Dr. Ortega Announced as Keynote Speaker for National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 83rd Annual Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, Dr. Bridgett Ortega, has been announced as the opening keynote speaker for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 83rd Annual Conference on July 20, 2020.

Dr. Ortega’s session on Compassionate Jurisprudence will help to set the tone for the conference and inspire change. This topic is of particular interest to Dr. Ortega as it is also the title of her dissertation: Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice

Dr. Ortega is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and is currently the equity and inclusion officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU. She has spent more than 30 years working for criminal and juvenile justice reform and is a national trainer on subjects dealing with juvenile and adult drug courts, domestic violence, equity, and inclusion, improving outcomes for children of the incarcerated, and is an expert in juvenile justice. As a law professor, she has taught ethics, trial skills, criminal and juvenile justice, and experiential learning courses. Dr. Ortega also spearheaded the creation of the Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic at AJMLS and collaborated with AJMLS students to develop and write Home for Good: Overcoming Legal Barriers to Reentry in Georgia, a self-help guide designed to answer practical, legal questions to help citizens successfully remain in their community. 

Previously in May, Dr. Ortega spoke at another national conference, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals RISE20. Her session at this conference was also entitled Compassionate Jurisprudence. The conference program described her session as,

Little is understood about human-centered judging or how judging with compassion impacts everyone in the courtroom. Given this lack of understanding, an action research study was conducted to explore how human-centered judging affected the thoughts, communications, and behaviors of 32 adult drug court judges. This workshop will explore the themes discovered that support a more compassionate approach to justice in our system of American jurisprudence.

Thank you, Dr. Ortega, for sharing your expertise and passion both in and out of the classroom. Your research is making a difference and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law students are receiving invaluable instruction from you.

Chief Judge and Adjunct Professor Steve Teske Delivers Keynote at State Bar Conference, Publishes Series of Regional and National Journal Articles

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Adjunct Professor and Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, Steve Teske, has been especially active outside the court and classroom in recent months.

In January, The Child Protection and Advocacy section of the State Bar of Georgia invited Judge Teske to deliver the keynote address at their annual conference. The paper he authored was titled “How Professionalism Can Promote Child Protection and Advocacy Using ‘Procedural Fairness’ as a Court Reform”. The paper thesis is below:

“This paper contends that extending ourselves beyond the minimum standards required of our code of ethics and engaging our clients specifically, and our court system generally, through the lens of professionalism, we can improve the outcomes for our respective clients by : 1) shaping facets of our juvenile justice and child welfare systems to conform to best practices that in turn leads to; 2) producing court orders best suited to meet the needs of our clients (whether a child in a delinquency or dependency case or a parent in a dependency matter); and 3) increase the level of compliance in cases where our client is adjudicated, and is required to be under supervision for re-unification (i.e. parent); probation conditions (delinquent youth); or a child in need of services whether dependent, unruly, or truant.

This paper will focus on a particular model called “Procedural Fairness” as a methodology for exercising the values of professionalism that when employed with fidelity, outcomes for children and for parents will improve dramatically in both the juvenile justice and dependency domains of our juvenile courts. Procedural fairness is not to be confused with due process, procedural or substantive. Like our code of ethics, due process sets forth the minimal rules by which we must afford parties that appropriate modicum of fairness. Procedural fairness is all about professionalism and therefore, goes beyond the minimum. Like our values of professionalism, procedural fairness expects higher standards by which fairness is not only defined by the law, but is measured by the litigant.”

Beginning in late 2019, Judge Teske published a series of articles both regionally and nationally. While he publishes regularly for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE), this particular series on plea bargaining in the juvenile court began with his piece, “The Contrariness of Plea Bargaining in the Juvenile Courts”, published in December 2019, which was then followed by two more articles published in January 2020 titled “Plea Bargaining Hurts Both Guilty and Innocent Kids” and “To Use Evidence-Based Programs for Kids, Get the Lawyers Out of Here”. After editors at the national quarterly journal, Juvenile Justice Update, took an interest in his thoughts on the subject, they approached Judge Teske to write an additional article, also titled “The Contrariness of Plea Bargaining”.

When asked about the content of this series, Judge Teske kindly summarized for AJMLS,

These series of articles begin with describing plea bargaining, its history and development, and leading into the pros and cons. It is the sharp difference in the role of the juvenile courts–rehabilitation over punishment–that makes plea bargaining a tool that works contrary to the rehabilitative role. To understand this how plea bargaining works conversely to rehabilitation requires an understanding of the “What Works” literature developed over the past nearly three decades, which is a collection of practices and programs proven to reduce recidivism among high-risk offenders and prevent delinquency by taking steps to avoid what I call “hyper-recidivism.” The rub is that many of these evidence-based tools that provide the most informed recommendations for rehabilitation cannot be administered prior to the guilt-innocence stage without violating the child’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. In other words, absent these tools, prosecutors and defenders are negotiating dispositions for kids that will be less effective to ward rehabilitation. Thus, plea bargaining should be limited or eliminated altogether as I did in my court as early as 2003 that has played a role in reducing delinquency filings to the court as much as 82 percent.  

Still forthcoming in 2020 will be Judge Teske’s article in Volume 54 Issue 4 of the Georgia Law Review titled “Georgia Juvenile Justice Reform: Using a Collective Decision-Making Approach to De-Politicize Crime and Punishment”. The abstract of the forthcoming article is below:

“Since the creation of the first juvenile court in 1899, juvenile courts have undergone periods of transition in response to legislative enactments prompted by societal events or in response to legal challenges involving due process rights of children. This Article examines the extent to which politics has played a role in shaping juvenile justice and crime policies and its impact on children and public safety. In this critical review of each period of transition, this Article concludes that the lack of success among juvenile justice agencies, including the courts, is predominately the result of the politicizing of crime and punishment in the United States. This politicization consequently disrupts efforts to employ programs and practices that empirical evidence has shown to prevent and reduce delinquency. Using Georgia’s approach to juvenile justice reform as a case study, this Article shows how using a collaborative approach coupled with employing a methodical analytic decisionmaking process de-politicizes the issues, allowing for a discussion of programs and practices that work”. 

Thank you, Judge Teske, for your incredible work in the juvenile courts. Your research and experience brings the very best juvenile law learning experience to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students.

Atlanta Mayor Appoints Professor Rapping as Co-Chair to Use of Force Advisory Council

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan Rapping, was recently appointed by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as Co-Chair of the new Use of Force Advisory Council in Atlanta. 

Mayor Bottoms issued an Administrative Order to convene an Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to examine the City’s use of force policies and procedures. The Advisory Council will make recommendations for operational or legislative changes to the City’s existing use of force policies.*

Professor Rapping is not new to inspiring reform, as the President and Founder of non-profit Gideon’s Promise, his work and support to public defender offices across the nation is transforming the criminal justice system. The vision of Gideon’s Promise is We envision a nation where every person has access to zealous, outstanding representation necessary to ensure “equal justice for all” in the criminal justice arena.

On June 3rd, Gideon’s Promise launched its new weekly podcast hosted by Professor Rapping. Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast explores the critical role of public defenders in systemic justice reform. Each episode explores a wide range of issues facing marginalized communities with subject matter experts, key opinion leaders, and people impacted by the American criminal legal system.

Rapping is a passionate educator, both at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Harvard Law School. Recently, Law360 interviewed him for their Access to Justice series. In the piece, Jon Rapping Talks Pandemics, Protests And Public Defense, he addressed a question specific to teaching:

As a teacher, what do you have to say to law students preparing to enter the workforce during a pandemic and widespread civil unrest over the justice system?

I came to, and remain at, John Marshall because of its mission to prepare students for practice who otherwise would not have access to law school. Roughly half our students are students of color. They are disproportionately impacted by the issues that give rise to the protests we are seeing and disproportionately likely to use their law degrees to address these problems.

At orientation for first-year students, I say to them, at the end of your first year you’ll have read countless cases. But I bet you couldn’t tell me one thing about a single person behind those cases. And that’s because of the way we train lawyers. Good lawyers are people who can mechanically follow a set of steps to arrive at a logical conclusion. When lawyers then enter the system we do the same thing — we see people as cases to resolve and legal issues to address, not as human beings. We dehumanize.

But If we’re going to ever have a criminal justice system that treats people fairly, we have to humanize it. And public defenders are really doing that.

As ongoing national protests against police violence take place, Professor Rapping is an ally and passionate public speaker. He was a keynote speaker this past week at the Public Defenders for Black Lives Rally in Atlanta, hosted by the ACLU of Georgia, Cochran Firm, Gideon’s Promise, and Southern Center for Human Rights. 

Also this past week, Rapping served as one of five panelists for Microsoft’s Criminal Justice Reform Atlanta Forum. This was a partnership between Microsoft’s Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs (CELA) division, the African American/Black Employee Network (AA/BEN), and the Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) employee resource group to host a series of Criminal Justice Reform town halls across our nation. Other panelists included Hip Hop star David Banner, Civil Rights attorney Chris Stewart (represents George Floyd’s family), Doug Ammar, ED of Georgia Justice Project, and Judge Beryl Anderson.

Thank you to Professor Rapping for all that you do, in and out of the classroom. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law students will forever be impacted by your teaching and leadership.

*Press Release: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Appoints Members to Use of Force Advisory Council

A Statement from the Faculty of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

The willful and wanton murder of George Floyd serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing institutional racial and social injustices in this country. The painful wounds that flow from the unequal administration of justice run deep. In a democratic society, law is the covenant that binds free people together. The legitimacy of that covenant rests on the bedrock of equal protection—the fundamental principle that everyone stands on a level playing field in the eyes of the law. Racism, however, makes equal protection impossible. To mistreat a person on account of that person’s skin color is evil. When that racism takes the form of state-sponsored police brutality, the ties that link us together as fellow citizens sear from the pain of the oppressed.

No one is unaffected. While wrongfully imprisoned by police in a Birmingham jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught the world that the infection of inequality lands on each of us: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

We, the faculty of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, denounce the murder of George Floyd and the senseless killing of countless others. We share the heartache of all those who are hurting from the continuing stain of racism. We also stand in solidarity with our many students and alumni who are battling on the front lines to make this country more just. Their example inspires us, and we remain steadfast in our mission of shaping future lawyers dedicated to forging a system of justice that lives up to our nation’s stated, yet unrealized, ideals.The courage and passion of our students and alumni provide hope that the day is near when the constitutional guarantee of equal protection becomes a living, breathing reality for all races.

Dr. Ortega Advocates for Reentry Education, Homeless Veterans, and Talks Voting Disenfranchisement

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, Dr. Bridgett Ortega, is on the move in Georgia, advocating for others.

In her capacity at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Dr. Ortega collaborated with AJMLS students to develop and write Home for Good: Overcoming Legal Barriers to Reentry in Georgia*, a self-help guide designed to answer practical, legal questions to help citizens successfully remain in their community. This publication is distributed free of charge and is available on the Law School website here. Dr. Ortega’s office provides pro-bono opportunities for students to reach their community at events such as the Restoration Resources Fair for Ex-Offenders, hosted by Congressman Henry “Hank” Johnson on Thursday, February 20th. The 4th edition of the publication is forthcoming in 2020.

As a veteran herself, Dr. Ortega spearhead the creation of the Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic. Now under the leadership of her office and AJMLS alumnus, Corey Martin of Martin and Associates, the second Friday of each month, AJMLS provides representation and advocacy to system-involved veterans through its Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic in partnership with the Atlanta V.A. Medical Center. These services are provided at Ft. McPherson in the Justice Programs Office.

In January, Dr. Ortega was the lead presenter at the January meeting of the End Mass Incarceration Georgia Network, where her presentation spoke to the background on voting disenfranchisement for felonies in Georgia. Georgia law states that anyone convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” will lose their voting rights. However, it does not clearly define what “moral turpitude” means. Dr. Ortega lead the discussion and sought to educate, organize, and help disenfranchised people to understand their rights.

As a law professor she has taught ethics, trial skills, criminal and juvenile justice, and experiential learning courses. She has nearly 30 years experience in legal and programmatic positions aimed at criminal and juvenile justice reform. Her life’s work has been the zealous advocacy for and on behalf of children and disenfranchised adults, as a public defender, researcher, and policy consultant. Dr. Ortega was formerly Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening with young people with substance abuse and other issues that bring them into the criminal justice system. She is also a trainer for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and former member at large of The National Juvenile Defender Center. Her dissertation is entitled Compassionate Jurisprudence: A Praxis for Justice.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students have had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Ortega since 2011 and we thank her for her tireless service!

*The guide is information only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal advice in any particular situation. If you need legal help or have questions about your particular situation, call a lawyer. Only licensed attorneys can interpret the law for you. See the resource section at the end of the book.

Professor Rapping Inspires Criminal Justice Reform in North Carolina and California

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan A. Rapping, has been on the move in December and January speaking about criminal justice. In addition to his roles at AJMLS, Professor Rapping serves as the President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, is a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University Law School, and is a frequent presenter and contributor to national conversations on criminal justice reform. Rapping is also the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, the American College of Trial Lawyers Emil Gumpert Award, Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship, Cardozo Law School Inspire Award, and the George Soros Open Society Fellowship along with many other honors and recognitions.

In December, Professor Rapping was the keynote speaker in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at “Where Do We Go from Here? A community forum on criminal justice reform in Orange County”. The event was co-sponsored by Orange County and the District 18 Bar Racial Justice Task Force. Invested panelists included the District Attorney, Public Defender, County Sheriff, Police Chief, Superior Court Judge, and representatives from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, University of North Carolina School of Government, North Carolina Justice Center, and the District Courts. The impressive table of panelists engaged in discussions about “The role of stakeholders in criminal justice reform” and “The intersection of poverty and the criminal justice system”. Professor Rapping’s keynote was entitled: Rewriting the Criminal Justice Narrative.

Later in January, Professor Rapping will travel to Los Angeles to participate in three separate events on the topic of criminal justice reform. The first, a lecture hosted by the University of Southern California’s Dornsife Pre-Law Speaker Series discussing “The Lawyer’s Role in a Just Society”. The second, Professor Rapping is presenting to the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office a lecture discussing “A public defender movement to transform criminal justice”. The third, a lunch event presented by UCLA Law’s Criminal Justice Program and David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy discussing “Gideon’s Promise: Building a Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice”.

When asked of his work, Professor Rapping remarked “Lawyers have always played a critical role in the ongoing struggle to push our nation to achieve its stated ideals. The criminal justice system is one example of how far we are from living our democratic values. It is not enough that lawyers help administer the system as it exists; they must be change agents to make society more just. How law schools educate future lawyers determines whether they are prepared to raise the standard of justice or perpetuate the status quo. I am proud of our mission at John Marshall and our commitment to creating lawyers who will leave the legal system better than when they entered it. ”

The Law School is proud to offer its students the opportunity to learn criminal law from one of the nation’s leaders working to improve the criminal justice system. Thank you, Professor!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Names Jace C. Gatewood Dean and CEO

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce the appointment of its 10th Dean, Jace C. Gatewood. Dean Gatewood succeeded Dean Malcolm L. Morris on January 1, 2020 as Interim Dean and CEO, becoming the first African American to serve in the role since the school’s founding in 1933.

Dean Gatewood, who has been a senior member of the faculty since 2008, said “Atlanta’s John Marshall has offered the opportunity for legal training to those who might not otherwise have been able to earn a law degree. For much of its 87 year history, women and African Americans were more welcome at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School than at many law schools, and the Law School today proudly continues its tradition of diversity.”

Dean Gatewood has served in roles such as Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, and Associate Dean of Academic Programs. In addition to teaching, he has chaired the curriculum committee, and been a member of the admissions committee and faculty recruitment committee. Dean Gatewood has taught a range of courses including Property, Business Organizations, Sales and Secured Transactions, Wills, Trusts and Estates, and Agency and Negotiations. As a faculty member at Atlanta’s John Marshall, Dean Gatewood has authored numerous scholarly publications, with his chief research topic being the fourth amendment and an individual’s right to privacy in an increasingly technological world.

Dean Gatewood attended Georgetown University where he was a full scholarship track and field athlete. Becoming the first African American Dean of AJMLS was not his first historic moment, he was also a world and American record-holder for the Distance Medley Relay in 1980. Dean Gatewood went on to earn his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Prior to entering academia, Dean Gatewood practiced for nearly two decades in New York and Atlanta at Weil Gotshal LLP, Troutman Sanders LLP, Powell Goldstein LLP, Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Law Offices of Jace C. Gatewood. He specialized in a wide range of commercial lending and corporate and real estate finance transactions. His expertise includes the representation of lenders and foreign and domestic commercial banks in the establishment and administration of single lender and syndicated loan facilities of all kinds.

“Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School occupies a unique place in American legal education,” said Dean Gatewood. “I am extremely proud of the opportunity to share in this rich legacy of the school.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is looking forward to flourishing under the leadership of Dean Gatewood as it converts to a non-profit institution in 2020.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Dean, Malcolm L. Morris, Announces Retirement

Dean Malcolm L. Morris, who is Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s (AJMLS) ninth dean, announced his retirement to the AJMLS community on November 14.

Dean Morris, who has served since July 1, 2014, said “Fifty years ago I entered law school. Except for a brief hiatus to practice law, I have been working in law schools ever since. It has proven to be a wonderful experience and a career choice never once second-guessed.”

During Dean Morris’s tenure, the Law School made significant advancements in admissions, bar preparation programs, and upheld its mission to serve both traditional and non-traditional students. Professor Michael Mears noted, “The past several years have provided many challenges to our school and because of Dean Morris’s vision and leadership our law school has met those challenges with very positive outcomes. His leadership footprint will remain a part of our school for decades to come.”

Dean Morris, who is known for his wit, stories, and trivia, was often found checking-in with his employees around the school. He enjoyed getting to know each person personally and sharing great laughter and conversation. His work ethic was reflected in his schedule as the first to arrive and the last to leave, also being found most weekends jean-clad in his office tending to law school business.

Dean Morris continued “During my time in the academy I have taught at five different law schools and delivered lectures to students in every section of the country. I was privileged to be mentored by some outstanding faculty colleagues, befriended by many other wonderful colleagues, and to teach generations of students. It also was my good fortune to work with a number of professional and lay organizations as well as national and local bar associations. A number of them graciously recognized my contributions, something for which and I am appreciative. In sum, it has been a rewarding and enjoyable career which most importantly was fun.”

“Over the last five and one-half years I have led the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School through some difficult times. It now has the academic programming and student support needed to serve those who come to learn how to become and succeed as lawyers. This is a legacy of which I will be most proud for as most of us who teach know student success is our raison d’etre.”      

“Many years ago I was taught a simple lesson—leave wherever you have worked a little better place than it was when you arrived. I have always strived to meet that goal and my sincere hope is that I have done so. What I also learned along the way is to enjoy what you are doing. It makes the effort much easier and life more enjoyable.”

The road to Dean at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was paved with impressive leadership positions, research, and service to legal education and the legal community. As one of the most prominent legal scholars in notary law, Dean Morris was the inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Notary Association. Dean Morris was the Director of Graduate Estate Planning Programs and the Associate Director of Graduate Tax Law Programs. He also served two terms as the Associate Dean and one term as the Interim Dean at Northern Illinois University College of Law. During his tenure there, he was elected Secretary of the Faculty Senate and was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and the University Council, as well as the University Personnel Advisor. Additionally, he has been active as an ABA accreditation site visitor, Board Member and Treasurer of CLEO, Inc., LSAC trustee, and member of various AALS and ABA committees. During his time in Illinois, Dean Morris chaired and participated on numerous Illinois State Bar Association committees, received a number of awards for those efforts, including the prestigious Austin Fleming Award, all of which led to his induction as a Laureate in its Academy of Illinois Lawyers. He also has an extensive scholarship record that includes works published in both law reviews and practitioner-oriented publications.

Dr. Michael Markovitz, Chairman of the Board, remarked, “As the law school’s third Dean since achieving American Bar Association accreditation, Dean Morris has presided over the law school through a troubling time for legal education. With his usual good cheer and positive attitude, Dean Morris has seen our law school through these hard times. He strengthened the curriculum and significantly improved student outcomes. He set the school on a positive trajectory, leaving the law school on an up-note for his successor to build upon. We wish him and his wife Terry all the best in retirement.”

“I cannot imagine having enjoying any other career as much as I did during my time in the academy,” said Dean Morris. “Thank you to everyone who made it possible.”

Dean Morris is a graduate of Cornell University (B.S.), SUNY Buffalo (J.D.), and Northwestern University (LL.M.). In retirement, Morris will reside in the greater metropolitan Chicago area with his bride of 36 years, Terry Morris.

As of January 1, 2020, Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Jace C. Gatewood, was appointed Interim Dean and CEO of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

WalletHub Interviews Professor Diamond About Georgia Auto Insurance

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Adjunct Professor, Jeffrey D. Diamond, was interviewed by WallHub as one of their insurance experts. The article goes in-depth about Georgia auto rates and insurers. Professor Diamond is a practicing litigation attorney who specializes in insurance law and related matters and teaches Insurance Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Questions asked of Professor Diamond in the article:

What are the biggest risk factors keeping car insurance rates from being cheaper in Georgia?

Is there anything that state and local governments can do to promote cheap car insurance rates for their constituents?

What is the biggest vehicle-related financial mistake that drivers in Georgia make?

Why do you think credit history has a relatively [big/small] impact on car insurance rates in Georgia?*

Questions from WalletHub’s article: 2019’s Best Cheap Car Insurance in Georgia

Dr. Ortega Leads Training for Georgia Association of Legal Externships

Several years ago, Georgia law schools formed GALE, the Georgia Association of Legal Externships. GALE has worked hard to standardize policies and practices for the supervision of externs in their field placements. Every year, the Georgia Association of Legal Externships hosts an annual Supervising Attorney training designed to help externship supervisors and their organization get the most out of working with law students. This year’s supervisor training was held at the Georgia State Bar on August 7, 2019. Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning, Dr. Bridgett E. Ortega facilitated a session on navigating cultural difference that was warmly received by the 75 plus attorneys in attendance.

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Legal Externship Program provides work experience in different areas of practice so students can determine what suits them best. Externships also help students to develop relationships that will continue as they begin their legal career. Externships are an educational experience in every sense and good placement supervisors serve to enhance the students’ educational experience in the field where students get to experience firsthand the practice of law.

Professor Elizabeth Jaffe Cited in Dissenting Opinion

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently issued its decision on the F.B.C. v MDwise, Inc. case. In this case, F.B.C. filed a suit against her health insurance company alleging “disclosure,” “intrusion,” and “outrage” after her husband saw personal information that was placed on a web portal and decided to continue with their divorce process. The trial court dismissed all claims except outrage; however, the Court of Appeals decided to dismiss all three claims. Judge Brown concurred, and Judge Bailey dissented with opinion.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Elizabeth Jaffe was quoted in a footnote by Judge Bailey for his dissenting opinion. The footnote used is based upon an article written by Professor Jaffe in which she discusses a cyberbullying case that dealt with an invasion of privacy and disclosing personal information. This article supports Judge Bailey’s dissent surrounding the disclosure claim.

The footnote reads:
“See also Elizabeth M. Jaffe, Cyberbullies Beware: Reconsidering Vosburg v. Putney in the Internet Age, 5 Charleston L. Rev. 379, 382-85 (2011) (noting the tort implications of tragic events involving a college student who committed suicide after his roommate used a computer camera to spy on the student’s sexual encounters, revealed the student’s sexual orientation in a post on social media, and shared a link that allowed third parties to remotely view the camera feed).”

Professor Jonathan Rapping Cited in National Media Outlets on the Equal Defense Act

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan Rapping, was cited in many articles regarding the Equal Defense Act.

“I am hopeful that this Act prompts us all to continue to understand public defenders as a critical piece of the criminal justice solution, and to build on its important foundation to ensure marginalized communities have the advocates necessary to fulfill our democratic promise of equal justice,” says Rapping who founded Gideon’s Promise, an organization that backs the bill. (Vox)

Earlier this month Senator Kamala Harris introduced this legislation, the most ambitious federal legislation to date aimed at making the 6th Amendment Right to Counsel a reality in state and local courts. Rapping consulted closely with Senator Harris’ staff to draft this legislation. He is a nationally renowned public defense advocate and criminal justice reformer.

This quote at Vox is one of a number of quotes by Professor Rapping in national media outlets on the Equal Defense Acts. Some examples include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Mother Jones, CNN, and many more.

Outside of all of the great work he does here at AJMLS, Professor Rapping has stayed actively involved with the law community within the last few months.

On February 21st, Professor Rapping was able to attend UCLA’s School of Law event, Gideon’s Promise: Building a Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice. As President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, Professor Rapping was asked to speak with students on the organization’s purpose to transform the criminal justice system by teaching future public defenders how to fight for and provide equal justice for marginalized communities* as well as its upcoming programs.

His involvement does not stop there though. On March 6-7th, Professor Rapping traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to help train a new class of Maryland public defenders. Gideon’s Promise was brought to Maryland back in 2014, and since then it has continued to thrive and expand. Former AJMLS Professor, Patrice Fulcher, now resides as the Training Director for the program in Maryland, and for a couple of days, Professor Rapping had the opportunity to go and visit to assist in training new public defenders and help raise Maryland’s standard of justice.

Then, on March 20th, Professor Rapping attended the Public Defender as Civil Rights Lawyer luncheon talk at George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C.

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to both AJMLS and the legal community, Professor Rapping!




*Gideon’s Promise

Professor Michael Mears Featured on National Television

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Michael Mears, was a special guest on the New York based show “Law and Crime,” which is shown nationally and on many cable outlets. In this segment, Professor Mears explores details regarding the recent death penalty case in Georgia involving Tiffany Moss who was tried in the death of her stepdaughter. This case has drawn national attention for reasons such as her decision to represent herself during the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Ms. Moss was sentenced to death and became the sixth woman in Georgia’s history to have this sentence. This video goes into further detail on the outcome as Professor Mears explains the death penalty laws and trial procedures involved in such a case in Georgia. He also provides a thorough discussion of the death penalty appeals process along with an explanation on the clemency procedures possibly available to Ms. Moss.

The video of the full interview can be found here.

Professor Mears has been on the faculty at AJMLS since 2007. He teaches evidence, advanced evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal law ethics. In 2003, Michael was selected to be the founding Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council after serving for over ten years as the Director of the Multi-County County Public Defender Office, a state-wide death penalty public defender service funded by the State of Georgia. He then retired from that position in 2007 and has been an Associate Professor at AJMLS since. Professor Mears is the author of numerous articles and books, and his background makes him uniquely qualified to comment on the issue at hand in the interview.

Thank you for your continued contributions to the legal community, Professor Mears. We appreciate all of your efforts!

Professor John Melvin Named Georgia Bureau of Investigation Chief of Staff

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Adjunct Professor and Acting District Attorney in Cobb County has been named the new Chief of Staff at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

In addition to teaching AJMLS students, Professor Melvin is in his 24th year as a prosecutor and has worked in three metro Atlanta counties: Dekalb, Gwinnett, and Cobb.

Quoted in the Daily Report,

Melvin said he makes a pitch for his career path in classes he has taught at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and previously at Emory University School of Law.

“I tell them I have dismissed more cases as a prosecutor than any defense attorney will ever win,” Melvin said.

“People want to change the system and improve the world,” he said. “A prosecutor has a tremendous amount of power. You really want good people in those positions.”

His courtroom experience has brought invaluable lessons and insight to AJMLS students in the classroom and we wish him the best as he transitions to his new post at the GBI. Congratulations, Professor!

Professor Jaffe Quoted in The Wall Street Journal

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Elizabeth Jaffe, was recently quoted in The Wall Street Journal. The article, It’s Hard to Spot the Terrorists Among the Trolls, analyzes the correlation between online harassment and hateful acts such as terrorism found in mass shootings. With the rise of online social platforms, research conducted on what influences online bullying and physical violence has continued to increase. The article uses the recent New Zealand mass shooting as an example to show how “cyber violence” can become physical violence, and the parallel between the shooter and those who use the swatting method.*

Professor Jaffe has been on the faculty at AJMLS since 2006. She teaches Domestic Relations, Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II, Pretrial Practice & Procedure, and Depositions. She has conducted extensive scholarly research with the focus on education law and the legal response to bullying, and has several published articles in this area. In addition to published articles, she has presented at the Symposium “Cyberbullying in America: A Discussion of Liability, Policy, and Progress” and has received national media coverage for her expertise in this area of law.

Thank you for your continued contributions to both AJMLS and the legal community, Professor Jaffe. We appreciate all of your efforts!

*Taken from The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Professor Jonathan Rapping Helps Facilitate Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan A. Rapping, helped to facilitate the Trial Advocacy Workshop for law students at Harvard Law School January 9-10, 2019. In addition to his roles at AJMLS, Professor Rapping serves as the President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, is a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University Law School, and is a frequent presenter and contributor to national conversations on criminal justice reform. Rapping is also the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

Also recently, The Jewish Council for Public Affairs invited Professor Rapping to join a working group of Jewish experts in criminal justice reform, and to participate in a strategic planning session on Jewish Advocacy and Criminal Justice Reform. The planning session took place at the law offices of Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. December 4-5, 2018.

On November 28, 2018, Professor Rapping also presented at the National Association for Public Defense “We the Defenders Conference” in Indianapolis. Professor Rapping’s presentation on Client Centered Defense Teams and Race in the Criminal Justice System was delivered to investigators, social workers, and sentencing advocates from across the nation.

The Law School is thrilled to offer its students the opportunity to learn criminal law from one of the nation’s leaders working to improve the criminal justice system. Thank you, Professor!

Dean Malcolm L. Morris Represents CLEO in Collaboration with National Conference of Bar Examiners

NCBE and CLEO Announce New Collaboration

NCBE invests in diversity and inclusion within the legal profession

*Madison, Wisconsin – The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) are pleased to announce a new collaboration in support of their shared goal of increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. NCBE has provided funding to bolster CLEO’s programs that help individuals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and disadvantaged communities achieve success in law school and prepare to take and pass the bar exam. For over 50 years, CLEO has successfully contributed to increasing the number of lawyers from diverse backgrounds in all sectors of law.

“Diversification of the legal profession is a top priority for legal education and admissions stakeholders at all levels. We are proud to partner with CLEO and support programs with a strong track record of helping prepare underrepresented groups for law school and bar exam success,” said Judith A. Gundersen, NCBE President and CEO.

“Diversity and inclusion have been the cornerstone of CLEO’s mission since 1968,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, the Chief Executive Officer of CLEO. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with NCBE to expand the services we provide our students, especially those preparing for the bar examination. NCBE has a wealth of online information and study aids available to help students be successful in their final quest to join the legal profession. However, some students need a personal touch to coach them over the finish line. With NCBE’s generous financial support, CLEO will be able to assist scores of 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls across the country to methodically prepare to conquer the bar exam.”

About the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.

CLEO, Inc., is committed to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities for individuals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and disadvantaged communities.

Founded in 1968 when the number of lawyers of color was less than one percent, more than 10,000 individuals have participated in CLEO’s programs, many of whom have gone on to excel in every area of the legal profession to include judges, corporate attorneys, law school deans and professors, practitioners, politicians, and more. Although best known for its Pre-Law Summer Institute “boot camp” for entering law students, CLEO provides services to secondary, college (pre-law), and law school students, which include mentoring, placement assistance, academic counseling and support, bar prep orientation, and scholarships. For information about CLEO, Inc., and its programs, please visit: www.cleoinc.org. For more information about CLEO’s historic 50th Anniversary and corresponding celebrations, please visit: www.cleoinc.org/50.

About the National Conference of Bar Examiners

The National Conference of Bar Examiners, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1931. NCBE develops the licensing tests used by most states for admission to the bar. NCBE stakeholders and constituents include state Supreme Courts, state attorney licensing boards, attorneys, and law school deans. NCBE is governed by a national board of trustees consisting of judges, bar examiners, and bar admission administrators. Approximately 71,000 law school graduates sat for the bar exam in 2017.

On October 26, 2018, NCBE President Judith A. Gundersen, NCBE’s Board of Trustees, and NCBE Diversity Issues Committee Chair Bryan R. Williams met at NCBE headquarters with CLEO Director of Prelaw Program Operations Bernetta Hayes and CLEO Board of Directors member Malcolm L. Morris to formalize its collaboration.

*Photo and article courtesy of the National Conference of Bar Examiners

Front row: Suzanne K. Richards, Bernetta Hayes, Michele A. Gavagni, Malcolm L. Morris, Judith A. Gundersen, Hon. Phyllis D. Thompson, Bryan R. Williams, Hon. Rebecca White Berch (Ret.)

Back row: Timothy Y. Wong, Patrick R. Dixon, Augustin Rivera, Jr., Darin B. Scheer, Hulett H. Askew, John J. McAlary, Anthony R. Simon, Hon. Cynthia L. Martin

Professor Jeffrey Van Detta Lectures at Belmont University Law School and State Bar of Georgia ICLE

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Jeffrey Van Detta, the John E. Ryan Professor of International Business and Workplace Law, recently gave two lectures based on his most recently completed works of legal scholarship.

On October 5, 2018, Professor Van Detta was one of the featured speakers at Belmont University Law School’s 2018 Law Review Symposium-CLE Program,

“The Modern Workplace: Contemporary Legal Issues in Employment & Labor Law.”

