2012 Archive

2012 Archive

  • Professor Sarah Rogerson was interviewed about the new Immigration Project on WNYT's Forum 13 on Dec. 30, 2012.
  • Professor Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy, discussed second amendment issues on actor Sean Astin's streaming radio program Vox Populi on Dec. 20, 2012.

  • Professor Raymond Brescia authored the piece "Innovation and the Second Amendment: How James Bond Technology Can Help Stem the Tide of Slaughter" for The Huffington Post on Dec. 17, 2012.

  • Professor Timothy Lytton was interviewed by Reuters for the segment "Gun business likely to stay strong" on Dec. 17, 2012.

  • According to Albany Law School professor Michael J. Hutter Jr., the reason most juries are composed of 12 members comes down to a single word: tradition. "The origins are (King) Henry II," he said. "The English had a system of determining land disputes. They would simply select 12 men. Why 12? That just seems like a popular number back then. ... No one seems to know."

    From the article "A dozen twelves mark today's 12/12/12" in the Albany Times Union on Dec. 12, 2012.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy, was part of a panel of speakers addressing "Jefferson and His Slaves" on HuffPost Live on Dec. 10, 2012.

  • Professor Vincent Bonventre talked about the Supreme Court and same-sex marriage in an interview on YNN's Capital Tonight that aired Dec. 10, 2012.

  • Cuomo, if elected to a second term in 2014, would be able to appoint all seven members of the court during his tenure. The other five members would either reach retirement age or the end of their 14-year terms during Cuomo's second term, said Vincent Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor who follows the court.

    Bonventre said former Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, added conservative-leaning judges during his three terms from 1993 through 2006. Pataki's predecessor, Democrat Mario Cuomo, and the current governor's father, appointed judges with a mix of views, Bonventre said.

    "Is he going to be like Pataki and stick with his own ideology and own party, or is he going to be pick from both sides of the ideology and partisan line?" Bonventre said of the current governor. "He's going to have plenty of opportunity."

    From the article "List of Judges For State's Highest Court Sent to Cuomo" by Gannett News Service on Dec. 8, 2012.

  • Professor Stephen Gottlieb, Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor of Law, was interviewed by FOX 23 News for the segment "SCOTUS to review marriage equality cases" on Dec. 7. 2012.

  • "You can't just outright prohibit leafleting," said Robert Heverly, an assistant professor and interim director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. "An airport can put up reasonable restrictions that are not based on content."

    Legal questions about videos are still being defined, he said, as many rules come from when filming meant crews with lighting and heavy cameras. Now, people can shoot video with cellphones.

    "We're starting to get rulings from courts that this is protected activity," he said.

    From the article "Airport limits get an airing" in the Albany Times Union on Dec. 6, 2012.

  • A person cannot stand inside the body scanner or get in line without a ticket to hand out leaflets, noted Laurie Shanks, a defense attorney and clinical professor of law at Albany Law School. Since the activists in Albany were in a public area, handing bulletins to people exiting an escalator, she said, their rights could not be restricted.

    "Airports have a legitimate interest in security, and they certainly can take reasonable means to ensure the people there, both staff and airline passengers, are safe," she said. "They can't make rules that are arbitrary."

    From the article "Airport limits get an airing" in the Albany Times Union on Dec. 6, 2012.

  • Court watchers contacted by Law360 agreed Tuesday that, while lower courts in New York sometimes refer generally to the Legislature's role in setting policy, the state's highest court rarely gets into that kind of detail.

    "It's very out of the ordinary and I'm sure it's borne from the fact that Chief Judge Lippman likely hates this outcome," Albany Law School professor Vincent M. Bonventre said.

    Bonventre said that Lippman and the other Court of Appeals judges wrote an opinion that is "faithful to court precedent" — including Valdez v. City of New York — which requires plaintiffs to establish the existence of a special duty of care owed to them by the state.

    From the Law360.com article "Tragedy Prompts Top NY Court To Back Marine Insurance Bill" on Dec. 5, 2012.

  • "What can you complain about with this list?" asked Vincent Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor and veteran court watcher who has complained about plenty of lists in the past. "If you want people with judicial experience, you've got it. If you want diversity, you've got it. If you want women, you've got it. From their educational background to their career experience, it is a very strong list and different kind of list."

