Georgia Law clinic joins in publishing advisory for immigrant detainees

The Community Health Law Partnership Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law and four other law school clinics have published a lengthy practice advisory intended to assist immigrants currently or previously held at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.

The practice advisory is designed to help them in seeking damages, stays of removal, and long-term immigration relief based on the abuse they suffered at the detention center (prior posts). It thus provides detailed instructions on how to: file claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act; request stays of removal from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); file complaints with the U.S Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; and apply for U Visas.  

Taking part in this effort at the Georgia Law were Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and 3L Frederick King.

Joining them were the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program, Texas A&M School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild. These and other entities have been collaborating on behalf of the Irwin detainees, including in ongoing litigation in Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. 

Georgia Law clinics’ advocacy helps client secure U.S. citizenship

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Years of advocacy by two clinics at the University of Georgia School of Law recently helped secure U.S. citizenship for a longtime immigrant client.

The earliest work with the client was undertaken by the Jane W. Wilson Family Justice Clinic, as at that time the client was facing severe domestic abuse. Working under the supervision of Clinical Assistant Professor Christine M. Scartz, then-student Eric Abney, a member of the Georgia Law Class of 2020, secured a 12-month family violence protective order and successfully negotiated a resolution that gave the client exclusive possession of the marital residence and a vehicle, sole child custody, and child support.

After the client had gained this measure of safety and stability, the client then was referred to Georgia Law’s Community Health Law Partnership Clinic for further advocacy. Working under the supervision of Jason A. Cade, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, Amy Buice and Carter A. Thomas, members of the Classes of 2019 and 2020, respectively, used the Violence Against Women Act to ensure the client retained permanent residency without having to rely on her abusive former-partner. Subsequently, 3L Ansley Whiten helped the client file an application for naturalization, while 2L Luis Gomez prepared her for the naturalization interview; both were supervised primarily by Kristen Shepherd, the Community HeLP Clinic’s Staff Attorney.

The client became a U.S. citizen in April 2021, on her birthday.

Georgia Law clinics share in national CLEA Award for work on behalf of immigrant women who endured abuse, retaliation while in ICE detention

Efforts on behalf of immigrant women detained in a U.S. immigration center have earned national recognition for the Community HeLP Clinic and First Amendment Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

The Georgia Law clinics will share that recognition – the 2021 Clinical Legal Education Association Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project – with law clinics at Harvard, Columbia, Texas A&M, and Boston universities.

The CLEA Award will be presented online 12 noon-1 pm Eastern Friday, April 30, as part of the annual Conference on Clinical Education of the Association of American Law Schools.

The clinics’ project confronted abuse of immigrant women while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irwin Detention Center, a privately run facility in south Georgia. As previously posted, the women there were subjected to nonconsensual, medically unindicated, or invasive gynecological procedures. Those who spoke out about abuses faced accelerated deportation proceedings, solitary confinement, and other acts of retaliation. The project has pursued several administrative, judicial, and advocacy avenues, including ongoing litigation of Oldaker v. Giles, a consolidated habeas petition and class action complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

The Project’s efforts have resulted in the release of nearly all 80 women in ICDC, as well as over 200 men, and stays of deportation for most of the Oldaker plaintiffs.

Leading the project on behalf of Georgia Law were Jason Cade (above right), Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law, and Director of the Community HeLP Clinic, and Clare Norins (above left), Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the First Amendment Clinic. Also taking part in this team effort were 3L students Raneem Ashrawi, Frederick King, Julia Griffis, and Anish Patel, 2L students Thomas Evans, Paige Medley, and Davis Wright, First Amendment Clinic Legal Fellow Samantha Hamilton, Community HeLP Clinic Staff Attorney Kristen Shepherd, and administrative associate Sarah Ehlers.

Other collaborators included non-profits, private firms, legislative advocates, and community organizers.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students ask for asylum and withholding of removal in 11th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit heard arguments this week in an asylum and immigration case prepared by a team of students in the University of Georgia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic.

