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  • Oct 09 2018

    Professor Spotlight: Professor Madalyn K. Wasilczuk (August)

    Interview Conducted By: Melanie C. Richard 

    This year, the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU has welcomed many new faculty members. One of them is Madalyn K. Wasilczuk. We took some time to get to know her and learn about the great things she’s doing this year at LSU.

     

    • So, what were you doing before you came to LSU Law?

    I arrived at LSU Law from Cornell Law School, where I was the inaugural Clinical Teaching Fellow at the Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide. As a fellow, I taught in the International Human Rights Clinic and Capital Punishment Clinic and supervised students working on human rights advocacy projects and death penalty cases in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. I also trained capital defense attorneys from sub-Saharan Africa for the Makwanyane Institute, the Center’s intensive, simulation-based capital defense training.

    Before transitioning to academia, I practiced as a public defender at The Defender Association of Philadelphia, representing indigent clients at all stages of felony and misdemeanor trials and juvenile delinquency proceedings. My job at the Defenders was my first after graduation from NYU Law, where I was a student advocate in the Global Justice Clinic and a student attorney in the Federal Defender Clinic. During law school, I also interned at International Justice Mission in Nairobi, Kenya, Open Society Justice Initiative, and the Metropolitan Public Defender of Nashville & Davidson County.

     

    • What brought you to LSU?

    I came to LSU to direct the Juvenile Defense Clinic. For me, the Clinic is an exciting opportunity to make a difference for kids in East Baton Rouge Parish.

     

    • Can you tell us about you role here?

    Along with my colleagues Professor Jack Harrison and Professor Lakita Leonard, I teach students to represent young people who are charged with delinquent acts in East Baton Rouge Parish zealously and effectively. We train students through hands-on simulations and discussions. Students also have the opportunity to represent clients directly in Juvenile Court. That means that students are responsible for interviewing their clients, investigating their cases, and preparing the case for trial. My role is to help students devise creative and persuasive ways to investigate and present their cases. I also serve as a safety net for student attorneys so that clients get the very best representation possible—while the clinic is a class, a client’s case can be life-changing and our number one priority must always be fighting hard to get him/her/them the best results possible.

     

    • What excites you the most about LSU Law? 

    The small size of East Baton Rouge Parish’s Juvenile Public Defender’s Office means that the clinic can make a big difference in the quality of representation young people receive in the parish. I’m also very excited by all the excellent work my clinical colleagues do—you, yes you, reading this—should take a clinic! Clinics were the best experience of my law school career, and they’re where I learned most of the skills with which I embarked on my career as a defender. I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.

     

    • What is the best piece of advice you can give to current law students?

    Take a clinic! I know I’m repeating myself, but I do think it’s the most challenging, rewarding and educational experience of law school (not to diminish what all my fine colleagues do in the classroom, of course). Also, your dedication to your clients and your ability to work with all different types of people are underemphasized in law school, but will be all-important in practice. Hone your work ethic and people skills now.

     

    If you don’t mind, share with us a little about your life outside of the Law Center.

    • What is your favorite thing about living in Louisiana? 

    It’s a little soon to say, I think, but I’m looking forward to Louisiana’s warm winters.

     

    • What do you like to do in your free time?

    I enjoy trying out new vegetarian recipes, traveling, practicing and teaching yoga, and cuddling with my cats.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Oct 09 2018

    Peace Be With You? (August)

    By: Kerith Willard

     

    Angry Catholics across the globe are calling for Pope Francis to resign after recent allegations have come to light that the Pope knew about and aided in a cover-up of sexual abuse.

     

    In an 11-page letter published by The National Catholic Register and Lifesite News, retired Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò alleged that Pope Francis lifted unconfirmed sanctions already in place on Washington D.C. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The letter detailed the cover-up by Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.

     

    Viganò stated that Pope Benedict XVI had previously sanctioned McCarrick to a lifetime of penance and prayer back in 2009-2010. He was not to travel, give lectures or publicly celebrate Mass.

     

    Viganò alleged that Francis knew about the sanctions back in 2013, and he even asked Viganò about the accusations against McCarrick. Viganò claimed he told Francis that McCarrick had “corrupted generations of priests.”

     

    Shortly after the alleged 2013 conversation, the sanctions against McCarrick seemed to have been lifted as he began to travel and enjoy public mass.

     

    McCarrick was removed from active ministry in June of this year after a U.S. investigation found the sexual abuse allegations against him to be credible. He resigned in July.

     

    He is accused of sexually abusing generations of Junior Seminarians and young priests in New Jersey, as well as having sexually abused at least two minors.