    From the article "Experts Point to Experience, Diversity of Candidates on List" by the New York Law Journal on Dec. 4, 2012.

  • “I think Thomas Jefferson is one of the most deeply creepy people in American history,” said Paul Finkelman, a professor at Albany Law School and the author of “Slavery and the Founders,” which outlines the evasions of earlier generations of Jefferson scholars. “But for Henry to come along and say, ‘I am the first one to discover this’? Come on.”

    From the article "Some Scholars Reject Dark Portrait of Jefferson" in The New York Times on Nov. 26, 2012.

  • Under New York state law, the district attorney typically conducts the independent review of shootings involving police, Albany Law School professor Laurie Shanks said.


    In reference to this particular instance, Shanks said it’s prudent for the DA to review all reports before making a final determination.

    “As a general matter, transparency increases the confidence that the public has in the police department,” she said.

    From the article "DA: Binghamton police justified in 100-bullet Days Inn shooting" in the Binhamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Nov. 17, 2012.

  • Professor Raymond Brescia's scholarship on "The impact of Ashcroft v. Iqbal on civil rights cases" was featured on the SCOTUSblog on Nov. 14, 2012. His article was first published in the Kentucky Law Journal earlier this year.

  • Vincent Bonventre, professor at Albany Law School and expert on the state’s highest court, said Jones was a junior judge on the court, but had written several important majority and dissenting opinions in his relatively short time of service.

    . . .

    “He did a lot of heavy lifting at the court,” Bonventre said. “He was a guy with a lot of guts.”

    From the article "State high court judge dies of heart attack" in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Nov. 6, 2012.

  • In 2008, Albany Law School professor and former Court of Appeals clerk Vincent Bonventre wrote on his blog, New York Court Watcher, that the percentage of criminal decisions that favored defendants nearly doubled in the 18 months after Jones joined the high court.

    "Jones has compiled a voting record that shows strong sympathy for arguments protecting the rights of the accused," wrote Bonventre, who was not available on Tuesday.

    From the article "NY Court of Appeals Judge Jones dies at 68" by Reuters on Nov. 6, 2012.

  • “I honestly think that the court was troubled by the lack of evidence,” Michael Hutter, a professor of law at Albany Law School, said of Thursday’s decision.


    Vincent Bonventre, a professor of law at Albany Law School who studies the Court of Appeals, said Malone “stuck his neck out” with his dissent, which ultimately drove the decision by the state’s highest court.

    “He had the guts to say what was wrong with it, and he got every single vote on the Court of Appeals. That’s quite a statement,” he said. “Really in large measure, it’s because Judge Malone wrote such a strong dissenting opinion at the Appellate Division and really caught their attention.”


    “It looks as though this is is a 6-1 decision; it’s actually 7-0 that the conviction should be thrown out,” Bonventre said. “One of the judges said that the conviction is so bad that the prosecution should not be even be allowed to get another trial. You rarely see something like that."


    However, Hutter said the other six judges may have indeed been swayed by concerns Malone raised about the adequacy of the evidence, but stopped short of actually ruling the evidence was insufficient.


    “I think they were reluctant to say that the evidence was insufficient,” Hutter said. “Judges are reluctant to substitute their views for the jury. Sometimes, when they reverse murder convictions it’s because of technical errors, things like that, substantive errors. They don’t always like to reverse for insufficiencies.”

    According to Hutter, the Court of Appeals hears about 90 criminal cases a year, and upholds the convictions in about 75 percent of them. An overturned murder case is uncommon, but not unheard of.

    “I think that Judge Malone’s decision is right on the money,” he added. “This is a very questionable case.”


    However, Hutter of Albany Law School said he’s doubtful the third trial will lead to a different result unless it is reviewed by a different kind of jury.

    “The same evidence is going to be used again,” he said. “And quite frankly, unless the defense counsel can pull a sympathetic jury, I’m sure there’s going to be another conviction. I think making the correction of the two (trial) errors here is not going to mean anything, unless you get a different pair of eyes that look at this.”

    From the article "Appellate court judge may have played key role in overturning Cal Harris' conviction" in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin on Oct. 20.

