Who Are You Calling Old? The People You Meet While Traveling

There is so much to write about my most recent travels, but I’ll start with a description of a handful of people I met and some of the things they told me. I started in Lutry, Switzerland and traveled to South Africa, Singapore, Melbourne, and Hawaii.

South Africa

In Stellabosch, South Africa, stunning wine country, I met an Australian man attending a work conference in Cape Town. He told me he’s now working in French Switzerland but that he left his job as a professional Aussie football player because his wife encouraged him to find a less dangerous job.

On a highway from Stellenbosch back to Cape Town I met a man of Afrikaner descent told me of the recent problems they’ve experienced with white farmers being killed and also of the armed robberies of people driving on that highway, where the robbers drop boulders from overpasses to get cars to stop before robbing the travelers.

In Cape Town I met a Xhosa man named Zandi, who lives in the Black Township of Langa. Zandi told me many of the residents of Langa trace their roots to the Black and Coloured Cape Town neighborhood called Section 6, a neighborhood which was bulldozed in 1966 when the residents were forcibly removed to the Langa to enforce Apartheid racial separation laws. Zandi also told me that today about half of the people in Langa use community outhouses and do not have toilets.

SA Langa 3
Mosaic art in Langa

In Cape Town I met another man of Xhosa background who lives in Langa and is on the list for a government subsidized house there. I asked if he thought it important for people to stay in the mostly Xhosa townships if they were able to leave. He said, yes, especially if they have children, so when the children get sick they can seek traditional remedies and care.

In Pretoria, standing in front of the South African capital building, I met a man named Chief Khoisan SA, clothed only in an antelope loin cloth, who told me it was time for the South African government to stop classifying his Khoi San people as coloured.

SA Pretoria Chief Khosian
With Chief Khoisan SA in Pretoria

At Robben Island, in the former Cape Town prison, I met a man, Sipho Msomi, who spent four years as a political prisoner there for his role as a recruiter for the African National Congress. He described the torture and solitary confinement he was subjected to. We talked a bit about his trial and whether the presumption of innocence is a reality or fiction. “Mostly fiction,” I said. “Interesting, coming from a lawyer,” he said.

SA Robben Sipho Msnomi pris guide
Sipho Msomi at the prison on Robben ISland


In Johannesburg I met a young man, about 35, John Mashala. Mashala grew up in a traditional village in northeast South Africa. John tried to answer my questions about the upcoming South African presidential elections and explained that the African National Congress is starting to lose the big city vote.

While on a safari in the Pilanesburg Game Reserve of South Africa, I met a 30-year-old woman who is a flight attendant for Virgin Australian Airlines who told me she was glad flight attendants no longer have to be the cell phone police.

In the Pilanesburg Game Reserve I met a park ranger leading our jeep Safari who lives in the park. We experienced an angry male lion charge at our jeep. Seconds later we drove past a road crew patrolled by a crew chief armed with a rifle. “That rifle won’t bring down a charging lion,” the ranger said. It’s a good thing I didn’t know that information sooner.

In South Africa I met a man, Jason, of Dutch Afrikaner heritage, who explained that the difference between the Black Rhino and the White Rhino was the shape of their mouth, which accounted for the difference in their diets. He also said that it doesn’t happen frequently but occasionally rhinos will charge a safari car or jeep and they can ram their horns straight through the door.

SA Safari Rhino 1
A rhino breaks from lunch to keep an eye on me

In Johannesburg I was eating dinner at a restaurant called Carnivore.  The host, a slight man in his ‘60’s, approached me and asked if I wanted to try some izigxobo zezinkunzi braai. I had no idea what he was referring to but I said, of course, having good manners and thinking Parts Unknown. Quite excellent, actually. It was barbequed bulls’ testicles.

SA Carnivore 1
Carnivore, aptly named

In Johannesburg on the plane to Singapore, I met a young woman who was travelling to Singapore for the weekend. She told me her and her husband own an appliance business in Johannesburg and that she volunteers in a Township teaching English as a second language to children whose first language is Xhosa or Zulu. I asked her if she knows how to “click,” the Xhosa way of speaking.  “Not that well,” she said, “but I try.”


