Thursday, May 28, 2015

Professor James Davids Visits Ukraine

Regent Law’s Center for Global Justice sent Professor Jim Davids to Ukraine for a week-long trip as part of its commitment to transform justice systems around the globe.

During his stay, Professor Davids had the opportunity to lecture to over 400 students and faculty, observe a competition involving ten different universities, and receive an honorary professorship.

The lectures, which Davids delivered at five different universities in Kiev, Zaporizhzhya, and Dnipropetrovsk, illustrated the political and societal effects of worldviews. Specifically, Professor Davids discussed how a Christian worldview in government is necessary to eliminating corruption and creating a free society.

The inter-university competition focused on a national problem confronting Ukraine, and the solution in law for the problem.  The presentations covered a range of topics, including modified genetic food, child welfare, inadequate checks and balances in government, and lack of morality.  One of the most intriguing ideas expressed by students was Ukraine's lack of national identity.

This was Professor Davids's second trip to Ukraine since 2013.

The Center has previously worked with The A21 Campaign in Ukraine through intern Mary Hill. Mary spent the summer of 2012 in Ukraine researching and raising awareness about human trafficking issues. The A21 Campaign stands for "Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century" and has responded to the need to step-up and rescue victims of trafficking throughout many parts of Europe.

Read more about Mary and our other interns at regent.edu/centerinterns >

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Student Staff Update: Matthew Mogish

This last semester I worked with a team of two other students on a project for International Justice Mission. This project was similar to projects I worked on in the past, but with one major complication: the cases we were to assess had not been translated into English. This revelation immediately forced the team to reevaluate how we were going to accomplish what we had been asked to do. We chose to break down the general elements of the project and try to assess each part and then put all the individual research together into a completed package.  It was difficult to find information and statutes relevant and on point. Yet, the team was diligent and steadfast and ultimately able to pull together a work product that was beneficial to IJM.

Working on projects of this nature is why I joined the Center. I wanted to work on projects dealing with real issues for real people that might not have an easy answer. The Center has given me that opportunity and blessed me with invaluable experience in how the process of assisting other nations in the development of law works.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Student Staff Update: Kolleen Daniels

Q.  Are you working independently or on a team?  How has that experience been?
A.  I worked with three other students on a project for International Justice Mission Thailand where we assisted the officer's efforts to obtain citizenship for individuals who were at risk of being victims of human trafficking, namely the hill tribe people.  It was a positive experience working with others who shared the same goal. 

Q.  What made you sign up to be a student staff member with the Center?
A.  I joined the Center for Global Justice because I have been blessed in my own life with individuals who have helped me in difficult times.  I wanted to devote my time to an organization where I know my efforts would go towards doing the same for others. 

Q.  How did you balance work for the Center with other law school work?
A.  I did most of my hours on the weekend when I was not interning or in class. 

Q.  What have you learned from being a student staff member with the Center?
A.    I think that I learned when you work together with others small amounts of time can turn into very successful and meaningful projects. 

Q.  How does your research work for the Center differ from your typical studies?
A.   My research included both foreign and international law.  Most of my typical internship and school research focused on domestic law. 

Q.  How do you cope with working with such sensitive subject matter?
A.   I believe compassion and professionalism are essential in dealing with any touchy legal situation.  I followed the same approach in my work with the Center.

Learn more about the student staff at www.regent.edu/centerstaff >

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is passed by U.S. House of Representatives

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate package of S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA).

The Center for Global Justice did some brief research for Shared Hope on the bill, and we were included on a letter that went to the House urging them to pass the bill.  The Center works with Shared Hope International, a Christian NGO dedicated to combatting sex trafficking in the U.S. and around the globe.

This landmark bill gives law enforcement new tools and training to prevent the crime, and makes sex buyers accountable for the harm they cause.

The bill will now be sent to President Obama for JVTA to be signed into law.

