Archive for January, 2014

False Confessions Symposium Underway

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

The False Confessions Symposium is underway at Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, VA. This symposium is examining the story of the Central Park Five, the Norfolk Four, and other cases involving false confessions. Speakers include Steve Drizin, a leading researcher in the field; Steve Northup, lawyer from Troutman Sanders who represented Erick Wilson of the Norfolk Four; Gerry Zirken, a Federal Public Defender who represented Earl Washington; Steve Rosenfeld, who represents another Norfolk Four defendant, and interrogation expert James Trainum.  The symposium was organized by Prof. Jonathan Shapiro, a Visiting Professor of Law at Washington & Lee and an experienced practitioner in the criminal law area.

You may watch the event live via a stream available here: Written materials for the event are available here:

Here is the schedule:

Four False Confessions and How They Happened

9am – 10:30am

Professor Drizin presents a summary of  his research on false confessions cases and recounts the Central Park Five case.  Steve Northup recounts the Norfolk Four case. Brandon Garrett presents his research on wrongful convictions and false confessions.

Raymond Santana and Eric Wilson describe their interrogations. Excerpts from confessions played.

10:30am – 10:45am


10:45 – 12:00pm

Jerry Zerkin recounts the Virginia case of Earl Washington, convicted of rape and murder and sent to death row based on a false confession, now exonerated.

Steven Rosenfield, Laura Nirider, and Jeffrey Aaron recount the Virginia case of Robert Davis who falsely confessed to the murder of a mother and her child, sentenced to 23 years and now waiting clemency.

12:00pm – 1pm

Lunch break

Police Interrogation – The Reid Technique

1pm –  2:45pm

James Trainum and Steven Drizin describe the Reid technique of interrogation.

Jonathan Shapiro describes defense of Fairfax County child sex-abuse case based on false confession, with excepts of confession played and commentary by James Trainum, Steven Drizin and Jonathan Shapiro.

Steven Drizin, Jonathan Shapiro, Steven Rosenfield, Jerry Zerkin and Stephen Northup discuss preparing the case for attacking a false confession.

2:45pm – 3pm


The Fight for Exoneration – Law and Politics

3pm – 4pm

Panel discussion – Steven Rosenfield, Stephen Northup, Steven Drizin, Jeffrey Aaron and Jerry Zerkin describe the fight for exoneration in their cases, including the law and the politics.

4 – 4:30pm

Question and Answer, and closing comments

This event is sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University Law School, and these Washington and Lee organizations: The Innocence Project, CONTACT, the Student Bar Association, the Black Law Students Association, the Federalist Society, the Criminal Justice Clinic, the National Lawyers Guild, and The Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice.

W&L Law Professor Lyman Johnson Speaks at Upcoming “Love and Law” Conference

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment
Prof. Lyman Johnson

Prof. Lyman Johnson

Washington & Lee law professor Lyman Johnson will speak at the upcoming Love and Law Conference sponsored by the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics and hosted at Pepperdine University.   The conference will address questions about the role of Christian love, or agape, in law.

Professor Johnson will speak at a plenary session, Finding love in law where you might not expect it, on Saturday, February 7th.  He will address issues of Love and Corporate Theory.

Learn more about Professor Johnson’s scholarship here.

Professor Michelle Drumbl Speaks at ABA Tax Section Mid-Year Meeting

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment
Prof. Michelle Drumbl

Prof. Michelle Drumbl

At the recent ABA Tax Section Mid-Year Meeting Washington & Lee Law Professor Michelle Drumbl participated in two distinguished panels.

The first panel, hosted by the Tax Policy & Simplification Committee on Friday January 24th, was entitled “The Role of the IRS in the Administration of Social Welfare Policy”.  Professor Drumbl’s remarks focused on the administration of refundable credits and their unduly punitive impact on those taxpayers who make inadvertent errors when claiming these social benefits on their tax return.

The second panel was hosted by the Pro Bono & Tax Clinics Committee on Saturday January 25th.  The panel was entitled “Eliminating Errors and Penalties in Tax Return Preparation” and Professor Drumbl addressed the erroneous refund penalty as well as the potential impact of the recently decided Rand v. Commissioner case on low-income taxpayers.

Learn more about Professor Drumbl’s scholarship here.

Prof. Lyman Johnson Contributes to Columbia Law and Harvard Law Blogs

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment
Prof. Lyman Johnson

Prof. Lyman Johnson

Washington & Lee law professor Lyman Johnson is invited to contribute to both the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog and the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation in anticipation of his forthcoming article The Dwindling of Revlon (with R. Ricca).   From the abstract:

This article traces the dramatic dwindling of the iconic Revlon doctrine. Over the past several years, we observe a paradox in M&A litigation. The number of challenges to “done deal” transactions has skyrocketed, but the number of successful Revlon claims – those procuring a remedy – has plummeted. Having set out to suggest, as a theory and policy matter, that Revlon might be extended into the attempted but failed “no deal” context, we conclude, ironically, that today there is little remedial clout to the Revlon doctrine in any setting.

Professor Johnson’s post at the CLS Blue Sky Blog appears today, January 30th, here.  

