Lecture: Murder exoneree Kwame Ajamu to speak at IU McKinney School of Law

Date: November 13, 2015
Time: 7:15 PM
Location: Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Wynne Courtroom

INDIANAPOLIS — On Friday, Nov. 13, the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Kwame Ajamu ImageLaw Wrongful Conviction Clinic, in conjunction with the Indiana Abolition Coalition, will host Kwame Ajamu, who was exonerated of murder in February, 12 years after his parole following 28 years in prison for the crime.

Ajamu’s story is one of a wrong righted after years of punishment. The exoneree will speak at 7:15 p.m. in the Wynne Courtroom of the law school’s building, Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St., on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

At the age of 17, Kwame Ajamu, then known as Ronnie Bridgeman, was sent to death row from a Cleveland courtroom for the 1975 stabbing and shooting murder of a money-order salesman. No physical or forensic evidence linked Ajamu, his brother and a friend to the heinous crime. Rather, the prosecution’s case rested on the testimony of Eddie Vernon, who was 13 when he testified. All three were convicted.

Ajamu’s death sentence was commuted to life in 1978, when Ohio’s death-penalty statute was declared unconstitutional. He was paroled in 2003 after serving 28 years.

The Ohio Innocence Project agreed to reinvestigate the case after a 2011 magazine article highlighted inconsistencies in Vernon’s eyewitness testimony. In November 2014, Vernon told a judge reviewing the matter that the police gave him the details of the crime.

In February 2015, Ajamu was declared innocent.

The law school’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic, directed by professor Fran Watson, is a founding member of the Innocence Network. The international group of about 60 organizations is “dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted.” The network is also dedicated to policy reforms leading to the prevention of wrongful convictions.

About 16 to 20 students each year are accepted into the Wrongful Conviction Clinic program. Their success stories include the 2001 release of Larry Mayes of Gary, Ind., who was exonerated of rape based on DNA testing that resulted from the work of Watson and four of her clinic students. In 2008, a federal court approved a $4.5 million settlement for Mayes, who spent 21 years in prison on the wrongful conviction.

Lecture: McKinney panel to discuss national, international responses to refugee crises

INDIANAPOLIS — Responses to the world refugee crisis are the focus of an upcoming 482544_w296public panel discussion at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. McKinney School of Law will present “World Refugee Crisis? Domestic and International Responses” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 in the Wynne Courtroom of the law school building, Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St.  The presentation is part of the McKinney Graduate Studies Lecture Series.

The informative panel discussion will address the domestic and legal frameworks for dealing with the issue of refugees, Bravo said. Panel members include Sam Sites, 2017 McKinney J.D. candidate, who through the law school’s Program in International Human Rights Law interned with the Legal Resources Centre in Accra, Ghana, and the Organization for Aid to Refugees in Prague. His internship assignments included weekly visits to a refugee camp and a refugee detention center. A better understanding of the world refugee crisis is invaluable for the typical American, Sites said.

“It’s important for Americans to have a better understanding of the world refugee crisis so that we can better aid refugees and countries that are helping them. Americans have always been generous, so it’s also important for them to know about organizations they can support to help refugees, even if they won’t necessarily meet any of the refugees,” Sites said. “There are many human-rights and refugee organizations that are based in the United States, so there are opportunities to serve and to respond within the U.S. You don’t have to travel or be fluent in a different language to help refugees.”

Other panel members are:

  • Mahja Zeon, deputy prosecutor, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Carleen Miller, executive director, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc.
  • Bernard Trujillo, professor, Valparaiso University School of Law

The event is free, but registration is strongly encouraged. Additional information is available on the McKinney website.

IU McKinney presents Constitution Day Program with review of Supreme Court cases

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law will 472103_w296commemorate Constitution Day on Sept. 17 with the program “Review of Recent Supreme Court Cases.”

Professors from IU McKinney, on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, will discuss issues in their areas of expertise raised in recent U.S. Supreme Court cases.

They include:

The event will be at 12:45 p.m. Sept.17 in Room 300, Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St. It is open to the public and carries with it 1.3 hours of continuing legal education credit. The program is free, and registration is encouraged on the law school’s website.

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the United States Constitution, which occurred Sept. 17, 1787. The law school celebrates the occasion every year with a public program.

