Criminal Justice Reform Tackled at BC Law

At BC Law, your education does not only consist of the material you learn in your courses. BC hosts many conferences, functions, presentations, and discussions on just about every subject you can think of, from panels put on by professors addressing recent political actions to all-day events sponsored by BC’s journals and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy. Recently, the Rappaport Center sponsored an all-day conference on criminal justice reform in Massachusetts that was open to both students and practitioners. There were three panels as well as a keynote address by Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

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Through the Eyes of a Child

If you are ever looking for a brutally honest opinion of yourself, swallow your pride and ask a five year old.

In the years I spent working with kids at a community non-profit, I had the pleasure of hearing such gems as, “Miss Morgan, your tummy looks like my mommy’s when there’s a baby inside!” and “Did you know you look a lot less pretty when you wear your glasses?” Though some took these remarks seriously, one look at the sweet little faces from which the comments sprang forth never failed to make me laugh out loud. The children who attended these programs, often with the help of scholarships and sliding-scale payment plans, were typically filled with a joy and sense of innocence that made me absolutely love my job. All too often, however, these amusing little observations were juxtaposed with unfettered comments about living situations that revealed just how much these kids had been through in their short lives. I cannot forget the five-year-old who told me she wanted to kill herself because she missed her father so much, or the look of shame in an eleven-year-old’s eyes when his mother arrived to pick him up while high on drugs. I often felt frustrated by my inability to help these kids beyond passing the information along to DCF. I wanted so desperately to be able to advocate for these children in a way that went beyond simply telling someone higher up than me.

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Meet the Ambassadors: Hanna and Lauren

The BC Law Student Ambassadors program launched last year. It is designed to enhance the on-campus experience for every prospective student who visits BC Law. The Ambassadors lead campus tours, help out at Admitted Students Day, and serve as a resource for applicants and admitted students who are considering enrolling at BC Law.

I’ll be profiling the dozen or so new Ambassadors during the next few months. Here are the first two! You can read through our archives to see previous profiles. If you are a prospective student and notice something about any of our Ambassadors that you’d like to discuss with him or her – whether it’s a shared alma mater, an interesting extracurricular, or an appealing summer job – do not hesitate to reach out. After all, that’s what we’re here for!

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Name:  Hanna Lipman

Year: 2019

Undergraduate institution: Tulane

Experiences between college and law school: Worked in luxury fashion marketing in Dallas, CSR marketing in NYC, at Equinox in NYC, and helped open an Orangetheory in Brooklyn.

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Humans of BC Law: Professor Martin O’Malley

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“I think you’re going to see more young people running for office for the first time in these next elections than ran for the first time inspired by President Obama’s success. … In my experience on the presidential stage — a tour that was shorter than I would have hoped — it seemed that anger and fear were the animating emotions of the entire election.

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Stories from the Public Interest Front Lines

It has been and continues to be a privilege to witness some of the most vulnerable moments of a person’s life, to stand with them, and try to help. The young people with whom I’ve worked have radically different stories than my own, and I imagine different from most law students. My years spent working with them have shown me that while ongoing assistance and intervention in domestic, educational and religious environments is crucial, it can only do so much in the face of a legal system which, for example, occasionally punishes children for problems for which they are not directly responsible. These young people deserve someone fighting on their side who has walked alongside them and experienced a piece of their story. Here are three that have stayed with me. I’ve changed names, but otherwise told them as they happened.

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When Jackson’s foster mom dropped him off at the ER, she gave the nurses a piece of advice: don’t let him play dinosaur inside. This was passed along to the director of the behavioral and mental health unit at a different hospital where he ended up, and was repeated to every staff member who worked with him: no dinosaur inside.

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Governor O’Malley at BC Law: Restoring Integrity to Our Democracy

Governor Martin O’Malley may have taken a step back from the national stage to reflect and teach in suburban Newton, Massachusetts, but he is certainly not shying away from the issues at the heart of current American politics. In a talk entitled “Restoring Integrity to Our Democracy” at Boston College Law School on Tuesday, Gov. O’Malley contemplated the conditions that resulted in President Donald Trump’s election and urged action on a series of fronts in order to protect and revitalize our democratic system of government.

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The former Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore, who just last year shared a debate stage with Democratic Party candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, struck an ominous tone at the outset about the current state of the country. He warned of the dangers of the President’s ideology, which he called “Trumpism,” before rejecting Pope Francis’ recent suggestion that we should “wait and see” what President Trump does before judging him. “Our political institutions are in a state of crisis,” he said. “Now we must ask what each of us will do.”

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My Summer with a Judge

What’s it like to be a judge?

It’s my sixth week of working for Judge Dineen Riviezzo of the Kings County (Brooklyn) Supreme Court. Judge Riviezzo hears felony cases and Article 10 civil confinement cases. Also, every Friday, she’s in charge of the juvenile offender part, where she hears cases involving 14, 15, and 16-year-olds who would normally be heard in Family Court, but because they commit certain serious crimes, are heard in Supreme Court (but are often afforded youthful offender treatment).

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View of Brooklyn from the Judge’s chambers

So far, I can say that being a judge requires three major qualities.

First, it requires patience. Whether it’s dealing with an attorney’s mistake, sorting out a disagreement between the parties, or waiting for a defendant to be produced or parties to show up, I’ve learned that for judges, every day is a test of patience. Continue reading

BC Law Students at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Hi everyone! I have the pleasure of hosting a guest blog from Jovalin Dedaj, BC Law ’16. Jovalin and Cristina Manzano, BC Law ’16, recently argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

As a law student, I knew that my legal education would involve reading cases, outlining cases, and studying cases. I certainly did not know (nor did I expect) that as a BC law student, my legal education would also involve arguing a case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Jovalin Dedaj ’16 and Cristina Manzano ’16 at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

When Professor Kari Hong joined the BC faculty in 2012, she brought with her an extensive background in immigration law and appellate work. One of her first initiatives at the law school was setting up the Ninth Circuit Appellate Project (NCAP), a clinic devoted to representing indigent clients in the Ninth Circuit who face immigration consequences for various criminal convictions. I first heard about the clinic as a first-year law student and remember thinking to myself what an intimidating experience it would be to argue a case before a U.S. circuit court of appeals without even having graduated law school! Two years later, the feeling certainly returned the morning of our oral arguments.

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Meet the Affinity Group Leaders: Heather Perez (LALSA)

Name: Heather PerezHaynes-IMG_5060

Year: 2L (Class of 2017)

Organization: Latin American Law Students Association (President)

Undergraduate Institution: Boston University

Experiences between college and law school:

I worked in public service in Boston as the Legislative Aide for State Representative Willie Mae Allen. Later, I served as the Chief of Staff for Boston City Councilor At-Large Felix G. Arroyo, and helped lead his campaign for Mayor.

 Favorite event that your organization plans:

LALSA hosts a Day in the Life” for local high school students to come to BC Law and get a personal look at being a law student from the perspective of LALSA members. Part of our goals as an organization is to provide mentorship and it’s great to be able to do that both within our BC Law community and in the Greater Boston community.

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