In Singapore I shared a trishaw around Chinatown with a woman, originally from Iowa, who lives in South Korea with her husband who is enlisted in the U.S. Army and stationed there. She asked me if I ever heard of the Hasidic Jews from Postville, Iowa who ended up in prison. “The Rubashkins?” I asked, engaging in something called Jewish Geography.

In Singapore I chatted with a store clerk who referred to the U.S. as “the most powerful country in the world,” but agreed with me when I pointed out that almost everything in her store was made in neighboring China. “So is your I-phone,” she reminded me. I’m sure that’s true.

Melbourne, Australia

In Melbourne at the Jewish Museum I met a woman who lives in Melbourne, but was born in Brooklyn, like me. We played the Australian edition of  Jewish Geography.

In Melbourne I met a young man, married with an 8-year-old son, who told me his life revolves around being a devoted fan of the Aussie football team the Richmond Tigers, and that the coming Thursday night he would join another 90,000 fans to watch them play neighboring rival Collingwood. Collingwood won.

In Melbourne, Australia I met a small business owner, Michael Gill who owns a business in Collingwood. In every room Gill posts an acknowledgement of country, recognizing that the business sits on the indigenous land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation.  “I give you a lot of credit for doing that,” I told him. “It’s the least we can do,” he said.

Recognition of indigenous land, Melbourne

In Melbourne I met a 55-year-old geologist named Brian who explained to me that for the last several years he’s been trying to get permits to tear down and rebuild a 1960’s era red brick house there, but that self-described historic preservationists have blocked his efforts. “They want me to build a Victorian house with a bloody white picket fence!” he exclaimed.

On the way back from a visit to Monash University on the outskirts of Melbourne, I met a 45-year-old woman who escaped the violence of her home in Sudan, first moving to Kenya and now living in Melbourne with her husband and adult son. She drives 12 hours a day for Uber so she can send money back to her family in Sudan. “There is no life in Sudan.”

Oahu, Hawaii

In Oahu Hawaii while touring the Pearl Harbor Memorial Museum I met an elderly Japanese couple now living in Chicago, touring the with their adult daughter who lives in Los Angeles. The site of the U.S.S. Arizona was just as sad for them as it was for me.

On the north side of the island of Oahu, Hawaii I stopped in the neighborhood of Waimanalo. I met a man, Andrew, of Philippine background who explained to me that the village is largely comprised of Native Hawaiians.

Street mural by the children of Waimanalo

He explained that housing for Native Hawaiians in the village is government subsidized and questioned whether that is fair, where, in Hawaii, the cost of housing is very expensive. I kept my opinion to myself. Yes, all things considered, it’s abundantly fair.




Who are you calling old?

Flying to Tucson, Arizona I reflected about my day with John Mashala. I shared a late lunch with John across the street from the house in the Soweto Township of Johannesburg where Nelson Mandela grew up, now an odd tourist attraction. Mashala explained to me that a good number of people now living in Soweto now commute by train to good paying jobs in the city and are beginning to be able afford a middle-class life. “I learned a lot from you today,” Mashala said, “you are a wise old man.” “Old?” “I’m not old!” I protested. He laughed loudly, causing attention to us.  “Old people never think they’re old,” he said, with an ironic dash of youthful wisdom.


Jberg John Mashala guide
John Mashala























Equal Pay For The Law Professors Who Also Know How To “Do”

Why are professors who teach students actual practice skills at American law schools treated worse than traditional lecturers? On International Women’s Day I’d say look at who teaches those classes. A recent survey found that law professors who teach legal clinics and supervise field placements (internships/externships) are two-thirds female. Legal writing professors and library research and skills professors are also overwhelmingly female. Tenured faculty, or “tenure track” faculty professors are the best paid professors in law schools, or any schools for that matter. Yet some 75% of the clinical and writing faculty mentioned here do not fall into that prestigious category.

In some instances, the clinical faculty member is the spouse of a faculty member recruited to teach either at the law school or somewhere else at the university. When the institution is trying to convince a candidate to relocate, as with any employer, it’s more likely they’ll consider the school’s offer if their spouse is also offered a job.  I’ve heard an insulting HR term for this, the “trailing spouse.” The problem with the trailing spouse is everyone knows they can’t leave their position for a better one elsewhere. They’re stuck. (Imagine, for example, if the couple has kids, has moved, bought a house, and put the kids into schools.) So, if the spouse is paid less, worked harder or given worse benefits and working conditions, they have no bargaining power.

