Happy (almost) New Year! As you probably saw, I posted your final course grades for LAW 1101 (Intro) and LAW 1103 (Civil Procedure) to CUNYfirst. Also, I posted your final course grades as well as your final exam grades and your grades on homework and other assignments in the GradeBook here on OL. The final exam grades posted here on OL include all extra credit points, including 2 points on each exam for every student who participated in the review sessions, points for legal news posts, and points you may have asked me to carry over after the midterm exam. I used these (OL) final exam grades to calculate your final course grades, NOT the final exam grades listed on Blackboard, which do not include any extra credit points (thus they are lower).
The Spring 2021 semester starts Friday, January 29. Here is a link to the Academic Calendar that shows important dates and deadlines. As of now, next semester I will be teaching LAW 1201 (Legal Research I) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-11:15am. This is different from what I told some of you before! I’m sorry, plans changed. 🙁 Potentially, they could change again, but I’ll do what I can to prevent that from happening, and will let you know if it does. Like all LAW courses, this one will be “synchronous” which means we will meet at those scheduled times on Zoom. I hope to see many of you there!
Once again, THANK YOU, to each and every one of you, for a terrific semester! I truly enjoyed working with each of you, and I hope you found our courses enlightening. I commend each and every one of you for enduring, and even excelling under, such tremendously challenging circumstances. If I can be helpful to any of you over the break, or anytime, please don’t hesitate to contact me! You can email me, and we can talk on the phone, or meet on Zoom, or whatever works.
I wish each of you and your families a happy and HEALTHY New Year!
Your final exam for LAW 1101, Intro to Paralegal Studies, is now available for you to take on Blackboard, under “Content,” first item under the M&M/C&W excerpt folders. You must complete it today (Wednesday, December 16, 2020) during any two-hour period until 5pm, in one sitting—so once you start the exam, you must complete and submit it before logging off Blackboard. Two hours after you begin, Blackboard will automatically submit the exam. If you have questions or you need additional time, contact me at 718.260.4939.
Info about the CR/NC grade also is available! You should have received it in an email from the College, plus it’s posted here under our “Class notes & materials” and “Events & info” tabs. I will open our class Zoom link at 12 noon to discuss the policy with anyone who would like to do so (not 11:30am like I previously said–I realized I have an advisement session then).
Finally, some of you may have noticed that your Intro quiz grades dropped–it’s just because I had incorrectly set the scoring, so some questions were assigned 10 points when they all should have been assigned two points. The maximum total score was 20 (or 22 with the bonus questions). So your performance was the same, just your numerical score may have changed.
GOOD LUCK on this and all your final exams, let me know if you have questions on anything, and maybe I’ll see you at noon today!
Your Civil Law and Procedure (LAW 1103) final exam is now available in Blackboard! You’ll find it under “Content,” it’s the first item after the folders of C&W and M&M excerpts. You must complete it TODAY (Friday, December 11, 2020), during any two-hour period until 5pm, in one sitting—so once you start the exam, you must complete and submit it before logging off Blackboard, and two hours after you start, it will automatically submit the exam. You may not start the exam after 5pm. If you have any questions or problems, you may contact me today until 5pm at 718.260.4939.
For life is an American legal drama television series. It was written and created by Hank Steinberg . The series was released on February 11, 2020 and is now on its second season. It is about a man named Aaron Wallace who was a nightclub owner that was wrongfully accused and framed of being a Drug Kingpin. This series is based on a true story of Isaac Wright jr who while in prison studies the law and fights to get his case overturned. While in prison facing a life sentence for a crime that he did not commit , Aaron Wallace becomes a Lawyer and fights cases for other prisoners. Many of these cases he won and his clients were able to be free. After serving nine years, Wallace was able to prove that within his case there was illegal cover ups, secret deals made with defense attorneys to have witnesses lie under oath and also his star witness was paid to flee the country. Aaron Wallace was exonerated of the charges but because of a prison riot he was apart of he also had three years of probation. While out of prison, Wallace continued his lawyer career.
Based on what I learned about ethics in intro to Paralegal, I watched how the antagonist District attorney Glen Maskin (who was running for State attorney) perform many illegal and unethical moves to keep Aaron Wallace from receiving justice. Maskin orchestrated many misconduct including, abuse of power, perjury and obstruction of justice. Also, Aaron Wallace did a few unethical things to help free his clients, like have his wife write false letters with forged signatures. Also, his wife was a nurse so he would have her look for medical documents which violates HIPPA . He also played dirty so he would also black mail the people with power to get what he wanted.