His topic is an area of particular expertise for Professor Van Detta — the “direct-threat” standard under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy published Professor Van Detta’s 1999 article on this subject, which arose frequently during his 13 years of law practice at Atlanta-based Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, when he represented clients in safety-sensitive industries such as commercial passenger aviation, defense contracting, and manufacturing and logistics. Professor Van Detta’s latest article on this topic updates the developments in this area over the last 20 years. “For The Love Of God!  Open This Door!”:  Individual Rights Versus Public Safety Under The “Direct Threat” Standard Of The Americans With Disabilities Act After Three Decades Of Litigation, 6 Belmont L. Rev. ___ (2019)

Faculty from Boston University Law School, Pace University Law School, University of West Virginia College of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law, University of Memphis Law School, ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Nova Southeastern University College of Law, joined Professor Van Detta on this day-long program.

On October 18, 2018, Professor Van Detta was a featured presenter at the 25th Annual Georgia ICLE Supreme Court Update. Following a presentation he made on a blockbuster 2013 SCOTUS case concerning the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) in 20th Annual Supreme Court update in 2013, Professor Van Detta lectured on a pair of 2018 SCOTUS cases that substantially limited the kinds of claims that can be made under both the ATS and the anti-terrorism exceptions to foreign-nation sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The paper he wrote for the ICLE program has been accepted by the University of Indiana Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s International & Comparative Law Review, for publication in its Spring 2019 issue. In addition, the University of Indiana has invited Professor Van Detta to be one of the featured speakers at the Law Review‘s Annual Symposium in Spring 2019. Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran and Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC: SCOTUS Trims To Statutory Boundaries The Recovery In U.S. Courts Against Sponsors of Terrorism and Human-Rights Violations Under FSIA and ATS29 Indiana Int’l & Comparative Law Review ___ (Spring 2019).

Professor Van Detta is currently in his 20th year of teaching at AJMLS, where he teaches courses and publishes in the areas of domestic and trans-national business law (including Contracts and International Business Transactions), workplace law (including Employment Discrimination Law, Labor Law, and several LLM-level courses), Torts, and procedural law (Conflict of Laws, International Civil Litigation in U.S. Courts, and Civil Procedure).

AJMLS Professor Delivers Keynote as Two Alumna Are Honored at Atlanta Bar Association Celebrating Service Luncheon

The Atlanta Bar Association is hosting their 11th Annual Celebrating Service Luncheon today at the Commerce Club. The luncheon is a celebration honoring legal professionals who have made significant impacts on our community through their dedication to public service.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan A. Rapping, is delivering the keynote address. Rapping will talk about the important role that lawyers play in addressing some of society’s most pressing problems and inspire the audience to find ways to take on these challenges. In addition to his roles at AJMLS, Professor Rapping serves as the President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, is a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University Law School, and is a frequent presenter and contributor to national conversations on criminal justice reform. Rapping is also the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

Among the honorees of today’s luncheon are two outstanding AJMLS alumna: Alpa Amin, Class of 2010, and Vanessa Kosky, Class of 2005. Alpa Amin is the recipient of the Public Interest Law Section Rita A. Sheffey Public Interest Award. Amin graduated from AJMLS in 2010 and is the Director of Legal Services at the Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network (GAIN). Vanessa Kosky is the recipient of the Guardian ad Litem of the Year Award. Kosky graduated from AJMLS in 2005 and is a sole practitioner of The Law Office of Vanessa Kosky, P.C.

Thank you to our AJMLS community and to all the honorees at today’s luncheon for your dedication to public service.

AJMLS Professors and Associate Dean to Chair and Participate in 25th Annual U.S. Supreme Court Update

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Kathleen M. Burch has been selected as Program Chair of the 25th Annual United States Supreme Court Update seminar of the State Bar of Georgia’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) to be held on October 18, 2018.

Additionally, Professor Jeffrey A. Van Detta and Associate Dean Judith Barger are also presenters at the program. Professor Van Detta will be leading the Suing Sponsors of Terrorism in US Courts presentation and Dean Barger will be leading the Fourth Amendment Update presentation.

The event will be held at the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center in Atlanta and the program topics will include Georgia, the Death Penalty, Jury Bias, and the Supreme Court; Gerrymandering: Political and Racial; First Amendment Update; Fourth Amendment Update; and Immigration Update.

Professor Burch also recently returned from Palau this September where she presented The Supreme Court Review at the Pacific Judicial Council’s Mid-Year Conference. The purpose of the Pacific Judicial Council is to provide a collaborative and educational forum for sharing ideas, information, and resources to improve the administration of the courts and the delivery of justice in the Pacific region. Member jurisdictions include Americam Samoa, Chuuk, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia National Court, Guam, Kosrae, the Republic of Palau, Pohnpei, and Yap.*

Thank you to our educators for their participation in these great events and their continued contributions to the legal community.

*Pacific Judicial Council

Dean Malcolm L. Morris Meets with Aspiring Law Students at CLEO ASAP Event

Dean Malcolm L. Morris met with aspiring law students this past week at the Council of Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Achieving Success in the Application Process (ASAP) event in Washington, D.C. Dean Morris is a member of the CLEO, Inc. Board of Directors and its Executive Committee.

ASAP is an intensive weekend that helps participants develop the tools they need to understand the application process and become competitive law school applicants. College juniors, seniors, and post-graduates who plan to apply to law school are eligible to apply.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is a proud supporter of CLEO.

Professor Lisa Tripp Speaks at Department of Justice World Elder Abuse Awareness Event

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently recognized the 13th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by hosting an event in Washington, DC. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Lisa Tripp was invited to attend and speak at the event, where next steps in seeking nationwide elder justice were announced.

Tripp is a consultant to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and is a frequent speaker and contributor at conferences around the United States and abroad. Professor Tripp’s research and scholarship focuses on areas of U.S. and international law, while on the domestic front, she is an expert on federal regulations governing health facilities. With this expertise, Tripp spoke at the DOJ event about the federal government’s health and safety regulations and how those regulations are enforced.

The Law School thanks Professor Tripp for her contributions and ongoing efforts to help protect and empower our seniors.

Professor Michael Mears Elected to Serve Second Term as Chairperson of ICLE Board of Trustees

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor B. Michael Mears has been re-elected as Chairperson for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) Board of Trustees. The ICLE is a not-for-profit educational service for Georgia’s licensed attorneys.

The State Bar of Georgia assumed administrative duties for the ICLE in 2017 and is governed by representatives from each of the state’s law schools and by members of the State Bar of Georgia. Professor Mears has been Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s representative to the Board for five years and is now serving his second consecutive term as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.

Read here for Professor Mears’ first term announcement

Professor Mears’ Article Selected for Cover of The Journal Jurisprudence

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Professor Michael Mears’ article, “An American Tragedy: The Story of Johnny Lyn Old Chief,” has been selected as the cover article for The Journal Jurisprudence Easter Term 2018. The Journal Jurisprudence is an international law journal publication and issued four times per year. Each edition focuses on a key question of the legal discipline. Quarterly articles are curated based upon, among other things, accessibility to lay readers. The Journal focuses on bridging the gap between theory and practice and readability by a wide audience.*

Professor Mears is an active writer and is the author of numerous articles and books. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). At Atlanta’s John Marshall, he teaches Evidence, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Ethics. He has enjoyed a long and illustrious career within and beyond the classroom.

Congratulations, Professor Mears! The article is an incredibly worthy read. You can purchase a copy of The Journal on Amazon here.

*Taken from The Journal Jurisprudence.


Four AJMLS Professors Secure Highest Rating Allowed by Martindale Hubbell

Four Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) professors have been given the highest rating allowed by Martindale-Hubbell for 2018. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings allow attorneys to complete anonymous peer reviews where they rate fellow lawyers on a 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) scale in five categories: Legal Knowledge, Analytical Capabilities, Judgment, Communication Ability and Legal Experience. Attorneys also answer whether or not they believe the lawyer they are reviewing has very high ethical standards.*

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are acknowledged as the gold standard in attorney ratings and have recognized lawyers for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards for more than a century. Peer review ratings deliver a comprehensive view of a lawyer’s legal abilities and service and benefit the entire legal community.*

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professors Mears, Goins, Kessler, and Murphy have each secured an impressive 5.0/5.0 rating. AJMLS is proud of our professors for their accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom, and we are always thrilled when our professors are commended by their peers in the legal community. Please be sure to express your congratulations when you see the recipient professors around campus!

*Taken from Martindale.com

Atlanta’s John Marshall Faculty Members Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries

In 2017, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is fortunate to celebrate major milestone faculty anniversaries for six professors. Professor Michael Lynch is celebrating 20 years with AJMLS while Professors Dalton, Jeffries, McMillian, Mears, and Rapping are all celebrating 10 years with the Law School.

AJMLS is built on the principle that the Law School is dedicated to preparing highly skilled, ethical, and professional lawyers who possess a strong social conscience. The seasoned professors celebrating milestone anniversaries this year live that mission everyday. Each is an irreplaceable member of our Law School and an invaluable member of the legal community.

Please learn a bit more about each professor below. When you see these professors on campus, you are encouraged to offer your thanks and congratulations. Our community is truly built on the commitment they’ve shown to building great lawyers out of law students.

Kari Dalton

Favorite thing about teaching at AJMLS? I enjoy watching my students grow.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? To watch my kids play sports.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Always practice the craft of writing. “When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into it.”





Browning Jeffries

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? I had always thought that I would love teaching, but I did not know if teaching at a law school would be the right fit. When I found out about the opportunity at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, I did some research on the school. I was drawn to the law school’s mission and its focus on preparing practice-ready lawyers. When I graduated from law school, I felt anything but “practice ready,” so I was really excited to be a part of an institution where that was an important goal.
Favorite AJMLS memory? There are certainly too many to recount.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? When I was a kid, I tried out to be in one of the RoboCop movies. In the audition, you had to cry on command, which I learned is not a strength of mine. I didn’t get the part and thus ended my acting career.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? I love running, walking, or biking on the Beltline.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys?  There is a quote that I believe is from Thomas Edison that I think is very applicable to young lawyers: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”


Michael Lynch

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? I had taught at other schools but always wanted to return to Atlanta.
Favorite AJMLS memory? Lunches with John Ryan, John Thames, and Prof. D’Agostino at Rolling Bones.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? When I graduated from law school I bought a new Volkswagen Beetle. A year later I sold it and bought a one year old Porsche. Since then I have never bought a new car. (the Porsche cost $3,000.)
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Listen to music played live.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Do 3,000 practice multiple choice questions before the bar exam.
Final thought? Read Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society.


Lance McMillian

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? Former Atlanta’s John Marshall Dean, Richardson Lynn.
Favorite AJMLS memory? When I awoke one morning to learn that Judge Richard Posner had cited one of my law review articles.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? I’ve written two screenplays that are now in, umm, “pre-production.”
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Getting out of the city.
Final thought? “Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” — Winston Churchill



Michael Mears

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? Former Atlanta’s John Marshall Dean, Richardson Lynn, asked me to apply after he learned of my retirement as Director of the State of Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.
Favorite AJMLS memory? Every day that I am a member of this great faculty.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? I participated in the semi-finals of the Little League World Series as a member of the Little League All Star Team from Caruthersville, Missouri.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Going out to dinner at a new restaurant with my wife, Coile Estes.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Guard your integrity as if it belongs in Fort Knox. Once you lose your integrity as a lawyer, you have lost all that there is to lose.
Final thought? As lawyers, I would like for everyone to remember this quote – “Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”


Jonathan Rapping

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? In my work with criminal justice reform nationally I came to appreciate that our legal system leaves far too many people without a lawyer who is dedicated to giving them access to justice. As a law professor I have the opportunity to inspire future lawyers to help close this justice gap. I believe the diversity in our students’ backgrounds and experiences make them well suited to understand the challenges that face communities in need and to therefore help address them.
Favorite AJMLS memory? Graduation of the Inaugural Honors Program in Criminal Justice Class. I had worked with that group intensively for three years.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? I worked for the Federal reserve Board after college and got a Masters in Public Affairs with an Economics concentration before committing to law school.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Watch my children play any number of sports around town.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Find your passion and pursue a career in the law that allows you to act on it. One of my favorite quotes is “every day you write your epitaph.” Do not waste a day doing something you are not passionate about!


The AJMLS community would also like to honor Professor D’Agostino (23 years), Professor Van Detta (18 years), Professor Burch (14 years), Professor de Haven (14 years), Professor Apolinsky (13 years), Dean Harrison-Mercer (13 years), Professor Tripp (12 years), and Professor Jaffe (11 years). Professors, our sincerest thank you for the wisdom you’ve shared with the AJMLS community throughout your years on our faculty. We can’t wait to celebrate your next milestones together!

AJMLS Professors Participate in 24th Annual U.S. Supreme Court Update

On Thursday, October 19, 2017, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Professor Kathleen Burch served as the Program Chair for the 24th Annual United States Supreme Court Update seminar held at the State Bar of Georgia. She gave the welcome and program overview and served as the presiding moderator.

Additionally, Professors Judith Barger and Michael Mears were also presenters at the seminar. Professor Barger participated in the presentation, Short A Justice: The Supreme Court’s Per Curiam Decisions. The program covered a wide range of topics and centered on the Court’s issuance of several important per curiam decisions ranging from the Muslim ban, to the rights of same-sex parents, to law enforcement liability in cross-border shootings, to standards for juvenile’s sentenced to death or life without parole. While, Professor Mears participated in and served as the moderator for the Criminal law Update which was a survey of the criminal law cases decided by the Court last term. He also spoke regarding per curium supreme court criminal case opinions.

Thank you for your participation in this great seminar and your continued contributions to the legal community in Georgia, Professors. The program, which includes 6 CLE hours, including 1 Trial Practice hour, is available via web stream to those who weren’t able to attend in person. Please use this link to access and register.

Welcome New Faculty and Staff Members!

A very warm welcome to the new members of the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) faculty and staff! Each joins the AJMLS community with a stellar background and a plethora of experience within the legal community.

Paul Wilson and B. Taylor Bartlett join the Career Development office. Debbi Cohen and Dione Duckett join the Office of Academic Achievement. Steve Teske joins the faculty as an Adjunct Professor. Finally, Mary Ellen Conner and Heather Ryfa join the faculty as Academic Professionals. This semester Professor Teske will be teaching Juvenile Law while both Professor Conner and Professor Ryfa will be teaching Legal Communication & Process.

Please join us in making each feel welcome. We can’t wait to see what great ways they enhance AJMLS!

Professor Michael Mears Named Chairperson for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor B. Michael Mears has been named Chairperson for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education for a two year term. This is a great honor for Professor Mears as he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for over four years and was recently elected by his fellow trustees to serve as the Chairperson of the Board.

The Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education is a not-for-profit educational service of of the State Bar of Georgia and is responsible for providing continuing legal education for all lawyers in the State of Georgia. The Institute is a consortium of the Bar and the Law Schools of the Universities of Georgia, Emory, Mercer, Georgia State, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

The Institute provides over 300 seminars, webinars, and video seminars to the members of the State Bar of Georgia each year. The Supreme Court of Georgia requires that every active member of the State Bar successfully complete at least 12 hours of legal education in order to maintain their license to practice law. The twelve trustees of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education are charged with the responsibility of developing programs and instituting policies with will provide legal education for members of the State Bar of  Georgia.

This is an exciting time for the Institute as it makes the transition from an independent organization in Athens, Georgia to become a part of the State Bar of Georgia. The new offices of the Institute are being relocated to the State Bar building in downtown Atlanta. Professor Mears stated that this new position “clearly shows that Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is very active in not only preparing new lawyers but in continuing to provide educational opportunities for lawyers after they have  passed the bar and are in practice.” We could not agree more, Professor Mears. The AJMLS community is proud of your accomplishments. We know you will wear this new responsibility well and bring great things to the Institute and the Georgia legal community.

A Tribute to Professor Willie J. Lovett, Jr.

Do Good Anyway- A Lesson from Professor Willie J. Lovett, Jr. 

March 22, 1965 – January 30, 2017

By: Judge Renata D. Turner

Judge. Professor. Mentor. Leader. Friend. These are just a few of the titles proudly worn by our beloved Professor Willie Jake Lovett, Jr. I am most honored to have called him a friend first. We worked together during our nascent years as lawyers at the City of Atlanta’s Law Department. Since that time our professional and personal paths crossed and merged eventually at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and finally at the Fulton County Juvenile Court. I can still picture his smile and bow tie as he stood in my law school office doorway. He dropped by after an event and asked what he needed to do to become an adjunct. Once he began teaching, he fell in love with it. What he loved most was mentoring students- helping them to get their footing as young lawyers and opening as many doors for them as he could. We often spoke of the talent and dedication of AJMLS students and his desire to give back, recognizing the blessings that were given to him throughout his life.