Student Staff Spring 2015 Semester Summary

To provide Regent Law students with practical experience in the legal protection of human rights, students volunteer with the center each semester for a minimum of 5 hours/week. Here is an overview of the projects that our 28 student staff members worked on this past semester:

Jerusalem Institute for Justice*

Students drafted a 20-page detailed legal memorandum answering whether (1) under international law, non-state/quasi-state actors like Hamas are subject to international human rights law and (2) the legal consequences that follow under international law if a designated terrorist organization becomes a recognized State.On March 25th, Calev Meyers, JIJ’s founder and Executive Director, used the Center’s memo for a presentation at the United Nations conference, “Terrorism and Human Rights” sponsored by The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

International Justice Mission, Rwanda**

  • Students created a PowerPoint training presentation for Rwandan judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement outlining Rwandan law relating to sexual violence against children—both underlying offenses and evidentiary law—and human trafficking.
  • Students also provided legal research from various states and countries regarding when and under what conditions children can testify in court.
  

International Justice Mission, Thailand

Students created legal checklists for the five different paths to citizenship for the Hill Tribe people in N. Thailand (the Hill Tribe people are stateless, but have rights to citizenship under Thai law; the law is extremely complicated, so IJM helps these people obtain citizenship).

Shared Hope and the Virginia Kids Are not For Sale Coalition

  • Oregon Bill seeking to establish hearsay exception in trafficking cases:  Students provided extensive legal research and short legal memorandum on requirements of the federal confrontation clause and the Oregon confrontation clause as it relates to hearsay law; our research was used by the Shared Hope representative who testified before the Oregon legislature.
  • Virginia Sex Trafficking Bill:  Governor McAuliffe recently signed VA’s first-ever sex trafficking law. Our students researched laws of other states relating to pimps soliciting girls to serve as prostitutes and recommend language to include in bill.  We also provided legal research relating to Virginia law on various questions that were brought up during legislative hearings.  We traveled to Richmond to meet with Senators to discuss the bill.
  • Survey Charts:  As part of the Protected Innocence Initiative, which surveys the laws of the 50 states relating to the sex trafficking of children, our students updated several survey charts; to do this, students had to analyze past statutes and see if any changes were made in the following year.

Alliance Defending Freedom, Vienna***


  • Students reviewed every new case before the European Court of Human rights and summarized the cases in which ADF might want to intervene.
  • Students drafted a number of case summaries of ECHR cases relating to religious freedom; will be used by ADF to create  mini-Westlaw for their work
  • Students helped draft and conduct research for an ADF amicus brief advocating for greater protection of pregnant mothers based on the inherent value of the unborn life.  

Tiny Hands

Students drafted 20-page legal memorandum outlining various ways—as recorded in Federal and state cases—women and children are trafficked in the United States; Tiny Hands will use the memo to see if it can expand its work from Nepal to the US.  Regent Law alum Kirk Schweitzer ('13) was Tiny Hands' first full-time attorney.

Freedom Firm ****

Students provided an overview of various state law as it relates to child victims in court (witness protections, hearsay exceptions, etc.) to help Freedom Firm change the law relating to the Indian Child Welfare Committees.  Regent Law alum Evan Henck ('07) is the director of the Western Region at Freedom Firm.

Hampton Roads Coalition Against Trafficking

Students drafted legal memorandum on federal and state case law as it relates to regulation of massage parlors and sexually-oriented businesses. Regent Law alumnus Patrick McKenna ('89) founded the Coalition.

M1:Zero

Students drafted legal memorandum relating to Florida’s Public Records Law to help M1:Zero determine whether its technology is subject to disclosure in discovery. Regent Law student Samuel Curet ('15) co-founded M1:Zero. 

Land and Equity Movement, Uganda*****

Students edited and provided research for two papers on land policy that were submitted to international conferences and/or the Ugandan government.