     

    Barry Coburn, McCarrick’s attorney has said, “These are serious allegations, but McCarrick, like any other person, has a right to due process. He looks forward to invoking that right at the appropriate time.”

     

    McCarrick is one of the highest ranking church officials to be accused of sexual abuse. Since his resignation in July, another man has come forward to say he was molested, as well as a few other former seminarians.

    He is currently facing an internal trial and has been ordered by the Vatican to remain in penitential seclusion until that time. He currently faces no criminal proceedings because of the statute of limitations, which raises its own set of issues.

     

    Viganò ended his 11-page letter with a call to Pope Francis and all those involved in the cover-up to resign. The letter was published while Francis was traveling in Ireland. After facing thousands of protestors, the pope touched on the allegations, stating that he “won’t speak a word about it” but may choose to speak “when some time passes.”

     

    He additionally stated that “it is an act of trust” for journalists to report on the issue and get it right.

     

    During his time in Ireland, Francis begged for forgiveness of the church and admitted that the hierarchy had been guilty of cover-ups and a failure to show compassion.

     

    Calls for the pope’s resignation have become more frequent in frequent months, especially with the recent scandal out of Pennsylvania in which a grand jury report found that 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children over the course of 70 years.

     

    Conservative members of the Catholic Church are calling on Francis to resign because they believe he is culpable for the abuse. Gerard Mannion, professor of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University went even further in an article for Times Magazine, stating that not only should the pope resign, but all U.S. bishops should also resign.

     

    However, supporters of Pope Francis believe that conservative Catholics are using the scandal to weaken Francis’s pro-progressive views within the church. Only a handful of popes have resigned before, and having him resign so quickly after Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation could damage the centuries long bond of the church, showing that the papacy is no longer a lifelong role.

     

    Viganò himself is no stranger to controversy within the church. An archconservative, he is known for his anti LGBTQ views. Earlier this year he spoke at a gathering of anti-Francis dissenters. In his letter he mentions “homosexual networks” within the church that are to blame and states that, “the seriousness of homosexual behavior must be denounced.”

     

    Pope Francis has been a more accepting member of the church, telling a gay man earlier this year that “God made you like that and loves you like that.” For many, he is a welcome breath of fresh air within the church, gradually eroding teachings on sexuality.

     

    It is unlikely that Francis will resign, but if he chooses to do so there will be a transitional period between popes. There will be a “Papal Conclave” where the College of Cardinals will convene to elect a new pope. 

  • Oct 09 2018

    Midterm Elections (August)

    Polling places will be opening their doors once again this November. Now two years out from the 2016 Presidential Election, the Midterm Elections take their place at the center of American politics. At stake in these elections is a host of congressional, state and local positions.

    All six of Louisiana’s US House Districts will be up for re-election this fall. Still, the opposition to incumbents seems fairly sparse.

    At the moment, the most interesting of the races is in the Third District. Republican Clay Higgins of Port Barre is the only incumbent to face a challenge from within his own party.

    While Higgins has managed to raise just over $200,000 with the help of President Donald Trump, Republican Josh Guillory of Lafayette has received significant contributions from Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. At around $95,000, Guillory’s current funding puts him on somewhat-equal footing compared to the larger disparity in the five other districts. 

    In the First District, Republican incumbent Steve Scalise is competing in a much more lopsided contest. As of July, Scalise was reported to have close to $2 million in available funding. With the five other candidates in the race having a combined $30,000, Scalise appears to have an insurmountable advantage going into the general election.

    Republican incumbent Garrett Graves of Baton Rouge finds himself in a similar situation in the Sixth District. Graves, who has around $1.9 million in funding, will be competing against three candidates whose combined total fundraising amount is just over $5,000.

    More so than anything, the congressional races show the importance of party and corporate endorsement. Without it, many candidates find themselves without the adequate funding to compete on any meaningful level.

    While Louisiana is largely devoid of funding to opposition candidates, other states have seen the injection of funds into their congressional races as political leaders and corporate influencers have taken notice of potential political battlegrounds.

    Beyond the congressional races, there are also some very interesting ballot initiatives. In the context of the legal profession, Louisiana Amendment 2 proposes unanimous jury verdicts for felony trials.

    Currently, felony convictions require 10 out of 12 jurors to agree. This amendment would require all 12 jurors to vote in favor of conviction. Ultimately, the amendment may make it more difficult for the state to convict for felony crimes.

