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LSU Law News

March 2009

LSU Law Wins Second Place Overall and Sweeps Individual Awards
March 31, 2009

Two teams from the LSU Law Center participated in the Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Competition held in Charleston, South Carolina on March 26-28, 2009. The team of Peyton Lambert, Linda Millhollon and Courtney Bryan finished Second Place in the competition which began with 25 teams. The team of David Borghardt, Megan Rawle Stafford, and Katherine Lee also had an amazing performance, winning the oral argument component of every round in which they competed.
In addition to winning the "Phelps Dunbar Finalist" award for making it to the Championship Round, LSU Law students won the top three individual awards given at the competition.  Peyton Lambert won the award for Outstanding Oral Advocate of the Competition and Outstanding Oral Advocate of the Championship Round. David Borghardt won the award for the first runner-up as the Outstanding Oral Advocate of the Competition.


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More Than 70 Students Attend Law Center’s Admitted Student Visiting Day
March 27, 2009

A diverse group of 72 students attended LSU Law's most recent Admitted Student Visiting Day, getting a firsthand look at what life as a law student at LSU involves.

The students represented eight states, 24 undergraduate schools, and 25 academic disciplines, with the oldest student being born in 1970 and the youngest being born in 1988.

Following a welcome and panel discussion, students attended a first-year class taught by Professors Randy Trahan, Paul Baier, and Ray Diamond. They then attended a mock class by Professor Lee Ann Lock ridge and had the option of ending their day with a tour of the Law Center.

Photo Gallery

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Federalist Society Guest Speaker Discusses Censoring Unwanted Speech
March 27, 2009

Patrick Garry, an associate law professor at the University of South Dakota School of Law and director of its Center for Empirical Legal Research, recently spoke at a meeting of the LSU Law Federalist Society on the topic of "Rediscovering a Lost Freedom: the First Amendment Right to Censor Unwanted Speech."

His talk focused on the theory that current first amendment doctrine protects low value speech—indecency and graphic violence, for example—more than it does high value speech, i.e. political speech. Garry argued that the first amendment extends its highest protections to political speech, and consequently, non-political media entertainment does not qualify for that same protection.

He also concluded that one of the speech freedoms most threatened by the current media environment is the freedom to avoid or reject certain types of unwanted, non-political speech. He then argued ways in which that freedom might be protected without violating the free speech clause.

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Judge Eugene Davis to Serve as Law Commencement Speaker
March 26, 2009


Judge W. Eugene Davis of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has been selected as the speaker for the LSU Law Commencement ceremony on May 28.

"Judge Davis's distinguished career on the federal bench has combined insight, evenhandedness, and civility. He has fully lived up to Louisiana's tradition of great Fifth Circuit judges. The LSU Law community is excited that a judge and a person of Judge Davis' high caliber will share his reflections with our graduating class," said LSU Law Chancellor Jack M. Weiss.

Davis is a graduate of Tulane Law School, receiving his LL.B. degree in 1960. He received his bachelor's degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

After working in private practice in New Orleans from 1960-1964 and New Iberia from 1964-1976, Davis was nominated by Pres. Gerald Ford to a seat in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana. In 1983, he was nominated by Pres. Ronald Reagan to a seat in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of...

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Chancellor Discusses Proposed Budget Cuts with LSU Reveille
March 25, 2009

Chancellor Jack Weiss was interviewed recently by the LSU Reveille on the impact of proposed budget cuts to the LSU Law Center. Read the full text of the article.

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Judge Ralph Tyson Named 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
March 24, 2009


The Hon. Ralph E. Tyson, a 1973 graduate of the LSU Law Center and the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, has been named the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss made the announcement on Friday, March 20, at a joint meeting of the Board of Trustees and Young Alumni Leadership Council.

The award is given annually to an alumnus who exemplifies the highest quality and ethical standards of the legal profession. It also recognizes personal and professional achievements, as well as loyalty to the LSU Law Center.