W&L Law Faculty Ranks High in SSRN Judgments & Liens eJournal

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Congratulations to Professors Christopher Seaman, Susan Franck and Doug Rendleman for their recognition in SSRN’s list of top downloaded papers.

In the Judgments & Liens eJournal Professor Seaman’s article, Willful Patent Infringement and Enhanced Damages After In re Seagate: An Empirical Study, ranks third.   Professor Franck’s article, Rationalizing Costs in Investment Treaty Arbitration, appears  fifth.  Professor Rendleman’s brief Scholars’ Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Support of Neither Party: Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (with D. Laycock and M. Gergen) ranks seventh among recently posted papers.

Prof. Jeff Kahn Expert Witness in No Fly List Case

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment
Professor Jeffrey Kahn

Professor Jeffrey Kahn

Last week, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled in favor of the plaintiff in Ibrahim v. DHS, et al.  This is the first challenge to the constitutionality of the No Fly List to be tried in federal court.

Jeff Kahn, a visiting professor at Washington and Lee Law School, was an expert witness in that case for the plaintiff, Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian national whose graduate study at Stanford was cut short by her placement on the No Fly List.  Prof. Kahn’s testimony largely revolved around the conclusions he reached in his book, Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists (University of Michigan Press, 2013).

According to Prof. Kahn, the trial was unusual for a variety of reasons, many of which are noted in a post he contributed to a well-known academic website, Lawfare.  The case has also been covered by the Associated Press.

Prof. Kahn comes to W&L Law from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. Prof. Kahn teaches and writes on American constitutional law, Russian law, human rights, and counterterrorism. His latest research on U.S. legal topics focuses on the right to travel and national security law.

Federalist Society Junior Faculty Workshops: Request for Proosals

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

From the Federalist Society:

We are pleased to announce that the Federalist Society Faculty Division is sponsoring a new round of Junior Faculty Workshops.  These workshops are intended to provide a structured—but relatively informal—environment in which six or so faculty members from different law schools can gather to spend a day workshopping each others’ papers, followed by a group meal.  The workshops can focus on a particular subject area or cover a broad range of interests, depending on the organizer’s preference.  

We envision workshop participants consisting primarily of junior tenure track faculty (defined as people who have been in tenure track positions less than seven years), but also encompassing fellowship recipients or doctoral candidates in appropriate cases.  A junior faculty member will be responsible for organizing and directing the workshop, and will receive a budget for the event.  Wherethe participants are in relatively close geographical proximity, the maximum budget will generally be $1,000.  Where some degree of air/rail travel and lodging will be necessary, we may increase thebudget to as much as $3,000 to help defray travel costs. Organizers should plan to hold theworkshop sometime in 2014.

We invite interested junior faculty members to submit a workshop proposal setting forth a topic, date, location, schedule, list of potential participants, and description of anticipated expenditures. Proposals should be sent via email to no later than Friday, March 7, 2014.

Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law: 22nd Annual Conference

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Call for Papers  –  Deadline 7 March 2014

The theme of ANZSIL’s 22nd Annual Conference has been chosen to resonate with the commemorations taking place around the world in 2014 to mark the centenary of the beginning of World War 1. The conference will provide an opportunity to reflect upon the project of achieving international peace through international law that has shaped the past century. Horror at the scale and destructiveness of World War 1 spurred a new political commitment to preventing future wars. The League of Nations Covenant signed in the war’s aftermath expressed the commitment of the High Contracting Parties to achieving international peace and security through accepting obligations not to resort to war, establishing international law ‘as the actual rule of conduct among Governments’, and maintaining ‘justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations’. The dream of achieving perpetual peace was an old one, but the emphasis on doing so through international law and international institutions was new. Despite the subsequent disenchantment with the failures of the League, reflected famously in the skeptical reactions of realists such as EH Carr and Hans Morgenthau to the ideal of achieving ‘peace through law’, the United Nations Charter expressed an ongoing determination ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ through the maintenance of international peace and security and the peaceful settlement of international disputes in conformity with international justice and international law. Today the commitment to settling disputes by peaceful means continues to underpin many developments in international law. Public and private international law initiatives in the fields of trade, investment, and financial regulation aim to secure peace through economic stability and commercial relations, while the language of security continues to inform internationalist projects, from the maintenance of collective security to human security, food security, energy security, climate security, and cyber security.

The conference will explore the role that international law and international lawyers have played in the pursuit of international peace and security over the past century, and the role that they might play in the century to come. How have changing definitions or visions of peace and security informed the development of international law? How do the trauma and memory of war shape international law as an ideal, a set of institutions, a commitment, or a project? What contribution have Australians and New Zealanders made to the realisation of peace through law, whether on the Security Council, in peace operations, as judges and arbitrators at the Peace Palace and beyond, as civil society activists, as scholars, or as ‘norm entrepreneurs’? How do international legal doctrines and practices respond to changes in the nature of war and new threats to peace and security? What happens when the pursuit of peace and security comes into conflict with other values, such as justice, equality, or self-determination? What mechanisms and techniques for achieving the peaceful settlement of disputes have been developed by international lawyers, and what innovations are today being developed to address contemporary disputes and potential conflicts?

