Law in Culture Review w/ When They See Us

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.

People v. Lance Williams

In the argument I observed about the People v. Lance Williams case taken place on November 2020, each party had questions and arguments as to why the defendant claimed his possession of a gun was “temporary and lawful” because he held it for a short time and he believed he was in imminent danger. One party had an argument where he said, “I’m struggling with the difference between having a gun legally and or else having an illegally obtained gun that you used in a legal manner.” The attorney has a follow up on his earlier argument that there was a safe disposal as to how the weapon was lawfully obtained. Defendant receives the weapon and events are happening so quickly to process. Williams had every right to believe that he would be in danger for Carson it was completely relevant and lawful with circumstances and under the court’s cases involving situations where a weapon being obtained for self defense at a moment where self defense is imminent and it’s about to happen and that’s what happened.

From what I observed each party had their take on the case and expressed how they felt about it in form of questions. I found each point every party made interesting rather surprising because it opens my eyes more to possible discussions in court. I thought that the judges and lawyers conducted themselves well. The arguments about safe disposal, imminent danger, and having obtained a gun were most persuasive because points they made to answer questions would always go back to the main arguments.

Annoying Ways People Use (Legal) Sources!

A. What I learned from Stedman’s essay that I might apply to my use of legal sources is always having a quotation starter before putting the quote that way I am introducing the person or article I’m quoting for. For example if I were to quote the CPLR § 3020 (a), I would say, “According to the CPLR § 3020 (a) …” Another example was when I used a law journal article to talk about environmental law and how it ties to climate change. The article in Inara Scott’s section she discusses environmental law and how the genre is changing to common law. Scott states, “Most definitions of “environmental law” describe statutes and regulations that govern how people interact with the natural environment–the “natural environment” in this context being nonhuman species, plants, and natural resources.4 Environmental law is also generally understood to include pollution control and management of public lands and natural resources.” What I did here was introduce the quote by giving context as to what I am quoting, after that I used the authors surname because I cited the source in APA format, finally I put the quote.

Link to why I used last name (read paragraph 3!): https://guides.library.nymc.edu/c.php?g=567729&p=3914572

B. A quotable from my legal source entry is, “Commons law must be broad, diverse, and big enough to contain seeming contradictions. It must recognize that creation of sustainable communities includes economic activity and must include, or even focus on, the regulation of this economic activity. It must address the governance of corporations that control the majority of global resources and threaten global ecosystems.17 It must also recognize the value in nonhuman species, biodiversity, and the preservation of spaces that are free from human development.” (Section I Inara Scott Page 3 Paragraph 8) The environment in the United States changes rapidly there are impacts and visibility of climate change around the world. However, in the future that is not so distant there are potential, existential threats that are making way for an unsettling planet. I used the “Dating Spider-Man” guideline in Stedman’s essay because it has the approach that I often do which is starting a paragraph with a quote. Stedman said, “An annoyance that’s closely connected to Armadillo Roadkill is the tendency writers sometimes have of starting or ending paragraphs with quotations. This isn’t technically wrong, and there are situations when the effect of surprise is what you’re going for. But often, a paragraph-beginning or paragraph-closing quotation feels rushed, unexplained, disjointed.” He’s putting emphasis on the fact that when writers put a quote in the beginning or at the end of the paragraph the reader gets confused at to why the quote is there without analysis. Stedman is comparing this scenario to Spider-Man that if he were on a date, he’d say something interesting, then hears something from afar, and he’s gone without notice.

Environmental Law Source Entry

My research question is, what can be done about climate change right now? This research question interests me because I am noticing a devastating change of the planet and have wondered for a long time on what we can do to save it.

Scott, Takacs, Bratspies, Pérez, Craig, Hirokawa, Hudson, Krakoff, Kuh, Owley, Powers, Roesler, Rosenbloom, Ruhl, Ryan, I. (2018, December 31). Environmental Law. Disrupted. Retrieved November 07, 2020, from https://elr.info/news-analysis/49/10038/environmental-law-disrupted

*Cited in APA Format*

In this environmental law news article, the environment in the United States changes rapidly there are impacts and visibility of climate change around the world. However, in the future that is not so distant there are potential, existential threats that are making way for an unsettling planet. The authors who are also members of Environmental Law Collaborative (ELC) have a question about the future of environmental law. They ask, “What does it mean to think about and practice environmental law in this setting?” They complied a collection of essays and postings by putting their take on environmental law as we know it and hopes that it addresses the threats and/or path we should take to move forward. The authors stated themselves, “As we are a diverse group of scholars and thinkers, our conclusions are by no means uniform, but they share a common thread: this is not time for business as usual. The system requires significant, potentially disruptive changes, some of which may make us profoundly uncomfortable. We hope these essays disrupt your thinking in provocative, productive ways, and we look forward to opening a dialog with you about how we can reframe, reshape, and ultimately disrupt environmental law to meet the challenges of our day.” They couldn’t be anymore right and want the same result as I do or at least have my question answered. At the end of the day we share a common goal and as the saying goes “great minds think alike.”