"Ralph Tyson has devoted more than 30 years of his career to exemplary public service-as prosecutor, state court judge, and federal district judge," said Weiss. "At every step of the way, Judge Tyson has gained the respect and admiration of his peers. We are proud to honor this consummate professional and esteemed community leader as our distinguished alumnus of 2009."

In 1998,...

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LSU Law Faculty and Students Involved in Juvenile Confessions Reform
March 24, 2009

Following the state Subcommittee on Juvenile Confessions' recent Juvenile Confessions Conference at the LSU Law Center, the consensus among the state and national panelists was that there needed to be reform in the laws governing the interrogations and confessions of juveniles. What exactly that reform might entail, however, was another matter.

Currently in Louisiana, the state uses a "totality of the circumstances" test to determine whether a confession was freely and voluntarily given and thus, properly admissible at trial.

The Subcommittee on Juvenile Confessions is discussing further steps for ensuring that confessions are reliable enough for adjudication. For instance, one procedure being looked at would employ electronic recordings of the interrogation, in addition to Miranda-style warnings. It was also suggested that a child must sign any statement in the presence of a magistrate with no law enforcement or prosecuting attorney present, and that interrogations of children should...

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Princeton’s Robert George to Deliver White Lectures on “Morality and Policy: Contemporary Challenges” April 2 and 3 at LSU
March 23, 2009

Princeton Professor Robert P. George will deliver the 2009 Edward Douglass White Lectures on Citizenship on April 2 and 3 at LSU. His theme for the series will be "Morality and Policy: Contemporary Challenges."

George will deliver two lectures in the series:

• On Thursday, April 2, he will speak on "Science, Philosophy and Religion in the Embryo Debate." The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the Law Center McKernan Law Auditorium.

• Οn Friday, April 3, he will address "The Concept of Public Morality" at 10:30 a.m. in Dodson Auditorium on the LSU campus.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

"No scholar I know is more fearless in the face of controversy than Robert George," said James Stoner, chair of the Department of Political Science at LSU. "He addresses some of the most difficult moral and legal issues of our time in a clear and reasonable way, neither dodging tough questions nor settling for cheap debater's points."

George is...

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2009 Ira S. Flory Trial Winners
March 12, 2009

Megan Donohue and LaToya Jordan emerged as winners narrowly defeating Michelle Anderson and Michelle Bergeron in the Final Round of the Spring 2009 Ira S. Flory Trial Competition held on March 11.  
The Trial Advocacy Board for 2009-10 was also announced at the event:
Andre Gaudin, Devon Bardin, William Murray, Michelle West, Michelle Bergeron, Kilburn Landry, Jonathan Mitchell, Michael Smith, Michelle Anderson, Robert Denny, Bridget Hillebrand, Brad Trevino, Stephanie Noriea, Lauren Pinac, and LaToya Jordan.

Full story

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Students Get Introduction to LSU Law Center at Visiting Day
March 11, 2009

The LSU Law Center held a Visiting Day for admitted students on March 2, giving them a firsthand look at life as an LSU Law student. In all, 27 students attended the event.

The day began with a welcome from Chancellor Jack Weiss and a panel discussion that consisted of Tracy Evans from Career Services, Robert Lancaster from Clinical Programs, Todd Bruno from the Moot Court Program, Professor Lee Ann Lockridge, and Megan LeBato, a third-year student.

Students also attended a mock class with Professor John Church, and an actual first-year class by Professors Paul Baier and Andrea Carroll. The day concluded with an optional tour of the Law Center by the Law Ambassadors.

The LSU Law Center annually enrolls approximately 215 students each fall.

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Chancellor's Council Salutes Saúl Litvinoff
March 6, 2009

The Law Center's Chancellor's Council will pay tribute to Boyd Professor Saúl Litvinoff at a gala planned for Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Coast, Energy, and Environment Building on the LSU campus.  