  • “The value of these lawsuits is really not directed to any particular jury verdict or outcome,” said Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School who has written extensively about how litigation forced the Catholic Church to assume responsibility for its errant priests. “These lawsuits tend to frame the issue as an institutional problem, and not a personal problem involving a couple of bad apples.”

    From the article "Boy Scout Case, Hate It Or Not, Shows Social Value Of Litigation" by Forbes on Oct. 19.

  • Vincent Bonventre, Professor of Law at Albany Law School, said the state’s highest court does, from time to time, reverse murder convictions. But its decision on the Harris case is remarkable, he said, in that the entire court agreed.

    “The Court of Appeals didn’t even view this as a close case,” he said. “That’s what’s unusual.”

    From the article "Cal Harris murder conviction reversed; third trial ordered" in the Binghamton, N.Y., Press & Sun-Bulletin on Oct. 18.

  • Professor Keith Hirokawa was interviewed on Oct. 17, 2012, for the Benchmark TV program about his book Greening Local Government.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman authored the commentary "From Union to Freedom" for The New York Times, part of a running series that follows the Civil War as it unfolded, on Oct. 5.

  • With City of New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., Professor Raymond H. Brescia authored a piece for The Huffington Post titled "Scoring the Banks: The Community Impact Record Card as a New Tool for Measuring Bank Performance in Meeting Community Needs" on Oct. 2.

  • Professor Vincent Bonventre was interviewed on YNN's Capital Tonight to preview the forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court term on Oct. 1.
  • Paul Finkelman, a professor of law and public policy at Albany Law School and currently a visiting professor of American legal history at Duke University School of Law, said Lincoln knew his action would be viewed as radical in areas of the North, where racism still ran deep.

    So Lincoln decided to issue his proclamation in two stages. The first one, announcing his intention to free the slaves, would be issued following a major battlefield victory so it would carry more weight. (That victory came Sept. 17, 1862 at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland, the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.)

    “He’s essentially saying he’s giving these crazy Confederates another 100 days to rejoin the Union,” said Finkelman. “He’s showing that he’s done everything he could to bring the South back, but the South isn’t listening.”

    From the article "Historic Lincoln document that changed America coming to Syracuse" in the Syracuse, N.Y., Post-Standard on Sept. 26.
  • Professor Paul Finkelman was featured in the radio documentary "Anthony Burns, Fugitive Slave," which aired on NPR affiliates around the country. The documentary focuses on Anthony Burns, an escaped slave and central figure in the nation's largest abolitionist protest.
  • Professor Paul Finkelman authored the online commentary "The President and the Pastor" for The New York Times on Sept. 21.
  • "This may be the beginning of a trend," says Elizabeth Renuart, a professor at Albany Law School focusing on consumer credit law.

    From the article "State court ruling deals blow to U.S. bank mortgage system" by Reuters on Sept. 14.

  • But church observers say the priest's reinstatement, no matter how narrow, is a backward step in the American hierarchy's handling of the church abuse scandal.

    "This seems to be an unusual development," said Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School in New York and author of a book titled "Holding Bishops Accountable." "It is a change in the direction that the bishops say they have been going."

    . . .

    Lytton also questioned Conlon's effectiveness as the bishops' point man on abuse.

    "The diocese is trying to find a canon law solution to a problem that's really about moral outrage and not about the technicalities of canon law infractions," he said. "If the allegation is true and the church is saying because he wasn't guilty of a crime under standards of the 1970s, the church is in no position to punish him or sanction him, the bishop isn't getting it."

    From the article "Priest accused of abuse returned to limited ministry" in the Chicago Tribune on Sept. 13.
  • If it goes to the Supreme Court, the case could have national impact, Albany Law School's Robert Batson said.

    “It depends on how their question is framed,” he said of the impacts.

    Across the country, particularly in the western United States, there are reservations that still exist on maps despite the fact that many lots have been sold to non-Indians, he said.

    From the article "Oneidas, counties might head to court again" from the Utica Observer-Dispatch on Sept. 7.

  • Timothy Lytton, an Albany Law School professor and author of a book on the role of lawsuits in the clergy sex-abuse crisis, said it would be unusual for Finn to resign. “In politics, what you do to take responsibility is resign,” he said. “But bishops generally do not resign. The philosophy in the Catholic church is, if you broke it, you have to fix it.”