In the series ,I found it interesting that Wallace was able to receive his law degree while being in prison. I believe in real life that obtaining a degree while in prison is incapable of happening considering one can not take the bar exam if they are a felon. Isaac Wright Jr was actually a paralegal and helped many lawyers win cases for innocent inmates. I do believe that all the corruption displayed in the series could be accurate and happen in the real world because in real life people step on toes to get far in life. Maskin broke the law because he wanted to become the first prosecutor in that state to convict someone under the Drug Kingpin Statue. With that being said , I recommend this series although it is a fiction , a person still gets insight of the things that go on in the court and also behind the scenes.
The Hate U Give (2018) PG-13, 133 min, Cine, Drama.Stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith. Directed George Tillman Jr. Release date 19 October 2018.
The Hate U Give is basically of a young girl named Starr who has a depth connection with her family but her father has set her and his family with certain rules in order to survive in this racism world.They are instructions on what to do in the event that he or they are ever pulled over by police, but to also not be ashamed of their identities as black children it’s called the Black Panther ten step programs. Starr lives in Graden Heights, a mostly poor black neighborhood and she attends a wealthy, predominantly white private school, Williamson Prep. Where she has a white boyfriend and acts as a totally different person from the when she is in Garden Heights in order to fit in and be accepted. At night she went to a party while being there she saw her childhood best friend from whom she hasn’t seen for years afterwards a gun goes out and Khalil decided to give her a ride home. However they get stopped by a white police officer Khalil, who is black, must exit the car and while outside the car, Khalil reaches inside his car to check in on Starr, and picks up a brush as a joke. The officer, thinking Khalil picked up a gun, fires three shots into Khalil, killing him. Therefore Khalil’s death becomes a major national news story. Leading to find the identity of Starr and deciding if she is a Garden Heights girl who will get involved with the violence in order to make justice. Or a Williamson Prep girl who stays hidden and remains silent with her opinions. Starr will also see who her real friends are, where their loyalties are and stand against her family making her stand by herself in order to heard and reclaim justice for Khalil because he’s one of many innocent who have died.
The story portrayed legal concepts addressed in this course or Civil Procedure this movie talked about a criminal law with a government (prosecutor) v. alleged wrongdoer (defendant), statutory law made by legislators, NY Penal Law and a veridictation beyond a reasonable doubt. They are looking for jail time for the police officer and justice for Khalil. This will take place in a Grand Jury to see if the cases indices which can perhaps lead to a NYC Criminal Court who is charge of misdemeanors and lesser offenses felony arraignments & preliminary hearings. They first have original jurisdiction authority a first court to decide a legal question case originate which is what is happening in this movie.The person will directly be involved in the case who will be directly affected by the outcome. There are also witnesses which Starr is a crucial one and a direct injured a suffered of loss and the need of the declaration of the court’s order to answer the disputed issue declaring if a certain law has been violated. There are also ethics basic concepts and fundamental principles of decent human conduct a professional responsibility legal and moral duty of a professional to apply her/his knowledge in ways that benefit the client, and the wider society. Protected by attorney client privilege prohibited from revealing certain info regarding representation of a client such as the client not. The benefit for wider society here is Black Lives Matter a justice for a black man and all the black community and a protection for Starr not reveling her name in the beginning of the case she requested for that because of her safety.
The events took place in the street it’s between a white police officer being either sentenced to prison or not for a fatal shooting of Khalil a black men. Where Starr must testify and use her voice so Khalil can have justice and not remain unvenged for his death. This is just in the trial courts stage. I think it actually portrays the legal field because first they interrogated the witnesses to see what happen, then they started the investigation and had set a date of court to see if the case will go forth or not. I will highly recommended the movie because the scenes get to you it’s something that makes you wonder why our society is like this, should we have faith and rely on our laws. Who does the law really benefit? All of these type of question come to mind and it’s sad we have to experience this mostly the black community it’s horrible because it something that is still going on in this century. This really affected my view or the law and interested in a legal profession because I want to be a change, a voice to the voiceless. I want to understand why those types of cases are justify and not the ones similar to them just the opposite a black man shooting a white man. Right now it makes me doubt our legal system that it’s unfair and unjustice because it’s not just the movie I see it outside in the media but I want to give the opportunity to see it from the other person shoes, see both sides in order to fully grasp and take a stand.
