The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces heard oral arguments at the School of Law this spring in the Teplitz Moot Courtroom before a standing-room-only audience of students and faculty.
The Court heard the appellate argument at the School in an actual military case before the Court, United States v. Airman First Class David A. Leedy, USAF. The case concerned an appeal from Airman Leedy’s conviction of knowingly and wrongfully possessing visual depictions of a minor under the age of 18 engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The U.S. Court of Appeals granted review on the issue of “whether the military judge erred in denying appellant’s motion to suppress the evidence seized from appellant’s computer where the affidavit in support of the search did not contain any description of the substance of the images suspected to depict ‘sexually explicit conduct.’”
This event was part of the Court’s Project Outreach, which, as part of its mission, holds oral arguments at law schools, military bases and other public forums throughout the United States. The Court selects cases of interest to law students and faculty.
One of the Program’s central components is the opportunity for a law student to participate in oral arguments. Interested Pitt Law students competed for the opportunity under the supervision of faculty advisor Professor Robert Harper. The School of Law selected a student to deliver an argument as amicus curiae under the supervision of a member of the Court’s bar. Carey Scheible, ’07, helped prepare an amicus brief along with the brief’s primary author, Neal Hamilton, ’07. Scheible delivered a 10-minute oral argument on behalf of Airman Leedy.
At the conclusion of oral arguments, the Court officially closed. However, the judges remained in the Teplitz Moot Courtroom for a question and answer session with the student and faculty audience.
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has “appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” The cases cover a range of legal issues such as constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure, ethics, administrative law and national security law. Typically, the Court holds its hearings in Washington, D.C.
This was the first such appellate argument by the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to be heard at Pitt Law.
University of Pittsburgh Professor of Law Vivian Curran was awarded the Grand Decoration of Merit in Gold for Services Rendered to the Republic of Austria by The Honorable Eva Nowotny, Austrian Ambassador to the United States.
In a special May 2 decoration ceremony hosted by Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, Ambassador Nowotny presented Professor Curran with this high honor, which was granted by the Austrian Federal President, in recognition of her work as a member of the Austrian General Settlement Fund Committee. Appointed by the U.S. State Department to this post, Professor Curran helped adjudicate claims filed by victims of the Austrian Holocaust seeking compensation for losses suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
Professor Bernard Hibbitts speaks at the JURIST conference.
Photography by Luis Torrefranca, School of Law
“At the Council of Europe, we are regular users and great fans of JURIST...a highly respected source of information on legal developments around the world.” With those opening remarks delivered via video from Strasbourg, France, Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis kicked off a daylong conference at the School of Law on March 29 celebrating JURIST’s tenth anniversary.
Called “Law As a Seamless Web|Site: JURIST Celebrates 10 Years of Documenting Law to Empower People,” the conference covered topics ranging from the legal implications of war and war crimes trials, to rights and social justice concerns, to how the media report legal news.
Emmy award-winning former CNN Supreme Court and legal affairs correspondent Charles Bierbauer delivered the conference keynote address. Bierbauer examined how the Internet and technology are changing the way in which legal news is reported and presented.
Other conference headliners included Jonathan Freiman, counsel to Jose Padilla; David M. Crane, former chief prosecutor for the UN war crimes court in West Africa; Edward A. Adams, editor of the ABA Journal; and FindLaw founder Tim Stanley.
In its 10-year history, JURIST (jurist.law.pitt.edu) has mirrored the same dramatic changes evidenced in the Internet itself. First begun as a small Web site for law professors, JURIST has evolved into a live, dynamic legal news and research service read by more than 100,000 legal professionals, academics, journalists and interested citizens every week.
JURIST provides real-time legal news plus analysis and commentary by some of the world’s most distinguished policy makers, practitioners and legal analysts. Based at the School of Law, JURIST is powered by 40 Pitt Law students and managed by JURIST’s founder and Editor-in-Chief Professor Bernard Hibbitts and Executive Director Jeannie Shawl.
They are three of Pitt Law’s most beloved, long-standing faculty. Emeritus faculty Cy Fox, Bill Brown and Bob Harper came out of retirement and returned to the classroom this year after collective lifetimes of service to the School of Law.
“We asked each of them to consider coming back for a short period of time to help the School fill several important curricular needs. And we are so delighted and honored that they accepted our invitations,” says Lu-in Wang, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law. “They each have deep connections to the School, having spent the majority of their professional lives here. Both Cy Fox and Bob Harper are alumni as well. It’s just wonderful to see them as an integral part of the School again.”
And their colleagues and students couldn’t be happier.
Cy Fox returned for a semester to teach land transfer and finance courses, and Bob Harper taught criminal law, evidence and criminal procedure this past year. Professor Brown will continue to teach in the ’07–’08 academic year, teaching federal income tax, estate and gift tax, and taxation of corporate reorganizations.
Four Pitt Law students recently were awarded the 2006 University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association scholarships. These scholarships are awarded annually to a select number of third-year Pitt Law students who have demonstrated financial need as well as outstanding academic performance, involvement in the University and Law School communities, and service to the larger community. Each finalist is interviewed individually by the Board of Governors of the Law Alumni Association.
The 2006 recipients are:
Elizabeth Farina, ’07, interned at the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and is the associate editor of Pitt Law’s Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law.
Katy McKee, ’07, is active in the Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation as well as the Pittsburgh Regional Immigration Assistance Center. This past summer she worked at a women’s shelter and volunteered at Neighborhood Legal Services. McKee is a staff editor of Pitt Law’s Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law.
Kerry O’Donnell, ’07, is a recipient of the K&L Gates Public Interest Fellowship in support of her work at Neighborhood Legal Services this past summer. She also was co-president of the Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation (PLISF), a student organization providing summer grants to students working in public interest law, and has served as associate editor of Pitt Law’s Journal of Law and Commerce.
Christina Yeager, ’07, volunteered at the Children’s Rights Council in Washington, D.C., working on custody issues, and has volunteered at child relief organizations in St. Lucia, India, and in the Dominican Republic. In addition, Yeager has volunteered at the Allegheny County Court Juvenile Division and at KidsVoice. Yeager also is a member of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.
The guiding purpose of the Law Alumni Association is to provide need-based scholarships to law students. All money generated by the Alumni Association—either through dues or special events—is used to fund the annual scholarships. Stuart W. Benson, III, member of the Law Alumni Association Board of Governors, says, “We believe it is imperative that we continue to raise money from our fellow alumni so that the Law Alumni Association can continue to provide financial assistance to the many outstanding students at the School of Law. Candidates for the 2006 Alumni Scholarships were truly exceptional. We wish we could have awarded more scholarships, and, in fact, were limited only by the amount of scholarship money available.
“It truly was an honor to meet these young men and women. Their accomplishments and record of service is a source of pride for the University, the School of Law, and for all of our fellow alumni.”