Georgia Law 3L Maddie Conkel argued on behalf of the petitioner in Case No. 19-15144, Denis Aguilera Fernandez v. Garland. On account of the Covid-19 pandemic, Conkel’s argument was delivered online to a panel composed of Eleventh Circuit Judges William H. Pryor Jr., Jill A. Pryor, and Ed Carnes (audio here).

In earlier proceedings both the Immigration Judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals agreed that the Clinic’s client – whom Cuban police had detained and beaten repeatedly over two years in an effort to prevent him from protesting the Cuban government – was “thoroughly credible.”  They further agreed that his mistreatment, though “severe and regrettable,” did not rise to the level of “persecution,” and that he had no reasonable fear of future persecution.

Conkel’s argument sought reversal of the resulting denials of asylum and withholding of removal. Georgia Law 3L Sarah Nelson helped Conkel prepare for the argument, and several other students helped the Clinic brief the case. 

The Eleventh Circuit panel is now deliberating.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students win victory for client in 9th Circuit immigration case invoking Convention Against Torture

A woman seeking withholding of removal from the United States has won her challenge to an adverse ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals – a challenge briefed and argued by students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

By a 2-1 decision issued Tuesday in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded to the BIA.

The panel majority in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr, comprised Ninth Circuit Judge Margaret M. McKeown and U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. Its opinion effectively reinstated the first decision in the case, in which an Immigration Judge had ruled for the Clinic’s client, Graciela Arellano Herrera, whose parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth.

In oral arguments conducted online this past September (prior post), Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued that if Arellano Herrera were sent back to her native Mexico it was more likely than not that member of a drug cartel would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials. To permit such a risk, the Clinic team contended, would violate non-refoulement (non-return) obligations that the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture. The panel majority agreed.

The panel’s third member, Ninth Circuit Judge Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, agreed that the BIA had erred on one challenged ground, but in his view the BIA was correct in finding that Arellano Herrera could safely relocate in Mexico. He thus dissented, reasoning that the latter finding alone supported affirmation of the BIA ruling.

The Clinic team included Sigalos and his classmates, 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year. They worked under the supervision of Thomas V. Burch, the Clinic’s Director, and Anna White Howard, the Clinic’s Counselor in Residence. (prior posts)

Scholarly achievements, thriving initiatives featured in newsletter of Dean Rusk International Law Center

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For a recap of the year’s global law-and-practice accomplishments here at the University of Georgia School of Law, have a look at the just-published annual newsletter of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Features include:

► Celebrating the scholarly achievements of our many other globally minded faculty and staff, including Diane Marie Amann, Christopher Bruner, Thomas V. Burch, Anne Burnett, Jason A. Cade, Nathan S. Chapman, Harlan G. Cohen, Kathleen A. Doty, Melissa J. Durkee, Walter Hellerstein, Lori Ringhand, Usha Rodrigues, and Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge.

► Events past and future, including day-long conferences cosponsored with the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law, public lectures and our Consular Series of lunch talks with Atlanta-based diplomats, cosponsorship of panels at regional and national international law meetings, and the upcoming International Law Colloquium Series.

► Initiatives aimed at preparing our J.D. and LL.M. students for global legal practice, including our Global Externships and our Global Governance Summer School, plus support for students’ organizations and international advocacy teams.

The full newsletter is here.

Global Governance Summer School: after travel day and World Cup match, Special Tribunal for Lebanon kicks off The Hague briefings

From left, Gamble Baffert, Charles Wells, Lauren Taylor, Emily Snow, Emily Doumar, Leila Knox, Amanda Shaw, Alicia Millspaugh, Briana Blakely, Jessica Parker, Steven Miller, Ayman Tartir

LEUVEN & THE HAGUE — Yesterday, Georgia Law students participating in the Global Governance Summer School left Leuven, Belgium, where they had been in residence for classroom sessions and professional development opportunities. They traveled by train to The Hague, Netherlands, and arrived just in time to watch the U.S. – Netherlands Women’s World Cup match. What a place to watch!