Judge Lovett was raised by his grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. He graduated from Beach High School with the highest GPA of all the high school students in Chatham County. He graduated cum laude with Distinction from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard School of Law. He later earned his Master of Laws in Litigation from Emory Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett, former chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Atlanta’s Law Department, and worked as an associate at Moors, Manning & Martin, LLP, Ford & Harrison, LLP, and Troutman Sanders, LLP. For ten years, he served as the Deputy County Attorney for the Fulton of County Office of the County Attorney. He then served as the Director of the Fulton County Office of Child Attorney from 2009 to 2013. He was appointed as a Presiding Judge of the Fulton County Juvenile Court in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit in May 2013. He was affectionately known to the children in his court as the “bow tie Judge.” On the bench, Judge Lovett was known for his compassion and care for the children and families appearing before him. Off the bench, he was lauded for his dedication to improving juvenile justice. As examples, he was the lead judge for the Dually Involved Youth Initiative and served as a member for the Board of Directors for the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC).

The list of Judge Lovett’s accomplishments, honors, professional positons, and positons of service is long but now finite. The impact that he left behind to the legal community and those of us who knew and loved him, however,  is infinite. Many of us question why his life ended so abruptly when he still had so much to give to a world desperate for his type of leadership. I like to believe that too much compassion and dedication to improving the world was concentrated in the man called Willie Lovett. Now it’s dispersed to those of us also striving to serve and improve the world around us. When doing such noble and often thankless work seems too hard, Judge Professor Mentor Leader Friend Willie Jake Lovett, Jr. gave us the inspiration to keep moving forward through the words of his favorite poem that he often tearfully recited:



                People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do well anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;

It was never between you and them anyway.


                                                Mother Teresa


Rest in peace with your God my friend.


Judge Renata D. Turner

Professor Rapping Quoted in The New York Times

Professor Rapping was recently quoted in the SundayReview, an Op-Ed in The New York Times. The article, Justice Springs Eternal, explores the current state of the American prison system. In recent years the prison population numbers have been on the decline. The article examines how that decline may be affected by President Trump and a new climate in Washington.

The article’s solution to continuing on the “decarceration” movement is activism on the part of those involved and impassioned by prison reform. In the article, Professor Rapping is quoted stating, “Eighty percent of the people charged with crimes in this country can’t afford a defense attorney. . . Until we invest in public defenders, our system cannot and will not change.”

Professor Rapping is a 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow. At AJMLS, he teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, advanced criminal procedure, and criminal justice lawyering. Prior to joining the faculty at AJMLS,  Professor Rapping served as the Training Chief for the Orleans Public Defender and in the Public Defenders offices of Georgia and Washington, D.C., developing and implementing public defender training programs, and handling a caseload of serious felonies. Professor Rapping currently directs Gideon’s Promise. Gideon’s Promise is built on a mission to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.*

Thank you for your continued contributions to both AJMLS and the legal community, Professor Rapping.

*Taken from Gideon’s Promise.

AJMLS Professor, Michael Mears, Quoted in April’s Atlanta Magazine

AJMLS Associate Professor, Michael Mears, was recently quoted several times in the April edition of Atlanta Magazine. The article, Why did Georgia execute more prisoners in 2016 than any other state?, centered on the nine convicted murderers put to death in Georgia in 2016, more than any other state. This is the highest number of executions in Georgia in a calendar year since 1957.*

Professor Mears has been on the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) since 2007. He teaches evidence, advanced evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal law ethics. In 2003 Professor Mears was selected to be the founding Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council after serving for over ten years as the Director of the Multi-County County Public Defender Office, a state-wide death penalty public defender service funded by the State of Georgia. Professor Mears’ background makes him uniquely qualified to comment on the issue at hand in the Atlanta Magazine article.

The article is a worthy read and can be found here. Thank you for your continued contributions to the legal community, Professor Mears. We appreciate all of your efforts!

*Taken from Atlanta Magazine.

Professor Tripp Cited in Groundbreaking New Regulation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published a historic new regulation that prohibits nursing homes receiving federal funds from using pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements. Pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements are usually presented to residents upon admission to the nursing home and residents are often unaware that by signing them they are giving up their rights to go to court. These agreements ban all claims by residents from being litigated in courts, including claims involving elder abuse, sexual harassment and wrongful death, among other things. The decision to ban these agreements is the first time a federal agency has ever issued a rule providing such sweeping protection of the rights of injured people to access the public courts. 

AJMLS Professor Lisa Tripp is a leading scholar in this area and CMS cited two of Professor Tripp’s articles in support of this pioneering regulation. She was also quoted in the preamble: “Tripp notes that ‘residents of nursing homes are frail and elderly people who are completely dependent on the facility and its employees for their safety and health. Thus, many residents and their families would not oppose the arbitration provision because they are fearful of antagonizing the facility.’” If you see Professor Tripp around campus, be sure to congratulate her on her accomplishment and thank her for her work on behalf of nursing home residents across the country.

SALT Awards 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award to Professor Harpalani

Savannah Law School Professor Harpalani has been awarded the esteemed 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award by the Society of American Law Teachers (‘SALT’). The award recognizes an outstanding and emerging law professor who demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and academic excellence. Professor Harpalani was selected for the award among a field of highly deserving nominees.

Professor Harpalani is truly a quality professor who values a commitment to social justice, diversity, and access in his teaching, scholarship and service. He is very much deserving of this national accolade.

The award will be given at the SALT Annual Members Meeting at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago on September 30th. When you see Professor Harpalani on campus, be sure to pass along your congratulations. This is a prestigious award and Professor Harpalani is a wonderful representation of the quality of education at Savannah Law School.

Professor Jaffe Quoted in The Wrap

Robert Sepúlveda Jr. is Logo TV’s lead in the network’s first same-sex dating show, Finding Prince Charming. He is threatening to sue online cyberbullies for “targeted harassment, shaming and bullying.” Sepúlveda Jr. turned to Instagram to fire back at those he feels have bullied him and stated “if you come for me, we will come for you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.” This transpired following revelations that Sepúlveda Jr. worked as a male prostitute while in college. Members and activists within the gay community were outraged to learn of Sepúlveda Jr.’s past.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Associate Professor Elizabeth Jaffe was quoted in the article. “It’s unclear who he intends to sue,” Jaffe said. “But I think it would be difficult for him to make that case. If people are saying ugly things about him, it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of cyberbullying.” In our modern social media world, anti-bullying laws that have an electronic harassment provision are currently an area of evolution within the law. Thank you Professor Jaffe for your comments on such a relevant legal discussion.

Professor Rapping Discusses Current State of the Criminal Defense System

Atlanta’s John Marshall’s Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently asked to participate in a discussion on the podcast Criminal (In)Justice with David Harris. The subject of the podcast was the current state of our criminal defense system, specifically indigent defendants requiring state-provided assistance of counsel.

Professor Rapping was asked to participate because of both his impressive resume and his extensive skill set in this domain.  The discussion centered on the current underfunding for public defenders. Due to the underfunding and general lack of necessary resources, public defenders are handling record high caseloads. Because of the heavy caseloads, public defenders are unable to provide each and every defendant with adequate representation. During the podcast, Professor Rapping explains the purpose behind Gideon’s Promise and his mission to remedy the system through strengthening public defenders.

You are highly encouraged to listen to the podcast here. The discussion is thought provoking and highly relevant. Thank you, Professor, for your continued work in this arena.

Professor Rapping Selected to Participate in Town Hall by Russell Simmons

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently selected by Russell Simmons and his media company, All Things Def, and participated in a town hall at the Montalban Theater in Los Angeles. Along with our own Professor Rapping, the panel featured Nick Cannon; National Bar Association President Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Gregory Thomas; and New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. The event was moderated by former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry.

The town hall was arranged for the parties to come together for a public discussion about recent civilian deaths and the need for revised law enforcement and policies. The event will be the first in a series of public conversations about criminal justice reform.

Professor Rapping was chosen to participate because he is the founder of Gideon’s Promise, an organization that trains public defenders. Thank you for representing AJMLS and for your insight in such a relevant conversation, Professor.

Professor Michael Mears Publishes Viewpoint in Daily Report

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Professor of Law Michael Mears recently wrote a poignant article which was published in the June 16, 2016 issue of the Daily Report.

The article affirms that law students with dreams of joining the legal profession make a tremendous commitment of both their time and finances to further their education. He goes on to state how disappointing it is to see students lose sight of those same dreams; dreams that persuaded them to apply for entry in to law school in hopes of pursuing their passions. He urges students and attorneys to reminisce on why they chose to enter into the profession in hopes of reigniting their fire for success and self-fulfillment.

In sum, the article reminds students and practitioners alike to remain steadfast in their commitment to the legal profession; a profession that Professor Mears proffers to be the greatest in the world. To that Professor, we wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for your continued dedication to educating AJMLS students and producing quality attorneys to join the profession.

Professor Michael Mears to Serve as Vice-Chair of ICLE Georgia’s Board of Trustees

Professor Michael Mears has been asked to serve as the Vice-Chairperson of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) in Georgia’s Board of Trustees for the year of 2017. The Chair of the Board will be Robert Kauffman, the Immediate Past-President of the State Bar of Georgia. This is a tremendous honor, not only for Professor Mears, but for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Mears will be succeeding The Honorable Ray Lanier from the Georgia State University College of Law.

The Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia is the not-for-profit educational service of the State Bar of Georgia; and is a consortium of the Bar and the Law Schools of the Universities of Georgia, Emory, Mercer, Georgia State and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. ICLE is fully self-supporting; and receives all of its income from tuition charges and sale of publications. ICLE exists solely to serve the educational needs of practicing lawyers; with any surplus revenues being devoted entirely to the improvement of CLE products and services.

All of the Institute’s activities are designed to promote a well organized, properly planned, and adequately supported program of continuing legal education by which members of the legal profession are afforded a means of enhancing their skills and keeping abreast of developments in the law, and engaging in the study and research of the law, so as to fulfill their responsibilities to the legal profession, the courts and the public.

Professor Suparna Malempati Named Area Vice President for Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Professor Suparna Malempati has joined the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) as area Vice President for Fulton County beginning in January 2016.  GACDL is a statewide association that supports criminal defense attorneys in their fight to advocate and protect the rights of the accused.  GACDL is the largest member supported statewide criminal defense association in the US and has a membership that includes criminal defense lawyers, law school students, and full-time criminal defense investigators.

Professor Malempati is a veteran trial attorney who fought many battles in her decade of service with the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office.  As an area Vice President, she will serve as liaison between GACDL and its members in the area, as well as criminal defense lawyers, judiciary, and legislators.

To learn more about GACDL, please visit the website at www.gacdl.org.

Assistant Dean Ortega and Professor Malempati Present at 2015 Georgia Conference on Children and Families

Assistant Dean Ortega and Professor Malempati of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School presented at the 2015 Georgia Conference on Children and Families (GCCF) held in Augusta, Georgia October 21-23, 2015.

The GCCF is the largest annual interdisciplinary event in Georgia designed to bring together the community that serves children and families, including child advocacy, juvenile justice, social service, legal counsel, and the faith-based community.

The conference provided a forum to improve competencies, network, and learn from experts in the field with the goal of improving outcomes for children and families. Dean Ortega spoke on Post-Disposition Advocacy for Delinquent Youth and Professor Malempati spoke about Bridging the Gap between Dependency and Delinquency.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes New Faculty

Fall classes are officially underway and the law school is pleased to welcome its new and returning faculty.


New to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

Derek Alphran, Adjunct Professor

Judith Barger, Distinguished Teaching Professional

Ronald Blasi, Adjunct Professor

Sujata Chanani, Adjunct Professor

Erin Corken, Adjunct Professor

Joe Habachy, Adjunct Professor

Susan Jackson, Adjunct Professor

Michael Loudenslager, Legal Writing Professional

Keith McCrickard, Legal Writing Professional

Loren Pratt, Legal Writing Professional

Dena Sonbol, Adjunct Professor

Jennifer Spreng, Legal Writing Professional

Returning to Campus this Fall

K. Lee Adams, Associate Professor

Joanna B. Apolinsky, Associate Professor

Anthony Baker, Professor of Law

Robert Black, Adjunct Professor

Scott Boone, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor

Kathleen M. Burch, Professor of Law

Robert D’Agostino, Professor of Law

Kari Mercer Dalton, Associate Professor

Helen de Haven, Associate Professor

Kimberly Williams D’Haene, Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement

Jace C. Gatewood, Associate Professor

Jonathan Goins, Adjunct Professor

Howell Haunson, Adjunct Professor

Elizabeth M. Jaffe, Associate Professor

Browning Jeffries, Associate Dean of Academic Administration, Associate Professor

Honorable Willie Lovett Jr., Adjunct Professor

Michael Lynch, Director of Law Library, Professor of Law

Suparna Malempati, Associate Professor

Lance McMillian, Associate Professor

B. Michael Mears, Associate Professor

John Melvin, Adjunct Professor

Joseph Mitchell, Adjunct Professor

Stacey L. Mitchener, Adjunct Professor

Jonathan Rapping, Director of Criminal Justice Honors Program, Associate Professor

Joseph Rosen, Adjunct Professor

Stan Schoolcraft, Adjunct Professor

Heather Scribner, Adjunct Professor

Lisa Durham Taylor, Professor of Law

Lisa Tripp, Associate Professor

Jeffrey A. Van Detta, The John E. Ryan Professor of International Business and Workplace Law

Erika Walker-Cash, Director of Academic Achievement

Former Chief Justice Norman Fletcher Mentions Professor Mears While Accepting Gideon’s Promise Award

Professor Michael Mears, a former public defender and leading expert on the death penalty in Georgia, was mentioned in high regard by former Chief Justice Norman Fletcher as he accepted the Gideon’s Promise Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights.

During Fletcher’s award acceptance, he addressed Steve Bright (Southern Center’s president and senior counsel) by saying,

Steve, I am going to shock you, and probably most everyone here, for I must now admit that your criticism of my death penalty decisions was justified. For with wisdom gained over the past 10 years, I am now convinced there is absolutely no justification for continuing to impose the sentence of death in this country. In 2001 when the Georgia Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision ended the use of electrocution and turned to lethal injection as the sole means of inflicting the death sentence, a colleague remarked that Mike Mears and Steve Bright would never be satisfied until the death penalty itself was totally abolished in Georgia and in this country. Time has proved that colleague to be right, and I thank God for Mike’s and Steve’s resolve. Our death penalty system is unsupportable.

To read more of his acceptance speech, click here.

Professor Michael Mears is an Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where he teaches Evidence, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Ethics. He is considered one of Georgia’s leading experts on the death penalty and is a frequent contributor on NPR and WPBA on the subject.

Professor Jonathan Rapping Speaks at Bold Moves TEDx Talk

Professor Jonathan Rapping, Director of the Criminal Justice Honors Program and 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow, spoke at the April 28, 2015 Bold Moves TEDx Atlanta talk.

TEDx described the Bold Moves event on their website,

What’s a bold move and why does it matter? It’s a challenge to go where you’ve never gone before. It’s the sounding of a wake-up call that draws attention to a situation or shows a different way forward. Without them it becomes ever more difficult to initiate much needed change in our lives and communities. With TEDxAtlanta 2015 we’ll explore bold moves from individuals and organizations who are providing ideas and platforms that shift our thinking and calls to actions in impactful ways—through their courage, conviction and commitment.

Professor Rapping spoke of his organization, Gideon’s Promise, and how it is inspiring a new generation of public defenders facing “the nation’s greatest civil rights issue today” – the tragic shortage of representation for those who can’t afford a lawyer.

You may view the video in its entirety on YouTube here.

Professor Lisa Tripp Writes Opinion Piece on Euro Crisis for CNN

Professor Lisa Tripp’s expertise in Greece, the Eurozone and the U.S. healthcare system has led her to become a frequent guest and contributor to CNN. Tripp’s recent opinion piece, Greece the only villain in euro crisis? Don’t believe it!, is paraphrased below. The full article may be read online here.

Europe is in the midst of a political and economic crisis that threatens to unravel decades of European integration and derail the world’s recovery from the great recession.

Because Spain and Greece cannot devalue the euro, the only way they can become competitive is through internal devaluation. This means Greece and Spain are in for years of high unemployment, reduced living standards, falling wages and deflation. In other words, massive impoverization.

Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, famously said: “The euro is forever.” That may or may not be so, but it doesn’t mean that countries like Greece and Spain should stay in the euro forever. Contrary to popular opinion, this crisis cannot be explained away with a moral tale of Greek fiscal irresponsibility. The facts suggest otherwise.

Lisa Tripp is an Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Atlanta Georgia. She teaches Health Care Law, Torts and Remedies.

Dean Renata D. Turner Appointed Associate Judge for Fulton County Juvenile Court

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Assistant Dean Renata D. Turner, current Magistrate Judge in Fulton County, who has recently been appointed as Fulton County’s next Associate Juvenile Court Judge.

Fulton County Juvenile Court is the largest such court in Georgia and amongst the largest in the Southeast, with over 6,500 cases handled in 2014. In fulfilling the role of an Associate Judge, Judge Turner will hear a variety of court proceedings, conduct adjudications and refer children to the Court’s many diversion and rehabilitative programs, such as The Learning Club, Juvenile Drug Court and Family Dependency Treatment Court.

