All posts tagged: Advocacy

Transgender Pride Flag of blue, pink, and white stripes

How Cisgender Advocates Can Honor Transgender Day of Visibility (Everyday)

Last year, at the start of (our awareness of) the coronacrisis, I read the story of anthropologist Margaret Mead being asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about hunting tools, the wheel, grinding stones, or clay pots. Instead, the anthropologist answered that the first evidence of civilization was a 15,000-year-old fractured femur found in an archaeological site. The bone, which links hip to knee, had been broken and healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink, or hunt for food. You become easy prey for prowling beasts. A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone helped a fellow human and took time to stay with the one who fell, rather than abandoning them to save their own life. The message was that we feel more human when we help others, and that generosity and altruism are (or should be) …

Then & Now: Immigration Legal Advocacy at the Mexico-U.S. Border

Part one of a two-part post on the changing asylum landscape under the new administration. The Biden administration has signaled its intention to repair the U.S. asylum system. As law students who worked directly with asylum-seeking families, this is welcomed news. Over the last four years, the Trump administration intentionally increased the hardships that asylum seekers face. It adapted harsh, inhumane immigration policies with the express goal of deterring people from seeking asylum in the U.S. One such policy was the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. This policy treated displaced persons, including women, infant children, and the elderly, as dangerous adversaries that the country must defend itself against, and it caused widespread and profound human suffering at the U.S.-Mexico border. MPP is a Trump-era policy enacted in January 2019 which, for the first time, required asylum seekers to wait for their asylum hearings outside the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border. This policy impacted tens of thousands of asylum seekers. They were forced to build makeshift refugee camps …

Sheller Center Students File Tort Claims for Families Separated at the Border

The Trump administration has engaged in a policy of family separation, which it ramped up in 2018. Under that policy, families apprehended for crossing the border outside of a port of entry were forcibly separated. Parents were placed in adult detention while their children were sent to shelters for unaccompanied minors. They were frequently subjected to cruel conditions of confinement, including overcrowding and the inability to obtain adequate nutrition, hygiene, medical care or mental health services. Notably, the administration expressly announced its family separation policy as a tactic to deter Central American migrants from seeking safety in the United States. In these facilities, parents and children endured weeks or even months without contact with one another. Parents and their children did not know when or if they would be reunited because immigration officials would not provide any information. The separation of parents from their children has predictably caused significant and long-lasting trauma to these families who had sought refuge in the United States. Through the Sheller Center for Social Justice, we represented eight families in …

School Discipline Advocacy Service | Student Organization Voices Series

Your Name: Araesia King Graduation Year: May 2021 Name of Organization: School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS) Position in Organization: Program Director   TLS: When did you join this organization? AK: I joined SDAS as 1L last year. Getting involved with SDAS was actually one of the reasons why I was excited about coming to Temple. I knew that I was interested in education law and this organization is a great way to learn the basics. I had looked up the program before coming to the school and made sure to sign up at the student activities fair. TLS: Why did you decide to join this group? AK: I chose to get involved with SDAS because it is a great way to interact with the community that I hope to work with in the future (students in the public school system and their families). I also was looking for a way to do some community service during my time here at Temple. TLS: What is your organization’s mission? AK: The organization operates in three schools in …

The Community Lawyering Clinic: A Student Advocate’s Perspective

After I completed my first year at Temple Law, I wanted to experience different areas of the law to better understand my own career path. I spent my first summer in an internship doing policy work, after which I decided to also gain some experience providing direct services to clients. Being that my focus is on health law, I was immediately drawn to the Community Lawyering Clinic, operated from Temple’s Legal Aid Office. The clinic, taught by Professor Spencer Rand, serves individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses seeking representation in Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability hearings. Clinic students also draft life-planning documents for clients, such as wills, standby guardianship forms, power of attorney forms, and more. During the clinic, students are matched with a community organization through which they can do outreach. Depending on the organization, this outreach can take on a number of different forms. My community outreach site was Community Living Room, an organization providing psychiatric rehabilitation services for individuals living with HIV and a mental health diagnosis. During my time …