From left, Emily Doumar, Jessica Parker, Briana Blakely, Lauren Taylor, Kathleen Doty, Charles Wells, Emily Snow, Gamble Baffert, Holly Stephens, Leila Knox, Steven Miller, Alicia Millspaugh, Ayman Tartir, Amanda Shaw.

Students spent this morning in briefings at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Established in 2009, the STL’s mandate is to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the February 14, 2005 attack in Beirut that killed the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, and twenty-two others.

Representatives from all four of the court organs presented to the students. They included: Romy Batrouny, Assistant Legal Officer in Chambers, who gave an overview of the tribunal’s history, mandate, and structure and an introduction to the work of lawyers in Chambers; Edel Regan, Associate Legal Officer with the Registry Legal Office, who explained the various legal issues encountered in the administration of the court, ranging from immunities to the protection of victims and witnesses to procurement; Matthias Neuner, Trial Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor, who challenged students to think about the purpose of international criminal tribunals and the development of the law in the fight against impunity for terrorism; anPaula Lynch, Associate Legal Officer in the tribunal’s Defence Office, who discussed the unique position of defense counsel in the STL structure, and the challenges of representing the defendants in absentia.

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From left, Lauren Taylor, Briana Blakely, and Jessica Parker.

In the afternoon, students enjoyed a cultural excursion to the Mauritshuis museum, home to masterpieces from Dutch and Flemish artists, including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicoleas Tulp, and Potter’s The Bull.

Tomorrow, the group will continue with a briefing at the Hague Conference on Private International Law where they will learn about the operation of private law in the global arena.

Global Governance Summer School students attend RECONNECT conference on democracy and the rule of law in the European Union

LEUVEN & BRUSSELS – The morning opened with an introduction to the European Union, presented by Michal Ovadek, a research fellow at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies. An expert in the European Union legislative process, he provided an overview of the European Union architecture, and outlined the primary challenges to democracy in Europe. The session was designed to prepare students to participate fully in the rest of the day’s activities: a conference devoted to a research project aimed at reinvigorating core values of the European Union.

From left, Gamble Baffert, Charles Wells, Leila Knox, Emily Doumar, Maria Lagares Romay, Blanca Ruiz Llevot, Steven Miller, Alicia Millspaugh, and Briana Blakely.

The RECONNECT: Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law project, established by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, is supported by funds from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme. As part of the larger project, the Leven Centre convened the International Conference on Democracy and the Rule of Law in the EU. It gathered experts to discuss contemporary challenges to European Union integration, including judicial independence and rule of law, free press, and democratic institutions in countries like Poland and Hungary.

The conference took place in the Brussels’ beautiful Academy Palace, and opened with a welcome by Professor Jan Wouters (left), Co-Director of the Global Governance Summer School.

The conference featured keynote remarks by Daniel Keleman, Professor of Political Science and Law and Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Politics at Rutgers University, and Koen Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (right). Two policy roundtables also featured perspectives from academics and advocates from around Europe on democracy and rule of law in the European Union, respectively.

From left, Kathleen Garnett, Holly Stephens, Steven Miller, Alicia Millspaugh, Emily Snow.

GGSS Professional development briefings in Brussels

BRUSSELS – Students taking part in the Global Governance Summer School went to Brussels today for professional development briefings. They were exposed to a range of practice areas, from non-governmental organization advocacy, to intergovernmental work, to private law practice.

The day began with a visit to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). There, students were treated to a dialogue on human rights lawyering with Ralph J. Bunche (left), UNPO General Secretary and Professor Diane Marie Amann. They discussed the work of the organization — advocating for the self-determination of unrepresented peoples and nations — and the day-to-day work of advocacy in a human rights organization.

Next, the group traveled to the new headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Steven Hill (fifth from the right, at right), Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs, took students on a tour of the facility and provided an overview of the work of the Legal Office at NATO. He particularly focused on the text of the North Atlantic Treaty, emerging technologies, and contemporary challenges to the NATO alliance.

Finally, students heard from David Hull (JD ’83) and Porter Elliot (JD ’96) (left), partners at Van Bael & Bellis about private law practice in Brussels. They discussed the practice areas of the firm – primarily European Union competition law and trade law. They shared candid career advice with students, including their personal stories of going from law school in Athens, Georgia to law practice in Brussels.