The legal profession has undergone changes and one is the emphasis on law schools teaching lawyering skills. Offering clinics and field placements is the best way to teach those skills. Clinical faculty supervise students working on actual cases the schools receive in a number of ways. Most law schools offer clinics in immigration law, criminal law, family law, environmental law, civil rights and increasingly in transactional or business law. In many law schools there is now a very rich selection of clinical opportunities.

The advantage of the law school clinic is that students learn lessons that hardly arise out of a textbook. Classes that offer real-world simulations are also valuable, but not as rich as actual cases with actual clients, actual witnesses or experts. In the clinic I taught little bombs would explode, fires erupt constantly, and students would have to make judgments, ethical and strategy calls. Real witnesses lie, they change their version of the facts, or have a lapse of memory. They might not show up, or they get arrested, perhaps lose physical evidence. You can see how being able to handle developments as they unfold is incredibly valuable to students.

Years later, after memory of a caselaw lecture has long faded, memory of a real case handled in a clinic is vivid. To this day I remember the death row appeal I worked on 30 years ago in Professor Ursula Bentele’s Capital Litigation Clinic at Brooklyn Law School.

The organized bar places a high premium on clinics and supervised field placements, as do the students and their prospective employers. So why treat the faculty more poorly than the other faculty? On International Women’s Day commit to treating law professors equally.

A Jewish Fixer? Not Likely

I knew this wasn’t going to end well. A Jewish fixer? We can’t fix anything. Everyone knows how unhandy we are. I know some will bristle at the stereotype, but I count myself, proudly, in the category of unhandy Jews. I’m lucky if I can hammer a nail into the wall to hang a picture. A leaky faucet? Curtain rods need to go up? Call somebody.

I heard the familiar ring of a Long Island Jewish accent testifying before Congress this week. A Jewish lawyer from Woodmere, a few miles from where I grew up, was claiming he was hired to fix things. This was destined to be a failure, about as successful as Arnold Rothstein trying to fix the 1919 World Series. Everybody was banned from baseball for life and Rothstein was assassinated.

Rothstein Fixes World Series

I don’t know where this term fixer emerged from. Was it movie roles played by George Clooney in Michael Clayton or Tom Hagen in the Godfather?  It certainly doesn’t resemble my law practice. I’m a criminal lawyer. I got hired usually long after things were broken, and arrests made, or indictments issued. I investigated cases, did legal research, developed legal strategies and tried cases in front of juries. Catch and kill? That’s a hunting term, something also atypical for Jews, or New York Jews, at least. Catch and release seems more likely, but if it’s killed, by somebody far, far away, it’s smoked and sliced very, very thin. I worked in delis as a teenager and have nightmares of Long Island women screaming at me to cut the lox thinner.

Cohen is asking for a second chance, something in fact I did daily on behalf of my clients.  He’d like to fix the crisis of incivility in public discourse. Maybe he can help, but he’s an unlikely advocate. He’s called in a Jewish lawyer from New Jersey to help him. Lanny Davis, son of a Newark dentist, is probably handier. Dentists use drills and fix toothaches, after all.

Sometimes it helps if we don’t take ourselves too seriously; the current state of affairs is one of those times.

Change is Coming For Victims of Domestic Violence On American Indian Reservations

Sexual and domestic violence in Indian Country continues to be a crisis, with grave law enforcement challenges.   There is progress, however. I recently published an article in the A.B.A. Criminal Justice magazine about the changes made in federal law to help Indian tribes address the problem. You can read the entire article here. Here is the section of the article detailing the Violence Against Women legal changes:

In 2013, President Obama signed into law the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a federal statute that addresses domestic violence and other crimes against women. (Pub. L. No. 113-4, 127 Stat. 54 (2013).) When originally enacted in 1994, VAWA created new federal offenses and sanctions, provided training for federal, state, and local law enforcement and courts to address these crimes, and funded a variety of community services to
protect and support victims.