Running for State Representative – Q&A with Maggie Borski and Nick Elia

At Temple Law, students don’t wait for graduation to start chasing their dreams and building their careers. Currently a third-year law student, Maggie Borski is running to represent the 177th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She and her campaign manager, fellow 3L Nick Elia, sat down with Temple Law for a Q&A last month during finals to share their experiences so far. Temple Law: What made you decide that you wanted to run for district representative? Maggie Borski: I actually did an internship with State Representative Donna Bullock last spring and it was wonderful. I got to know her pretty well, and her staff. I had mentioned to her that, maybe down the line, pursuing public service, public office, would be something I’d be interested in. When the semester began, literally the second week of classes, I get a Facebook message from Donna and it was an article saying my representative, John Taylor, was not seeking reelection. It was kind of like a light bulb went off, you know, if there’s ever a …

Professor Jules Epstein on the Amtrak Derailment and Private Criminal Complaints

Director of Advocacy Programs Jules Epstein, a national authority on Criminal Procedure and the Law of Evidence, has been an influential voice in the unfolding story of whether charges will be brought against Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian in the 2015 derailment that killed eight and injured hundreds. Prosecutors reverse course and file charges against engineer in 2015 Amtrak crash Washington Post, May 15, 2017 “Relatives of a victim of the deadly 2015 Amtrak crash have used a little-known provision of Pennsylvania law to push state prosecutors to file charges against the engineer–an abrupt turn of events in the high-profile case that last week had appeared to reach its end…Jules Epstein, director of advocacy programs at the Temple University Beasley School of Law, said the law allowing privately initiated complaints has been around for years, but is generally used in small disputes between individuals. He said, however, that even though the engineer now faces charges, there is no guarantee he will face trial. ‘There was nothing in the judge’s order that preordains the outcome,’ Epstein said. …

Commentary: Roof Should Not Have Been Allowed to Represent Himself

The return of death sentences by the jury was inevitable in the case of Dylann Roof, who was on trial for killing nine black churchgoers during a Bible study in Charleston, S.C. But no one – fan or foe of capital punishment – should take comfort in how this came about; and an understanding of core Eighth Amendment values should make clear that the process and resulting sentence are unconstitutional. What went wrong first was the decision to permit Roof to self-represent. This flowed from a basic principle of autonomy – just as individuals have the right to the assistance of counsel, so too do they have the right to go it alone or, as some courts have put it, to be the captain of one’s ship. However, nearly a decade ago the U.S. Supreme Court held that, under the Sixth Amendment, “a right of self-representation at trial will not ‘affirm the dignity’ of a defendant who lacks the mental capacity to conduct his defense without the assistance of counsel. . .” Placing an unskilled …

Clouds

Seven Steps to (Hearsay) Heaven

The great jazz trumpeter Miles Davis recorded his classic Seven Steps to Heaven in 1963, with no explanation as to why this was the number of steps needed to ascend. He just laid down a seven beat, seven note structure and the music flew. Well, perhaps there are an equal number of steps to “hearsay heaven,” that place lawyers want and need to ascend to when proffering or confronting hearsay evidence. Yet virtually no attorney follows all of them, focusing either on admissibility or exclusion without regard to content, effective use or minimization should the proof be allowed. So this guide will offer the steps necessary to completely address hearsay in the courtroom. Step 1 – Is there an assertion by a human? The first reminder here is that hearsay comes from humans, so barking alerts by a drug dog, or computer printouts of telephone records are not covered by the rule. And what is an assertion? In effect, it is a factual declaration, a sentence that could be restated with the words “it is true …

Man Yelling in Microphone

Yell, Compel, or Soft-Sell: How Blatant Must Cross-Examination Be?

Among Irving Younger’s commandments were the well-known dictates of “be brief” and “save the ultimate point of your cross for summation.” The latter was the model for an eyewitness cross-examination at a recent training on litigating mistaken identification cases, but when we polled the mock jury one of its members – discussing the cross – said “I had no idea what the lawyer was doing or what his purpose was.” It was only one juror, and others ‘got it,’ but the experience gave me pause. The question was, and remains – is it better to make your points and leave the rest for closing; or must we re-examine Younger’s proscription and ‘push’ the point more explicitly? Let me first present the cross as delivered and then the analysis. The cross was designed to make three essential points: that the witness had barely any time to view the perpetrator (and was looking at the gun rather than the robber’s face); that police ‘bad practices’ created the false memory; and that the accused did not fit the …