Judge Turner’s career and leadership at the law school began in 2007 and grew from Associate Professor to Director of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships to her most recent post as Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Experiential Learning.

Under her leadership, the law school has been recognized and awarded such honors as:
The Community Outreach Award at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Community Outreach Awards Ceremony (December 2014), for the work done by the law school’s Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning.
• Named among the best law schools for practical training (National Jurist, 2014), which is awarded for efforts to provide students with a quality and in-depth variety of pro bono and externship opportunities.
• Ranked among the top 25 law school for externships (preLaw Magazine, 2013), in recognition of maximizing opportunities for students through experiential learning.

“I’m both honored and humbled by this new opportunity- honored to be entrusted with providing justice for our children and humbled by the magnitude of that responsibility,” said Judge Turner about her upcoming role as Associate Judge for Fulton County Juvenile Court.

The Office of Pro Bono Outreach and Experiential Learning will continue to serve the Atlanta community and produce impactful programs, developed over the course of Judge Turner’s career at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School:

  • Street Law – Based on the curriculum of the national non-profit, Street Law teaches high school students about constitutional and legal issues that directly impact their lives. The law school partners with the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District and Booker T. Washington High School each spring to teach legal issues to students.
  • Youth Law Summit – Day-long workshop presented in partnership with the Gate City Bar Association that introduces minority middle and high school students to the law through an examination of emerging issues.
  • Reentry Forum – The law school partners with individuals, agencies and organizations that support prisoner reentry efforts to help formerly incarcerated men and women transition back into society.

Judge Turner currently serves on the Fulton County Child Advocates Board, is a member of the Charles Weltner Family Law Inn of Court, as well as a current member and past president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA).

Professor Michael Mears Quoted by AJC’s Bill Torpy About Last Meals on Death Row

Professor Michael Mears was quoted by Bill Torpy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in his recent column that discussed the last meal of death row inmate, Kelly Renee Gissendaner, as well as the history of the last meal ritual. Just last month, Mears also appeared on GPB Radio to discuss Georgia’s death penalty law and the execution of mentally disabled persons.

The column,  A double voyeur, with macabre on the side, quotes:

Georgia defense attorney Mike Mears said some prisoners order as much as they can to jerk around the system. “It’s their last act of defiance.”

“Others order food that had good memories with families,” said Mears, who has been involved with 167 death penalty cases and had six clients die. “It’s probably the last pleasure they will ever experience.”

Many of the meals, Mears said, come from a truck stop near Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. Comfort food is the norm. Most on death row don’t have much experience with fancy foods. Treadwell said double burgers seem to be far and away the choice of the doomed.

But, Mears said, it wasn’t always just the prisoners digging in.

In the 198os, Mears discovered that the Corrections Department produced a spread for those involved in the execution. One inventory included of 10 pounds of Turkey Ham, 20 pounds of Turkey Pastrami, 10 pounds of Turkey Salami, and 225 pounds of chicken. The menu also included pounds of pimento cheese, trays of hors d’oeuvres and cheese straws.

“The prisoner gets it before the execution,” Mears said. “The guards get it after.”

You may read the full column online here.

Professor Lisa Tripp Discusses Future of Greek Economy on CNN

Prior to the polls coming to a close in Greece’s recent election, Professor Lisa Tripp spoke with CNN’s Jonathan Mann via Skype to discuss the future of the country’s economy.

After the election, Tripp joined CNN’s Amara Walker and Michael Holmes on CNN Today to weigh-in on the new Prime Minister’s economic challenges.

Lisa Tripp is an Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Atlanta Georgia. She teaches Health Care Law, Torts and Remedies. Professor Tripp practiced health care law and commercial litigation prior to joining the faculty of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2006. As an attorney for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Professor Tripp focused primarily on long term care enforcement. She litigated many cases involving physical and sexual abuse, elopements, falls, neglect and substandard quality of care. Professor Tripp currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Leadership Council of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. She has served on health quality measurement committees and panels for the National Quality Forum and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Professor Tripp received her law degree, with honors, from George Washington University Law School, in Washington, D.C.

You may view a sample of the CNN Today discussion on our Facebook page, linked below:


Professor Michael Mears Appears on GPB Radio to Discuss Georgia’s Death Penalty Law

Professor Michael Mears appeared as a guest on the GPB Radio program On Second Thought (hosted by Celeste Headlee) on Tuesday, January 27.

Mears discussed the history of Georgia’s death penalty law and the execution of mentally disabled persons. The timely discussion was prompted by the scheduled [Tuesday] execution of Georgia inmate, Warren Lee Hill. Also covered on the show was the history of Georgia legislation, as it pertains to the death penalty, and the high standard which a person must overcome in order to prove that they are indeed mentally disabled.

You can listen to the segment online here.

Professor Mears served for over 15 years as a criminal defense attorney before joining the John Marshall faculty in 2007. His practice was dedicated to indigent defense, and he served as lead counsel in over sixty death penalty trial and appellate cases since 1984. Professor Mears was appointed as Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council in 2004, and served from 1992 to 2003 as a Multi-County Public Defender for the Georgia Indigent Defense Council. Prior to entering his public defender practice, Professor Mears was the Partner-in-Charge of Litigation at McCurdy & Candler, a firm specializing in civil and banking law. In 2007, he was appointed as Co-Chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Indigent Defense Committee and as a member of the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee.

Professor Patrice Fulcher Quoted in The Economist

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Professor Patrice Fulcher, who has been quoted in a headline article in the 24 January 2015 issue of The Economist.

Patrice Fulcher is a Tenured Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where she teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Her scholarship focuses on issues surrounding the Prison Industrial Complex; prison privatization, the exploitation of prison laborers, the effects of the utilization of prison video visitation systems, and other profiteering schemes that benefit from mass incarceration in the U.S. Professor Fulcher has dedicated her entire career to the fight for equality of all disenfranchised people, and quality representation for the poor.

The article, Conditions Behind Bars: Screening Visitors–Prisons Profit By Stopping Family Visits, quotes:

Complications may arise from all this. Lawyers may claim that communicating with their clients only through video calls is a violation of due process, says Patrice Fulcher of John Marshall Law School. The possibility of recording such conversations could also lead to the leaking of privileged information. “This whole situation exploits people on the inside and their families on the outside,” Ms Fulcher says. 

For six years, Professor Fulcher organized and chaired the AJMLS’s Fred Gray Social Justice Seminar. In 2011 she was recognized for her outstanding and impactful service to the law school and legal community.

Prior to joining AJMLS in 2007, she served as a Senior Staff Attorney for the Georgia Capital Defender and the Fulton County Public Defender offices. She was a Senior Staff Attorney for the Fulton County Conflict Defender, and worked in the Felony Trial Division of the Georgia Indigent Defense Council. She has successfully represented indigent clients facing the death penalty as well as all other major felony and misdemeanor offenses. Additionally, Professor Fulcher has provided representation and research for abused and neglected children with the DeKalb County Georgia Juvenile Court, and litigated against unconstitutional jail conditions and practices with the Southern Center for Human Rights. She is a core instructor for Gideon’s Promise (formerly known as The Southern Public Defender Training Center), and has been a litigation instructor for The Kentucky Death Penalty Institute, The Mississippi Office of the State Public Defender Training Division, The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, The Fulton County Public Defender Office, and the American Bar Association NACDL National Defender Training Program.

Professor Fulcher has lectured extensively on mass incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex across the U.S. (including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), the erosion of the 4th Amendment, capital defense, juveniles charged as adults, client-centered representation, successful defense trial investigations, and effective storytelling techniques for public defenders. In 2014, she was asked to provide an expert opinion to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the adequate criminal procedure for congressional contempt proceedings.

Professor Fulcher received her B.A. from Howard University in 1992, and her J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1995.

AJMLS Alumnus and Professor Quoted in AJC on Immigration

When it comes to the debate on U.S. immigration; neither U.S. Rep Doug Collins (Class of 2008) or Professor Joseph Rosen are strangers to the discussion.

In an article recently published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), both Collins and Rosen, along with several other law professors were given the opportunity to share their views on revamping the nation’s immigration system.

The article quotes Professor Rosen, who teaches Immigration Law at AJMLS, as saying; “This is the opportunity for the president through executive action, and (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorneys through prosecutorial discretion, to do the right thing. It is time for America to show the compassion and justice that are the foundations of this country.”

Prior to serving the 9th District of Georgia, Collins earned his law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School over his first term representing District 27 in the Georgia House of Representatives, and has also served the community as the senior pastor at Chicopee Baptist Church.

Prior to founding the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, Professor Rosen served more than 30 years with the U.S. government. For 20 of those years Joe was an FBI Special Agent and a U.S. Customs Special Agent. Rosen is an Adjunct Professor of Law at John Marshall Law School (teaching Immigration Law, Seminar: Asylum & Refugee Law), past President of the North Fulton Bar Association, a former contract legal instructor with the U.S. government, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

You may click here to view the article in its entirety.

The Honorable Wendell Willard Visits John Marshall

The Honorable Wendell Willard, Chairman of the Georgia House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, recently visited Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School to speak to Professor Michael Mears’ Evidence class.

State Representative Willard led a decade long fight to have the model rules of evidence adopted in Georgia. It was largely through his efforts that Georgia adopted the rules, before being signed into law by Governor Deal. While at the law school, he spoke Mears’ class of about 80 students about the successful  efforts to adopt the new model rules which became effective on January 1, 2013. Willard is also a member of the Georgia House of Representatives Rules Committee and the City Attorney for Sandy Springs, GA.

The law school was honored to have Mr. Willard on our campus to speak with our students. For more information on the State Representative Wendell Willard, visit the Georgia House of Representatives website. Information on Professor Mears is available on his faculty profile.

Professor Tripp, Guest Speaker on FOX Business Channel

FOX Business channel recently aired a news segment featuring Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Lisa Tripp. Professor Tripp was a guest on MONEY with Melissa Francis discussing amongst a panel of experts the referendum in Scotland and their currency options if they chose independence . She was contacted by FOX based on her recent article, Lessons for Scotland from Greece’s Euro Tragedy, which explored what Scotland can learn from Greece’s euro tragedy. “This article focuses on the risks small nations can face in a currency union, as told through the prism of Greece’s experience in the Eurozone,” says Tripp. Her article is available for download via the Social Science Research Network. More information on Professor Tripp can be found on her faculty profile. Congratulations to Professor Tripp on her first appearance on national television.

Professor Mears Discusses Ethics at Georgia Public Defenders Council Lecture

Professor Michael Mears was recently asked to prepare and present a course and lecture for the Georgia Public Defenders Council entitled Ethics for Public Defenders. The Council subsequently decided to use Mears’ presentation as a statewide webinar lecture on ethics, as well as a learning tool on the Council’s YouTube channel.

The one-hour lecture has already been used by over 400 public defenders and it is expected that the viewer list will continue to grow. The engaging and insightful lecture is available below. More information about Professor Mears can be found on his faculty profile.

Professor Jonathan Rapping Named MacArthur Genius Fellow

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is honored to announce that Professor Jonathan Rapping was named a 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow for the impact his non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise, has made on society. The MacArthur Fellow Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Dean of the law school, Malcolm L Morris, expressed to the entire John Marshall community, “This is a momentous honor and his dedication should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

In 2007, Rapping created the Southern Public Defender Training Center, subsequently renamed Gideon’s Promise. Named after the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, Gideon’s Promise teaches public defenders to work more effectively within the judicial system by providing coaching, training, and professional development as well as a supportive network of peers and mentors from around the country. The growth Gideon’s Promise has experienced since its founding is due to the vision and dedication of Professor Rapping. The organization has grown from a single training program for 16 attorneys in two offices in Georgia and Louisiana, to a multi-tiered enterprise with over 300 participants in more than 35 offices across 15 states.

While Professor Rapping’s work with Gideon’s Promise has been revolutionary in training and improving the nation’s public defenders, the MacArthur Foundations insists that the fellowship “is not a reward for past accomplishments, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential.” The MacArthur Genius Fellow Program is intended to encourage recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“I can’t imagine a greater personal honor, nor a more significant validation of the work mission of Gideon’s Promise and the amazing work of everyone in this community,” says Rapping.

This year, Professor Rapping established a partnership with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, marking the first time the Gideon’s Promise model will be integrated into a statewide defender system. The MacArthur Foundation states that “Rapping’s effective and replicable model of teaching, mentorship, and professional networking is an innovative prescription for equitable legal defense and is safeguarding the essential democratic right of every American to high-quality legal representation regardless of ability to pay.”

Professor Rapping shares this accomplishment with poets, mathematicians, musicians, computer scientists, filmmakers, and more from around the world. For additional information on Rapping and the other 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellows can be found on their website. Once again, congratulations to Professor Jonathan Rapping for inspiring and impacting the world in such a meaningful way.


Pro Bono Assistant Director to Speak at 10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud to announce that Bridgett E. Ortega, Assistant Director for the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning, will speak at the Accountability Courts Conference. The conference will be held at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center during the week of September 14-18, 2014.  Sponsored by the Judicial Council of Georgia, the theme for this year’s conference is A Decade of Reform, Restoration and Results.  Organizers hope that attendees will leave more informed and prepared to shape the future of accountability courts in Georgia and around the country at the conference. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the conference and work from academics and professionals across disciplines will be presented.

Bridgett E. Ortega, M.A., J.D. will be co-presenting with retired Judge Henry Weber, a session entitled “Ethics for Juvenile Drug Court Judges, Prosecutors and Attorneys.” She will also be presenting a session entitled “Targeting – Getting the Right Youth for the Juvenile Drug Court.” In addition to working at the law school, Bridgett is president of the board of directors for the National Juvenile Defender in Washington, D.C. She has served over 25 years in legal and programmatic positions aimed at juvenile justice reform. She is a zealous advocate for children and adults whether as a public defender, researcher, or in her role as policy consultant.  

For more information on the 10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference, visit their website. Once again, congratulations to Mrs. Ortega on yet another outstanding professional accomplishment.

AJMLS Professor Travels to New Mexico Detention Center to Represent Immigrant Children

Joseph Rosen, Immigration Law adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School  will travel to an immigration detention center in New Mexico next week to represent some of the Central American detainees who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Rosen will be helping immigrant children and their parents determine if they have viable claims for asylum in the U.S. and seek relief from deportation. A former U.S. Customs Service special agent, Rosen will be doing the work in Artesia, N.M., for free in connection with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“For those with little or no resources that still see the U.S. as the sanctuary against evil that they have been subjected to, these hearings are their only hope,” Rosen said on his law firm’s Facebook page. “It humbles me to be a part of this and it also satisfies my sense of adventure and excitement to be a part of this effort.”

Read the full article on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.

Professor Mears Discusses Death Penalty with the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, was recently interviewed by the Chattanooga Times Free Press to discuss delayed justice in Walker Co., GA where many inmates sit on death row for decades while the families of their victims are left to wait hopelessly for justice to be served. In the article, Professor Mears explained the process by which death penalty cases are assigned to local judges and the roles which the courts must play in insuring that each defendant in a death penalty case has a qualified defense attorney.

An excerpt from the article reads:

Michael Mears, the head of the Multi-County Public Defenders Office that represented indigent defendants in capital cases throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, said a district attorney can’t blame the defense in this type of case. The prosecutor has to move the case forward because the defense is always going to delay any hearings. One more day of delays means one more day their client stays alive.

“If people are awaiting death and are waiting for something in the case,” Mears said, “there is no great incentive to push it forward.”

“A lot of district attorneys shy away from it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work. Quite frankly, it’s the responsibility of the judge … It starts with the judge. The case is on his docket. He’s got to stay on top of it. Now, some of these cases fall through the cracks.”

To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website. More information on Professor Mears can be found on his faculty profile.

Article from Professor Fulcher Listed on SSRN’s Top Ten Download List

An article from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Patrice Fulcher, was recently listed on Social Science Research Network’s (SSRN) Top Ten download list for the topic Security and Safety. The article also reached the Top Ten downloads list for the Criminology eJournal, Political Economy – Development eJournal, and the Economic Inequality & the Law eJournal on SSRN. Professor Fulcher’s paper, “The Double Edged Sword of Prison Video Visitation: Claiming to Keep Families Together While Furthering the Aims of the Prison Industrial Complex,” discusses how the rise of video visitation in prisons may appear beneficial to maintaining strong family ties when in actuality it robs inmates of face-to-face interactions with their loved ones. For more, read the Abstract below. The full article can be downloaded through the SSRN website.


Each year, the United States (“U.S.”) spends billions to house the country’s massive prison population. The need to board over 2.3 million incarcerated human beings has U.S. correctional departments looking for ways to increase revenues and offset costs. According to these correctional agencies, one major expense is prison visitation. In order to reduce spending and alleviate safety concerns, U.S. federal, state, and private correctional facilities have turned to video visitation as an alternative to in-person visits.