President Obama listens to Lisa Lyotte (Sicangu Lakota Ospaya tribe) who was raped and beaten, prior to signing the Tribal Law and Order Act on July 29, 2010. PHOTO: UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Most significantly, the amended version of VAWA recognizes that tribal courts have jurisdiction over criminal cases brought by tribes against nonmembers, including non-Indians, that arise under VAWA. Significantly, this is the first time since the Supreme Court’s 1978 decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe that Congress recognized tribal courts’ criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. (435 U.S. 191 (1978).) This change in the law represents a major change for native communities and especially native women. Native American and Alaska Native women experience sexual violence at a rate two and a half times higher than other women in the United States. (See NAT’L INST. OF JUSTICE, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, PUBLIC LAW 280 AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IN INDIAN COUNTRY—RESEARCH PRIORITIES (2005).)

The special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction recognized under the VAWA
reauthorization not only provides an additional tool to address violence in Indian country, but also strengthens tribal courts and tribal sovereignty. Congress’s recognition of tribal criminal jurisdiction comes with limitations and places obligations on tribes. Tribes wishing to take advantage of VAWA’s jurisdictional provisions may need to amend tribal law, and hire new
judges and public defenders. Further, there remain significant limitations on who can be prosecuted in tribal courts. VAWA pilot programs and prosecutions of non-Indians in domestic violence cases have commenced in select tribal courts in the following states: Arizona, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington, and it is extremely likely that many more will follow.

Cherokee Billboard

Here is a summary of the new law’s requirements and limitations:

Limitations of the Enhanced Jurisdiction under VAWA 

Types of offenses. Under the amended statute, tribes can prosecute “domestic violence” or “dating violence” by a person who is or has been in a “dating or domestic relationship” with the victim. Tribes can also prosecute violations of protection orders that occur in Indian country as long as those protection orders were issued to prevent (1) violent or threatening acts, or (2) contact, communication, or physical proximity with or to the victim.
Types of defendants. Tribes can only prosecute VAWA cases against a non-Indian defendant if he or she has one of the following connections to the tribe’s reservation or lands: (1) resides in Indian country, (2) is employed in Indian country, or (3) is the spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner of an Indian living in Indian country or a tribal member. The last category includes former spouses, individuals who share a child in common, and individuals in
social relationships of a romantic or intimate nature. With one very limited exception, this new jurisdiction does not apply to tribes in Alaska, who under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) are governed by 12 regional corporations. (See 43 U.S.C. §§ 1601 et seq.) These new jurisdictional rules also have very limited impact with nonrecognized tribes.

Types of victims

Tribes can only use the jurisdictional provisions of VAWA to prosecute crimes against Indian victims. This new law does not recognize tribal authority to prosecute non-Indians for violent acts against non-Indian victims.
Procedural safeguards. Tribes will need to guarantee that their criminal codes and rules of criminal procedure provide defendants with certain procedural safeguards. These include the right to a trial by an impartial jury of members of the community, from which non-Indians may not be excluded. Whenever a tribe intends to impose imprisonment, it must provide counsel/public defenders for indigent defendants. It must guarantee that proceedings are presided
over by a law-trained judge. It must make publicly available the tribal criminal statutes and rules of procedure, and the criminal proceedings must be recorded. Defendants ordered detained under VAWA must be informed by the tribal court of their right to file federal habeas corpus petitions. Tribes must comply with all provisions of the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) and guarantee “all other rights whose protection is necessary under the Constitution of the United States” in order to exercise this criminal jurisdiction. (See 25 U.S.C. §§ 1302, 1304.) It has not yet been established precisely what “other rights” this refers to. The guarantee of these fundamental rights is something which may very well end up becoming the topic of future defense challenges and litigation.

Pilot programs

As a result of the new federal legislation, in February 2013 the Justice Department announced a pilot program with three initial tribes, giving them jurisdiction over non-Indians in domestic violence cases on their reservations. Those tribes were the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, and the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon. As of February 20, 2014, the tribal courts in those three jurisdictions began to exert their newly
enhanced jurisdiction. In 2015, two additional tribes were approved to begin exercising special domestic violence jurisdiction as part of the pilot program: the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation of Montana and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation of North and South Dakota.

