Supreme Court will hear Mathis case related to Armed Career Criminal Act

January 22, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court this week announced it will hear a case about whether a sentence enhancement Iowa resident Richard Mathis received under the Armed Career Criminal Act was fair. Mathis was arrested in 2013 after a 15-year-old boy claimed the man molested him. Federal prosecutors, however,  indicted him on a single count of being a felon in possession of a firearm – and a federal judge later sentenced Mathis to 15 years in prison under the Armed Career Criminal Act, citing five prior second-degree burglary convictions as violent felonies under the act. The nation’s high court will hear the case in the weeks ahead, to clarify rules related to career criminal sentencing. Law professor Carissa Byrne Hessick is prepared to comment on the case and can explain why the case is important in a time when many federal statutes incorporate state convictions and the definition of state crimes continue to expand.
Carissa Byrne Hessick Phone: 801-587-8756 | Email: carissa.hessick@law.utah.edu


The fraud princess

January 14, 2016

It’s a scandal that has Europe captivated and Spaniards aghast: Princess Christina is on trial for fraud. What does this mean for Spain, a country that loves its royalty? What’s the historic value of this?  Could this lead to a change in respect of the monarchy from average Spaniards? What does this mean for Spain right now, with all that is going on within the country and the world economy/political landscape in general? Department of Languages & Literature professors Fernando and Lucia Rubio are available to offer commentary. The best way to reach the Rubios is via email.
Fernando Rubio | Email: fernando.rubio@utah.edu
Lucia Rubio| Email: lucia.rubio@utah.edu

Law school “rock star” Erwin Chemerinsky to speak at U

December 11, 2015

He’s the closest thing the law school circuit has to a rock star. And now Erwin Chemerinsky is headed to the University of Utah, scheduled to speak Feb.4 as part of the 50th Annual Leary Lecture at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, the U announced this week.  Chemerinsky is a well-known professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Previously, he taught at Duke Law School for four years, during which he won the Duke University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award in 2006. He also taught for 21 years at the University of Southern California School of Law, UCLA School of Law and DePaul University College of Law. His areas of expertise are constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, and appellate litigation. He is the author of eight books, including The Case Against the Supreme Court published in 2014, and more than 200 articles in top law reviews. He frequently argues cases before the nation’s highest courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and also serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media. He writes a weekly column for the Orange County Register, monthly columns for the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. In January 2014, National Jurist magazine named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.  His lecture is expected to be a huge draw at the U for the legal community, where he’ll reflect on the last half century of constitutional law.  He is available for media interviews prior to his visit.  Those interested in attending can RSVP here.
S.J. Quinney College of Law, 6th floor moot courtroom, 383 South University Street, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.


Profanity professor

July 6, 2015

Recently President Obama did an hour-long interview and mentioned the N-word when discussing race relations. There were many strong reactions to the president using the controversial word, and it stirred many conversations about the use of taboo language. Randall Eggert, assistant professor of linguistics at the U and author of “This Book is Taboo: An Introduction to Linguistics through Swearing,” is available to discuss why words that were once considered obscene have become more acceptable and other words that were once mainstream have become forbidden. Examples of such words are mostly racial and sexual slurs. As our acceptance of four-letter words grows, our acceptance of derogatory terms and slurs decreases. Eggert can also discuss how this changes in each generation, and as some four-letter words become more frequently used, the next generation will find new words to cause offense.
Phone: 801-541-6221 | Email: reggert@hum.utah.edu

The expiration of the Patriot Act and adoption of the USA Freedom Act: What does it mean?

June 12, 2015

The U.S. government temporarily had fewer avenues to investigate terrorism after the Senate let provisions of the Patriot Act expire at the beginning of June. Some saw the expirations as a national security risk, while others, who champion privacy, saw the expirations as a victory. Three provisions of the law expired, including the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program, which let the NSA collect telephone metadata on people and store it for five years. Law enforcement also can’t get roving wiretaps to track terror suspects who change phones, and must now get warrants for each device they want to wiretap. The third provision that has expired is one that allowed so-called “lone wolf” terror suspects to be tracked if they weren’t part of a terror group such as the Islamic State group. But the expirations didn’t last long: The Senate this week met and passed the USA Freedom Act, which restored some surveillance measures. Shima Baradaran, an associate professor of law, can offer legal commentary about the laws and what they mean.
Phone: 801-587-8754 | Email: shima.baradaran@law.utah.edu