Court observation

The Case

The name of the case i chose is Matter of Marian T. (Lauren R.). This took place on October 14th, 2020. The case is about the adoption of an adult woman who is not capable of giving consent to the adoption due to her disability. This action has worked its way to the court of appeals where the video us taken. The lower courts ruled that Marian did not have the mental faculties to give consent. Caitlin Brennan, council, said that whether or not she has that capacity is not one of the issues they want to bring before the court. The judges however want to press the issue. In a lower court, Dr. Fox tried to argue that while Marian lacks the mental capacity to consent to medical procedures, she is capable of giving consent for other things. However, the lower courts moved on to seemingly agree that Marian lacked the capacity to give consent to adoption. Caitlin Brennan takes the position that the petition made can not go forward due to Marians inability to give consent. The lawyer for the opposition says that Marian can be autonomous and provide consent just not in a conventional “legal” way as we understand it. He also claims Marian can consent nonverbally. Caitlin continues to argue that Marian is an adult not and underage adoptee with the same rights and interests as other adults that must be protected. She continues that nobody should be able to impose a new family structure on her due to her inability to consent.

Personal Response

While watching the case i felt as though the judges were being rather hard on her with their line of questioning. While Caitlin was providing information and citing what statute allows for people to withdraw their ability to consent, one judge quipped and “we would be defining the statute in a way you would disagree with” which i did not think was a good use of court time. I also felt that their line of questioning was pointless, it felt as if a bunch of “what ifs” were being asked for the sake of fun instead of dealing with the case at hand. I personally found Caitlin Brennan’s argument more persuasive. Not only did the lower courts support the opinion but she also had health experts and the legal guardian agree that Marian can not give consent. One thing i did not understand during the hearing was the term “red light”. The judge used that to stop Caitlin from speaking. The term “best interest of the child” also gets tosses around and they don’t really elaborate on it beyond it needing to be decided with discretion.


Details on Civ Pro final exam & CR/NC grading policy!

Esteemed Students!

I realized after class that I neglected to give you the specific information on Friday’s Civ Pro final exam that I promised.  I’m sorry!  The exam consists of 24 multiple choice and true/false questions, worth three (3) points each; four (4) “short answer” questions that require you to write a sentence or two explaining certain terms that you’ll choose from a list of options, also worth three (3) points each; two (2) open-ended questions that require a few sentences to answer, worth five (5) points each; plus two BONUS questions that require you to name certain Chief Jurists for two (2) extra points each!  🙂  Please see this list of study suggestions for additional guidance.  The exam will be available on Blackboard, under “Content,” this Friday, December 11, at 10am, and you may complete it during any two-hour period until 5pm.  I will be available during that time to answer questions by phone.

Also–following up on our discussion about the possible CR/NC grading option, I strongly recommend that you read this Resolution of CUNY’s University Student Senate, of which City Tech Law and Paralegal Studies student Juvanie Piquant is the chair.  It explains the background of the CR/NC policy and why many students believe it should be continued during the current semester.  I’ll let you know the college’s decision on that when I learn it.

I hope this is all helpful!  Have a pleasant evening, study hard, and keep warm!

Prof. C.


Law and Culture Review

My Culture Source: How to get away with murder

Writer: Peter Nowalk

First Aired: September 25, 2014

Summary: This show is about College professor Annalise Keating  who teaches law and she calls the class” How to get away with murder”. In her first class she chooses a group of students to assist her when she has a case at her firm with her employees ( Frank Delfino, Bonnie Winterbottom). The first case she presented to the class was an attempted murder and the defandant was the victims second assistant who was also the victims mistress.The victims wife found out about the affair and the victim moved the mistress to another department to work in and ended the relationship and that’s when she switched the victims blood pressure for asprin which she knew he was allergic too. When he swallowed the pill he fell ill and had a near to death experience. And now they are trying to find out if the mistress actually switched the pill or was it the wife? The case isnt the only intresting thing in the show but its also the things that happens revolving around the case for example in professor Annalise life.

