Australian Broadcasting Co. features Georgia Law Professor Dennis and new coauthored book, “Rap Lyrics on Trial”

A just-published article at ABC News, a digital publication of the Australian Broadcasting Co., features Georgia Law Professor Andrea L. Dennis (right), who holds the law school’s John Byrd Martin Chair of Law.

The article poses this headline question:  “Can violent rap lyrics be evidence of criminality or does the law misunderstand music’s biggest genre?” In seeking an answer, ABC music & pop culture reporter Paul Donoughue focuses on the new book Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America (The New Press 2019), which Dennis, a criminal law expert, has coauthored with University of Richmond Liberal Arts Professor Erik Nielson.

The ABC article notes that the coauthors identified more than “500 cases in the US alone of rap lyrics being used in criminal trials, at times leading to inappropriate or wrongful convictions,” and continues:

“Few would say Johnny Cash’s famous lyric ‘I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die’ was evidence of the country singer’s murderous leanings, they write.

“‘It is quite clear to us that this [rap] is the only fictional art form that is used in this way,’ Professor Dennis said, adding that race was an essential factor in the story.

“There are very limited examples of it being appropriate, Professor Dennis said. For example, when a lyric accurately describes a specific crime.

“‘Usually, what’s happening is the lyrics are somewhat generic — talking about general crime or very common types of behaviour that almost any rap artist might talk about,’ she said.”

Donoghue further compares the U.S. situation to that in Australia, where speech protections are less strong but where no similar prosecution has yet taken place.

The full Australian article is available here; Dennis’ book, here.

2019 Global Governance Summer School concludes with briefings at the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court

THE HAGUE – On this final day of the 2019 Global Governance Summer School, students visited two preeminent international tribunals — the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court — for high level briefings. They were also treated to a visit from Dr. Kaitlin Ball (JD ’14), a Georgia Law alumna who recently finished a PhD at Cambridge and is living in Europe.

The group started the day at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an audience with Hendrik Denys, law clerk to the Honorable Joan Donoghue, the American judge on the International Court of Justice. Mr. Denys, an alumnus of our partner school, KU Leuven, spoke with students about the history of the Peace Palace, the structure and procedure of the Court, and several representative decisions of the ICJ’s jurisprudence. He also provided advice for preparing a career in international law.

In the afternoon, the group visited the International Criminal Court (ICC), located on the dunes near The Hague’s North Sea coast. Student first had a meeting with Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, for whom our summer school’s co-director, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, serves as Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict. Bensouda described her own path to practicing international criminal law. While acknowledging the barriers to achieving justice, she expressed the urgency of continuing the effort, on behalf of global society as well as the victims of international crimes.

The second audience at the ICC was with the Honorable Kimberly Prost of Canada, who serves as a Judge in the Trial Division. Judge Prost discussed the history of the Court and the many of the challenges facing it. She also emphasized the important concept of complementarity in regards to the ICC’s relationship to national courts.

Students also had the opportunity to view the confirmation of charges against Al Hassan, who is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in 2012 and 2013 in Timbuktu, Mali. During the portion of the hearing that time permitted the group to observe, students heard from one of the Legal Representatives of the Victims, who emphasized the impact of the alleged crimes.

All in all, it was a great day, a successful trip, and we look forward to returning next year!

Georgia Law Professor Jason Cade publishes on sanctuaries in Northwestern Law journal, presents work at Fordham Law colloquium

This month, University of Georgia School of Law Professor Jason A. Cade published his latest article on immigration law in the Northwestern University Law Review, and also presented the article at a Fordham University School of Law conference.

The article, entitled “Sanctuaries as Equitable Delegation in an Era of Mass Immigration Enforcement,” appears at 113 Nw. U. L. Rev. 433 (2018).

Cade presented the work at Fordham Law’s 2018 Cooper Walsh Colloquium, a scholarly gathering that explored “Remodeling Sanctuary: Urban Immigration in a New Era.”

Cade teaches Immigration Law and directs the law school’s Community Health Law Partnership Clinic. His scholarship explores intersections between immigration enforcement and criminal law, the role of prosecutorial discretion in the modern immigration system, and judicial review of deportation procedures.

Here’s the abstract of his newly published article:

Opponents of—and sometimes advocates for—sanctuary policies describe them as obstructions to the operation of federal immigration law. This premise is flawed. On the better view, the sanctuary movement comports with, rather than fights against, dominant new themes in federal immigration law. A key theme—emerging both in judicial doctrine and on-the-ground practice—focuses on maintaining legitimacy by fostering adherence to equitable norms in enforcement decision-making processes. Against this backdrop, the sanctuary efforts of cities, churches, and campuses are best seen as measures necessary to inject normative (and sometimes legal) accuracy into real-world immigration enforcement decision-making. Sanctuaries can erect front-line equitable screens, promote procedural fairness, and act as last-resort circuit breakers in the administration of federal deportation law. The dynamics are messy and contested, but these efforts in the long run help ensure the vindication of equity-based legitimacy norms in immigration enforcement.

The full article is available here.