As I read the sections the members of Environmental Law Collaborative wrote about I strongly agree with their points and their approach on environmental law being important especially at the time of climate change. I am going to focus on Inara Scott’s section the most because it relates to my research the most, principles of environment law, and a source of law that I learned in Intro Law class. Scott talks about genres (in books) as well as the term of environmental law and how it is changing. Scott states, “Picking a genre determines how the book is marketed and who becomes the audience. Genres also carry deeply embedded connotations: for example, who do you picture reading romance novels? Who do you picture writing them?” This is true because when someone picks up a book and finds interest in the genre they are reading, the book is catered to that audience. Scott also states, “Like fiction authors, lawyers are trained to think about law in discrete categories. Interdisciplinary efforts may be viewed with skeptical or even disapproving eyes.2 As a professor teaching environmental law at a business school, I can say from firsthand experience that many do not consider me to be part of the “environmental law” community simply because of where I teach.” This quote follows my previous response that if someone likes a genre of a book they are reading it’s catered to them, so Scott is trying to connect that idea with environmental law and how she teaches it in a business school catered to folks who could be interested in it. She goes on to explaining the definition of environmental law and where it stands in many cases. Scott says, “Most definitions of “environmental law” describe statutes and regulations that govern how people interact with the natural environment–the ““natural environment” in this context being nonhuman species, plants, and natural resources.4 Environmental law is also generally understood to include pollution control and management of public lands and natural resources.” The keywords in this quote are “pollution control, management of public lands, and natural resources.” I feel as though these words are vital because it relates to climate change and how we are failing in maintaining the stability of planet Earth. If we don’t recycle, reduce, and reuse then there is no natural habitats. In my Intro Law class I learned about the sources of law which is in the M&M chapter 5 ‘Sources of American Law’ and I am referencing this text is because Scott talks about the new genre of environmental law that is common law. Scott writes, “By using the term “commons,” I hope to draw attention to a few issues. First, I recognize that the traditional notion of the commons is a resource shared by the public that is not privately owned. However, commons law will refer to regulation of public and privately owned resources.” This is a great way to attract people by pointing out the obvious that Earth is our “commons” and the activity on our land is private or public, but it has a significant impact on people who live on it.

“Commons law must be broad, diverse, and big enough to contain seeming contradictions. It must recognize that creation of sustainable communities includes economic activity and must include, or even focus on, the regulation of this economic activity. It must address the governance of corporations that control the majority of global resources and threaten global ecosystems.17 It must also recognize the value in nonhuman species, biodiversity, and the preservation of spaces that are free from human development. (Section I Inara Scott Page 3 Paragraph 8)”

Electoral Map Analysis

The video opens Susan and Domenico are talking about the rating shifts. They analyzed President Trump’s ratings first telling me that Arizona went from “lean Democrat” to “toss up.” Whereas, Joe Biden has Texas which went from “lean Republican” to “toss up.” A lot of states are in Joe Biden’s direction, he has 279 electoral votes. President Trump is at 125 electoral votes. Florida is a state very focused on because there are a lot of campaigns and they’ve spent a quarter billion dollars on TV ads for 29 electoral votes. Susan and Domenico say that since the beginning of this election cycle, Pennsylvania could be the key state.

I think this video was very helpful in understanding the Election coming soon. It was very informative in the sense that NPR seems like a trusted organization to give me useful information that I need when it comes to voting. It is very important right now to be voting for a leader who not only cares about this country but can lead it to the right direction. As we all preach about change, there will be no change, if we will not be the change. VOTING for someone who is passionate about everyone regardless of sexuality, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and more, we are going to have to vote like our life depends on it.