One legal concept that I noticed in the show is that its as if the students where mini paralegals because they were able to do their own research and bring it to their attorney which was the professor one thing that they were not allowed to do is give any legal advice because they did not have a license. Some of the evidence given to the professor was actually helpful to the professor for the case. What adds spice to the show is the cases that Professor Annalise has because majority of her cases are very dangerous and she is a attorney who is willing to do anything too make sure that her clients go free.

I didn’t watch the whole series but one thing that I can say is that it reminded me of why I wanted to be a lawyer because of the investigations and problem solving that needed to be done. Although not everything is accurate in the show but I would refer this show to people that wants to work in the criminal justice field. This show gave me some form of encouragement because I started to question if I wanted to continue in the field of law.

Law in Culture Review- To Kill a Mockingbird

My cultural Source: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper E Lee
Published: July 11, 1960
Publisher: J.B Lippincott & CO


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper E Lee she tells a story based off of a little girls’ perspectives, who goes by the name of Jean Scout Finch. She explains the things that she has witnessed growing up, as she faces the harsh reality of Alabama in 1933-35. In Maycomb Alabama during the time the book has taken place there has been a fair share of racist individuals living in Alabama. While growing up she has witnessed things that she would not be able to explain, or things that felt wrong but in the eyes of people who was white was something that was considered as right. For example, there was a scene in which she has seen segregation but did not understand why segregation was a thing, and she knew it was something that felt wrong but in the eyes of others was considered as something right. In 1933-35 blacks and whites were segregated, and as a result of that blacks tried to stay out the white man’s way as much as they possibly can. While many black individuals tried their best to stay away many white individuals took that as an advantage, to pin their wrong doings on black individuals being that they know the no one would respect them or care if they did it or not being that if you were black during the time you was automatically guilty. Her father Atticus Finch was a lawyer and he was the 1st white man in Alabama to trial a case where he was defending a black man something in which white individuals do not normally do for the sake of their safety. Atticus was strong for that and regardless of the constant threats to his life, and children he still went on. He tried to set that example for his kids where he made it known it was okay to stand up for things that was felt wrong but to others was considered as right. As a result of that Atticus fought to prove Tom Robinson innocents against the rape and beating of Mayalla Ewells. He was able to provided sufficient evidence in which proved Tom Robinson innocence but being that the jury was racist, and so was the towns people they did not care, and just wanted the black man killed. This book stood out to me because we actually live in a time where people are so willing to ignore the factual evidence that proves something just because they do not like a certain race, gender, etc. It proves the ignorance in people, and shows how the court systems use to be, and how it kind of changed since then.

In the book “To Kill A Mockingbird”, and considering what I have learned in Law1101&1103 I think that in the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper E Lee the author accurately portrayed legal concepts. When focusing on Law in the book the author described a criminal issue where they Brough charges on a man for “committing” a crime against a woman. As a result of that they explained how the man accused was brought to jail, had hired an attorney, and would meet with the attorney to talk about the case, and charges in which was brought against him. They show the readers ho the Lawyer Atticus Finch follows the lawyer client privilege, and how Atticus makes sure not to mix his law life with his regular life by not talking much about the case especially in public places. They also give an accurate depiction on the court system, and the court room. Atticus spent majority of his time working like an average lawyer does. In the movie they portray a court room very accurate when it comes down to a judge, a jury, the defendant, and plaintiff. Where the judge insures the law, and makes sure that the law is being followed. The judge also allows certain questions to be asked, and certain things to be said. They allow what evidence can be heard by the courts, and the testimonies that can be heard by the courts. In to Kill a mocking bird they also give a clear and accurate depiction of a jury where they determine the facts, meaning that they hear what both lawyers have to say and based on the evidence, testimony, and questions they determine how the verdict would turn out to be. In this book though we see a verdict in which was completely unfair, and was wrong in so many ways but at the same time was considered as an accurate portray during the segregation period. In this book we see an innocent black man who was failed by the court system which as of today is something in which still happens

When reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper E Lee I believe that it is an accurate portrayal of the legal field. Even though we are looking through this case from a Childs perspective we are shown a lawyer who was willing to seek justice for the defendant. We are seen a accurate portrayal of the roles pf a lawyer when it comes down to what a criminal justice does with a client, and with defending the client. I believe that we are given a case in which portrays a criminal issue. I mean even though I do not agree with the ruling or how the case went down. I do believe that the author did a good job at giving a glimpse of what the legal field is like, on civilians, lawyers, jury members, and judges. They bring awareness to how it is also possible and considered as likely for the system to fail rather than seek the justice that it was supposed to seek. I honestly would recommend this book because I feel as if even though it doesn’t not go in to as much detail of what a lawyer does or what they need to do and the jobs of people working in the legal field it provides a vivid understanding on what being in a court room means, and how it is are jobs meaning people working in the legal field to try and eliminate biases , and actually understand the evidence, and testimony, and do not just go off of personal biases and beliefs. Honestly reading this book has all been a one of my many reasons to why I wanted to become a criminal justice lawyer. I feel as if we need more individuals willing to fight for what is right, and are willing to actually seek justice, and use factual evidence to prove innocents and instead of personal beliefs. As of today, there are many innocent individuals who are locked up for a crime in which they did not commit, which relates back to the book of to kill a mockingbird being that we are given a man who was locked up for a crime that he did not do is something in which needs to be addressed. When reading this book and seeing the world as of today we see people who have been locked up for crimes that they haven’t committed for example the Central Park five where there were five innocent black boys convicted of a rape that they did not do it has affected me because it is something in which happens to often.



Please complete SET surveys!

Esteemed Students!

Here is your chance to give me a grade!  PLEASE complete the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) survey by this Friday, Dec. 11.  You should have received emails like the one shown below at your City Tech email address for each of your courses.  They’re from “NYC College of Technology Course Evaluations,”, and they include links to short surveys for each of your courses.  Completing them will only take a few minutes, but they will provide us with valuable information!


Prof. C.


Matter of Marian

The court I chose to observe was the “Matter of Marian T (Lauren R.)”. This case was about a disabled 18 year old girl who was still in the adoption system. One side argued that she was not able to consent to the adoption due to her disability. while the other began to state, that in fact she could consent to the adoption just not verbally. I felt that Caitlin Connors Brennan was not seeing the full picture. Instead of focusing on what would be best for Marian she constantly said that the young adult just couldn’t give consent. When asked about what would be in Marians best interest Council Brennan would simply veer the conversation away from it and bring the focus back to the consent issue. I also felt that when the judges began to question Brennan, she didn’t have set answers. A lot of her arguments weren’t back up well and made her points seem invalid. I agree with the courts decision to approve Marians adoption. I felt that they considered Marians best interest now and for the future. Upon listening to this case I was surprised to find out Marian was 18. I had thought that once you were 18 you were released from any foster or adoption 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.

Court Observatiion

The case I chose was people vs Lance Williams, which was fought on 19th nov,2020. The argument was based on whether defendant Mr.william’s control over gun that he used as self defense is under temporary lawful possession or not.So basically in the scenario, mr.william sees a guy named Carson outside of building, who he thought was following him.Then he went upstair and asked for safety from foe and his girlfriend, he claimed he believe Carson is in lobby waiting for him and he’s armed so foe gave his gun to defendant that helped him to go in lobby and use it if its needed. But when defendant entered in the lobby, he started shooting before even checking Carson out.The representer of defandant claimed that he has all his reason to prove that his using of gun was under temporary lawful possession because he believed he was in imminent danger,.and he can use gun as self protection. When the representer of state argued, that the moment defendant cleared that he wasn’t certain about Carson whereabouts but he just believed that he was there, defendant action will not have any lawful excuse. Therefore  he occupied somebody else’s gun and used it for blank shooting in a danger manner considered as illegal action.


