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The Boston Globe
How Harvard Law students won 3 inmates their freedom
Since 2008, Darryl Dewayne Edwards has been a guest of the federal prison system, serving a sentence of life without parole. Though he had a fairly minor criminal record at the time of his arrest on drug and weapons charges, he received a mandatory life sentence after rejecting a plea bargain, and exercising his right to go to trial...Edwards’s release — and those of two other federal prisoners so far — was won by a group of young legal advocates. A group of Harvard Law School students, supervised by attorneys from the law firm of Goodwin Procter, has filed clemency petitions for more than a dozen federal prisoners who could qualify for release under guidelines set forth by the Justice Department...Among those answering the call was Larry Schwartztol
, director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School...Two of his students, Lark Turner
and Molly Bunke
, have worked on successful petitions...Turner said she went to law school with the hope of eventually influencing policy on mass incarceration. “The idea that you can go to law school and in your first year you can start working on things that matter so much it’s pretty incredible,” she said...“I think this experience taught me a lot about being an effective advocate,” Bunke said. “That’s why I came here, and that’s what I want to do when I leave.”
A Grand Bargain to Make Tech Companies Trustworthy
An op-ed by Jack M. Balkin and Jonathan Zittrain
. We tell online services what we like, who we love, what we are doing, and where we live, work, and play. And they in turn provide us with a window to the world, shaping what we see and suggesting what we should do. As we use these services, they learn more and more about us. They see who we are, but we are unable to see into their operations or understand how they use our data. As a result, we have to trust online services, but we have no real guarantees that they will not abuse our trust. Companies share information about us in any number of unexpected and regrettable ways, and the information and advice they provide can be inconspicuously warped by the companies’ own ideologies or by their relationships with those who wish to influence us, whether people with money or governments with agendas. To protect individual privacy rights, we’ve developed the idea of “information fiduciaries.”
Supreme Court Aims for a Boring Term
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
The last Supreme Court term was strange by accident. Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February left the court with only eight members, and several 4-4 decisions left major issues unresolved. Anticipated decisions on religious liberty, union dues and presidential power over deportation will have to wait for the court to return to nine justices. The big-ticket cases that were decided, on abortion and affirmative action, were products of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s move to the left. The Supreme Court term that starts Monday will be strange by design. The Senate’s refusal to vote or even to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland means the court enters the term shorthanded.
Small peek at returns doesn’t show context, experts say
The New York Times’ publication of part of Donald Trump’s tax returns only revealed a thin slice of the real estate mogul’s finances — not enough to draw conclusions about how much he’s paid in taxes over the years and nothing indicating any illegal nonpayment, experts said...But without seeing his returns from those years, or returns leading up to 1995, there’s no way to determine what he paid, said Stephen Shay
, a Harvard Law professor and tax expert. “There still remains a large amount of information that would be needed — not the least of which would be the rest of his tax returns — in order to understand what to make of it,” Shay said.
The Washington Post
The New York Times risked legal trouble to publish Donald Trump’s tax return
Dean Baquet wasn't bluffing. The New York Times executive editor said during a visit to Harvard in September that he would risk jail to publish Donald Trump's tax returns. He made good on his word Saturday night when the Times published Trump tax documents from 1995, which show the Republican presidential nominee claimed losses of $916 million that year - enough to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years afterward..."The courts could say, if the public thinks the tax returns are so important, let it demand that the candidate authorize the IRS to release them on pain of losing votes," said Jonathan Zittrain
, a privacy expert and professor at Harvard Law School. Zittrain told me that "if the New York Times received the return information not from the government after it was filed but from a private citizen, such as one working for Trump, and from Trump's own records, criminal liability may be less clear. Which could mean that ascertaining where the material didn't come from is as important as where it did."
The challenges of international adoption (video)
...The international adoption system can be murky. Critics say it is not in the best interests of children to be adopted by families from another country and to grow up outside their native culture. But supporters insist if children are given a loving home, that in itself is in a child’s best interest...On this episode of The Stream, we speak with...Elizabeth Bartholet
, Director, Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.
9/11 Families May Not Be Able to Sue Saudis After All
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
The fate of the Sept. 11 families’ lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may depend on the Partridge family. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, enacted by Congress on Thursday over President Barack Obama’s veto, is supposed to let the suit go forward. But for the federal courts to have legal authority, the families will most likely have to show that the Sept. 11 attacks were “effects” of actions taken by the Saudi government. And the leading U.S. Supreme Court case governing what counts as effects involved the actress Shirley Jones, known for her role as Shirley Partridge in the 1970s show “The Partridge Family.” Jones sued a writer and editor for the National Enquirer where she lived in California over a libelous article that was written in Florida.
...the Gazette asked scholars from across Harvard to reflect on the leadership of our 44th president: what they most admired, what was disappointing, and what most surprised them...Carol Steiker
: Most admire: The Affordable Care Act was a signal achievement — seemingly impossible at the outset but now the law of the land and making a huge difference in the lives of millions. The ACA will be remembered as one of Obama’s most important legacies. Disappointing: Obama did not make criminal justice reform a major priority, and his administration has made only modest contributions to addressing this area of gross injustice and shameful waste of capital, both financial and human. Surprising: I would not have predicted the utter impasse that Obama has reached with Congress, in which both ordinary legislation and the Senate’s confirmation of Supreme Court nominees have ground to halt, despite the president’s efforts to seek bipartisan solutions.
The Harvard Crimson
Students Advocate for HUDS in Harvard Yard, Law School
The threat of rain did not deter nearly 400 Harvard affiliates from marching in front of Massachusetts Hall Friday afternoon in support of Harvard’s dining workers, who announced earlier in the day that they intend to strike next Wednesday should the University not comply with their demands...Following the rally Friday evening, workers, union representatives, and students converged on Harvard Law School’s student lounge for a "speakout” event hosted by the Harvard National Lawyers Guild. Several HUDS workers shared with supporters their personal experiences of working at Harvard in a discussion moderated by Law student and Reclaim Harvard Law member Marco R. Castanos
[`18]...“We recognize that the struggles of people from marginalized communities and people of color are universal, they’re not just confined to students. So it wouldn’t make sense for Reclaim and the strike not to stand in solidarity with one another,” Castanos said in an interview. “The struggles that they’re going for, to me at least, they’re synonymous.”