The use of prison video visitation systems started in 1995. Since then, many private telecommunications companies have professed to have the solution to correctional visitation problems. These companies promote video visitation as a cheap, safe, and easy alternative to in-person visits, as well as a profitable means of generating revenues. Government and private correctional institutions, buying into these endorsements, have reduced or completely eliminated face-to-face visits and installed video visitation systems within their walls. Under this structure, inmates use video stations in their cellblock to visit family and friends at corresponding video kiosks within the institution; or inmates visit loved-ones who are at home or elsewhere outside prison walls via computer Internet video visitation.

In order to sell this method of visitation to the public, U.S. correctional agencies contend that video visitation helps to keep families together by allowing inmates greater contact opportunities with loved ones. In some regards, it may be argued that video visitation does assist in the preservation of family units. Inmates are often forced to serve time in prisons miles away from their homes, so outside visits are far and few between. Yet, through the use of in-home video visitation configurations, inmates are able to connect with relatives who reside hours away.

At first glance, this visitation scheme may seem beneficial, but this Article argues that prison video visitation is a double edge sword. First, prison video visitation may help preserve family units while people are incarcerated, but the elimination of face-to-face visits robs inmates of much needed human contact with their children, spouses, and other family members. Second, almost all in-home prison video visitation systems exploit the relatives and friends of inmates because they charge excessive fees to visit. Third, the economic success of prison video visitation systems is contingent on the number of incarcerated humans. So, like other profiteering schemes of the Prison Industrial Complex (“PIC”), prison video visitation incentivizes incarceration: A decrease in the prison population has a corollary effect on million dollar revenues and corporate profits, hence compelling the need to detain more U.S. inhabitants.

Consequently, this Article argues that face-to-face visitation should be the primary means of contact for families that visit at prison facilities. In order to accomplish this goal, inmates must be assigned to correctional facilities close to their homes if space is available and there is no proven risk to security. Additionally, if prison video visitation is utilized, any fees associated with its use must be regulated to insure that the financial expense is not exorbitant.

More information on Professor Fulcher can be found on her faculty profile.

Professor Dalton Discusses Priest-Penitent Privilege in The Washington Times

Fueling the debate over priest-penitent privilege, is the recent ruling in the Louisiana Supreme Court which states that a teenage girl’s confession to a priest can be used as testimony in a child abuse case. A recent article by The Washington Times says, the Diocese of Baton Rouge deemed the court’s decision a violation of the separation of church and state, and in a rare statement on legal proceedings, declared the ruling an infringement on religious freedom.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Kari Dalton, was consulted and offered her expert opinion on the decision. She says, “I think it’s a very interesting conflict placing priests between centuries-old holy rites and mandatory child abuse statutes.” Professor Dalton adds, “When you involve priests as mandatory reporters under child abuse reports in states, you run into lots of potential constitutional issues.”

Professor Dalton teaches Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II and Pretrial Practice & Procedure at the law school. She is also the author of “The Priest-Penitent Privilege v. Child Abuse Reporting Statutes: How to Avoid the Conflict and Serve Society.”

To read the full article, visit The Washington Times website. More information on Professor Dalton can be found on her faculty profile.

Professor Joseph Rosen Discusses Immigration in Special Fourth of July Podcast

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Joseph Rosen was recently interviewed by Mark Deal from U.S. Immigration Podcast in a special Fourth of July episode. As America turned 238 years old, Professor Rosen was selected to speak on the history and future of immigration in the country. Rosen also discussed topics such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, security of the U.S./Mexican border, the discrimination surrounding immigration law development, and more.

Professor Rosen is the managing attorney for Joseph H. Rosen, Immigration Law Group.  He began practicing Immigration Law in June 2001 after retiring from the U.S. Government where he spent 20 years as a Special Agent for the FBI and U.S. Customs.  His law enforcement career includes 10 years of working on or near the U.S. /Mexico border.  He teaches immigration law, as an adjunct professor, at the law school and is a Clinical Director for the school’s Immigration Law Clinic located at Catholic Charities Atlanta.

To listen to the full podcast featuring Professor Rosen, visit U.S. Immigration Podcast.



Professor Mears Discusses the Upcoming Execution of Marcus Wellons

Marcus Wellons, convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1989 is set to be executed on June 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.

However, instead of a three-drug cocktail formerly used, the state of Georgia wants to use one drug — sodium pentothal — to execute Marcus Wellons. In small doses, it is a sedative. The state wants to use a custom-maker to actually make the drug — because the drug manufacturer that normally makes it won’t sell it to conduct executions. However, the identity of the new manufacturer that will make the lethal injection meant for Marcus Wellons is remaining a secret; making Wellons the new face of the argument over how to carry out Georgia’s death penalty.

“It’s an experimentation process that’s going on here. And they’re doing it in secret,” said Mike Mears, a lawyer, former mayor of Decatur, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor who has opposed the death penalty his entire legal career.

A new state law allows the state to keep secret who made the drug that would put Wellons to death. “I get drugs to treat an animal, and they have to tell me more than the state of Georgia is telling us about how they’re going to kill Marcus Wellons,” Mears said.

Marcus Wellons is due to die today, on the gurney in Jackson — unless his attorneys successfully challenge the secret source of the chemicals that would kill him. The full article and video can be found at 11Alive. For more information on Professor Mears, view his faculty profile.

Professor Rapping Speaks on Unequal Representation for the Poor

A recent article from The Guardian calls on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping to discuss unequal representation for the nation’s poor. In the article by Sadhbh Walshe, the issue of wealth and its connection with acquittals, not-guilty verdicts, and reduced sentences were discussed. Professor Rapping insists that, “Money determines who sits in jail pre-trial. It determines who takes a plea deal, it determines who gets to have a trial and it can influence the outcome of a trial. This is not how our legal system is supposed to work.”

Walshe goes on to say: Public defenders today are dealing with caseloads that far exceed the recommended federal maximums established in 1973, and they’re cutting back on case spending because of it. “No matter how zealous, talented or passionate an attorney is,” says Rapping, “they cannot perform at their best when they are overworked and under-resourced.” Pit that lawyer against a team of high-powered attorneys with their accompanying “expert” witnesses, investigators, scientific tests, gloves and all, and someone who relies upon the Sixth Amendment doesn’t stand a chance.

Read the full article at The Guardian. An in-depth profile of Professor Rapping can be found on the law school’s faculty page.


Footnote from AJMLS Professor Used in Dissent of Justice Benham

The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in the Warren Lee Hill case. Hill was sentenced to death following the 1990 murder of a fellow inmate in the Lee County Correctional Institute, in which Hill beat the victim with a board embedded with nails.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was quoted in a footnote by Justice Robert Benham who dissented along with Justice Carol Hunstein. The footnote used from Professor Mears is based upon a Daily Report article in which Mears discussed the unconstitutionality of the State Secret Act which protects the identity of the executioners and the names of the drug manufacturer.

Their dissent cited a botched execution last month in Oklahoma, Benham saying Georgia’s approach to executions could lead to such “macabre results.” Benham wrote that the secrecy law has the effect of creating “star chamber-like proceedings.”

The footnote reads:
“See also Land, Greg, Oklahoma’s Botched Execution is a Wake-Up Call in Georgia, Says
Law Professor, Daily Report (May 1, 2014), quoting Professor Michael Mears as follows:
“The defense bar is …about protecting the Constitution. How do we know what [drugs] they’re using and not telling us about?”

The full article can be found online through the Daily Report.

AJMLS Professor Accepts the Eleventh Annual Ridenhour Prize for Gideon’s Army

Gideon’s Army, an HBO documentary about the non-profit organization of AJMLS professor Jon Rapping, recently received the 2014 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. The film follows three young public defenders as they struggle with staggering caseloads, long hours, low pay, and trying to balance their commitment to public service with a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point.

The annual Ridenhour Prizes recognize acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society. In reflecting upon its decision, the awards committee said, “We are thrilled to have selected Gideon’s Army which celebrates the legion of idealistic young public defenders who are fighting for equal justice for the disenfranchised within our broken and biased legal system, while struggling to stay one step ahead of poverty themselves.”

Professor Rapping accepted the award with Gideon’s Army director and producer, Dawn Porter. An excerpt from his speech reads:

Now, I started my career as a public defender here in D.C. which is one of the few really well functioning public defender offices in the country. I wasn’t aware at that time about this crisis, and then I went south and worked in Georgia and Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. And I saw criminal justice systems that just processed human beings, that literally accepted an embarrassingly low standard of justice for poor people. And I met these young inspired public defenders who would go into this work for the right reasons and very quickly have the passion beaten out of them. And soon they would either quit or they would become resigned to the status quo.

And so that led to my wife and I starting Gideon’s Promise, an organization that recruits, mentors, trains and support public defenders in an effort to build a community of change agents to go into courtrooms and broken systems and remind them of our American ideals.

Well, we started in 2007 with 16 lawyers and two offices. We will this summer have roughly 300 public defenders from 15 states. [applause] As we were building this, we realized we needed someone to share this story with the country, with the world. And so we started looking for a filmmaker, a storyteller, and we met Dawn Porter. Dawn was a new filmmaker. We invited her to come down and meet our lawyers. We had no idea at the time how brilliant Dawn is. We had no idea at the time how committed she would become to this cause and we certainly had no idea the impact that her work would have.

And what Dawn has done with “Gideon’s Promise” is she has reminded us that we can’t have equal justice without public defenders. She’s reminded us that public defenders are heroes. She shined a light on the public defenders who do this work and the people that they represent, which is a critical first step to raising our national consciousness and addressing this issue.

The full video of Professor Rapping’s acceptance speech is located below.

National Institute for Trial Advocacy Invites AJMLS Professor to Teach Trial Advocacy Basics

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the nation’s leading provider of legal advocacy skills training. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, NITA pioneered the legal skills learning-by-doing methodology over 40 years ago and has since remained the ultimate standard in continuing legal education.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Suparna Malempati was recently invited to join the Rocky Mountain team to teach new lawyers the basics of trial advocacy.  She spent fours days training the participants on closing arguments, direct examination, and cross examination skills. You can read more about her experience on the Advocacy Teaching Blog.

NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system. NITA’s mission is to:

  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy;
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice; and
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.

For more information about NITA, please visit the website at www.nita.org. View a full list of Professor Malempati’s published articles and media appearances on her faculty profile.

Daily Report Interviews Professor Mears on Botched Oklahoma Execution

“The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma on Tuesday should serve as a wake-up call to Georgia officials scrambling to find ways to put inmates to death without trampling constitutional guarantees and basic human decency,” said Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, in a recent interview with the Daily Report.

Professor Mears, who is also the founding director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, spoke candidly with the Daily Report about the recent execution.

“This is certainly not the first botched lethal injection execution, and if the states continue to allow prison guards to ‘play doctor’ we will have more of these outrageous execution botches,” said Mears. “It is one thing to kill a person. It is another thing to conduct experiments on them under the guise of carrying out an execution.”

The full interview can be found on the Daily Report’s website. For more information on the published works, media appearances and accomplishments of Professor Mears, visit his faculty profile.

AJMLS Announces Eleven Upcoming Tenure Appointments

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has granted tenure to eleven faculty members, effective August 1, 2014. Eight of the eleven appointments are AJMLS professors and three are professors at Savannah Law School (SLS), a branch of AJMLS.

Upcoming Tenured Professors at AJMLS

Associate Professor K. Lee Adams joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches civil procedure and constitutional law. Professor Adams earned her B.A. from Georgia State University and her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Associate Professor Kari Mercer Dalton joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2007 and teaches legal research, writing & analysis I & II; pretrial practice & procedure. Professor Dalton earned her B.A. from Boston College and earned her J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law.

Associate Professor Andrea Doneff joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches ADR & writing, mediation, civil procedure, legal writing, research and advocacy. Professor Doneff earned her B.A. from Emory University, her M.A. from Emory University and her J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

Associate Professor Patrice Fulcher joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2007 and teaches criminal law; legal research, writing & analysis I, II & III; pretrial practice & procedure; trial advocacy and criminal procedure. Professor Fulcher earned her B.A. from Howard University and J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

Associate Professor Jace C. Gatewood joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches business organizations and real property. Professor Gatewood earned his A.B. from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Associate Professor Elizabeth M. Jaffe joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2006 and teaches client interviewing & counseling, depositions, legal research, writing & analysis I & II, pretrial practice & procedure. Professor Jaffe earned her B.A. from Emory University and her J.D. from the Washington University School of Law.

Associate Professor Neva Browning Jeffries joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches Legal Drafting; Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II; Pretrial Practice & Procedure; Business Organizations. Professor Jeffries earned her A.B. from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Associate Professor Kelly Casey Mullally joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2009 and teaches Intellectual Property; Patent Law; Torts. Professor Mullally earned her B.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Upcoming Tenured Professors at SLS

Professor Elizabeth Megale joined the faculty at the Savannah Law School in 2012 and teaches advanced appellate advocacy, pretrial advocacy and transactional drafting, art of advocacy. Professor Megale earned her B.A. and J.D. from Mercer University.

Professor Marc Roark joined the faculty at Savannah Law School in 2012 and teaches property, law & literature and sales & secured transactions. Professor Roark earned his B.A. from Louisiana State University, his LL.M. from the Duke University School of Law and his J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans.

Professor Judd Sneirson joined the faculty at Savannah Law School in 2013 and teaches contracts, intellectual property and business organizations. Professor Sneirson earned his B.A. from Williams College and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Current Tenured Faculty

●Dean & Professor Richardson Lynn
●Associate Dean for Scholarship & Professor Jeffrey Van Detta
●Associate Professor Joanna Apolinsky
●Professor Anthony Baker
●Associate Professor Scott Boone
●Associate Professor Kathleen Burch
●Professor Robert D’Agostino
●Associate Professor Helen de Haven
●Associate Professor Liza Karsai
●Professor Michael Lynch
●Associate Professor Lance McMillian
●Associate Professor Jonathan Rapping
●Professor Caprice Roberts, SLS
●Associate Professor Lisa Taylor
●Associate Professor Lisa Tripp

Granting an appointment of tenure is a firm commitment that AJMLS makes to talented faculty. The school does this to recognize professors who have consistently contributed to its mission by demonstrating excellence throughout their careers at AJMLS.

The conferring of tenure upon these faculty members represents a significant milestone in their academic careers. Please join us in congratulating each of these amazing professors for their ongoing dedication to enriching the lives of the AJMLS and SLS student body.

You may follow the hashtags #AJMLS and #ProfDev, on Twitter, to congratulate these professors or join the conversation.

AJMLS Professor Chosen for Radio Interview with Legal Talk Network

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor and Director of the Honors Program in Criminal Justice, Jonathan Rapping was recently interviewed on Legal Talk Network’s radio program, Lawyer2Lawyer, to discuss his organization Gideon’s Promise. On this episode of Lawyer2Lawyer, hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams interviewed Professor Rapping, founder of the Atlanta-based public defender training program Gideon’s Promise, and Dawn Porter, director and producer of the documentary Gideon’s Army. Together they discuss the daily rigors faced by public defenders in the south, their personal beliefs about unequal access to justice, and their ideas about how to better deliver on the promise of Gideon. The radio interview can be found on Legal Talk Network. More information on Professor Rapping can be found on his faculty profile.

Law Review Article by AJMLS Professor Cited in Forbes Magazine

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Beckett Cantley was cited in a recent article by Forbes Magazine discussing life insurance and 831(b) captive insurance companies. His extensive experience on the issue, in addition to his recent appearance as a panelist at the Spring Meeting of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association made Professor Cantley an excellent source of information on the subject.

The excerpt reads:

The panel featured Prof. Beckett Cantley of John Marshal Law School in Atlanta, who discussed the fact that the IRS is taking a hard look at 831(b) captives that have purchased life insurance, and seem to be following their exact same avenues of attack that finally took down abusive VEBAs, 412(i), 419A(f)(6), and other abusive plans that offered pre-tax life insurance. Namely, the IRS is now conducting various promoter audits to obtain the client lists of the insurance managers whose 831(b) captives are involved with life insurance, as a possible predicate to making the purchase of life insurance within a captive a “listed transaction”, i.e., a presumed tax shelter that carries onerous reporting requirements and possibly very significant penalties.

Professor Cantley also spoke at some length about the technical issues about why the IRS would be absolutely right in taking down 831(b) companies with significant amounts of life insurance, but instead of me paraphrasing him, it is probably better to just read his excellent article on the subject: Cantley, Beckett G., Repeat as Necessary: Historical IRS Policy Weapons to Combat Conduit Captive Insurance Company Deductible Purchases of Life Insurance (February 2013). U. C. Davis Business Law Journal, Vol. 13, 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2315868

And Professor Cantley is nothing like the only voice in the wilderness on this issue: Various other prominent captive tax attorneys have indicated that having an 831(b) captive be structured to invest significant assets in a life insurance policy is probably a pretty bad idea, and off-the-record statements from IRS and Treasury officials (not to mention the ongoing promoter audits) show that this is an area of intense interest, if not concern.

