Why the Supreme Court Just Expanded Police Powers — Unanimously

An op-ed by Noah Feldman: American Indian tribes have won a small victory at the Supreme Court. In the case, U.S. v. Cooley,  justices held that tribal police on a reservation can arrest and search people who are not Native American when there is probable cause to suspect them of a federal or state crime. The decision was unanimous, almost certainly for a quirky reason: The court’s liberals favor tribal sovereignty on reservations and the court’s conservatives favor expansive police power to stop and search. Conservatives also hate throwing out convictions on procedural grounds.

Chrystul Kizer, sex trafficking victim accused of killing alleged abuser, wins appeal in Wisconsin

An appellate court in Wisconsin has ruled that Chrystul Kizer, a child sex-trafficking victim charged with killing her alleged abuser, may be able to use a state law intended to help trafficking victims accused of crimes. The law, known as the affirmative defense, will give Kizer, now 20, a chance to present evidence to a Kenosha judge, and possibly a jury, that her actions were a “direct result” of the trafficking she experienced. If successful, she could be acquitted of some or all of the charges against her, rather than face a mandatory life sentence — and could break legal ground for trafficking victims accused of crimes. … “We could not have gotten a better decision‚” said Diane Rosenfeld, director of Harvard Law School’s gender violence program, which was involved in writing a brief in the case. “If the state had taken more seriously what Volar was doing, not only to Chrystul but to all these other girls, arguably Chrystul wouldn’t have been in this position.”

What’s on the Horizon for Federal Food Waste Reduction and Prevention Policy? Part 2

COVID-related costs along with the Biden Administration’s plans to invest heavily in slowing Climate Change and in building infrastructure leave little money for other mega-budget initiatives. But four long-time partners who are fighting for food waste and loss prevention policy believe this is actually an opportune time to call on the federal government to support their agenda. The partners are the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, ReFED, and the National Resource Defense Council. They recently finished their U.S. Food Loss & Waste Policy Action Plan that asks Congress and President Biden to take action to halve food waste by 2030, in line with the target set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). … Emily Broad Leib, director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, illustrates by expounding on two Action Plan areas: food donation and date labeling. Her office has tried to advance policy around both for years.

How the VA has illegally denied healthcare to thousands of veterans

An op-ed by Dana Montalto, clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic: A veteran with a fever and hacking cough that suggest a possible coronavirus infection tries to make a doctor’s appointment, only to be turned away by a receptionist who personally decides the would-be patient can’t see a physician. A former service member and sexual assault survivor at risk of suicide is denied access to mental health services by a bureaucratic gatekeeper stationed at the therapist’s front desk. These are two of thousands of examples of veterans seeking the Veterans Affairs healthcare they’re legally entitled to — and being wrongly refused it. This is due to a pervasive misunderstanding, and misapplication, of the rules regarding other-than-honorable discharges.

Dentons Private Equity Backing Brings ‘Fear Factor,’ Andrew Says

Dentons Chair Joseph Andrew says there’s a “fear factor” in competitors’ reaction to news that his law firm is launching a private equity-backed global consulting business. Competitors view Dentons Global Advisors as a sign of what may be to come if U.S. law firms are able to receive outside investment, Andrew said in an interview. The firm’s ability to tap private equity capital will serve as “jet fuel” for the firm’s continued acquisitions, he said. … “What law firms have been worried about for 30 years is accounting firms doing legal work, but they now realize that turnaround is fair play,” said Robert Couture, a senior research fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession and a former executive director of McGuireWoods. “The law firms can bring on billable professionals and a heck of a lot of expertise that doesn’t necessarily require a JD.”

The Context: Universities Pushed to Reckon with Slavery

In the past few years universities across the country have made efforts to acknowledge and address evidence of their historical links to slavery. But many of their students are not satisfied with the pace of progress. The Associated Press recently wrote about how students and activists are pushing institutions to examine their pasts more seriously. These efforts are taking place at Brown—where “undergraduate students voted overwhelmingly for the university to identify the descendants of slaves who worked on campus and begin paying them reparations”—and at Georgetown, the University of Georgia, Trinity College, and the University of Virginia, among others. … Later that year, the Harvard Corporation decided to abandon the Harvard Law School shield, which paid homage to slave owner and benefactor Isaac Royall Jr. Rosenberg’s article featured insights from Bell professor of history Sven Beckert, who led the student-inspired Harvard and Slavery Project that began in 2007.

Should Convicted Felons Serve on Juries?

Should convicted felons be allowed to serve on juries, sitting in judgment on their fellow citizens? On June 2, Premal Dharia, inaugural director of Harvard Law School’s Institute to End Mass Incarceration, moderated a discussion of this question, at an event co-sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute between two invited speakers: Brendon D. Woods, the chief public defender in California’s Alameda County, and James M. Binnall, an associate professor of law, criminology, and criminal justice at California State University, Long Beach.

Analysis: How the Supreme Court has tilted election law to favor the Republican Party

This year’s wave of new voting restrictions across the South may seem a response to the 2020 election, but its origins stem in no small part from the Supreme Court, which over the last decade has reshaped election law to elevate the power of state lawmakers over the rights of their voters. … Harvard Law Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos, who teaches election law, said he wouldn’t speculate about the intent of the justices. “But across the right to vote, redistricting, the Voting Rights Act and campaign finance, the court’s decisions have benefited Republicans,” he said. “And partisan advantage explains these decisions better than rival hypotheses like originalism, precedent, or judicial nonintervention.”

SJC overturns conviction due to limits of GPS data

Because the device’s ability to measure speed had never been formally tested, a judge should not have admitted evidence from a GPS ankle monitor that showed a defendant’s movements matched those of a suspected shooter, the Supreme Judicial Court has found. Prosecutors built their case in Commonwealth v. Davis on a somewhat wobbly three-legged stool…Applying “serious scrutiny” to technology is critical in cases like Davis, where the other evidence is circumstantial, raising the risk of a wrongful conviction, said Katharine Naples-Mitchell, staff attorney at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, which filed a joint amicus brief in Davis with the New England Innocence Project…Pointing to the court system’s evolving understanding of the limitations of cross-racial identifications and systemic racism more broadly, Naples-Mitchell noted that the SJC was more precise than prosecutors had been in distinguishing between braids and dreadlocks, which is the type of sweeping generalization that all too often inures to the detriment of Black and Latinx defendants.

Why The U.S. Is Losing Immigrant Entrepreneurs To Other Nations

John S. Kim, cofounder of Sendbird, which offers real-time chat and messaging for mobile apps and websites, relocated from his native South Korea to San Francisco five years ago…Long a hotbed of entrepreneurialism and a beacon of hope for immigrants, America is now known for a convoluted, highly politicized immigration policy that puts roadblocks in the way of foreign-born founders. The result for years has been that immigrants who want to start businesses here contort themselves into one of the visa categories, such as E-2 (for investors from countries that have treaties with the U.S.) or O-1 (for individuals of extraordinary ability), or try to cobble together something out of a half-dozen other categories—none of which is really designed for them… “America loses competitiveness gradually. It’s like a tire leaking air,” says Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Harvard Law School and author of the 2012 book The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent. “The fact is that the best and the brightest are not coming here anymore.”