Chancellor Jack Weiss has declared 2008-09 the Year of Litvinoff in honor of the professor's retirement. Litvinoff will assume the status of Professor Emeritus when he steps down after the Spring 2009 semester. He has taught over four generations of students in his 43 years of service to the Law Center

"Saúl Litvinoff will go down in history as one of the greatest scholars and teachers of Louisiana law," said Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss. "He has taught generations of LSU lawyers. His scholarship has shaped our legal tradition for more than 40 years."

Ava Leavell Haymon and Cordell Haymon ('68), life-long friends of the professor, have honored him with a named endowed professorship.

The Chancellor's Council is comprised of friends and alumni who annually support the...

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March 2009
March 3, 2009
  • Professor Paul Baier was a featured speaker at a symposium on judicial activism at Chapman Law School in Orange, Califorinia. His paper, “Hugo Black and Judicial Lawmaking: Forty Years in Retrospect,” will be published in Chapman’s Nexus Journal of Law and Public Policy.
  • Cynthia Bland, an administrative assistant at the LSU Law Center, was recently honored with a Certificate of Merit at the 50th annual Dunbar Awards luncheon. The Dunbar Award is the highest honor that a state employee can receive. The program recognizes classified state employees for their service to the state and citizens of Louisiana. Bland was nominated by Professor Paul Baier. She has dedicated 30 years to state civil service employment, all of which have been at LSU. Seventeen of those years have been at the Law Center.

    "Reading (the nomination) brought tears to my eyes," Bland said. "I wanted my granddaughter, who was my guest at the table, to know that hard work and dedication pays off in...

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Shamblin First LSU Law Student to Receive National Scribes Award
March 2, 2009


Michelle Shamblin, a third-year law student at LSU, was awarded the 2009 Scribes Law-Review Award for her article, Silencing Chicken Little: Options for School Districts after "Parents Involved."

She is the first student in the history of the Law Center to receive the national award.

Since 1987, Scribes has presented an annual award for the best student-written article in a law review or journal. The award will be presented to Shamblin at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Law Reviews on March 19 to be held here in Baton Rouge.

"This is an extraordinary accomplishment for Michelle, the 'Law Review,' and the Law Center," said Chancellor Jack Weiss. "We are very proud that Michelle's article was selected as the best in the entire nation for this highly competitive award."

Shamblin's article discussed the case of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. The U.S. Supreme Court's majority opinion invalidated the...

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LSU Law Moot Court Team Advances to Final Round
March 2, 2009

CONGRATULATIONS to LSU Law Center students Megan Donohue (team captain), Charlotte Youngblood, and Patrick Grozinger who recently advanced to the Final Round of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition placing it in the top 3 of the 70 schools who participated.

The team is coached by attorneys R. Charles Ellis and Michelle Marney, and faculty advisor Kenneth Murchison. This is the fourth time in the last seven years that LSU Law has made it to the Final Round, winning the National Championship in 2006. In addition to the team success, Youngblood received the award for Best Overall Advocate, prevailing over roughly 200 individuals for the award. 

Full story.

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LSU Law Center Offers Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
March 2, 2009

Since 1999, the students at the LSU Law Center have offered a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program where volunteers provide free tax preparation services to foreign students, teachers, and researchers and their immediate family members (spouses and children under age 21). The LSU Law Center's VITA site is the only VITA site in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Lafayette area where volunteers prepare federal and Louisiana state income tax returns for foreign students, teachers and researchers from the community as well as the Baton Rouge campus of LSU.  

The students who volunteer in the VITA program are qualified to prepare the tax returns. All student volunteers must participate in a training program and pass a test to receive certification from the IRS to prepare the returns.  Foreign students, teachers, and researchers who are eligible to receive services at the Law Center's VITA site are not permitted to file Form 1040-EZ, 1040A, or 1040 to report their federal...

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