Talking About Freedoms without Freaking Out

An IUPUI discussion series powered by Spirit & Place, a legacy project of The Polis iupuiCenter, part of IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, with support from the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, Indiana Humanities, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and The Center for Civic Literacy.

Where do individual rights begin and end? Which religious liberties are protected by the Constitution? Who decides what is “right” when our ideals about religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom from discrimination clash? How do we get past media sound bites and sensational opinions to really talk about our freedoms without freaking out? Explore which freedoms the First Amendment does – and does not – protect in our summer discussion series.

June 19, 12-1 p.m.
Hate Speech and the First Amendment: Values in Conflict
Scottish Rite Cathedral – FREE
At what point, if at all, should so-called “hate speech” become illegal? During the monthly luncheon of the League of Women Voters ‎of Indianapolis, hear attorney and civic leader Don Knebel discuss hate speech and the First Amendment.

June 24, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (reception to follow)
Can We Talk about RFRA without Talking Past One Another?
IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law Wynne Courtroom – FREE (register at mckinney.iu.edu)
It’s fair to say that the controversy over RFRA raised more heat than light. This panel aims to model thoughtful conversation on the constitutional and philosophical questions raised by the RFRA debate. Hear from executive director of the ACLU of Indiana Jane Henegar, IU McKinney Professor of Law John Hill, and attorney and IBJ columnist Peter Rusthoven. Moderated by IU McKinney Professor of Law Robert Katz. 1.5 hours of CLE credit available.

July 13, 5-7 p.m.
Trivia Night
Sun King Brewery – FREE
We’re redefining the meaning of “bar exam” with a night of First Amendment trivia and conversation at Sun King. Grab a beer and your thinking cap and join Indiana Humanities and Spirit & Place for quiz night! Open to anyone 21+, there will be prizes for the night’s sharpest legal eagles.

More info at www.spiritandplace.org.

Labor movement efforts in Indianapolis are barometer of service-sector advances nationwide

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis is a good barometer of how service-sector labor movement Fran-Quigley-profileefforts could fair nationwide, some labor workers say.

A new book by Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor Fran Quigley examines the rise of service-sector workers in the U.S. labor movement. “If We Can Win Here: The New Front Lines of the Labor Movement” tells the stories of janitors, fry cooks and health care aides in Indianapolis and their struggle for better pay.

Quigley will discuss “If We Can Win Here,” published by Cornell University Press, at a book launch at 5 p.m. Friday, May 8, at Bookmamas, 9 S. Johnson Ave., Indianapolis.

“From fast-food worker ‘Fight for 15′ strikes to campaigns to increase the minimum wage to unionization of food service workers and janitors, there is a great deal of high-profile activity across the country in this area,” Quigley said. “This book is a close-up, grassroots view of those workers and those campaigns in one community — Indianapolis — where traditional union organizing has been a challenge in recent decades.”

Indianapolis service-sector workers have experienced some success, the professor said.

“Food service workers at universities across Indianapolis, as well as at the airport, have organized into unions and won better pay and more job security in their first contracts,” Quigley said. “Janitors and security guards are still fighting for better pay, but their struggles and the broader Fight for 15 efforts all contribute to an increasing awareness of the need to pay living wages, which is boosting the campaign to raise the minimum wage.”

The book launch will include a discussion of workers’ rights. Some of the workers Quigley wrote about in his book will attend the event and be available for media questions.

Quigley is a clinical professor of law and teaches in the Health and Human Rights Clinic at IU McKinney on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. Clinic students advocate for rights on behalf of the poor and have a special focus on representing low-wage workers.

IU McKinney to host exhibit about treatment of Jewish lawyers under Nazi regime

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law will host a mckinney bldgtraveling exhibit that focuses on the plight of Jewish legal professionals in Nazi-controlled Germany.

The exhibit, “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich,” runs April 20 to 28 in the Ruth Lilly Law Library on the first floor of Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St. It will be available for viewing from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The traveling exhibit focuses on the fate of Jewish lawyers, judges, law professors and civil servants throughout Germany who were disbarred and stripped of the right to practice law shortly after the Nazis came to power in 1933.