According to me, Mr.william can’t use somebody else gun under this situation because he wasn’t in danger, it was more like he believed he is in danger. From feeling the imminent danger to shooting people in lobby was just based on his assumption that Carson will hurt him. When he himself said in testimony that he didn’t know where was Carson. He can use gun as self defense only if the person really in-front of him and made him a target. However beside the case swiping mode,The only Thing I found interesting is in argument is actually about the conversation process, it was very specific in certain clips that judge wanted yes or no for some question but the lawyer just can’t pick up one so he added another case to cover him up, which I found very intelligent. From the start it was very clear that defendant representer mr.briggs were very determined on proving his client’s innocence but then the state did a turning point with its rebuttal and it actually persuaded how defendant action from the start wasn’t right itself and then after shooting incident occured, how he tried to have potential confrontation by throwing away the main evidence.Even though the defendant side tried to explain it wasn’t anything like that but still it wasn’t enough persuasive.

Court observation Killon V Parrotta

The case I chose is No. 163 Killon v Parrotta from Septeember 15,2016 Court of Appeals – Oral Arguments Archive (   The argument I observed was between Killon respondent and Parrotta the appellant located in the court of appeals state of New York. Killon was saying that the Appellate Division did an error when reaching its decision based on the case that was presented to them. That they didn’t look at the previous cases evidence and facts to it just made a decision based on what was presented to them originally. Another reason is not taking in acknowledgment who the initial aggressor was. Parrota disagrees says the court maybe didn’t see the full facts but still believes the one who was concluded as the initial aggressor was in fact the initial aggressor was correct in there veridiction.

Well I really can’t say much of the case because I don’t fully understand it for example what didn’t the appellate division not see that made the case invalid in the eyes of Killon. I found it surprising how Killon and I can be wrong mentioned previous cases and how they were resolved intertwining to make a point. As well as the remedy for the verdict to be reinstated. The judges and lawyers job was interesting one I couldn’t hear so well maybe she was sick. The other sometimes interrupted which they can do at any time but I think they should waited to see maybe they get to their question. They conducted themselves as very professional and people who aren’t their to play to hear what they got to say and why they believe such thing as well as kind of serious and mean. I found Parrota arguments more persuasive even though I couldn’t really understand what he meant at the beginning confusing me if he agreed with Killon or no about facts and evidence. I liked what he said of who could be the initial aggressor and why stating his reason and facts why Killon is wrong with that point.

court observation

The court case that I have observed was Matter of the Hon. Paul H. Senzer from June 2020.  In this case a judge was taken to court on the context of him sending vulgar and sexist emails to lawyers and clients. As a result of that they are now on trial trying to decided whether or not he should be removed. In this case to my understanding the defendants lawyer is trying to argue to the judges that the punishment that they are giving the judge who has committed these acts is considered as way too harsh, basically that the crime doesn’t fit the punishment. The other party to my understanding is trying to point out that this judge should be held accountable for his actions for disrespecting a individual based off of their gender being that he was sexualizing a women, and also that he knew what he was doing.

Honestly my personal response to this would be that I believed that everyone conducted themselves in an appropriate matter. No one was like yelling or talking over each other or doing things alone those lines. I believe that the judge who committed the act of sending those emails was wrong only because hearing that kind of news puts a bad rep on judges, because in my eyes I look at it as if this was probably the only time he got caught doing this rather then it being his first time doing it if you understand what i’m saying. Also I feel as if the defendants lawyer kept repeating the same thing and trying to make it seem as if the judge who committed the wrongful act did not know what he was doing or as if what he was doing was not bad. In my eyes he made it seem as if it was just a mistake. The other parties side I feel as if he did his best trying to point out why what the judge did was wrong and why he should be punished for it. He tries to tell why the judge having these gender biases , and being inappropriate is something in which he should be held accountable for. I do not think anything surprises me about this case. I feel like I understand what was going on I do not think I understand what the judges was asking or trying to say very well though. I feel like I found the other parties side more persuasive because I feel like he provided many reasons to why what he did was wrong. I think the defendants lawyer did a good job at citing cases even though they did not really go with what the judge did.