    From the article, "Where does the Finn verdict leave the church and the faithful?" in the Kansas City Star on Sept. 6.

  • President and Dean Penelope (Penny) Andrews was the subect of a profile titled "Long road to law dean" in the Albany Times Union on Aug. 24.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman authored the piece "Lincoln’s Letter to the Editor" for The New York Times online on Aug. 23.
  • "A proposition is a different business" than a regulation passed by state or federal lawmakers, said Tim Lytton, professor at Albany Law School in New York. "The question now becomes, do the voters have the right to demand information from manufacturers in the absence of a verified scientific risk" about the safety of genetically modified organisms, he said.

    From the article "As California Voters Debate Need for GMO Labeling, The Nation is Watching" in the magazine Retail Leader.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman authored the piece "Lessons from US baseball for China's troubled football" for the Shanghai Daily on July 24.

  • We spoke with Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School who has conducted research on insurance laws and wrote the 2008 book Holding Bishops Accountable: How Lawsuits Helped the Catholic Church Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse.

    "Policies of child protection have been largely due to insurance coverage," said Lytton. "Because of the many steps businesses have to go through in order to be eligible for insurance coverage, in this case, for example, stricter background checks of employees working with children, the insurance company is providing greater regulation. Insurance companies are helping to regulate child abuse and molestation not the NYPD or through individual litigation."

    From the article "Abuse and Molestation: There's Insurance Coverage For That?" in the Village Voice on July 18.

  • My friend Paul Finkelman, McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School, regards the way the government of the United States treated nineteenth century Mormons as “the most disgraceful denial of religious freedom in American history, matching the Japanese Internment for outrageous federal behavior.”

    From an op-ed titled "Mormons and non-Mormons alike should regard Businessweek story as harbinger of salvation" in The Washington Post on July 17.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman authored the piece "The Coming of the Emancipation Proclamation" for The New York Times on July 13.

  • “Nobody has any idea what he is going to do,” said Vincent Bonventre, professor at Albany Law School and expert on the state court. “But Governor Cuomo is a brilliant politician, and certainly, like all governors, politics will play a huge part in his selection.

    “That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to try to score political points by putting somebody totally incompetent on the court,” Bonventre said of the first-term governor. “But politics will play at least as much a part of his decision as merit — that’s just reality.”

    From the article "Several vacancies upcoming on New York state's high court" in the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle on July 16.

  • “These two cases might create the perfect opportunity for the Court of Appeals” to wade into the controversy over police tactics, said Vincent Bonventre, an expert on the court who is a professor at Albany Law School.

    Professor Bonventre said it seemed the majority in the Manhattan appeals court rulings was announcing what amounted to a new policy: “We are going to start looking at these stop-and-frisks a lot more closely.”

    From the article "Courts Putting Stop-and-Frisk Policy on Trial" in The New York Times on July 10.

  • Professor Ray Brescia authored the piece "Fomenting Fraud: How Weak Enforcement of Bank Misbehavior Threatens to Bring About the Next Financial Crisis" for The Huffington Post on July 3.

  • There was one other constitutional junkie at the table Thursday morning. Alicia Ouellette, an Albany Law School professor and Union Graduate College professor of bioethics, said that in terms of health reform and the implementation of the ACA, Thursday’s ruling largely left political questions, not legal ones.

    In fact, she said Chief Justice John Roberts found a way to show respect for the legislative process with what she believes was a last-minute change of opinion.

    “What Roberts did was he righted the Roberts court in a way that gives the court integrity,” she said, “and he showed judicial restraint so that the legislative process can do what it needs to do.”

    From the article "Experts unsure of health care's future" in the Schenectady, N.Y., Daily Gazette on June 30.

  • Professor James Redwood was featured for his fiction writing in the Albany Times Union column "My other life" on June 24.

  • Timothy Lytton, a legal scholar and author of "Holding Bishops Accountable," on how civil lawsuits over clergy abuse helped create pressure to reform, said the verdict is a warning to any church official wavering about keeping his pledge to report child sex-abuse claims to civil authorities and remove offenders from church work. Since the child protection policy was enacted in 2002, some cases have been made public of bishops who have kept accused priests in churches. Later this year in Missouri, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is scheduled to be tried on misdemeanor failure to report suspected child abuse in the case of pornographic photos of children found on a priest's laptop. Bishops insist that Finn's case is isolated and "It's one thing to threaten the financial viability of an institution," Lytton said of the massive civil settlements dioceses have paid in abuse cases, "but it's another thing to threaten to send to jail the people who run it."