Title: When They See Us
Author: Ava DuVernay
Released: May 31, 2019
The documentary portrays the events of “five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.” The case is legitimate and widely known as the Central Park Jogger Case, 4 out of the 5 teenagers were exonerated after serving some years in prison whereas one teenager out of the five was incarcerated for several years due to being tried as an adult. Having the teenagers tried in a court of law put themselves and their families at risk of never seeing the light of day anymore and the fear of being labelled sex offenders which put a permanent mark on them. Wise (one of the teenagers tried as adult) meets the rapist at isolation facilities who committed the murder, confesses, and came forward giving all the evidence needed to free the teenagers from prison.
The documentary portrayed legal concepts of ethical practice of law. In the second episode of ‘When They See Us’ we are witnessing a trial for three teenagers that are Yusef, Antron, and Raymond. The trial begins with each side explains their case to the jury. The attorneys expressed the defendants by explaining the lack of physical evidence the court has on the boys. The Review Geek states, “the discrepancy of their testimonies and their coercing into false confessions. The state uses the shock factor by showing pictures of the victim and descriptions of her injuries, but are also struggling as the DNA doesn’t match with any of the defendants. However, Linda is determined to get them convicted at any cost.” The plaintiff who is Patricia Meili has no recollection of what happened at the park, she has double vision, she states, and lost her sense of smell. Antron’s father took the stand and explained he was blackmailed because if his son cooperated with what they were asking of him he would be able to go home and that didn’t happen. Also, Antron made a confession on tape and these confessions were shared at court. Korey took the stand and told them he was slapped by the cops and if he admitted to to the crime he’d be allowed to go home, but the Stated disregarded his testimony. The episode ends with the jury saying their verdict and all of them were found guilty.
My reaction to the cultural source made me upset that the criminal justice was corrupt and still corrupt. The legal concepts were portrayed correctly in the sense the teenagers were given trial, evidence was presented, and how the attorneys were able to talk about the defendants to being them justice. Most certainly we can’t deny the boys were not exercised of their fifth amendment rights which is the right to remain silent. A thing to note, the boys were coerced to be giving false confessions which ended them in a hole deeper than they could’ve imagined. In this day and age it is important and vital to fight for rights of black people and people of color because of these cases happen to minorities. This year in May a black man was murdered in cold blood by a white cop, he was saying “I can’t breathe” and this phrase alone made many terrified of how the criminal justice system Is prejudiced. Chauvin is charged with first-degree murder thanks to petitions and social media for bringing this situation to light and bringing justice of George Floyd. The State in the Central Park 5 case were all the white people wringing the defendants and making them guilty because of the color of their skin. All evidence presented was not even theirs. The DNA sample, the hair sample, and the sock and semen. It was all the State doing to make sure they are charged guilty. Minorities deserve better and with Generation Z along the masses on social media, the world is slowly and greatly bringing those justice due to the messed up criminal justice system.
Movie: Gideon’s Trumpet. Aired on April 30 1980
The movie was based on U.S Supreme Court case Gideon Vs. WainWright. The event occurred in state Florida, during night time it was noticed that a phone booth were broken, and somebody has stolen the money. When the guard asked locals, it was told that an old guy used the booth before the incident. The next day in process of investigation, a lot of coins were found with Mr.Gideon(mentioned old guy), which turned him into the prime suspect. Mr Gideon couldn’t afford a lawyer so he asked for one but it was denied and then he lost the case as jury weren’t pleased with his persuasion. He was sentenced 5 years in state prison without getting fair trial. While he was staying in prison, he started research on his rights that was ensured by The constitution and wrote a ‘writ of certiorari‘ petition to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided to hear his case and provided him an attorney. But under some circumstances Gideon have to go through retrial which he claimed is unconstitutional and fall under double jeopardy.However the judge denied his claim and let the retrial begin where his attorney were able to present evidence on behalf of him. The supreme court decide unanimously Gideon is not guilty.
Mr.Gideon case was very significant as its brought peoples attention on unfair trial. It was a civil case that later turned into Federal case, it’s not only brought 6th amendment up, it’s also questioned his retrial process what fall under double jeopardy that a person cannot be tried twice for same case, protected by 5th amendment. This scenario made it very clear About U.S justice system that no court has the right to go against of U.S constitution and if they do those trial will get considered as unconstitutional. Therefore if someone feels like their constitutional right was violated during trial they can appeal to the U.S Supreme Court and Court will send their response.
