Georgia Law Professor Larry D. Thompson, Independent Compliance Monitor in VW fuel emissions matter

A University of Georgia School of Law professor is overseeing compliance reforms by Volkswagen AG, following the global automaker’s recent sentencing in a criminal case arising out of its fuel emissions tests.

The professor is Larry D. Thompson, holder of the  John A. Sibley Chair of Corporate and Business Law and a member of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, teaches Corporate Responsibility, White Collar Crime Business Crimes. He is also Counsel at Finch McCranie LLP in Atlanta. His distinguished career includes service as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and as General Counsel of PepsiCo.

Thompson was named Independent Compliance Monitor in the VW matter in April, pursuant to a settlement by which a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit accepted VW’s plea to three felony counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States by engaging in wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act; obstruction of justice; and importing merchandise via false statements. VW agreed to a fine exceeding $4 billion, and also to oversight by the Independent Compliance Monitor.

At the time, the company issued the following statement, by Hiltrud Werner, Board Member of Integrity and Legal Affairs, from its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany:

“Volkswagen welcomes the appointment of Larry D. Thompson to this new position, and we intend to cooperate fully with his important work.”

Since then, Thompson has assembled the team of lawyers he will lead in this work.

“Highly recommended”: Professor Chapman on “Due Process Abroad”

Due Process Abroad is the title of the timely manuscript that Nathan S. Chapman (right), an Assistant Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has just posted at SSRN. At the influential Legal Theory Blog, Georgetown Law Professor Lawrence Solum has given his “highly recommended” recognition to this study of the extraterritorial application of the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The manuscript, which forms part of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded here.

Here’s the abstract:

Defining the scope of the Constitution’s application outside U.S. territory is more important than ever. This month the Supreme Court will hear oral argument about whether the Constitution applies when a U.S. officer shoots a Mexican child across the border. Meanwhile the federal courts are scrambling to evaluate the constitutionality of an Executive Order that, among other things, deprives immigrants of their right to reenter the United States. Yet the extraterritorial reach of the Due Process Clause — the broadest constitutional limit on the government’s authority to deprive persons of “life, liberty, and property” — remains obscure.

Up to now, scholars have uniformly concluded that the founding generation did not understand due process to apply abroad, at least not to aliens. This Article challenges that consensus. Based on the English historical background, constitutional structure, and the early practice of federal law enforcement on the high seas, this Article argues that the founding generation understood due process to apply to any exercise of federal law enforcement, criminal or civil, against any person, anywhere in the world. Outside the context of war, no one believed that a federal officer could deprive a suspect of life, liberty, or property without due process of law — even if the capture occurred abroad or the suspect was a non-citizen.

This history has important implications. It strongly supports the extension of due process to federal criminal and civil law enforcement, regardless the suspect’s location or citizenship. This principle has immediate implications for cross-border shootings, officially sponsored kidnappings and detentions abroad, the suspension of immigration benefits, and the acquisition of foreign evidence for criminal defendants.

Antiquities trafficking said to fuel transnational mayhem by Daesh et al.

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Alumna Tess Davis, 2d from left, met with Georgia Law 1Ls after her lecture; from left, Hannah Williams, Ava Goble & Karen Hays. Hannah will work on cultural heritage issues this summer through a Global Externship Overseas (GEO) at the Cambodia Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts, Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“As long as there have been tombs, there have been tomb raiders.”

So began the terrific talk on trafficking that Tess Davis, Executive Director of the D.C.-based Antiquities Coalition, delivered to a rapt University of Georgia audience this week.

Having conceded the point quoted at top, Davis stressed that today the problem is much different and much greater. On the list of lucrative transnational organized crime, she asserted, antiquities trafficking places 3d, right behind arms trafficking and drug trafficking.

The threat is not simply one of criminal behavior, she continued. Rather, Davis stressed that profits from antiquities trafficking – profits believed to be in the millions of dollars – provide revenue vital for the nonstate actor waging armed conflict in Syria and Iraq. That entity calls itself “Islamic State” and is often labeled “ISIS” or “ISIL” in the media; taking a lead from diplomats in France and, recently, the United States, Davis preferred “Daesh,” the group’s Arabic acronym, for the simple reason that “they hate to be called that.”

Initially trained as an archeologist, Davis began to focus on legal means to combat antiquities trafficking while still a student at Georgia Law. Since earning her J.D. in 2009, she’s been a leader at the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage and in the American Society of International Law Cultural Heritage & the Arts Interest Group, a researcher at Scotland’s University of Glasgow, a member of Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, and, as the photo above demonstrates, a mentor to Georgia Law students and other young lawyers interested in working in the field. Her efforts to help repatriate antiquities stolen from Cambodia earned multiple mentions in The New York Times.

Her talk drew links between the looting of cultural heritage during and after the 1970s Khmer Rouge reign of terror and current looting in the Middle East today. In both instances, she said, “cultural cleansing” – in the contemporary case, the destruction and thievery of monuments sacred to moderate Muslims and others – precedes and parallels efforts to erase and subjugate the humans who venerate those monuments. It’s a state of affairs documented in her Coalition’s new report, “Culture Under Threat.”

“The world failed Cambodia,”

Davis said, then expressed optimism at growing political will to do something about the Middle East. She advocated enactment of S. 1887, the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act now working its way through Congress. The legislation, whose cosponsors include a Georgia U.S. Senator, David Perdue, is urgent: Davis estimated that U.S. buyers represent 43% of the current demand for looted Syrian antiquities.