Professor Witmer-Rich Accepts Offer of Publication by American Criminal Law Review

Professor Witmer-Rich has accepted an offer from the American Criminal Law Review to publish an article entitled, “The Heat of Passion and Blameworthy Reasons to be Angry.”  The American Criminal Law Review, published by the Georgetown University Law School, is the country’s leading criminal law journal.
The article resolves a long-standing conceptual puzzle in voluntary manslaughter cases, when a defendant kills in the “heat of passion” after being provoked.  For decades courts in provocation cases have struggled to determine which features of a particular defendant are properly relevant when assessing the adequacy of provocation.
The article solves this puzzle by identifying a hidden normative component of the heat of passion doctrine: provocation is not adequate if the reason the defendant became extremely angry is due to some blameworthy belief or attribute of the defendant.  A belief is blameworthy if it contradicts the fundamental values of the political community.
The blameworthiness principle also explains when the heat of passion defense should be denied to some defendants—such as possessive men who kill independent women, or defendants who claim “gay panic” or “trans panic”—while allowed for other defendants in arguably similar circumstances.
A defendant who pleads provocation asks the community to mitigate a wrongful act of killing from murder to manslaughter, and to do so because another person provoked him into a rage that made it much more difficult to control his violent response.  But if the defendant’s reason for becoming angry is blameworthy, he has no rightful claim to mitigation—he is culpably responsible for entering the state of extreme anger that might otherwise reduce his culpability.


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Professor Kalir Interviewed on Gorsuch Nomination by XM-Radio

On Tuesday, March 21, Clinical Professor of Law Doron Kalir appeared on Tim Farley’s POTUS Talk, a Sirius-XM morning radio talk show, to discuss Day 1 of Judge Gorsuch nomination hearing. During the 13-minute interview  Kalir discussed issues ranging from the exercise of the so-called “nuclear option,” (eliminating the possibility of filibuster),  the similarities between Judge Gorsuch and Justice Alito, and the possible effect of Director Comey’s testimony on the confirmation hearings. 

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Professor Sterio Publishes Blog Post on Return of Somali Pirates

Professor and Associate Dean Milena Sterio published a blog post entitled ‘Somali Pirates Are Back?” on Communis Hostis Omnium, an academic blog dedicated to discussions of maritime piracy.  In this post, Professor Sterio discusses the recent successful piracy attack on Aris 13, an oil tanker which had been sailing from Djibouti to Mogadishu.  This piracy attack was the first successful attack in 2017 and it may signal a return of Somali pirates.


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Professor Robertson’s Article Published in William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review

Professor Heidi Gorovitz Robertson’s article, When States’ Legislation and Constitutions Collide with Angry Locals:  Shale Oil and Gas Development and its Many Masters, was just published in the William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review (Volume 41, Issue 1, Fall 2016).

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Professor Sterio Quoted in Al Jazeera Article on Syria

Professor and Associate Dean Milena Sterio was quoted in an article by Al Jazeera entitled “Six years on: ‘Syria is an accountability-free zone,” available here.  Professor Sterio’s quotes are reproduced below:

Moving forward, the opposition “can demonstrate that it has international law on its side – that its position is legally correct and that Assad may be violating international law,” said Milena Sterio, professor of international law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in the US state of Ohio.

“At some point, leaders become too ‘rogue’ and too isolated that it hurts them in the international community. The hope is to corner Assad, to isolate him politically and to get him to realise that if he wants any hope of participation in international relations and in the international community on behalf of Syria, he must negotiate with the opposition in good faith,” Sterio told Al Jazeera.


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Sagers Writes in New York Times DealBook Blog on Pending Class Action Bill

Chris Sagers, the James A. Thomas Distinguished Professor of Law, wrote in today’s DealBook blog of the New York Times on a bill that passed the House this week, that could have the practical effect of ending the class action as an American institution. Writing with civil procedure scholar Josh Davis of the University of San Francisco, Sagers argues that the legislation is merely one final step in a long effort of business interests to make class recoveries as difficult and expensive as possible. Because the primary losers will be ordinary people, Sagers and Davis argue, the law would be a poignant disservice to the very working class voters who are said to have placed the current congressional majorities in control.
You can read the article here.
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Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss’ Article on “Blacks as Immigrants” Cited in Washington Post Article by Professor Eugene Volokh

Professor Lolita Buckner Inniss’ article, Lolita K. Buckner Inniss, “Tricky Magic: Blacks as Immigrants and the Paradox of Foreignness,” 49 Depaul L. Rev. 85 (1999), was cited in an article published by the Washington Post, by Professor Eugene Volokh (of the Volokh Conspiracy blog), entitled Slaves as immigrants, from Ben Carson and the academy [UPDATE: and President Obama].  Professor Volokh, whose article discusses Secretary Ben Carson’s recent commentary about slaves as immigrants, cites Professor Inniss’ article as an example of academic scholarship which has already discussed slavery in terms of immigration.  He quotes the following passage from Professor Inniss’ article:

A. Slavery as Immigration

Immigration has been defined as the moving across national frontiers, as opposed to moving within borders. Immigration has also been defined as a history of alienation and its consequences — “broken homes, interruptions of a familiar life, separation from known surroundings, the becoming a foreigner and ceasing to belong.” These definitions have traditionally been applied to entrants from Europe and later, Asia. Blacks were often either explicitly or implicitly excluded from definitions of immigration, dismissed as being merely “imported slaves” whose movement lacked the complexity of later immigration to the Americas, or deemed unwilling victims of conquerors. Notwithstanding these pronouncements, black arrivals to the Americas had all the attributes of immigrants. In fact, they created the immigrant paradigm: arrivals with alien languages, cultures and customs, who enter at the bottom-most social and economic levels and labor tirelessly.


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