    From the aricle "Priest's conviction is a first, will more follow?" by the Associated Press on June 23.

  • Professor Bridgit Burke was interviewed about new Justice Center legislation on WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom on June 19.

  • Professor Michael Hutter published two columns in the New York Law Journal:

    "Admissibility of Unaffirmed Media Reports: A Proposed Rationale" on June 7 and "Application of 'Noseworthy' Doctrine: Issues and Their Resolution" on March 30.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy, was interviewed about the forthcoming conference “The Civil War on Trial: Legal Issues that Divided a Nation” on WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom on May 23.

  • Professor Patrick Connors authored the article "Death by Procedure: Lapses Could Deal Fatal Blow to Claims, Defenses" for the New York Law Journal on May 21.
  • Bridgit M. Burke, the director of the Civil Rights and Disabilities Law Clinic at Albany Law School, said she was concerned that a new nonprofit group being set up to monitor the state’s handling of vulnerable populations would have little access to documents related to abuse and neglect, according to the legislation’s fine print.

    “Over all, I think there are a lot of positive things, but I am also very concerned and therefore would encourage people not to vote for it right now, the way it is,” she said.

    From the article "Senate Passes Bill Creating Monitor for Disabled Care" in The New York Times on May 16.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman appeared on the PBS program Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on May 13. The episode, part of a long-running series that seeks to "discover who we are and where we come from," focused on Grammy-winning recording artist John Legend.
  • "There may be an appeal," said James Gathii, co-chairman of the Africa interest group of the American Society of International Law. "But I think that more likely than not the NPA and police will have to take a closer look at the case."

    "It's really impressive what the Southern African Litigation Centre has done," said Gathii, who also teaches at Albany Law School in New York. He said the South Africa ruling resulted from a new maturity civil and human rights groups are developing across Africa as they use international law to tackle abuses on the continent, and that he expected the trend to grow.

    Gathii said a recent case decided by a Kenyan court was similar, but that stemmed from an International Criminal Court warrant against Sudan's leader, and did not envision investigations by Kenyan officials or possible trials in Kenya.

    The South African ruling is "pushing the Kenyan case even a huge step forward," Gathii said.

    From the article "Judge: South Africa m​ust probe rights in Zimbabwe" by the Associated Press on May 8.

  • "The Civil War not only changed American politics. It also changed our law," said Albany law professor Paul Finkelman, co-chairman of the conference. "The modern law of war comes directly from the Civil War. The war also fundamentally altered the Constitution, leading to the abolition of slavery, securing citizenship for African Americans and enfranchising blacks on the same basis of whites."

    From the article "Conference examines Civil War's influence on law" in The National Law Journal on May 7.

  • "The initiative really dovetails with what we are doing," said Alicia Ouellette, associate dean for student affairs and a law professor at Albany Law School, where about 200 of the school's 725 students currently volunteer pro bono services. "Mandating it takes it a step further," she added. "We're going to have to think about how to expand the program."

    Albany Law offers a range of pro bono services for low- and moderate-income groups such as veterans, seniors, inmates being released from prison and Iraqi refugees.

    The students work under the supervision of lawyers already admitted to the bar.

    Many of the students put in more than 50 hours during their school careers, added Danshera Cords, a law professor who helps oversee a program where students help low-income filers prepare their income tax returns.

    "It teaches students that as they go out into the world, it's important that they give back," said Cords.

    From the article "New lawyers to give needy free legal help" in the Albany Times Union on May 1.

  • At Albany Law School, 200 students have completed about 2,000 hours of uncompensated legal work this year, according to Alicia Ouellette, the school's associate dean for student affairs.

    "We're pretty well situated to expand our program" to help students meet the new requirement, she said in an interview.

    From the article " Lippman announces pro bono requirement for prospective attorneys" by Thomson Reuters News & Insight on May 1.