Since 2015

After 2015, another 10 began to exercise the special domestic violence jurisdiction: Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians of Michigan, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma, Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Kickapoo Tribe  of Oklahoma, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi of Michigan, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan. The 10 tribal courts are at varying stages of exercising the approved jurisdiction, but it is likely they will all begin prosecuting cases shortly, if they have not already done so. It is extremely likely that many more tribes will soon adopt the enhanced VAWA domestic violence jurisdiction.

For more:

Practicing Indian Law in Federal, State, and Tribal Criminal Courts and an Update on Recent Expansion of Criminal Jurisdiction Over Non-Indians

Criminal Justice, Volume 32, Number 4, Winter 2018

The Race To Execute A Racist

Printed January 11, 2017 in the Danbury Newstimes


You only die once. So why are both federal and state prosecutors separately trying to kill the 22-year-old man who, in July 2015, went on a racist rampage killing nine people in a church in Charleston? Jurors in a federal court in the southern city on Tuesday made one of the most important and difficult decisions of their lives. The decision came at the end of the penalty phase in the man’s trial (DSR) where the jury’s choice was either execution or a “life without parole” sentence.

CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 19: Kearston Farr comforts her daughter, Taliyah Farr,5, as they stand in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after a mass shooting at the church that killed nine people of June 19, 2015. A 21-year-old white gunman is suspected of killing nine people during a prayer meeting in the church, which is one of the nation's oldest black churches in Charleston. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC – JUNE 19: Kearston Farr comforts her daughter, Taliyah Farr,5,in front of the church that where nine people were murdered. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Mass murder rampages are always horrific. This one differs from other rampages where victims are usually chosen more randomly. The victims in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School rampage, for example, only had in common that they were affiliated in some way with the school, where first grade children, teachers and school administrators were all killed. In that tragedy, the shooter’s motives were never realized, and there is no requirement that it is.

The South Carolina rampager had a motive. He wanted to punish African Americans for perceived injustices he imagined they perpetrated upon whites. A grotesque feature of his murderous scheme is that he sat and prayed in the African Methodist Episcopal Church with his victims just before he killed them.

The sentencing hearing occurring now is a federal capital murder trial. Federal murder cases used to be rare. According the Death Penalty Information Center, in the nearly 30 years since 1988 only three federal defendants have been executed. Today there are 62 inmates now on federal death row, including the man convicted in the 2013 Boston marathon massacre. Federal capital murder trials were unusual because homicide in the U.S. legal system is typically a state or local crime; investigated by state or local police and prosecuted by state or local prosecutors.

Not all states allow for the death penalty, but South Carolina is one of the 31 states that does. In fact, South Carolina state officials have also indicted the man on nine murder counts and will begin a second capital murder trial just as soon as the federal trial is over.

Putting an offender on trial twice for the same offense may look like a violation of the “double jeopardy” clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but it’s not. That’s because the U.S. and South Carolina are separate legal entities and the “dual sovereignty” doctrine allows prosecutions for the same offense by both governments. The fact that both can put DSR on trial doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Victims will go through the traumatic experience of witnessing the trial, some testifying a second time. Trials, particularly capital trials, with a very lengthy appellate process, are a considerable expense for taxpayers to endure even once.

Some penalties can co-exist after separate federal and state trials. A prison sentence for years, fines or restitution orders can all co-exist. The most likely sentences in these two cases, though, are either life without parole, or death and both, obviously, can only be carried out once.

Why is the U.S. Justice Department pursuing DSR? In charging him, Attorney General Loretta Lynch pointed to the racial hostility nature of the massacre and the existence of federal hate and racial bias crimes as a rationale for moving forward. The explanation for duplicate capital murder trials is unsatisfactory. It’s true that charging bias and hate crimes serve a cathartic purpose for a badly traumatized African American community, and go to the heart of the offenses. How important is it for the crimes charged to expose the motivations of the mass murderer?

When the evidence is put on, the upcoming South Carolina state murder trial will expose the same motivations the federal trial did. Isn’t it enough for DSR to be only once charged with nine counts of murder, followed by one just sentence? Perhaps the Justice Department and the President are hedging their bets, not willing to take any chances of a failed state prosecution and the effect it would have on the nation.

Most rampagers are suicidal and most rampages end with the rampager taking their own life or being gunned down by police. This rampager is no different. He fully expected to be confronted by police either inside or outside the Church. His federal sentencing hearing is a spectacle. Why broadcast his bigotry a second time? If it’s death he wants, it’s likely that’s what he’ll get.

