More on the conference here.
At the invitation, and on the sponsorship of the Directorate of Legal Affairs, Professor Charles C. Jalloh was one of only three academic experts invited to participate in the meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Justice and Legal Affairs at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which was held in early May. The STC, which was composed of senior legal advisers from the 54 AU member states, reviewed and adopted eight draft treaties and model laws. African Ministers of Justice/Attorney Generals will consider the STC’s approved instruments later this week. Once endorsed by the Justice Ministers, the instruments will be recommended to the African heads of state for adoption during their summit to be held this June. Professor Jalloh, who attended as an independent international criminal law expert, made several proposals to help strengthen the Draft Protocol under which AU States are proposing to extend the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights to cover crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, aggression, terrorism, and nine other transnational crimes of particular concern to Africa.
Professor Mirow has published “The Age of Constitutions in the Americas” in 32 Law & History Review (2014). The brief article serves to introduce and to contextualize Linda Colley’s article “Empires of Writing: Britain, America and Constitutions, 1776-1848” that appears in the same volume.
“My work aimed to put Colley’s article into an historiographical context that emphasizes the wider phenomenon of constitution making throughout Europe and the Americas in the period of the U.S. Constitution. I was so happy to be invited to write the piece. It was more challenging than I had expected, but Colley’s work was a great inspiration for my contribution,” said Mirow. Linda Colley is the Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University. The official journal of the American Society for Legal History, the Law & History Review is peer-reviewed and published by Cambridge University Press.
Professor Mirow will speak in England next month on topics related to the legal history of colonial Spanish Florida. The talk in Oxford, “Translating in Stone: The Monument to the Constitution of Cadiz in St. Augustine, Florida (1813-1814),” will place Florida’s unique monument to the constitution into legal, constitutional, and political context. The talk is part of a conference of the University of Oxford’s Interdisciplinary Research Network Translations in Transnational Context. Mirow is one of 17 speakers from around the world and only one of two invited from the United States to present at the conference.
The talk in Cambridge, “Law and Constitution in Spanish St. Augustine, 1783-1821,” addresses his attempts to reconstruct the legal and constitutional world of the city from primary sources, especially the East Florida Papers held in the Library of Congress. The talk is part of the University of Cambridge Centre of Latin American Studies’ Easter Term Research Seminar.
“I’m really happy to share my ideas about Florida’s colonial legal history with Latin Americanists in England. We often forget that Florida has been Spanish longer than it has been part of the United States and that East Florida was the fourteenth loyal British colony from 1763 to 1783. This gave the city and region a wonderfully mixed and complex population. I’m interested in how law worked in this environment. Although my focus is legal history, this work engages the scholarly community and all communities seeking to understand legal pluralism in pluralistic societies. There are interesting parallels between St. Augustine two hundred years ago and Miami today,” said Mirow.
Professor Noah Weisbord designed and moderated a panel discussion at the 108th annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington DC. The theme of the meeting was the effectiveness of international law and Professor Weisbord’s panel, addressing a packed room, compared law enforcement in the fields of international human rights and international trade. The speakers were Chantal Thomas (Cornell), Marco Bronkers (Leiden) and Jim Goldston (Open Society Justice Initiative).
You could have heard a pin drop inside FIU Law’s large courtroom as appellate attorneys, dressed in full military regalia, were preparing to argue the case of United States v. Jones before the five federal appellate judges that make up the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
There was one person in the courtroom who wasn’t dressed like the others.
He was Rey Martinez – a third-year FIU Law evening student – who was playing the part of amicus curiae (or friend of the court). As amicus, Martinez is not a party to the case but offers information that may assist the court in its final decision.
It was an experience of a lifetime and one he volunteered to take on.
“This was one of the best experiences of my life. I was humbled and honored to be able to represent FIU Law in front of a federal court of appeals,” Martinez shared. “I felt like all of my hard work and time had paid off – and for those very brief 10 minutes, I was an attorney.”
FIU Law Professor Eric Carpenter, who teaches Evidence and Military Justice, is a former Judge Advocate and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. With his ties to the military, Carpenter helped bring the hearing to FIU Law, which included an invitation for one student to serve as amicus. Martinez was inspired to take on the challenge while taking Carpenter’s Military Justice course.
The opportunity to use a law school student in a real-life hearing is part of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces’ Project Outreach program. The program allows law schools, military bases and other public facilities to be used as the courtroom for these hearings.
Unlike cases in traditional law school moot court competitions where the case in question is fictional, this case was real.
“[It’s] a real life federal bench, where someone’s life is at stake, someone who is facing real consequences. This case has the potential to rewrite military law,” said Martinez.
Under the supervision of Professor Carpenter, Martinez wrote and submitted a 15-page brief. Although Martinez is not yet a licensed attorney, he argued confidently during his 10 minute presentation in court – which was often interrupted by questions fired by the judges.
“You could not tell that Mr. Martinez was a student rather than an experienced appellate litigator. He is an example of the great students that we have at FIU Law, and his performance should make us all proud,” said Carpenter.
“I spent hours reading any case the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces had written on the matter and studied the opinions. I had so much help from Professor Carpenter, my classmates, as well as other professors, namely, Professors Klion, Walter, Wasserman and Rickard, in mooting me and preparing to appear before the five judges. The professors asked the tough questions, and I felt confident standing in front of the court that I was prepared.”
The judges will issue an opinion within the next few months.
Judge Scott W. Stucky, who has served on the court since 2006, believes that moving from their home courthouse in Washington, D.C. to other locales and allowing law students to participate in the hearing is unique.
“I don’t know another court that does this,” said Judge Stucky.
For Martinez, appearing in front of a federal court won’t be a once in a lifetime experience – he hopes to one day achieve his dream of becoming a JAG officer.
“After the conclusion of the hearing, I was honored to receive a military challenge coin from the Court as well as to receive kind words from the judges and many high ranking military personnel from the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Associate Professor Charles C. Jalloh has just published a comment on the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s last judgment in Prosecutor v. Charles Taylor in the American Journal of International Law (AJIL), January 2014, Volume 108, Number 1 at pp. 58-66. AJIL is widely considered the number 1 peer-reviewed international law journal in the world. The piece is posted on SSRN here.
Professor J. Osei-Tutu presented her new research project on the global criminalization of intellectual property at the 2014 Intellectual Property Scholars Roundtable at Drake Law in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference, which was held March 28 and 29, was attended by intellectual property academics from across the United States as well as from Canada, India and China.
Professor M.C. Mirow will receive the Golden Quill Award, Outstanding Florida History Article, for 2014 from the Florida Historical Society at the Society’s annual meeting next month. The article “The Constitution of Cádiz in Florida” explores the constitutional history of St. Augustine and East Florida from 1812 to 1821, during Spanish rule of the region. The article was published last year in the Florida Journal of International Law and may be found here. Mirow is also the author of the book Florida’s First Constitution, The Constitution of Cádiz: Introduction, Translation, and Text (2012). “I am honored to have my scholarship recognized by the premier historical society of Florida. While legal historians know a great deal about the colonial legal history of New York or Massachusetts for example, the materials for Florida have been unexplored and are equally as fascinating, complex, and integral to the legal, constitutional, and political history of United States. Because a lot of the materials are in Spanish and deal with colonial Spanish law, special training is needed to read and to understand what you are looking at,” said Mirow. He added, “I’ve been fortunate to have studied legal and Spanish palaeography at various stages in my career through York University’s Borthwick Institute and Cambridge University in England, and here in the States at the Newberry Library in Chicago. All of this work has brought me back to the unexplored materials of colonial Florida. It is, for me, my Atlantis, an undiscovered colonial legal world.”