  • Professor Laurie Shanks was interviewed about a headline-making probe into an alleged international prostitution ring on WAMC Northeast Public Radio's Midday Magazine news program on April 27.
  • “The governor should act quickly,” said Bridgit M. Burke, who runs the Civil Rights and Disabilities Law Clinic at Albany Law School, one of the groups that has a contract with the commission. “We have to have independence and we have to be able to take action when we see people’s rights are being violated.”

    From the article " State Ponders Relinquishing Its Oversight of Vulnerable" in The New York Times on April 24.

  • Labeling genetically modified food could just as likely prod consumers to buy non-organic food that's not genetically modified as much as it would motivate consumers to purchase organic food, which is more expensive because it's produced on a smaller scale and requires more labor, said Timothy Lytton, a professor at Albany Law School who is writing a book about industry certification of kosher food.

    The drive for labeling genetically modified food is "part of generalized anxiety people have about the industrialized food industry," Lytton said.

    From the article "Organic farmers hope for boost with rivals' labels" by the Associated Press on April 15.

  • Tomaselli's admissions will likely end the Fine investigation, Albany Law School professor Laurie Shanks said.

    “I don’t believe that it would be ethical or prudent for the prosecutor to continue” without corroboration that can be verified independent of Tomaselli, said Shanks, a former criminal defense lawyer.

    From the article " Legal experts: Zach Tomaselli's admitted lying imperils Bernie Fine investigation" in the Syracuse Post-Standard on April 13.

  • But regardless of timing, the points are valid, said Vincent Bonventre, law professor at Albany (N.Y.) Law School who believes the law should be upheld.

    "The conservatives' own philosophy suggests they should uphold Obamacare," Bonventre said. Respect for court precedents and deference to elected officials are "fundamental principles of conservative justices."

    From the article "Obama echoes conservatives on 'activist' court" in the San Francisco Chronicle and other Hearst Newspapers on April 8.

  • Professor Laurie Shanks' article "Child Sexual Abuse: Moving toward a Balance and Rational Approach to the Cases Everyone Abhors," originally published in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, was cited by the Indiana Supreme Court in its decision on the recent case of Hoglund v. State.
  • "That kind of information coming out through these trials, regardless of the verdict, is of enormous significance, for the church and also for our understanding of how sexual abuse was handled in institutions outside the church. ... That includes schools and prisons and youth groups and sports teams," said Timothy Lytton, an Albany Law School professor who wrote a book on the priest-abuse crisis.

    The Catholic church is far from alone in protecting predators, he said, but its hierarchical nature gives authorities a long paper trail.

    From the article "Pa. trial shows church abuse allegations strategy" by the Associated Press on March 31.

  • Moderator Patricia E. Salkin, director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, said in response to a question that the new ethics law does not address campaign contributions.

    From the article "Walking on eggshells over new state ethics reform law" in the March/April issue of the New York State Bar Association's State Bar News.

  • Vincent M. Bonventre, an Albany Law School professor, called the ruling “a big step.”

     “The kind of evidence, which in the past people relied on more heavily than anything else, now the Court of Appeals is saying, ‘Yeah, we understand a lot of these confessions might be false,’ ” he said.

     From the article "State Court Allows False-Confession Experts, but Bar Is High" in The New York Times on March 29.

  • Professor Vincent Bonventre was a guest on Capital Tonight, New York's statewide political TV program, to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's treatment of the Affordable Care Act on March 26.

  • “What has not happened up to now is for church officials to be held criminally accountable,” said Timothy D. Lytton, a professor of law at the Albany Law School and an expert on Catholic abuse cases.

    Whatever the outcome, he said, this trial “will dramatically increase the pressure on diocese officials to fulfill the church’s promises to be more transparent and accountable.”

    From the article " Supervising Priest Goes on Trial in Abuse Case" in The New York Times on March 26.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law, contributed a letter to the editor on " Questions in webcam case" in the Philadelphia Daily News on March 22.

  • Laurie Shanks, a partner in Kindlon & Shanks in Albany and a professor at Albany Law School, said posting bail for a client is a recipe for disaster, whether it is barred or not.

    Ms. Shanks said she wonders what would happen if, for example, a client was bailed out by one attorney and then decided to retain a different attorney, and the original lawyer withdrew the bail. Further, she questions what an attorney on the financial hook would do if he heard through the grapevine that the client was planning to flee.