Regardless of the outcome of both trials, one thing is certain. He will only die once and no number of trials will restore the lives of his innocent victims.

Editor’s note: DSR is Dylann S. Roof. Diamond intentionally minimized the exposure given to him, following a protocol advocated by NO Notoriety, a group of murder survivors who believe infamy is one of the goals of rampage murderers.

Jim Diamond practiced criminal law in Danbury for 25 years. Today he teaches at the University Of Arizona College Of Law.


When The Courtroom Lets You Down: Conviction Tossed for Man Who Bullied Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi

We expect a lot from the courts, and probably far too much. They are asked to tackle complex social quagmires like race and abortion, resolve historic corporate disputes, cure addictions, mediate longstanding family battles, place children in loving homes and more. In New Jersey this week the limitations of criminal courts were again made apparent.   Criminal convictions were dismissed there by an appellate court against Dharun Ravi. Ravi is the Rutgers University student who, in 2010 videotaped his roommate, Tyler Clementi making out with another man in the college dorm room Clementi and Ravi shared. Ravi showed other students the video and Clementi tragically committed suicide by jumping to his death from the George Washington Bridge.

Ravi was arrested, tried and convicted on bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and other criminal charges. Interestingly, Ravi was not charged in court with causing Clementi’s death. In charging Ravi, Middlesex County N.J. prosecutors had noble objectives—Ravi acted terribly and clearly contributed to Clementi’s profound sadness and embarrassment to the point he could no longer bear it. Death, for him, was preferable.

Public outrage led prosecutors to do what prosecutors do: make arrests. But New Jersey prosecutors couldn’t charge Ravi with manslaughter since the state law requires evidence—proof—that the Ravi caused Clementi’s death under circumstances “manifesting extreme indifference to human life.” Legally proving Ravi caused Clementi’s death was a steep mountain to climb. Ravi was the cause of Clementi’s state of mind, no doubt. His cruel, demeaning and mean spirited actions, for which there is no conceivable justification, deserve the wrath of a modern society. But was Clementi’s reaction a foreseeable one? Courts wrestle often with the concept of what a person “should have known” when deciding whom to hold accountable for crimes or civil torts.  

Indian-born Dharun Ravi, 20, could face 10 years in prison and be deported after he's finished serving his time for charges of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in a case that exploded into the headlines when Ravi's roommate committed suicide.
Dharon Ravi In Court

 The bias intimidation charges the Middlesex County prosecutor charged were, like many bias crimes states have enacted, tools to confront violence fueled by modern day racial or gender discrimination. These crimes, often referred to as “hate crimes” run into legal trouble when they punish hateful opinions rather than conduct (as unpopular opinions are rigorously protected by the First Amendment) or when it becomes impossible for courts to determine exactly what motivated the bad actor. The New Jersey bias intimidation law has come under recent scrutiny for the latter problem.

Middlesex County prosecutors have to decide now whether to take another appeal or re-try Ravi. The New Jersey Appellate Court was not pleased with the task of having to reverse Ravi’s convictions. In doing so, though, they acknowledged the inherent limitations of courts to resolve social woes. They said, in part: 

From a societal perspective, this case has exposed some of the latent dangers concealed by the seemingly magical powers of the internet. The implications associated with the misuse of technological advances lies beyond the court’s competency to address.

 Clementi’s parents might have had an easier time holding Ravi or the University responsible in a civil court rather than a criminal court had they chosen to file a “wrongful death” suit as civil courts have a lower standard for establishing causal connections.   To their credit the parents, instead, established a charitable foundation in their son’s name.   The Tyler Clementi Foundation will do more to combat discrimination than legislation can or can the adversarial jousting of litigation. Sometimes it’s better for lawyers to recognize the institutional limitations of the law to fix what is obviously broken.  

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation (AKA Never Bring Bananas On A Boat)

Simple lessons learned about fishing, beaches and ice cream while on vacation in Little Compton, Rhode Island: Rhode Islanders like their traditions and old habits die hard (AKA Never bring bananas on a boat). #rhody #fishingtrips, #sunandsand

Here is my blog at Pattyj.com