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmo61G_pPEg&list=WL&index=5&t=3s

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Calling Ruth Bader Ginsburg an “icon” doesn’t suffice because she is so much more than that. I know there are more words synonymous to icon, but for this generation we need her, she has done a lot for the United States. Her work is relevant in history and the time of the world right now. Passing away at 87 is such a big number and we cannot thank her enough for living that long. In the Oyez.org article it states, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career as a justice where she left off as an advocate, fighting for women’s rights. In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, holding that qualified women could not be denied admission to Virginia Military Institute.” With her passing everything that she has been fighting for is now in danger because abortion laws will be inadequate and how many will be perceived in society will change negatively too. I am still at loss for words. Deep condolences Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Source cited in MLA format: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Oyez, www.oyez.org/justices/ruth_bader_ginsburg. Accessed 13 Oct. 2020. 

Zainab’s Timekeeping

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

1.0 – Professor Hall’s English class

.50 – Shower

.50 – Watched Netlfix on my iPad

.25 – Jumped on my trampoline in the backyard/garden

1.0 – Went shopping with my mom and sister

Reflection: I think keeping a track of my tasks and activities made me feel really good and organized. This assignment was an interesting one, because I am not the type to jot down what I need to get done. I am really surprised that lawyers have to do a timekeeping to keep track of their work. I enjoyed doing this assignment and when I’m a lawyer I can’t wait to do timekeepings then.

Law Office post

The office I have identified is ‘The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, LLC.’

Address: 535 5th Ave #2525 New York, NY 10017

Phone Number: 212.951.1232

Website: https://www.rendelmanlaw.com

‘The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman’ is an LLC and LLC stands for limited liability corporation. This also means that ‘The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, LLC’ are a private firm. As stated on the website, “The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, LLC is conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan at 535 5th Avenue, Suite 2525, New York, NY 10017 between East 44th Street and East 45th Street. The office is only blocks from the Grand Central stops of the 4, 5, 6, 7  and S trains, the Bryant Park D, B and F train stops and the Times Square-42nd Street 1, 2, 3, N, Q and R train stops. The office is also close to several bus stops and the Port Authority Bus Terminal is nearby.” The kind of work this law firm focuses on is criminal law. However, this firm also does more practices like, “drive while intoxicated, driving while impaired, driving under influence.” Listed below is a category and the sub-categories of another practice.

– Drug Crimes

  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Marijuana Sale and Possession

I would like to work here because it’s phenomenal that ‘The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman’ was able be so successful even as a private law firm. If there was a chance I’d love to work with Julie Rendelman and ask her all these questions about criminal justice law and get her opinions on how she tackles criminal law. It would be amazing that when I graduate law school to end up at her firm as an intern. When I have a lot of money I’d invest and open my own law firm under her guidance.

Amy Tan response

There could be one or more legal issues spotted here, but the one I’m clinging onto the most is the one about Tan’s mothers broken English. I feel as though Tan is violating her mom’s First Amendment right. In simplest terms, the First Amendment is the freedom to speech, religion, and press. In the article Tan states, “I know this for a fact, because when I was growing up, my mother’s “limited” English limited my perception of her. I was ashamed of her English. I believed that her English reflected the quality of what she had to say That is, because she expressed them imperfectly her thoughts were imperfect.” Why does Tan feel the need to be embarrassed? Surely, because she is Asian, a lot of people would mock her mother, but that shouldn’t be the only outcome. Tan also states, “And I had plenty of empirical evidence to support me: the fact that people in department stores, at banks, and at restaurants did not take her seriously, did not give her good service, pretended not to understand her, or even acted as if they did not hear her.” I wonder what Tan’s evidence is that justifies her not violating her mother’s First Amendment right. The only justification Tan can make for not violating her mom’s right is if her mom said hate speech because hate speech is not righteous. However, this quote may be considered otherwise because Tan states, “My mother has long realized the limitations of her English as well. When I was fifteen, she used to have me call people on the phone to pretend I was she. In this guise, I was forced to ask for information or even to complain and yell at people who had been rude to her.” The keywords I suspected are “complain, yell, and rude.” All these words tie into hate speech. Overall, First Amendment rights shouldn’t be violated and hate speech shouldn’t be above that, matters can be solved in a responsible, timely manner.

When They See Us

I have chosen the documentary ‘When They See Us’, by Ava DuVernay, released in 2019, 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. “In 2003, the Central Park Five filed a civil lawsuit against New York City for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination, and emotional distress. City officials fought the case for more than a decade, before finally settling for $41 million dollars.” Therefore, the United States still shows prejudiced views towards minorities to this day.

Cited in APA Format:

DuVernay, A. (2019, May 31). When They See Us. Retrieved September 02, 2020, from https://www.netflix.com/title/80200549

History.com Editors. (2019, May 14). The Central Park Five. Retrieved September 02, 2020, from https://www.history.com/topics/1980s/central-park-five