In the News

A 12-year-old rape victim was detained and allowed to die on the way to a Liberian hospital. Here’s why.

Kim Thuy Seelinger writes for The Washington Post, February 16, 2015

The family was stopped at a police checkpoint because it was after curfew. They were detained for several hours. The child died there, roadside, in a red pickup truck.

California is rife with laws used to harass homeless people

Jeffrey Selbin and Paul Boden write for Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2015

After homelessness began skyrocketing in the 1980s, cities responded with laws that criminalize basic life activities conducted in public like standing, sitting, resting or sleeping, and even sharing food with homeless people. As the crisis worsened in California — 22% of America’s homeless population now lives in the state — cities have piled on more and more vagrancy laws.

A war authorization for weaklings

John Yoo interviewed by WSJ Video, February 12, 2015

I hate to say it, but what President Obama’s trying to do, and this is a first for a modern-day president, is he’s trying to actually handcuff himself and his successor. If you actually take a moment to look at the proposal that he’s sent forward, it’s an incredible document, one unlike any a president has sent to Congress before. It limits his own powers.

Colleges use anti-Apartheid strategies to battle fossil fuels

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, February 10, 2015

Endowments are the lifeblood of the elite universities. Harvard’s $36 billion endowment produces a third of the university’s annual revenue. For the university, politicizing its endowment may not be an option given that every cent of return is needed.

Judge’s ruling allows Berkeley Patients Group to continue operations

Robert Berring interviewed by The Daily Californian, February 10, 2015

“Attorney General (Eric) Holder has stated that so long as medical marijuana dispensaries do not violate state laws they will let them alone,” Berring said in an email. “Even the federal judge who has allowed them to keep operating while the case proceeds asked why the government was pursuing this matter.  It beats me.”

In sharp words from Xi, ominous implications for China’s legal reforms

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2015

The most recent message is chillingly clear: The grasp of the Party will not be loosened, and as a result, changes needed for deep reform of China’s legal system will remain out of reach.

Justice Thomas objects to Court’s signal on gay marriage

Jesse Choper quoted in The New York Times, February 9, 2015

“If you read the tea leaves the Supreme Court is leaving,” said University of California-Berkeley law professor Jesse Choper, “the bans on same-sex marriage can’t be permitted. They’re unconstitutional.”

UC Berkeley law professor challenges Economic Club of Grand Rapids to re-examine race

john a. powell quoted on, February 9, 2015

“We live in a deeply divided America,” Powell said. “The fear of the racial others, the fear of others, affects the structures of our economy and culture.”

Why Chinese moms want American babies

Leti Volpp interviewed by CNN, February 9, 2015

“If things become economically or politically uncertain in one’s country of origin, the children have a place to come to,” said Leti Volpp, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The children can “then sponsor their parents when they turn 21.”

Securities lawyers flocking to Delaware

Steven Davidoff Solomon quoted in The Recorder (registration required), February 6, 2015

“It appears that some of the better cases may be migrating to Delaware because they think that the judges may reward them better,” he said.

Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center honored with $1M award

Alexa Koenig quoted in Daily Journal (registration required), February 6, 2015

“We were absolutely bowled over,” Executive Director Alexa Koenig said of the award. “We’re not an organization that is often in the news. We tend to fly really beneath the radar, so to have such a public honor has been sort of overwhelming.”

Berkeley Human Rights Center awarded $1 million for investigating war crimes

Eric Stover interviewed on KQED, Forum, February 6, 2015

We’re taking 100,000 to really recognize the exceptional work that the Sexual Violence Program has done. And we want to keep that a permanent feature of the Center. We have just around a 2-million-dollar budget. We raise 95 percent of that. And so, an award like this is really kind of a stamp of approval.

Board strife compounds failed deal for GFI

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, February 5, 2015

If the allegations in the filing are true, the failure in the news releases to mention the independent directors’ opposition or the fact that two-fifths of the board was unaware of this recommendation does not exactly meet best practices in disclosure.

Finding the funds for infrastructure improvement

Alan Auerbach interviewed by WBUR, On Point, February 5, 2015

“We’ve seen evidence of collapsing bridges and crumbling highways around the country. There’s no doubt that, as we’ve spent money on a lot of other things in the U.S., infrastructure spending has really lagged behind.”

FCC’s net neutrality plan a win for startups, consumers

James Tuthill quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2015

The FCC’s pending move to treat the Internet as a utility is “a huge win for consumers,” said James Tuthill. … But Tuthill and other analysts say Wheeler’s battle will not be on Capitol Hill but in the courts, as major telecoms are preparing to fight reclassification. Tuthill said it could be “minimum two years in the courts and it could be as many as five.”

Will the Supreme Court’s lethal injection review kill the death penalty?

Megan McCracken quoted in ProPublica, February 4, 2015

“In 2008, all of the states were using a very similar protocol—all the states were using the same three drugs,” McCracken said. “Because some pharmaceutical companies have made their drugs unavailable for executions, the states have been changing their methods.” McCracken considers the botched executions a “consequence of using untested, untried combinations.”

UC Berkeley program on human rights, war crimes wins $1-million grant

Alexa Koenig and Eric Stover quoted in Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2015

The MacArthur grant will establish an endowment for the center and help fund its work on researching and preventing sexual violence, Koenig said. The new endowment will “provide a sense of stability and that makes this really important,” she said.

Eric Stover … said the center is working to ally Silicon Valley companies with international prosecutors on the use of digital videos, emails and other technologies that bolster evidence in trials of those accused of atrocities. Stover said that he was grateful for the MacArthur gift and that he hoped it “will attract others to recognize our work.”

In a sale gone awry, a lesson for other deal makers

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, February 3, 2015

The prolonged takeover battle for the GFI Group, a New York brokerage firm and clearinghouse, has been littered with missteps by Michael Gooch, its founder and executive chairman, raising the question of why supposedly intelligent leaders time and again do dumb things when they sell their companies.

The next generation of patent claim construction

Peter Menell writes for Daily Journal, February 3, 2015

The court removed interpretation of patent claims from the black box of jury deliberations by holding that the Seventh Amendment jury trial right did not extend to patent claim construction and that trial judges were better equipped than juries to resolve the mixed fact/law controversies inherent in construing disputed patent claim terms.

Northern California chief’s new approach revitalizes force

Barry Krisberg quoted in The New York Times, February 1, 2015

“A lot of departments pay lip service to community policing, but Richmond is actually doing it,” Krisberg said.