    Louisiana is currently one of two states which still allow for felony conviction without unanimous agreement. The only other state to do so is Oregon.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue in Apodaca v. Oregon (1972). In its holding, the court found that federal criminal trials must be unanimous in nature, but that states were not bound within their own courts.

    Louisianians will also be electing a number of officials on the state and local level. One of the positions to be voted on during the midterm elections is a Louisiana Supreme Court position. Louisiana is one of 38 states that feature an election to decide who will hold a spot on the state Supreme Court.

    Realistically though, the most hard-fought battles will be on the local level, as members of the community vie for the few district judge and school board positions.

    As a whole, these state and local races are often overshadowed by the larger congressional races in battleground states, though this is not without good reason.

    While the Louisiana congressional races are largely inconsequential in terms of power in Washington, the effects of elections in other states hold the very real possibility of a power shift. This shift, of course, would be in relation to control of the two Congressional Houses, which Republicans currently hold.

    However, some districts who voted for President Trump in the 2016 election, like Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina, have seen competitive activity from Democrats,. Still, as 2016 showed, districts may at times swing more conservative or liberal depending on voter turnout and priority issues.

    Regardless of the result, the consequences of the Midterm Elections stand to affect not just national politics, but also our very own communities.

     

     

  • Oct 09 2018

    Kristian Fulton: The Fighting Tiger (August)

    By: Zachary E. Gonzalez

     

    The LSU football program has long referred to it itself as “DBU” (Defensive Back University) and contains a hallowed lineage of Tiger cornerbacks and safeties who have paved their way into the highest level of professional football in the National Football League.  Kristian Fulton, hailing from Metairie, Louisiana, was hoping to continue the trend as the latest talented cornerback to emerge from LSU.  

    After playing in just three games as a true freshman, the former five-star cornerback was poised for a bigger role in the secondary with the loss of both safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Tre’Davious White to the 2017 NFL Draft.  Unfortunately, Fulton’s collegiate career would suffer a major setback when it came time for him to submit to an NCAA Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) test on February 2, 2017.

    In the early hours of that Friday morning, Fulton was caught using the urine of somebody else as he thought the test was one for street drugs (i.e. heroin, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, etc.) instead of PEDs.  The test administrator noticed Fulton attempting to fill a specimen cup with urine from a small bottle he’d brought in with him. When Fulton was confronted, he emptied the cup’s contents into a urinal and filled it with his own urine.

    Six days later, the NCAA hit Fulton with a violation of Section 3.4 of the NCAA Drug-Testing Program Protocol.  In short, the provision states that a person who tampers with a NCAA drug-test sample will be suspended for two seasons.  Fulton appealed his suspension, but on March 8, 2017, the NCAA appeals committee rejected his request.

      For the entire 2017 season, Kristian Fulton could do nothing but watch as the Tigers posted a 9-4 (6-2 SEC) record without him.  Though LSU put up quality defensive numbers in 2017, Fulton’s suspension was a blow to their secondary as he was the No. 22 overall recruit in the country and the No. 1 prospect in the state of Louisiana when he committed to the Bayou Bengals.  To make a bad situation worse, the Tigers lost out on an entire season to develop Fulton into the team’s next potential star cornerback.

    Despite having to miss what would have been his sophomore season, Fulton did not give up his legal battle.  He reached out to Alabama-based sports attorney Don Jackson, who played college baseball at Alabama State University before obtaining his law degree from the University of Virginia.

    Jackson took up Fulton’s case in the summer of 2017 and began to look more closely into the circumstances surrounding the drug test and suspension.  In his yearlong investigation, Jackson discovered that the appropriate drug-testing protocol had not been adhered to during Fulton’s screening. 

    On May 31, 2018, a New York forensics panel concurred with Jackson and Fulton that the correct drug-testing procedures had not been complied with.  This brought up chain of custody issues regarding how the urine specimen was handled and transferred.  

    Section 7.5 of the NCAA Drug-Testing Program Protocol states, “If chain of custody is broken at any point in the process, the NCAA may collect another specimen.”  With this new evidence, Jackson filed a motion for reconsideration on July 27, 2018, and the NCAA reopened Fulton’s case.

    A week later, LSU sent a letter to the NCAA reconsideration committee arguing for Fulton’s eligibility, but the NCAA came back with yet another denial six days later.  However, the University would not quit in its fight for Fulton’s collegiate career as a Tiger. 

    On August 17, 2018, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva wrote a four-page letter to the NCAA interpretation panel stating that Fulton had been erroneously punished.  Alleva claimed that instead of tampering, Fulton should have been charged with “urine substitution”. 

    This distinction is huge, as urine substitution carries only a one-year suspension as opposed to the two-year suspension associated with tampering. 

