baltimore Law: 23.83 percent
  8. Minnesota Law: 20.73 percent
  9. South Dakota Law: 20.69 percent
  10. Hawaii Law: 18.99 percent
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Epps: In immigration area, Court could paint ‘very ugly picture’

Professor Garrett Epps

Professor Garrett Epps

In his most recent Atlantic column, “The Supreme Court’s Immigration Law Showdown” (May 24), Professor Garrett Epps writes that what seems a low-key term could be remembered in history as a “blockbuster” in one area: how much due process is owed to immigrants, undocumented aliens, aliens outside the United States and even naturalized citizens.

In this area, eight cases remain to be announced. The Court granted review in most of them before the election, when, Epps writes, “they seemed legally important but not overwhelmingly so.”

But, he says, in today’s America – “the era of deportation force, mass immigrant roundups, expanding detention of allegedly unlawful immigrants, and hypertrophy of the Department of Homeland Security’s already overgrown enforcement apparatus” – they may become literal matters of life and death.

Epps describes the eight cases, which he divides evenly into “warm-up acts” and “the big boys.”

In the first category is Sessions v. Morales-Santana, which challenges a ruling denying citizenship to the foreign-born son of an American citizen. Epps writes that current immigration law discriminates between citizen fathers and citizen mothers when they have children abroad. Mothers who have lived in the United States for a year can pass citizenship on to their children, but fathers must have lived in the U.S. for 10 years, including five years before they were 14.

Among the “big boys” is Jennings v. Rodriguez, which tests whether aliens awaiting deportation can be held indefinitely without a hearing. Epps writes that many undocumented aliens may, for statutory reasons, be eligible to stay and are not being held on criminal charges. Nonetheless, the government argues that immigration statutes permit them to be held, possibly for years without bail, while the matter is resolved.

Another major immigration case is Hernandez v. Mesa, a federal lawsuit against a U.S. Border Patrol officer who shot across the U.S.-Mexico border and killed a teenager on the Mexican side. The government argues that constitutional protections against unlawful killings by law enforcement do not apply to aliens not on American soil.

Noting that the justices seem to lean toward the government in all the major cases, Epps says: “Step back from the details, and a winning streak for the government will paint a very ugly picture.”

Read the Atlantic article here.

Learn more about Professor Epps and access the archive of his Atlantic columns.

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