The day concluded with a reception, graciously hosted by Van Bael & Bellis. The second annual Friends of the Dean Rusk International Law Center Reception, we were pleased to reconnect with alumni/ae and other European partners of the Center.

Tomorrow, the students will return to the classroom, and celebrate the 4th of July deepening their understanding of international law.

Celebrating graduation and another great international law year

Just before University of Georgia School of Law students entered the Spring 2019 exam period, we at the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center took a moment to thank and congratulate the many students with whom we work.

As listed below, more than 50 of them will earn JD or LLM  degrees later this month. We were delighted to celebrate their achievements.

Among those thanked were our Dean Rusk International Law Center Student Ambassadors, of the 1L, 2L, 3L, and LLM classes who assist the Center with administrative duties, events, and research.

Also recognized were the many students who have taken part in initiatives like the Global Externship At-Home or Overseas, the Global Governance Summer School, NATO Externship, the Women, Peace & Security Project, Southeast Model African Union, the Legal Spanish Study Group, Louis B. Sohn Professional Development fellowships, Atlanta International Arbitration Society reporting, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, and leadership in the International Law Society and in Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law conferences.

Thanks and congratulations to all!

Class of 2019

Michael Ackerman Vis Moot
Saif-Ullah Ahmed Global Governance Summer School, Student Ambassador
Marc Bennett LLM’19 transferring to JD’21 curriculum, summer 2019 Global Extern
Lauren Brown Global Extern, NATO Externship, Women, Peace & Security Project
Casey Callahan Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Student Ambassador
Shummi Chowdhury Student Ambassador, Southeast Model African Union
Jennifer Cotton Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Jessup Moot
James Cox Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern
Edward Mills Culver Global Governance Summer School
Cristina De Aguiar Martins LLM
Jerry Dei LLM
Erin Doyle Women, Peace & Security Project, Student Ambassador
Garret Drogosch Vis Moot
Nicholas Duffey Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern
Linda Emanor LLM
Sarah Flanders Vis Moot
Brad Gerke Global Extern
Maximilian Goos LLM
Allison Gowens Jessup Moot
Roger Grantham Jr. Jessup Moot
Brian Griffin Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Student Ambassador, Legal Spanish Study Group, AtlAS Rapporteur
Kathryn Hagerman Women, Peace & Security Project
Wade Herring III Global Extern, Global Governance Summer School, Student Ambassador, Sohn Professional Development Fellow
Amanda Hoefer Southeast Model African Union
Evans Horsley Global Governance Summer School
Bailey Hutchison Student Ambassador
Trung Khuat LLM
Kristopher Kolb Global Governance Summer School, Student Ambassador
George Ligon Global Extern
Zachariah Lindsey Global Extern
Ning “Hannah” Ma LLM
Darshini Nair LLM’19 transferring to JD’21 curriculum, Student Ambassador
Philicia Nlandu LLM’17 transfer to JD’19
Teresa Fariña Núñez LLM
Lyddy O’Brien Global Extern, Student Ambassador, Sohn Professional Development Fellow, Jessup Moot, Executive Conference Editor of the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law
Nils Okeson Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Student Ambassador, Vice President of the International Law Society
Gilbert Oladeinbo LLM’17 transfer to JD’19
Paolo Cariello Perez LLM
Anh Pham LLM
Matthew Poletti Global Extern, Legal Spanish Study Group
Taylor Samuels Women, Peace & Security Project
Rosari Sarasvaty LLM, AtlAS Rapporteur
Miles Skedsvold Legal Spanish Study Group
Whayoon Song LLM
Nicholas Steinheimer Global Extern, Dean Rusk International Law Center
Amir Tanhaei LLM, AtlAS Rapporteur, Vis Moot coach
Morgan Renee Thomas Editor in Chief of the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law
Ezra Thompson Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern
Benjamin Torres Jessup Moot
John James Van Why Senior Conference Editor of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law
Rebecca Wackym GEO, Southeast Model African Union
Eric Wilder Women, Peace & Security Project