In 1998, an Israeli lawyer asked the regional bar of Berlin for a list of Jewish lawyers whose licenses had been revoked by the Nazi regime. The bar decided not only to compile the list of names but to try to find out what happened to the lawyers. Some were able to leave the country, but many were incarcerated or killed. The Berlin bar’s research was transformed into the “Lawyers Without Rights” exhibit, with other regional bars adding their own information.

An opening day reception for “Lawyers Without Rights” will take place at 10:30 a.m. April 20 at the IU McKinney School of Law. Those interested in attending may RSVP to Shawn Dankoski at sldanko@iupui.edu or 317-274-4789.

IU McKinney School of Law symposium to address Indiana water issues

Water access and water quality challenges associated with Indiana’s riverways and watersheds are the focus of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s seventh annual spring symposium on the environment, energy and natural resources.

The symposium, “Indiana Rivers: Water Access, Water Quality & Water’s Future,” will take place at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in the Wynne Courtroom of Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St.

Carol Comer, general counsel for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, will present “Indiana’s Water Priorities” as the keynote luncheon address at noon.

Recent events in West Virginia — where more than 300,000 people lost access to basic drinking water following a chemical release into the Elk River — and in Indiana — where almost two-thirds of assessed state waters have been designated as “impaired” under the Clean Water Act — show that even the most complex and carefully managed regulatory system can still fail, and that more can be done to address challenges to Indiana’s water system.

In addition to Comer’s address, panels of experts and leaders at the symposium will:

  • Describe the state of water access and water quality law and challenges in Indiana.
  • Examine recent efforts to protect water quality affected by coal combustion.
  • Assess the measures that exist to prevent an Elk River-type disaster in Indiana.
  • Explore water access and water quality as an Environmental Justice Concern.

Expert panelists include the co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights in New Orleans; the managing principal of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., in Washington, D.C.; the water and ag policy director for Hoosier Environmental Council; the conservation director of Sierra Club’s Hoosier Chapter; and the executive director of the Conservation Law Center in Bloomington.

Speakers from the Indiana House of Representatives, the Indiana Senate, Earthjustice, Prairie Rivers Network, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, IU Maurer School of Law at IU Bloomington and the McKinney School of Law will also participate.

A detailed listing of symposium panelists and topics for discussion is available online.

Online registration is available for high school and university students, faculty, staff and non-profit employees; and for other attendees. The cost is $75 for attorneys registering for 6 hours of CLE credit; $25 general admission.

For questions, please contact: enlaw@iu.edu.

McDonald Merrill Ketcham Award Lecture: “Are Physicians Fiduciaries for Their Patients?”

Thursday February 20, 2014
12:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Wynn Courtroom, Inlow Hall

Maxwell J. Mehlman, J.D., will present “Are Physicians Fiduciaries for Their Patients?” from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. A panel discussion, then reception will follow the lecture.

A fiduciary is a legal or ethical relationship of trust between two or more parties. The patient-physician relationship would seem to be a classic example of a fiduciary relationship given the need for ill-informed patients lacking bargaining power to trust their physicians, but many scholars and judges have questioned this assumption. The lecture examines the reasons for their skepticism and argues that they are misguided. Mehlman argues that regarding doctors as fiduciaries for their patients not only is essential for the patients’ well-being, but necessary to preserve the physicians’ status as learned professionals in the face of increasing pressure to act contrary to their patients’ interests.

A speaker’s reception will be held from 2:45 to 3:45 in the Inlow Hall atrium. This event is part of the McDonald Merrill Ketcham Award Lecture series presented by the Hall Center for Law and Health at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

This is a free event, but registration is required.

Panel Discussion following Professor’s Mehlman’s lecture:

  • Mary Ott, M.D., M.A., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Joshua Perry, J.D., M.T.S., Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics and a Life Sciences Research Fellow, Indiana University Kelley School of Business
  • Mark Rothstein, J.D., Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine, University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, and Director of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Mehlman is a Distinguished University Professor and Petersilge Professor of Law at the Case Western Reserve School of Law and and professor of biomedical ethics at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. He is also director of the Law-Medicine Center at the Case Western Reserve University. Panel discussion participants are Mary Ott, M.D.,associate professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine; Joshua Perry, J.D., assistant professor of business law and ethics and a life sciences research fellow at the IU Kelley School of Business at Bloomington and Mark Rothstein, J.D., Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine and director of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy, and Law at the University of Louisville.