    Upon reviewing Alleva’s argument, the NCAA interpretation panel agreed with him and ruled that Fulton was to be immediately reinstated.  After a 19-month battle, Fulton was able to once again don the purple and gold. 

    This was a huge legal victory for both Fulton and the LSU team as a whole.  After finishing the 2017 campaign 9th in Team Passing Efficiency Defense (110.89), 12th in Total Defense (316 Yards Per Game), 21st in Passing Yards Allowed (187.6), and 54th in Passes Intercepted (12), LSU’s defense will look to improve upon these numbers with Fulton’s return.

                On September 2, 2018, the underdog No. 25 LSU Tigers kicked off their season against the No. 8 Miami Hurricanes in the 2018 Advocare Classic in Arlington, Texas and Kristian Fulton took the field for the first time since December 31, 2016.  He registered three total tackles (two of them were solo) with two passes defended as the Tigers stunned the Hurricanes in a 33-17 upset.

  • Oct 09 2018

    The Law School Survival Guide

    The first year of law school can be a tough experience. Here, PMH’s best and brightest give you advice to get through it:

     

    Samantha Kennedy, 2L – “Laminate your flashcards and bring them to tailgates! In all seriousness, my biggest advice would be to never take yourself too seriously, stay humble and stay human.  You’re never too good for hard work. However, take time off to be with family and friends—it is time well spent. 

     

    A smart law student is a kind law student. Life will happen in law school, so be kind to everyone you meet here and you will have an excellent support system behind you when you need it—and you will.  I had a dear friend get sick last semester and if it wasn’t for the support of my classmates I’m not sure I could’ve stayed sane.”

     

    Carmen Guidry, 3L – “Make a schedule and stick to it so as not to get overwhelmed. Designate a different subject for every day to study. While it’s early in the semester, read your notes and focus on getting to understand your classes. The big picture will come in the last few weeks of the semester, so make sure you start going over your notes early in the semester, because you don’t want to get to November and realize you don’t understand basic principles you learned in August.”

     

    Wesley Davis, 3L – “Law school may seem impossible at times, but I assure you it is quite the opposite.  Finding success in law school is an achievable goal.  Law school is challenging and, quite frankly, stressful.  It is not insurmountable.  Your success is entirely dependent on how you prioritize your class preparation and time commitment to law school.

     

    Early to mid-semester, my advice is to stay on top of your readings and class preparation.  Don’t skip out on reading your assigned cases each day or fail to take notes as you read.  Highlighting words in your text book, without anything else, doesn’t get you much other than colored ink on expensive paper.

     

    Take notes as you read, brief complicated cases as you read, and have your brief on hand during class discussion.  Pay attention in class.  It will make the outlining, reviewing, and studying process much easier later in the semester when you are preparing for your first law school exams.  Class preparation and reading every day will also save you a significant amount of stress later in the semester when the intensity of final exams rear their ugly head.”

     

    MJ Hernandez, 3L – “I’d say it’s important to schedule in time for relaxation; however each particular student chooses to relax. Whether you spend time with your significant other, watch Netflix, read, workout, whatever it is. You need to physically schedule the time in or else it won’t happen, or, will happen too much which could also be a bad thing if you’re not getting the material well enough. Also, it’s always important to keep in the back of your mind that you (as a 1L) made it into this law school for a reason. That means that you have the potential to succeed here. You can handle the work load, and many other people, just like you, have come into law school and made it out the other side as successful attorneys.”

     

    Carlos Coro, 3L – “To succeed as a 1L, the first thing you should do is check the outline database on the SBA website! I moved to Louisiana from out of state, and had to learn to make friends. That was hard. You should be social and outgoing – no need to be negative.

     

    I felt like what I really missed out on was the access we have to Westlaw and Lexis. We have access to online supplements like the Civil Law Treatise series (link to this on the SBA website). You should actually use these resources for class – it’s much easier to outline from and so useful.

     

    You should learn to be disciplined. To remain disciplined, just take the first step. Make your bed in the morning and then you might as well put the dishes away. Do the hard work…even when you don’t want to. If you want to be knowledgeable, de disciplined.

     

    Most importantly, do what works for you! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing and compare yourself to them. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know something – everybody learns differently. And check the SBA website – everybody can benefit from that!”

     

    Briana Reid, 2L – “The best law school advice is be wary of advice. People have good intentions, but not every method works for everyone. So don’t be alarmed if something works for someone else and not for you. You will figure yourself out. Because at the end of the day, you know yourself best.”

     




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