Prior to teaching at John Marshall, Professor Cantley served as a law professor at both St.Thomas University School of Law (Miami, FL) and in the International Tax and Financial Services Program (LL.M.) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego, CA).  He currently also teaches International Taxation at Northeastern University.  In addition to the courses he currently teaches at AJMLS and NEU, he has previously taught several other JD and LL.M. level courses, including: Tax I; Tax II; Partnership Taxation; and Business Entities.  Prior to entering academia, Professor Cantley’s private practice included serving as an Associate Attorney with Oliver Maner & Gray LLP in Savannah, GA.

To read the full article, visit the Forbes Magazine website. Professor Cantley’s full biography including published articles and media appearances can be found here.

Professor Fulcher Gives Expert Opinion to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Patrice Fulcher was asked by Representative Elijah E. Cummings’ office, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to comment on the contempt proceedings against Lois Lerner. Cummings released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014.

In Professor Fulcher’s comment, she said:

released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at: http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/press-releases/twenty-five-independent-legal-experts-now-agree-that-issa-botched-contempt/#sthash.twEBtBUd.dpuf

“American citizens expect, and the Constitution demands, that U.S. Congressional Committees adhere to procedural constraints when conducting hearings. Yet the proper required measures designed to provide due process of law were not followed during the May 22nd House Oversight Committee Hearing concerning Ms. Lerner. In Quinn v. United States, the Supreme Court clearly outlined practical safeguards to be followed to lay the foundation for contempt of Congress proceedings once a witness invokes the Fifth Amendment. 349 U.S. 155 (1955). To establish criminal intent, the committee has to demand the witness answer and upon refusal, expressly overrule her claim of privilege. This procedure assures that an accused is not forced to ‘guess whether or not the committee has accepted [her] objection’, but is provided with a choice between compliance and prosecution. Id. It is undeniable that the record shows that the committee did not expressly overrule Ms. Lerner’s claim of privilege, but rather once Ms. Lerner invoked her 5th Amendment right, the Chairman subsequently excused her. The Chairman did not order her to answer or present her with the clear option to respond or suffer contempt charges. Therefore, launching a contempt prosecution against Ms. Lerner appears futile and superfluous due to the Committee’s disregard for long standing traditions of procedure.”

For the full story or to read the opinions of other legal experts, click here.

Jonathan Rapping Earns National Recognition with Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 Award

Nearly 80 percent of the 12 million people who move annually through America’s criminal justice system cannot afford a lawyer. As a result, many innocent defendants plead guilty simply because they cannot afford to take their case to trial, and the public defender system is so overwhelmed by crushing volume, that adequate and meaningful defense fails them as well. For Jonathan Rapping, the injustice in the U.S. justice system is simply unacceptable, and now everyone is taking note of his exploding and impactful non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise.

Gideon’s Promise, based in Atlanta, yet armed with a national reputation, works tirelessly to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. And work zealously to ensure that those accused of crimes, who are most vulnerable in our society, have the same access to criminal justice as everyone else.

“For the past seven years, we at Gideon’s Promise have worked tirelessly to ensure ‘equal justice for all’ is not just an empty promise, but a reality that is consistent with our Constitution and its founding ideals,” says Rapping. “Being honored with the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 truly validates that our work to change the status quo is vital, and that our public defenders are making justice a reality every day.”

It is because of this ground-breaking work that Rapping was recently honored as one of the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100, an honor that he shares with Melinda Gates, Rick Warren, former Vice President Al Gore and Jonathan Trent among others. A complete list of winners can be found at www.PurposeEconomy.com.

“The Purpose 100 highlights and celebrates the work of those shifting the paradigm on what is possible for all of us through work that reignites purpose,” says Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative and innovator/creator of The Purpose Economy. “By founding Gideon’s Promise and training more than 250 public defenders over the past seven years, Jon more than exemplifies that calling. He is a pioneer working to bring equal justice back to our judicial system. I look forward to watching Jon and Gideon’s Promise continue strengthening the resources available to public defenders.”

Last year, Rapping and Gideon’s Promise were featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Rapping and Gideon’s Promise, in their sometimes breaking quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 250 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.

Rapping is a nationally renowned speaker and author – advocating for better standards in the criminal justice system by delivering powerful and varying keynotes at conferences and institutions across the country. His national outreach includes audiences at law schools, organizations committed to justice, bar associations and public defender offices and systems.

Professor D’Agostino Interviewed Regarding Bankruptcy Laws

In a recent article from CardHub, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Robert D’Agostino and other legal experts answered common questions individuals have regarding bankruptcy. CardHub offers an easily-accessible search engine and relevant articles for individuals to use to find a credit card that suits their personal and financial needs. However, due to the increase of bankruptcy filings and subsequent increase in societal reliance on credit cards, CardHub sought out legal experts to answer general questions about bankruptcy in an effort to educate its audience.

Professor D’Agostino was asked, “What part of the bankruptcy process do you think people understand least?” He replied, “The issue of what is and what is not dischargeable . This particularly true of tax liabilities and the IRS’s ability to impose a 100% penalty on bankrupt small business owners when the business has not paid its required taxes. BAPCA has clarified and broadened the law applicable to what assets of an individual do not become part of the bankruptcy estate. The ‘mini’ chapter 11 has made that process more accessible and less expensive for small business.

To view the entire article and read what other experts said about bankruptcy, click here.


Professor Rapping Receives the INSPIRE Award from Cardozo School of Law

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping was recently awarded the INSPIRE Award from Cardozo School of Law in New York City. The award was given to Professor Rapping, President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, because of his work with an organization that inspires, mobilizes and trains legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. The awards ceremony and reception is a part of the law school’s Inspire: Awards and Public Service Networking Event which is held at the end of the school’s Public Service Week. For more information on Cardozo School of Law’s awards ceremony, click here. Congratulations to Professor Rapping for being recognized for the work his organization does in the legal community.

AJMLS Professor’s Non-Profit Organization Receives $1 Million Grant from Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced a total of $6.7 million in grants to state and local criminal and civil legal services organizations across the country that provide legal defense services for the poor.  The non-profit organization of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jon Rapping was one of the organizations chosen to receive a grant.

Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization that partners with public defender offices to build a community of attorneys committed to indigent defense reform,was awarded $1 million.  The funds will provide 25 new attorneys, including criminal defense lawyers working on tribal lands; establish training and leadership development for public defender trainers and supervisors and a semi-annual leadership summit for chief defenders; and create an advisory council to test measures and indicators showing the outcomes of providing effective counsel for all individuals.

These grants from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) are part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to improve indigent defense, which is often underfunded and understaffed, and to support training, mentoring, technical assistance, leadership development and research to enhance the effectiveness of adult, juvenile and tribal indigent defense practices.

Professor Rapping feels that the grant is another indicator of the type of education students can receive by enrolling in the law school’s J.D. Honors Program in Criminal Justice. He said, “through the Honors Program in Criminal Justice, our students are getting the kind of preparation for careers in criminal justice that the Department of Justice recognizes is critical.  Three of our Honors Program faculty (Professors Rapping, Fulcher, and Saviello) are also core members of this organization that the Department of Justice is investing in as a real solution to the criminal justice crisis we face.”

For more information on the other organizations chosen to receive grants, click here.


Professor Rapping Gives Keynote Address at University of Iowa Law School

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jon Rapping was recently the keynote speaker at the University of Iowa Law School’s “Fifty Years of Gideon” symposium. Professor Rapping was chosen based to his work with Gideon’s Promise, his nonprofit organization that works to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. Gideon’s Promise was later featured in an HBO documentary titled Gideon’s Army which aired July 1, 2013. The symposium commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision granting all indigent defendants the right to counsel, Gideon v. Wainwright. Following Professor Rapping’s keynote address, a renowned group of panelists discussed the history of Gideon, the current state of indigent defense, and future developments for the right to counsel. For more on Professor Rapping’s work with Gideon’s Promise, click here. To learn more about the University of Iowa Law School symposium, click here.


Professor Rapping Named the 2013 Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School

Professor Jon Rapping was recently selected as the 2013 Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School. Through the Distinguished Public Interest Lawyer in Residence Program, Touro Law Center recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to society by representation of individuals or groups historically denied access to justice. Honorees visit the Law Center to meet with students, guest teach classes and deliver a public lecture. The program attracts distinguished visitors who are active in the field of public interest who inspire and teach members of the Touro Law community. On behalf of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, congratulations Professor Rapping on another outstanding accomplishment. For the full story, click here.

Professor Van Detta Named the John E. Ryan Professor of International Business & Workplace Law

Dean Richardson Lynn is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, in recognition of Professor Jeffrey Van Detta’s distinguished service to the law school, his excellence as a teacher, and the breadth and depth of his scholarship, has conferred upon him a named Chair in Law:  The John E. Ryan Professor Of International Business & Workplace Law. Congratulations Professor Van Detta on this prestigious accomplishment.

Professor Rapping Interviewed by The Seattle Times in Indigent Defense Case

Jon Rapping, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor and founder and president of Gideon’s Promise, a national organization aimed at improving indigent defense, was recently interviewed by The Seattle Times regarding an ongoing indigent-defense case.

The Seattle Times reports:

Today, many in America’s legal and law-enforcement communities — from judges and prosecutors to defense lawyers — believe the promise of Gideon v. Wainwright, grounded in the Sixth Amendment, has mostly gone unfulfilled. To prove it, some point to Mount Vernon and Burlington.

The Skagit County towns are at the center of a groundbreaking class-action civil-rights lawsuit over indigent defense filed two years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging misdemeanor defendants were given little more than a “meet ’em, greet ’em and plead ’em” defense by a pair of public defenders expected to handle more than 2,000 cases a year.

Now, with a Seattle-based U.S. District Court judge set to rule on the case, Mount Vernon and Burlington may become part of an unprecedented solution — the first-ever federal-court takeover of a public-defender system.

The goal, Rapping said, should be that the indigent accused “receive the same kind of representation that you or I would pay for.” The reality at this point, however, is that most public-defender agencies — including the federal Public Defender’s Office — are struggling with budget cuts and a paucity of resources, he said. “It’s unfortunate, but over the years we have become accustomed to a lower standard of justice for poor people,” Rapping said.

To read the full article, click here.

Professor Mears Reappointed to the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee of the State Bar

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Micheal Mears was recently reappointment to a very important State Bar of Georgia committee.  He has been honored to be appointed to the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee.  This committee of the State Bar deals with matters relating to the post conviction of defendants in death penalty cases and reports any recommendations to the Board of Governors.

In discussing his appointment, Professor Mears stated, “I know that we all serve the Bar in various ways and serve on important committees and task forces.” He went on to say, “I am especially proud of this Committee Assignment over these past years because it has given me such a great opportunity to continue the work of so many lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys, in addressing the life and death issues of the death penalty.” Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Professor Mears on his most recent appointment.

AJMLS Professor Joins Group of National Experts at the White House

Professor Rapping was among a group of national experts invited to the White House on June 5, 2013 to discuss Judicial Vacancies and the Importance of the Courts.  With five unfilled vacancies on the Eleventh Circuit and Northern District of Georgia, four of which are considered judicial emergencies, the situation is particularly pressing for Georgians.  Professor Rapping then joined a small Georgia delegation to meet with staff for Senators Isakson and Chambliss to discuss the problem of unfilled vacancies on Georgia’s federal courts and the risk it poses to the efficient functioning of our judicial system. Once again, another exciting accomplishment for our faculty.

AJMLS Adjunct Professor Appointed Juvenile Court Judge

On May 21, 2013, Judge Willie J. Lovett, Jr. began serving as a Juvenile Court Judge for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit in Fulton County, Georgia.  Judge Lovett will preside over all juvenile matters originating in Fulton County and will provide leadership to the Juvenile Court as it prepares to implement Georgia’s new Juvenile Code, which will become law on January 1, 2014.  Judge Lovett also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where he teaches Georgia Practice and Procedure and Local Government Law.  In 2012, Judge Lovett became certified by the American Bar Association and the National Association of Counsel for Children as a Child Welfare Law Specialist (“CWLS”).  Judge Lovett is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Association of Counsel for Children and the Georgia Association of Counsel for Children. 


Prior to this appointment as Juvenile Judge, Judge Lovett served as the Director of the Fulton County Child Attorney’s Office.  In that role, he managed the attorneys, investigators, social workers and administrative staff, ensuring that constitutional and statutory mandates are met utilizing the American Bar Association Standards of Practice for Lawyers Who Represent Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases, (NACC Revised Version).  Judge Lovett has also served as Deputy County Attorney for the Fulton County Attorney’s Office where he was lead litigation counsel for Fulton County in the Kenny A. v. Perdue litigation, originally filed in 2002.  Prior to joining the Fulton County Attorney’s Office, Judge Lovett clerked for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett, former Chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Atlanta’s Law Department, and worked as an associate at several Atlanta law firms. 


In 1985, Judge Lovett earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, cum laude with Distinction in the major from Yale University, where he received the 1985 Roosevelt Thompson Prize for commitment to public service.  In 1988, Judge Lovett earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he served as a Comments Editor on the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and in 1991, he earned his Master of Laws in Litigation from Emory Law School.  Judge Lovett is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals.


Judge Lovett is a native of Savannah, Georgia, currently resides in Fairburn, Georgia and is married to Seletha R. Butler, Esq.



AJMLS Dedicates Law Library to Esteemed Faculty Member

On April 29, 2013, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School dedicated its law library to Michael J. Lynch, Director of the Law Library and Professor. The dedication ceremony, attended by faculty, staff and students, was a fitting recognition of Professor Lynch’s work in expanding the library and library services, a key part of obtaining full ABA approval for the law school. 

His success with the library, given the resources he had to work with, could not have been duplicated by any other law librarian in the country,” said Dean Richardson Lynn.Professor Lynch has been important in the life of the law school in multiple roles, including his teaching of Contracts.  His support for our students and the way he roots for them is most inspiring.” Thank you Professor Lynch for your hard work and commitment to the John Marshall community. Congratulations!

AJMLS Professor Weighs in on Anti-Bullying Laws

Elizabeth Jaffe, Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was a recent panelist at a daylong cyberbullying conference at Rutgers University in New Jersey where lawyers, scholars, educators, and others discussed the difficulties of drawing a legal line that determines if schools – or parents – are culpable. An excerpt from the article is below.

“I think New Jersey is on the right track,” said Elizabeth Jaffe, an associate professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School who has studied New Jersey’s anti-bullying law. “Nobody can jump in and get it right perfectly. It will take time to see how it plays out.”

Jaffe, also a panelist at the event, said afterward that questions arise as to whether the law is too vague and gives districts too much leeway in deciding what is cyberbullying.

“Is it too vague, is just saying ‘I don’t like your clothes’ amount to bullying,” she said. “You need to ask how pervasive it is, what is the extent of it.”

To read the full article, click here.

AJMLS Adjunct Professor Interviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Baptist preacher, a prosecutor, and an adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School – John Melvin has a full plate of duties, responsibilities, and obligations. In a recent article by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Professor Melvin was asked about how he seamlessly balances being a prosecutor and preacher. “Being a prosecutor isn’t that different from being a pastor in some ways,” Melvin says. Instead of teaching a congregation about the Bible, he instructs juries on Georgia law. Excerpts from the article are below.

To view the full article, click here. Congratulations Professor Melvin for receiving recognition for your years of service to the community and your congregation.

As a Baptist preacher, John Melvin is patient with sinners. As a prosecutor, he has earned a reputation for doggedly pursuing them.

Over the past 18 years, Melvin has worked as a prosecutor in Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb counties and has become one of the state’s most experienced prosecutors of corrupt public figures. Not only that, Melvin has spent the last 15 years pastoring a congregation of about 75 souls at Camp Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Lilburn.

Like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, the worship services are held in a small, white country church where the congregation sits in maplewood pews and sings without instrumental accompaniment from an old-timey hymnal.

European Law Journal Appoints Associate Dean Van Detta to Permanent Board of Peer-Review Referees

Merkourios, Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, has appointed Jeffrey Van Detta, Associate Dean for Scholarship and Professor of Law at AJMLS, to its Permanent Board of Referees. 

Merkourios is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, student-led law journal, which focuses on international and European law.  The Journal provides immediate, open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the community of scholars and to a wider public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

Merkourios is affiliated with Utrecht University and Urios.  Utrecht University, located in Utrecht, Netherlands, is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe.  See  http://www.uu.nl/EN/Pages/default.aspx    Urios is the Utrecht Study Association for International and European Law.   Founded in 1981, Urios has a membership of 250 students, which includes both Utrecht students and exchange students.   The mission of Urios is to introduce students to International and European law on a more practical level, as explained on its webpage at http://www.urios.org/1/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69&Itemid=55

The Referee Board is a new initiative that the 2012-2013 Board of Editors of Merkourios has inaugurated.  By establishing the Permanent Board of Referees, Merkourios aims to further develop the Journal by achieving higher standards of academic quality and by enhancing cooperation within its network of referees and authors.