IU McKinney School expert in sports law heads to Sochi Games

An Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor is headed for Sochi, Russia, as a member of a highly specialized team selected for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

But Gary Roberts, dean emeritus and Gerald L. Bepko Professor of Law at the McKinney School of Law on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, won’t be competing for the gold.

Roberts, an expert in sports law, is one of nine arbitrators selected to sit on the special tribunal charged with settling all legal disputes related to the Sochi Games. The professor brings more than 30 years of experience in the sports industry and a decade of experience as a sports arbitrator to his seat on the tribunal, known as the Court of Arbitration for Sport ad hoc Division. But that didn’t keep his selection from being a surprise.

“It was a surprise — and a great honor — given that there are only nine from around the world chosen each time,” Roberts said. “I was surprised simply because out of the thousands of talented sports lawyers in the world, and the hundreds of experienced CAS arbitrators around the world, I got selected. It sort of felt like winning the lottery.

While atypical scenarios can arise, cases heard by the Court of Arbitration for the games generally fall into one or two broad categories: a question relating to an athlete’s (or judge’s) eligibility; or a challenge to the outcome of an event, Roberts said.

Cases in the first category can arise because of situations such as a positive drug test, a challenge to the athlete’s country of residence, or a question about the athlete’s gender. Cases in the second category can result when the claimant argues that the rules weren’t followed, the equipment didn’t function properly, or the judges or referees were biased or corrupted.

The International Council of Arbitration for Sport administers and finances the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a permanent arbitration institution headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The International Council of Arbitration for Sport has set up its CAS ad hoc Division at each summer and winter Olympic Games since 1996. The Sochi arbitrators, announced Jan. 20, are either lawyers, judges or professors specialized in sports law and arbitration.

The division provides all participants in the games with free arbitration to settle disputes. Following the filing of a complaint, the court rapidly convenes a hearing during which all parties and witnesses can present their legal arguments and evidence. Generally the court, operating under specially designed logistics and organization structures, renders its decisions within 24 hours of a hearing — time limits set to keep pace with the Olympic competitions.

Call for submissions: The Journal of Civic Literacy

America’s low levels of civic knowledge have been repeatedly documented. The Journal of Civic Literacy is a project of the Center for Civic Literacy at IUPUI. It is a new open-access, online interdisciplinary journal focused upon publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed articles on issues of American civic literacy, defined as that level of public knowledge necessary for informed civic participation.

Civic literacy for our purposes encompasses an acquaintance with:

  • American history, both episodic and intellectual;
  • An understanding of the nation’s constituent documents, their roots and their subsequent amendment and interpretation, and;
  • Sufficient familiarity with and comprehension of basic economic, scientific and policy terminology to permit the formation of reasonably informed opinions on matters of policy disputation.

We are interested in articles addressing:

  • The causes and consequences of low levels of literacy,
  • The role of public education, the comparative efficacy of available curricula and programs (what is working? why and how?),
  • Connections between the current media environment and deficient civic understandings,
  • The role of civic literacy in holding public servants accountable for ethical and trustworthy public service, and
  • Theoretical submissions that consider the role of civic knowledge in the multiple arenas of our common American life.

The Journal’s editorial staff recognizes that practitioners, community members, engaged citizens and others add much value to the ongoing conversation around these issues. Accordingly, in addition to the research articles that will form the basis of each issue, we will welcome contributions to a separate section, the Citizenship Conversation, in which we hope to highlight contributions from government figures, lawyers, political actors, nonprofit administrators and board members, schoolteachers and others concerned about the effects of our civic deficit. Those contributions can take the form of opinion pieces, “best practices” reports, reviews of pertinent books, descriptions of programs and other essays consistent with the Journal’s focus.

The journal will initially be published twice a year by the Center for Civic Literacy at IUPUI. Its editorial board includes scholars representing a wide range of disciplines: political science, public administration, education, science, religious studies and business.

Additional information about the Journal and the submission process can be accessed at on the journal’s website. Questions about this Call for Papers or the Journal of Civic Literacy should be directed to Sheila Kennedy (shekenne@iupui.edu) or jcivlit@iupui.edu.