The Conference Organising Committee invites paper proposals on a broad range of international legal issues. Possible topics for papers and panels specifically related to the conference theme include:

  • the relationship of international law to pacifist traditions
  • the legacy of World War 1 and the development of international law
  • the role of trauma and memories of war in shaping international law
  • shifting visions of peace and security in international law
  • utopianism in international law – and its realist critics
  • international institutions as guardians of peace: from the League of Nations to the International Criminal Court
  • mechanisms, techniques, and conditions for the peaceful settlement of disputes
  • trade, investment, and environmental agreements as vehicles for achieving peace
  • the relation of human rights to peace and security
  • defining aggression and threats to peace and security
  • international criminal law and the ‘peace versus justice’ debate
  • the role of Australia and New Zealand in the maintenance of peace and security
  • assessing the expanding mandate of the Security Council: civilian protection; counter-terrorism; women, peace and security; the responsibility to protect
  • international law and revolution
  • new wars and international law
  • disarmament and international law
  • proliferating forms of security and the ‘securitisation’ of international law – state security, collective security, human security, energy security, food security, systems security, climate security, cyber security

In the tradition of ANZSIL Conferences, the Organising Committee also invites and welcomes proposals on international law topics not connected to the conference theme.

Submission of Paper Proposals

Those proposing papers for presentation at the Conference should submit

  • a one page abstract
  • and brief one page curriculum vitae
  • 150-200 words of bio-data (for possible inclusion in the conference program)

by email to the Conference Organising Committee ( no later than Friday, 7 March 2014. Please include the heading on your email message ‘ANZSIL Conference 2014 Paper Proposal: [Your Name]’. The Conference Organising Committee will inform applicants of the outcome of their proposals by late March 2014. Further information about the Conference, including program and registration details, will be available on the ANZSIL website (

Call for Papers: Juris Diversitas Annual Conference

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

17 July (evening) to 19 July 2014/17 juillet (soir) au 19 juillet 2014 

Faculty of Law and Political Science/Faculté de droit et de science politique Aix-Marseille University/Aix-Marseille Université – Aix-en-Provence, France


Inherently interdisciplinary, the conference’s primary focus will be comparative law’s links to a wide variety of other disciplines and themes (e.g., anthropology, economics, feminism, history, the humanities, legal education, legal philosophy, literature, politics …). Proposals may be theoretical analyses or case studies on the past or present, North or South, East or West … 

Le congrès sera interdisciplinaire et explorera les liens entre le droit comparé et toute branche, discipline ou thématique des sciences humaines et sociales (anthropologie, économie, féminisme, histoire, éducation juridique, philosophie, littérature, science politique etc.). Les propositions peuvent prendre la forme d’approches théoriques ou pratiques, portant sur le passé ou le présent, le Nord ou le Sud, l’Orient ou l’Occident…

Proposals may be in either English or in French. Any proposal on comparative law will be considered. Panel proposals are strongly encouraged, as is the participation of doctoral students and scholars from outside of the discipline of law. Proposals of circa 250 words (or 1000 words for panel proposals) should be submitted to Olivier Moréteau at by 28 February 2014. Please attach a short biography or resume.

Toute proposition portant sur le droit comparé, en anglais ou en français, sera considérée. Les offres de table ronde sont bienvenues, de même que la participation de doctorants et d’universitaires non juristes. Les propositions de 250 mots environ (ou 1000 mots pour une proposition de table ronde) sont à envoyer à Olivier Moréteau ( avant le 28 février 2014. Merci de joindre une biographie ou un bref CV.

Registration fees are €200 (€125 for Juris Diversitas members paid up for 2014). Membership information and information on fee payment is available on the Juris Diversitas Blog (  Note that registration fees don’t cover travel, accommodation, or the conference dinner (€50).

Les droits d’inscription sont de €200 (€125 pour les membres de Juris Diversitas à jour de leur cotisation pour 2014). Les informations pratiques sont disponibles sur  Les droits ne couvrent pas les frais de voyage et de logement, ni le banquet du congrès (€50).

Prof. Ben Spencer Appointed to Virginia State Bar Council

January 13, 2014 Leave a comment
Prof. Benjamin Spencer

Prof. Benjamin Spencer

Washington and Lee law professor A. Benjamin Spencer has been appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court to the Council of the Virginia State Bar as an at-large member.  The Council is the governing body that exercises the authority of the VSB. The vast majority of Council members are elected in each judicial circuit around Virginia, but the Supreme Court appoints a handful of people to at-large seats. Prof. Spencer’s term will begin July 1, 2014.

This is not the only bar-related work in which Prof. Spencer is currently engaged. Last year, he was appointed by the President of the National Conference of Bar Examiners to the Civil Procedure Drafting Committee, which consists of 7 people who will write the civil procedure questions that appear on the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE). Civil Procedure is currently not tested on the MBE but will be beginning in 2015. Prof. Spencer will meet with the other committee members every six months as they prepare for the inclusion of this subject on the MBE.


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