Members of the Permanent Board of Referees report their professional opinions on the academic quality of articles that the student Editors have previously reviewed and identified as worthy of further consideration for publication.   Rendered on the basis of anonymous peer review, the reports from the Journal’s Referees are a determinative factor in the Journal’s final publication decisions.

Merkourios appointed Associate Dean Van Detta as a member of the Permanent Board of Referees based on his expertise and scholarly publications in the areas of Trans-National Commercial Law, International Business Transactions, International Civil Litigation, Private International Law, Employment and Labour Law, and Jurisprudence.   Associate Dean Van Detta teaches courses encompassing those areas in AJMLS’s J.D. Program, American Legal Studies LL.M. Program, and Employment Law LL.M. Program.

“I believe very passionately in the kind of scholarly work carried on by Merkourios, in which both law students and experienced faculty collaborate in evaluating and publishing scholarship of the highest calibre,” Associate Dean Van Detta commented.  In his view, “that is an ideal combination of talents, perspectives, and expertise for the dynamic areas of legal scholarship which Merkourios embraces.”

The most recent issue of Merkourios—the General Issue 2013 (Vol 29, No 76)— may be viewed at http://www.merkourios.org/index.php/mj/issue/current

Associate Dean Van Detta also has three articles of his own in the publication process thus far this year:   Some Legal Considerations For EU-Based MNEs Contemplating High-Risk Foreign Direct Investments In The Energy Sector, 9 South Carolina  J.  Int’l  L. & Bus. __ (Issue 2, Spring 2013); Transnational Legal Services In Globalized Economies: American Leadership, Not Mere Compliance, With GATS Through Qualifying LL.M. Degree Programs For Foreign-Educated Lawyers Seeking State-Bar Admissions, 12 Hofstra J. Int’l Bus. & L. ___ (Spring 2013); and Politics And Legal Regulation In The International Business Environment: An FDI Case Study Of Alstom, S.A., In Israel, 21 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 301 (Spring 2013).

AJMLS Professor Publishes Book on New Georgia Evidence Code

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School adjunct professor Michael Carlson has recently released a highly anticipated, first-of-its-kind book on Georgia’s new evidence code.

Carlson on Evidence: Comparing the Georgia and Federal Rules by Ronald L. Carlson and Michael Scott Carlson was published in December 2012 by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia. It is a rule-by-rule comparison of the new and former Georgia, as well as the federal evidence rules.

Michael Carlson serves as Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney and head of the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Gang Prosecution Unit. He teaches advanced evidence and advanced criminal procedure at John Marshall. His father, co-author Ronald Carlson, is the Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus at the University of Georgia Law School and has authored numerous leading publications on evidence, trial practice and criminal law.

In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly voted to comprehensively rewrite the state’s 150-year old evidence code to model the Federal Rules of Evidence. The new evidence code became effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Carlson on Evidence is a user-friendly book that identifies the differences between the state’s new and old evidence code with the federal rules. This comprehensive break-down of the evidence code is essential to practicing law in Georgia,” John Marshall Dean of Academics Kevin Cieply said. “We are honored to have our students learning from one of the premier scholars on Georgia’s new evidence code.”

The Carlsons have taught various continuing judicial and legal education programs on the new evidence code to numerous members of Georgia’s bench and bar. In December, they hosted the Carlson on Evidence seminar, which served as the formal launch of the book. That program was a sold-out event at the Georgia State Bar headquarters and was simulcast live to other State Bar satellite offices. The event was attended by numerous John Marshall alumni, faculty and students.

For more information or to purchase the Carlson on Evidence book, visit http://www.iclega.org/.

AJMLS Professor and Staff Member Elected to the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Georgia

Michael Oeser, Associate Professor and Bridgett Ortega, Assistant Director of the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning were elected to the ACLU of Georgia’s Board of Directors at the November 10th Annual Meeting.

Professor Oeser and Mrs. Ortega join Professor Kathleen Burch who has served on the ACLU Board for the past two years and is Co-Chair of the Legal Committee. The law school also partners with the ACLU of Georgia in the Civil Liberties Seminar where students work on ACLU cases.

Founded in 1920 as a response to the Palmer Raids, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to defend the principles and freedoms embodied in the Bill of Rights. To accomplish this goal, the ACLU advocates for civil liberties in courts, legislatures, and communities all over the United States at both the federal and state level. As a result of its dedication, there is no non-governmental organization that has more frequently argued in front of the Supreme Court of the United States than the ACLU.

AJMLS is extremely proud of Professor Oeser and Mrs. Ortega and thank them for their continuous commitment to impacting the lives of others through service.

AJMLS Professor Appointed Magistrate Judge in Fulton County

Last week, AJMLS professor Renata Turner was appointed as a part-time magistrate judge of the Fulton County State Court.  Professor Turner teaches Domestic Violence and is the Director of the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning.

Magistrate judges conduct first appearances and preliminary examinations of felony charges and hear felony arraignments. They also can authorize search warrants, set bond on criminal defendants and handle criminal misdemeanors, traffic infractions, traffic misdemeanors, cigarette and tobacco infractions, and fish and game violations.

On the civil side, they are authorized to handle limited actions seeking judgment for some unsecured debt; evictions; replevin; small claims; all probate proceedings, including treatment of the mentally ill, substance abusers, guardianships and conservatorships; protection from abuse and stalking; making temporary orders in domestic relations cases; performing marriages; and child support enforcement.

They also may handle any juvenile proceedings, including children in need of care, juvenile offenders and adoptions. As a rotating part-time magistrate Judge Turner will more than likely handle a variety of matters.

Professor Turner has a wealth of experience serving the people of Atlanta and will make an excellent magistrate judge for the Fulton County State Court.

Professor Rapping Appointed to the Board of Directors for the Federal Defender Program

AJMLS’s own Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Federal Defender Program, Incorporated (FDP) by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The FDP provides representation for all the indigent defendants in the Atlanta, Newnan, and Gainesville Divisions of the Northern District, that is not precluded by a conflict of interest.

On behalf of the entire AJMLS community, congratulations Professor Rapping on another outstanding honor!

AJMLS Staff Member Elected as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the NJDC

AJMLS’ Assistant Director of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships, Bridgett Ortega, was recently elected as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) in Washington D.C. The mission of the NJDC is to ensure excellence in juvenile defense and promote justice for all children.The organization was created in 1999 to respond to the critical need to build the capacity of the juvenile defense bar and to improve access to counsel and quality of representation for children in the justice system. They also give juvenile defense attorneys a more permanent capacity to address practice issues, improve advocacy skills, build partnerships, exchange information, and participate in the national debate over juvenile crime.AJMLS congratulates you on your accomplishments and all that you do for the school!

AJMLS Professor Appointed to the Joint Commission’s PTAC

Noted AJMLS faculty member, Lisa Tripp was recently appointed as a representative for the Joint Commission’s Professional & Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC).

The PTACs are an integral part of the Joint Commission’s advisory structure. By representing the views of a diverse group of professional associations and other interests and by providing expert advice, Professor Tripp and other representatives will assist The Joint Commission in the development and refinement of standards and elements of performance. In addition, each PTAC provides observations regarding environmental trends, educational needs, and other important issues facing each of the fields in which The Joint Commission offers accreditation services.

The value of the PTACs stems from the diversity of perspectives and the discussion and debate that occurs at the PTAC meetings. In the final analysis, PTAC representatives are expected to be proponents of their respective bodies of knowledge to The Joint Commission, and proponents of The Joint Commission to their constituents.

Congratulations Professor Tripp on your outstanding accomplishment!

Dean Cieply Appointed to the NIMJ Board of Advisors

AJMLS Associate Dean of Academics and associate professor, Kevin Cieply has an extensive military and legal background. His dedication and skills have recently positioned him for a prestigious honor. The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) have appointed Dean Cieply to their Board of Advisors.

The NIMJ is a District of Columbia non-profit corporation organized in 1991. NIMJ’s mission is to advance the fair administration of military justice and foster improved public understanding of the military justice system by educating the public, press, and Congress about the military justice system. NIMJ’s directors and advisors are law professors, former military lawyers, or both.

On behalf of AJMLS, congratulations Dean Cieply on your newest accomplishment!

AJMLS Professor Elizabeth Jaffe Adds Insight to Revamped Bullying Laws (Audio)

The bullying epidemic has been present in schools across the nation for decades. However, incidents of bullying have become more frequent and fatal in recent years. To raise awareness and combat this issue, forty-seven states have passed anti-bullying legislation. AJMLS professor and former family law practitioner, Elizabeth Jaffe was recently called on by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) to add insight to this growing problem in Georgia schools.An excerpt from Professor Jaffe’s interview is below.

But increased attention raises more unanswered questions. Elizabeth Jaffe of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School says one involves what happens when students’ free speech rights collide with other students’ right not to be bullied.

Jaffe notes that existing case law allows schools to limit students’ speech to protect the safe environment of the school.

“However, with the litigiousness of our society, I think we’re going to see more and more lawsuits about incidents that occur,” Jaffe says. “For me the question goes back to prevention.”

So the question becomes not just how to respond to and punish bullying when it happens, but how to prevent it from happening at all.

To read or listen to audio of the full article, click here.

Attorney General Eric Holder Acknowledges AJMLS Professor Jon Rapping During Speech

Attorney General Eric Holder praised AJMLS professor Jon Rapping for his dedication to improving indigent defense and for his efforts to effect meaningful reform of the criminal justice system in a speech given earlier this month.

He also talked extensively about a ground-breaking training program that was recently launched by Rapping’s non-profit, the Southern Public Defender Training Center. To read Attorney General Holder’s speech, click here. His comments regarding our esteemed faculty member begin on page 3.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Appoints Three New Administrators

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) – Georgia’s only fully accredited, stand-alone law school – has appointed a new Chief Financial Officer, an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and an Associate Dean of Recruitment and Marketing.

New administrators include:

Kevin Cieply, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Prior to joining AJMLS in 2008, Cieply served more than 22 years in the Army and Wyoming Army National Guard as a helicopter pilot and a Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) Officer. His wide range of military legal experience includes prosecuting courts martial cases, prosecuting criminal procurement fraud cases in federal courts as a full-time Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and serving as the Senior Legal Advisor on all military matters for the Wyoming Army National Guard. Cieply’s last military assignment was as the Chief, Land Operations Law, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), concentrating on counterterrorism and Defense Support of Civilian Authorities. He retired from the military with the rank of Colonel.

Cieply graduated from Notre Dame Law School and holds an LL.M in Military Law, Specialization in Criminal Law.

Allan Brezel, Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Brezel directs and manages the school’s financial investments. Before joining AJMLS, Brezel served as Chief Financial Officer of various companies.

In 1978, Brezel started his career as a Senior Accountant at Deloitte and then moved on to work in private industry. He is a graduate of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta.

Alan Boyer, Associate Dean of Recruitment and Marketing

As Associate Dean of Recruitment and Marketing, Boyer oversees the admissions, recruitment and marketing functions of the law school. Before joining AJMLS, he most recently was Managing Partner of the Marketing Lab and a tenure-track professor of communications at Georgia Highlands College. Boyer has held various executive marketing and communications positions, including Chief Marketing Officer at Atlanta Life Financial Group, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications at Equifax. Other experiences include positions at The Coca-Cola Co., SBC Communications, First Data and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

Boyer holds a certificate in brand communication strategy from Northwestern University and a certificate in marketing strategy from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He earned a Master of Science in Mass Communications from Kansas State University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communications from Lincoln University of Missouri.

Founded in 1933 and fully accredited by the American Bar Association, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is Georgia’s only stand-alone law school focused on preparing talented students for legal careers in the public and private sectors. AJMLS students matriculate in a learning environment that includes exceptional faculty, accelerated externships and intelligent learning collaboration. AJMLS academic programs include a Juris Doctorate, J.D. Honors Program in Criminal Justice and a LL.M in Employment Law. AJMLS serves as a strategic resource for legal talent for small, mid-size and large law firms, corporations and public service organizations throughout the country. For more information about AJMLS, please visit us at www.johnmarshall.edu.

AJMLS Professor Michael Mears Gives Thoughts on Troy Davis Execution

Gaining national and international attention, the scheduled execution of Troy Davis for the killing of Savannah police officer, Mark MacPhail has created a media frenzy and raised many ethical, moral, and legal questions.

In the two decades since Davis was condemned for fatally shooting MacPhail, seven of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis at his trial have recanted their testimony.

Based on his vast experience with death penalty cases and trials, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was sought out by Georgia Public BroadcastingThe Atlanta Journal Constitution, and The Washington Post to give his expert opinion on the Troy Davis execution.

An excerpt from the GPB article quoting Mears states:

If the death sentence is carried out, Michael Mears of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School says, it will be because the courts aren’t well-equipped to deal justly with recanted testimony.


“The courts want finality in these trials,” Mears says. “They don’t want these trials going on forever and ever. And that’s understandable. The problem in a death penalty case is if you don’t get it right, then someone’s going to die. And they’re going to die for a crime they might not have committed.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Adds Impressive Roster of Tenured and Visiting Professors

Standing firmly behind our mission to prepare highly competent and professional lawyers who are committed to the improvement of the legal system and society, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is excited about the recent addition to our growing institution.

AJMLS has hired seven tenured/tenure-track professors and seven visiting professors to bolster its commitment to marry real-world experience with classroom academics. “Coupled with the faculty already on staff, we believe our new personnel offer our students a brilliant mix of expertise and enable us to maintain our 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio.” said Richardson Lynn, dean and professor of law at the Law School.

The tenured/tenure-track professors include: 

Anthony Baker
Professor Baker brings a broad range of legal teaching experience to AJMLS, having previously taught criminal and constitutional law, history of law, ethics, mediation and research at Campbell University School of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, University of Maine School of Law, and University of Wisconsin Law School. He is a graduate of the University Of North Carolina School of Law. 

Robert Brown
Professor Brown’s extensive real-world legal experience began as Chief Legal Counsel to the City Council of Philadelphia, where he led a team of lawyers in the drafting of zoning and tax ordinances. He then practiced real estate and finance law at Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg & Ellers in Philadelphia. From 2004 – 2009, he worked in Atlanta focusing his practice on affordable housing, capital markets and real estate law. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

Christine Cerniglia
A 2003 graduate of the Loyola University School of Law, Cerniglia’s legal teaching background dates back to 2004. Having served as a staff lawyer for the State of Florida, Sixth Judicial Court, she brings a wealth of real-world experience to the classroom.

Rebecca Godbey Cummings
A graduate of William and Mary Law School, this is Cummings’ second experience teaching at AJMLS. She also served as an adjunct professor teaching Wills, Trusts and Estates and a writing-intensive Advanced Estate Planning Seminar from 2005 – 2008. She was highly ranked by students each semester, and her classes were routinely filled to capacity.

James Gelin
A graduate of Duke University Law School, Professor Gelin is an experienced trial attorney who represented defendants as an Assistant Public Defender with the Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender from 1991 – 2010. Before joining the Public Defender’s office, he practiced corporate law, first at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, and then at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta. Professor Gelin previously taught criminal law at AJMLS as an adjunct professor from 1994 – 1995.

Michael Oeser
Oeser holds a Master of Laws from the University of Wisconsin and is a member of several state and tribal bar associations, including Texas State Bar, Wisconsin State Bar, Cherokee Nation Bar and Ho-Chunk Nation Bar. His experience also includes academic appointments dating back to 2006 and an extensive time in private practice. 

Tim Saviello
Saviello comes to AJMLS with a rich background in criminal defense, having been the principal of his own criminal law practice representing individuals facing criminal investigation and prosecution by the United States in the Northern District of Georgia. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, Saviello has practiced law throughout the southeastern United States.

Visiting professors also have a wide range of legal expertise. The visiting professors joining Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School include: Lovita Tandy; Allison Kort; Victoria Carlton-Sadler; Rose Anne Nespica; LaTisha Faulks; Scott Boone; and David Hricik.

For a full list of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Faculty, click here.

Dean Mears Participates in Transnational Law Program

Professor Michael Mears, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, was recently a guest a Bahcesehir Universitesi, Turkey where he taught six courses on scientific evidence in their Transnational Law Program. He enjoyed a warm welcome from faculty, students and staff at this modern, highly technological law school on the Bosporus River in Istanbul. Dean Mears’ visit continues the partnership between the two law schools which brought Professor Feridun Yenisey to JMLS in the Fall 2010 when he taught a 3-week seminar on Comparative Criminal Procedure Law.