University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 7:44am

Professor Ronald Brand commented in the Philadelphia Business Journal and Pittsburgh Business Times on Pennsylvania rules for foreign lawyers taking the bar exam.  "In Pennsylvania, we're shooting ourselves in the foot by basically encouraging the best foreign lawyers to go to New York.   It hurts our competitiveness and it makes it harder for Pennsylvania to get advice on how to do business overseas.  It also creates a disadvantage for Pennsylvania law schools trying to attract the best students."  

Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 11:55am

Professor Anthony Infanti was elected Vice Chair of the Teaching Taxation Committee of the ABA's Section of Taxation in August of 2011.

Monday, September 5, 2011 - 8:41pm

Professor Douglas Branson was the featured guest on the Israeli Public Radio weekly financial program, “Goldstein on Gelt.”   The half hour interview was recorded on July 22 and aired July 29.  Professor Branson discussed his books on corporate governance and on women in corporate governance roles, including his latest book on the subject, The Last Male Bastion: Gender and the CEO Suite at America’s Public Companies, which evidently has attracted somewhat of a following in Israel.

Monday, September 5, 2011 - 8:26pm

Professor David Harris commented on the denial of State Senator Jane Orie's appeal of a double jeopardy issue that arose out of her trial on political corruption charges.  When Orie's defense attorney offered evidence that seemed to contained forged signatures, the trial judge declared a mistrial; Orie then argued that there should be no retrial, on the basis of double jeoparday.  The trial judge denied her motion, and she appealed.  The Pennsylvania Superior Court disagreed, and Professor Harris explained that any further appeal would be even less likely to succeed than the argument in front of either the trial judge or the Superior Court.


Link to the article

Monday, September 5, 2011 - 8:21pm

The 2011 edition of Professors John Burkoff’s and Nancy Burkoff’s treatise, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, was just published by West.  With this new edition, this treatise, which was first published in 1993, moves from a hardcover, binder format with annual supplementation to a softcover format, with a new edition published each year.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 4:43pm

Criminal Law Professor John Burkoff talks to multiple media outlets not only about the 16 counts of forgery, perjury, tampering and/or fabricating evidence, against State Senator Jane Orie, but also about how this new case will tie into a retrial of the original case dealing with the potential misuse of public office resources for campaign work.    

Of the new charges, Burkoff suggests that without direct evidence, it will be hard for the district attorney’s office to prove that Orie forged documents. 

“To actually show that she did it, well, that has to be arrived at circumstantially and that’s not an easy leap for everyone.”

Burkoff explains that proving perjury is difficult not only must Orie have testified falsely, but also, Burkoff says, “the person who made these misstatements [must] actually believe they were false. So, one of the defenses you could have to that [would be], ‘Oh I may have said the wrong thing but I actually believed it.’”

A decision regarding whether to try the two potential cases together or separately will be a difficult choice, Burkoff thinks. 

Watch the KDKA interview with Jon Delano here. 

Read the Post-Gazette article here. 

Read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article here.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 4:18pm

With Former House Speaker John Perzel poised to plead guilty in an 82-count indictment as of August 30th, Pitt Law Professor John Burkoff explains to multiple media sources why it is that he believes the plea in the case makes sense for prosecutors as well as why others who were charged with felonies will have little choice but to plead guilty, too. 

“One, there’s the certainty of the conviction ... and the savings that brings in terms of time, expense and angst,” said Burkoff. “Two, in these cases you’re talking about felonies with dollar amounts where they are presumably satisfied that he’ll get a significant jail sentence.” 


Burkoff goes on to explain why, in his opinion, he feels the nine other Republicans who were charged with felonies in November 2009 will also plead guilty to charges of conflict of interest, theft, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. 


"[Perzel’s plea] tells me it's pretty hard for the remaining defendants not to consider plea agreements," he says. 


Read the Post-Gazette story here.


Read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story here.


Read the Patriot-News story here.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 10:45am

Professor John Burkoff discussed the new set of charges against State Senator Jane Orie filed yesterday.  The charges stem from the discovery that several documents offered as defense evidence in Orie's trial on political corruption charges six months ago were fraudulent.  The discovery of the fraud caused a mistrial, and the corruption case will be retried.  The new case stems from the alteration of the documents, allegedly by Orie, and from allegedly perjured testimony by Orie in the trial unrelated to the documents.  Professor Burkoff commented on the case in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and also discussed the difficulties of proving the case live on KQV AM radio.


Link to Tribune-Review story

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 10:31am

Professors Arthur Hellman and John Burkoff weighed in on public comments by PA Supreme Court Justice Max Baer concerning another judge who stands accused of misconduct.  Lackawanna County Judge Terrence Nealon has admitted to engaging in behavior that showed "a lapse in ethical judgment," and his case may well be referred to state judicial ethics authorities.  Such cases can end up in front of the PA Supreme Court for final decision.  In a newspaper story, Justice Baer criticized Nealon's behavior but also praised him, saying that Nealon was "a fine man" and "a fine judge" whose "dumb" mistake that should not derail his judicial career. This put the focus on whether Justice Baer's comments might influence the determination of the judicial ethnics case against Judge Nealon, and whether Justice Baer would have to recuse himself if Nealon's case came to the Supreme Court.  Professor Burkoff thought Justice Baer's comments were "not inappropriate," but Professor Hellman said that the comments may, indeed, require Justice Baer to recuse himself.


Link to the story

Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 9:20pm

Professor David Harris commented on the upcoming guilty plea of Elizabeth Jones, housemate of Michael Carlow.  Carlow, convicted in the past of a major financial fraud, will go on trial soon for another alleged swindle, and Jones' guilty plea raises the prospect that she may testify against him.  According to Professor Harris, a plea agreement often includes a condition that the pleading party act as a witness against others in the case.  Even if this is not a condition, the person who pleads guilty may still be subpoenaed for trial, and would likely have no Fifth Amendment protection after a plea


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