    From the article " Lawyer's Offer to Cover Client's Bail Raises Ethical Concerns" in the New York Law Journal on March 15.

  • Albany Law School Professor Laurie Shanks said some jurors could have been simply bored.

    "There is a real danger that when a trial is too long and so complicated like the ballot fraud case, jurors start to not pay attention. Prosecutors routinely charge everything they can instead of everything they should," Shanks said.

    She said any retrial might benefit the defense.

    "The defense learns a lot during a trial and both sides now know the theme, theories and all the evidence," Shanks said.

    From the article "Fraud counts 'too much'" in the Albany Times Union on March 14.

  • Professor Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law, was interviewed about legal issues facing municipalities in the gas drilling debate on WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom on March 12.

  • Professor Patricia Salkin, associate dean and director of the law school's Government Law Center, was interviewed about the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) on WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom on March 2.

  • Laurie Shanks, a law professor at Albany Law School, said the law may be a hurdle for prosecutors when a witness refuses to come forward or is afraid to testify or in domestic violence cases lacking physical evidence where the victim declines to testify.

    From the article "Lag in kidnapping case brings suspect's release" in the Albany Times Union on Feb. 29.

  • Professor Bridgit Burke, director of the law school's Civil Rights and Disabilities Law Clinic, was interviewed about the potential closure of institutions in New York state where people with developmental disabilities live on WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom on Feb. 27.
  • The affidavit appears to have been filed primarily for the purpose of generating publicity, said Laurie Shanks, a professor at Albany Law School. “Even assuming that the information about Mrs. Fine is accurate ..., the conclusion drawn is pure speculation,” Shanks said. “Unfortunately, while this type of information can form the basis for an explosive press conference, it is unlikely to be permitted as evidence in the pending lawsuit.”

    From the article "Lawyer for Bernie Fine's accusers pressures Syracuse University to settle lawsuit by alleging Fine's wife had sex with players" in the Syracuse Post-Standard on Jan. 31.

  • Professor Joan Stearns Johnsen was interviewed by the Schenectady Today TV program on Jan. 24 about alternative dispute resolution and mediation.
  • Professor Vincent Bonventre was interviewed by YNN's Capital Tonight on Jan. 24 about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of United States v. Jones, which decided that using a GPS device to track a suspect did constitute a search. Professor Bonventre explained the ruling and the impact that it could have on other cases.

  • But Albany Law School professor and former criminal defense attorney Laurie Shanks said Friday that Fine’s reputation has been damaged even if Tomaselli’s allegations are proven false.

    “Once an allegation is made, the person’s life is destroyed and while it is very difficult to prove child sex abuse because there is often no physical evidence, it is impossible to disprove an allegation,” she said. “What’s equally upsetting and sort of difficult to deal with is that if you are accused of this crime and you are absolutely innocent, your life is destroyed. I mean wasn’t Bernie Fine fired?

    “The reality is the life he had is over. The respect, the history, everything he did that was good was wiped out in an instant.”

    From the article "Confronted with evidence that he lied, Bernie Fine accuser Zach Tomaselli tearfully admits, 'You caught me'" in the Syracuse Post-Standard on Jan. 20.

  • Professor Robert Heverly was interviewed by YNN on Jan. 18 on SOPA and its implications for web content producers and consumers in the segment "Websites like Wikipedia go dark to protest SOPA."

    Heverly said, "Think about how many sites that Google deals with. That's really not an easy thing for Google to do to try to police every site it adds to its index. If it doesn't do that, then it's potentially subject to liability."

    Which could drastically change the way those sites share content.

    "Does that mean Google indexes less?" asked Heverly. "Now you can't find the neat sites because Google hasn't gotten to them or hasn't had a pair of eyes look at them to determine whether there's infringing material there?"

  • Interim President and Dean Connie Mayer was quoted in a Jan. 13 New York Law Journal article on new requirements for bar exam eligibility.

    Connie Mayer, the interim president and dean at Albany Law School, said the changes were "great" and that a law clinic environment was like an "apprenticeship" where prospective lawyers could learn practical skills they will need later in their professional lives.

    She said she would have gone further and made a clinical or internship course mandatory.

    "My view is there should be some requirement that a law student should meet with an actual client," she said. "I don't know how you graduate from law school and never actually see a potential client."​​