_______________________________________
* Regent Law student Ryan Dobs interns with JIJ this summer.
** Regent Law student Pam Dodge  interns with IJM Mumbai this summer.
*** Regent Law student Natasha Delille interns with ADF, Vienna this summer.
**** Regent Law student Natasha Delille interns with Freedom Firm this summer.
****** Regent Law student Chelsea Mack interns with LEMU this summer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Student Staff Update: Anton Sorkin

My involvement with the Center for Global Justice began in the spring semester of my 2L year. I remember being interviewed by Ernie the December prior to and badgering him incessantly to let me focus my involvement exclusively in the area of religious liberty. Ever since that semester, I’ve been able to focus my efforts on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Most weeks, the ECtHR releases new judgments and communicated cases (on HUDOC) indicating past and future decisions, respectively. My task was to read through those judgments and cases and compile a full database flagging those cases I considered relevant in the stated mission of ADF (usually Articles 8, 9, 11, 12, 14). The purpose of this was to give ADF attorneys in Vienna an opportunity to intervene by filing amicus briefs before the Court (assuming application was accepted). These briefs were meant to ensure that the Court protected basic human rights consistent with a Christian worldview. Most recently, I was given an opportunity to research and write a portion of a brief filed in the case of Shioshvili v. Russia where a pregnant mother was subjected to inhuman treatment by the Russian authorities and in the process lost her unborn child. Our hope in filing this brief was for the Court to acknowledge the inherent value of unborn life and the serious impact of the loss of this life on the mother. 

Along with monitoring HUDOC every week, I was also involved in the work of creating an International Library compiling all relevant international cases that may prove useful to ADF. I spent time over fall break researching the various international tribunals (e.g. Court of Justice of the European Union, Inter-American Court of Human Rights) where lower case decisions are typically brought for “final appeal.” This proved fruitful in my own education having now spent time looking at the sophisticated (or not) online databases for these various tribunals and being stunned at how much more advanced and efficient the American and European systems seem to be.

My work with the Center has helped lay a strong foundation for my religious liberties concentration on an international level. This work has given me an opportunity to develop numerous relationships with experts in the field as well as securing internships with major religious liberty organizations. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and for the Center, and my hope is that the University continues to invest resources in developing the program for future students.


Learn more about the student staff at www.regent.edu/centerstaff >

Monday, May 18, 2015

Student Staff Update: Courtney Marasigan

I had the privilege of editing a memorandum for M1:Zero this past spring semester. M1:Zero aims to revolutionize the human trafficking search and rescue process by utilizing sophisticated technology to locate pimps. The memorandum explains why the data procured by M1:Zero is confidential information, and thus undiscoverable, under Florida’s Public Records Act. M1:Zero intends to partner with law enforcement agencies in Florida to find and prosecute traffickers. 

The level of scrutiny and attention to detail required to edit the memorandum was the most difficult aspect of this project. I was tasked with verifying citations, checking grammar, assessing responsiveness to the question, and so on. Examining the document sentence-by-sentence, word-by-word with a fine-tooth comb took patience and extreme diligence.

And yet, the toughest aspect of the project was also the most rewarding. Law students are taught to tend to seemingly insignificant details such as the italicization of commas in case citations. Though this appears to be a useless skill to hone in the classroom setting, it is very vital in practice. I did not think it was possible to fall to such an error, but I encountered it firsthand while editing the memorandum. As anticlimactic as it may sound, I actually found excitement in catching misplaced quotation marks and incorrectly cited page numbers. It was satisfying to know that the training received from my legal writing professor had practical application to formatting blunders that easily escape the naked eye.

Last but not least, it was especially telling that such “dry” volunteer work would still carry an immense amount of meaning and importance. M1:Zero may not even be able to fulfill its goal without a well-written memorandum. Indeed every word and every period matters to the safety of each victim of human trafficking. My deepest gratitude goes out to Regent University School of Law for equipping me with the skills needed to positively impact human rights, and to the Center for Global Justice for the opportunity to aid in combating these issues before completing my legal education.

Learn more about the student staff at www.regent.edu/centerstaff >