Global Governance Summer School: Hague briefings begin with International Criminal Court

THE HAGUE – Our 2018 Global Governance Summer School has moved to this Dutch capital for several days of briefings at international organizations devoted to securing accountability and reparations for violations of international law. Today centered on the International Criminal Court, a permanent organization that began operating at The Hague in 2002. Its founding charter, the Rome Statute of the ICC, was adopted 20 years ago this month.

Our Georgia Law students, who spent last week at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, first visited Leiden Law School‘s Hague campus, where two international lawyers – Niamh Hayes and Leiden Law Professor Joe Powderly – talked with them about a range of issues (left). These included the development of international criminal law, practical and academic career opportunities for young lawyers interested in the area, and the advantages gained by working in The Hague on the “inside” of international criminal law issues.

The rest of the day was spent at the ICC’s Permanent Premises, located on the dunes near The Hague’s North Sea coast. Highlights of the visit included:

► A meeting with Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (top), for whom our summer school’s co-director, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, serves as Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict. Bensouda described her own path to practicing international criminal law. While acknowledging the barriers to achieving justice, she expressed the urgency of continuing the effort, on behalf of global society as well as the victims of international crimes.

► An audience with Judge Geoffrey A. Henderson (left) of Trinidad and Tobago, who was elected to the ICC in 2013 and serves in the Trial Division. Henderson emphasized the challenges of judging in a context that brings together the civil and common law systems, and offered encouragement that engaged students can change the world.

► A presentation on the work of lawyers in the court’s Registry from Elizabeth Little, Special Assistant to the Registrar, Special Assistant to the Registrar, and an overview of the court’s work from ensuring the right to family life of the accused to assisting the indigent select defense counsel.

Together, these presentations made for an informative and inspiring day in court.

Law in Practice International Interns from Sheffield Hallam University visit the Dean Rusk International Law Center for training

Group Photo RuskLast week, the Dean Rusk International Law Center was pleased to co-present a training with Sheffield Hallam University on criminal law and human rights for eight law students from the United Kingdom. Organized by Dr. Laura Kagel, Associate Director for International Professional Education at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Michael Edwards (J.D. ’93), Senior Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University, the four-day training was designed to prepare the students for summer internships they will undertake in the United States.

Faculty from both universities lectured on relevant topics. These included Georgia Law professors: Anne Burnett on legal research methods; Andrea Dennis on evidence; and Russel Gabriel on criminal procedure. From Sheffield Hallam University Michael Edwards lectured on international human rights and civil rights law, and Christopher Riley presented an introduction to the student internships.

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In addition to coursework, while in Athens, the students observed court proceedings and met with local prosecutors and court officials to hear about treatment and accountability courts. Organized by Assistant District Attorney Paige Otwell (J.D. ‘88), this discussion was particularly engaging, as England currently only has one court of this type. Students also spent a day learning more about advocacy and civil rights in Atlanta. The students prepared and presented mock oral arguments at the Supreme Court of Georgia, toured the State Capitol, and visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site. They also visited the Southern Center for Human Rights, where Tiffany Williams Roberts, Community Engagement and Movement Building Counsel, discussed the work of the non-profit law firm.

The Sheffield students are now off to begin their internships; we wish them an enriching summer!

Professor Amann publishes “Bemba and Beyond,” on accountability and command responsibility, at EJIL: Talk!

One week after the International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber acquitted a Congolese politician-warlord whom a Trial Chamber unanimously had convicted of rape, pillage, and other crimes, practitioners and scholars continue to debate the decision’s significance. Indeed, the case, Prosecutor v. Bemba, has been invoked in both the papers so far presented at the 2-day ICC Scholars Forum now under way at Leiden Law School’s Hague campus.

My own initial thoughts – concerned not about the decision’s fact-based details but rather to its refashioning of the legal doctrine of command responsibility – have been published at EJIL: Talk!, the blog of the European Journal of International Law. My post, entitled “In Bemba and Beyond,” discusses command responsibility as “a time-honored doctrine with roots in military justice and international humanitarian law.” Placing this appeals judgment in the context of other decisions, the post warns:

“Together, such rulings suggest a turn away from the goal of assigning responsibility at high levels, and toward a jurisprudence which acknowledges (with regret) the commission of crimes, yet holds no cognizable legal person responsible.”

Full post here.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

GEO student Zack Lindsey publishes in Global Atlanta

geo2University of Georgia School of Law second-year student Zack Lindsey published an article in Global Atlanta about his experience this summer working in Ghana.

Ghana

During his Global Externship Overseas, or GEO,  Zack spent approximately two months in Accra working with Women in Law and Development in Africa. His work focused on the implementation of the Ghanaian Domestic Violence Act of 2007; he was responsible for helping set up a volunteer court watch program, training volunteers on the law, and conducting court surveys. He describes this work as “a key issue for Ghana” because of high rates of spousal abuse, but low rates of conviction under the Act.

global atlantaZack is one of twenty Georgia Law students who participated in the GEO initiative this summer. His article in Global Atlanta, a partner organization of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, draws parallels between the challenges facing victims of domestic violence seeking redress in Ghana to Georgia.