The way the trial went actually interest me on Jurisdiction system, it doesn’t ask you to say what you believe neither what you feel, its rather ask you to prove how your claim is real or why your claim is important. Before watching this movie I didn’t know that you can actually get denied of your constitutional right in under circumstances but it was very overwhelming to see mr. Gideon’s efforts of how he was very determined of his constitutional right. He kept himself very strong to brainstorm so that he can not only save him but will leave a landmark example on American jurisdiction history and these things really attracts people to know about their rights or inspire themself to fight for right and I believe it did accurately represent our justice system because the right protected by our constitution. I would like to suggest it to others too so its can bring an awareness among others about their right and will inspire them to always look up on constitution if they feel they didn’t get justice.
My Culture Source: Just Mercy
Released on: January 10th 2020
Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
The Movie Just Mercy revolves around the real life case of Walter McMillian which took place in 1986. Walter McMillian was arrested and placed on death row for murder of a young girl without proper evidence or conviction. The real reason Walter McMillian was arrested was not because he committed a crime, but because of the color of his skin. Throughout McMillians trial he explains to his new lawyer, that when he was first taken into custody it was clear that the lawyer the state provided, did not do everything in his power to prove McMillians innocence. Throughout the movie it’s clear that the justice system didn’t treat Walter McMillian fairly, they barely treated him as a person. Not only was he treated poorly in the justice system but so was his lawyer, who was also a person of color. When McMillians lawyer would visit him he received degrading comments by the officers. The officers had also made it a point to have him be strip checked, despite lawyers not needing to go through that. Once the council had been made aware that Walter McMillian was wrongfully convicted, they refused to release him from death row. They believed there was no point and that the court had made its decisions and it should stay the way it is to give people peace of mind. It wasn’t until the very end that Walter McMillian was finally released and reunited with his family. I feel like this movie accurately portrayed how our legal system treats black people of color. Although there is a major time gap between the original case and now, there are still the same problems just disguised. Throughout the years more cases have come into light of police arresting citizens for minor crimes or misidentifying them because of the color of their skin.Our judicial system does not properly recognize black people of color and their cases are often brushed off and they do not receive the help that would normally be given to a person of a lighter skin tone.
My source is the film Liar Liar
Written by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur
Released March 21, 1997
Summary: Liar Liar is about Fletcher Reede, a father and lawyer in LA. Despite having a son and having been divorced, he still prioritizes his career over them. Fletcher lies about the reasons for not being able to be with them in favor of rising in his career. Lying has made him a very successful defense lawyer at his firm. The pursuit of his career over family leads to him missing his sons birthday where his son, Max, wishes that his father would be unable to lie for a whole day which comes true. Fletcher discovers his inability to lie and it slowly but surely jeopardizes his career as he is unable to lie for his defendants in court. In the central case of the movie, his client ,Samantha Cole, wants a divorce from her wealthy husband and take as much as she can from him. The issue being that Samantha has signed a prenuptial agreement which is what is being contested in court. Normally Fletcher would be able to lie his way around the case and make short work of it but he is unable due to maxes wish. He resorts to only using the truth and facts of the case which results in him finding her documents had been falsified. Fletcher found out Samantha changed documents about her age when signing the prenuptial agreement in order to get married, she had signed it when she was still a minor, which rendered it void and won fletcher the suit without lying. Samantha decides the money was not enough and wants custody of the children as well which the court allowed. Seeing Samantha’s greed made fletcher realize that, that is not who he wants to be in life and argued with the judge to reverse his decision which results in him being in contempt of court and put in jail. Fletcher is bailed out and chases after Max and his ex wife, promising to change. They decided to give him another chance.
How the story portrayed legal concepts
Although it is a comedy, it does portray legal concepts in an accurate way. The court seemingly followed the rules of a real court, all be it with some liberty for the sake of humor. While the over arching theme is toying with the stereotypical idea of a lying lawyer, it does raise the question of ethnicity in doing so. Fletcher was so good at lying, he rarely ever had to look for the truth. So when the time came where only the truth could be the answer, he struggled to find it. The movie also displayed concepts such as perjury which we have not studied at length in class but the movie does display instances of contempt in court, A way a contract can be come void due to age, custody of children and other instances. It also displays the lawyers role in acting in their clients best interest despite it not being what they want to do. Another thing that stands out is the judges authority in court. The lawyers recognize to listen when he commands it which seems very real.
My reaction to the cultural source.
I thought it was a hilarious and brilliant movie. I thought it portrayed the legal field in a hilarious yet accurate way. It was captivating watching what aspects of the law they humorized and how they managed to make it a workable story. I would definitely recommend this movie to others. I think if i was trying to get someone to take an interest in the legal field, this would be one of the movies i would show them because it uses humor to catch your attention while actually presenting law in a rather real way.