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Prof. McMahon Published Op-Ed on Death Tax Repeal Act in The Hill


Professor Stephanie McMahon recently published the op-ed “(Un)intended Consequences of Death Tax Repeal” in the April 29, 2015 issue of The Hill (a congressional blog). Her editorial looks at the impact of H.R. 1105, the “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015,” which would repeal the federal estate tax, and explains her concerns on the hidden agenda behind the bill.  Read more hereStephanie McMahon.

Prof. Sandra Sperino Give Presentation and Has Article Accepted for Publication


 Sandra SperinoThe article “Retaliation and the Reasonable Person”, written by Professor Sandra Sperino, was accepted for publication in the Florida Law Review.  In addition, Professor Sperino recently participated in the Clifford Symposium at DePaul University College of Law where she presented her paper, “The Civil Rights Restatement”. Congratulations!

Prof. Jacob Cogan’s Article Published


jacob coganCongratulations to Jacob Cogan, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law.  His work The Changing Form of the International Law Commission’s Work was recently published in EVOLUTIONS IN THE LAW OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 275 (Roberto Virzo and Ivan Ingravallo eds., Brill | Nijhoff 2015).

 

University of Cincinnati College of Law Alumni Association Announces Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients


The 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award, which celebrates outstanding alumni, will be held at 12:00 noon on May 15 at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, Hall of Mirrors. To rsvp: contact Peggy Ruwe at 513-556-0071 or peggy.ruwe@uc.edu.

Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law Alumni Association will celebrate three alumni at its 35th Distinguished Alumni Award Program on Friday, May 15, 2015.  Award recipients include an alumnus whose career focuses on white collar and other major economic crimes; a former member of the US Air Force who served many years as a judge; and a trial attorney whose practice and firm concentrates on civil litigation.

"UC succeeds at producing large numbers of alumni who excel in their profession and in the surrounding community,” said Dan Startsman, Assistant Public Defender, Clermont County Public Defender’s Office, and President, Law Alumni Association. “I can think of no better example than this year's award winners. They are three alums who have not only risen to the top of their profession, but also have been recognized as leaders and have given back to the law school."

Each year the award recipient nominations come from the ranks of the school’s almost 5,000 alumni. Recipients exemplify excellence and achievement in the individual’s chosen field of practice or profession. Previous winners have included Professor Stanley Harper, Jr. ’48, well-known College of Law professor; the Hon. William S. Richardson ’43, Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court; and the Hon. William Howard Taft’1880, President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  

Meet 2015 Award Recipient Kathleen Brinkman’75

Kathleen Brinkman’75, Of Counsel at Porter Wright, focuses her practice on representing corporations and individuals facing investigation or charges by federal or state authorities, or whose property the government seeks to forfeit. A former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Brinkman’s prosecution specialties were complex white collar and other major economic crimes, public corruption, and environmental crimes. In addition, she investigated and prosecuted healthcare fraud matters, including False Claims Act cases. A recognized authority in asset forfeiture, she has taught the subject throughout the country and around the world.

In addition to her litigation work, she spent many years back in the classroom as an adjunct professor at the College of Law, teaching many generations of attorneys the nuances of trial practice. Brinkman authored the book “Federal Criminal Procedure Litigation Manual” and co-authored “Sixth Circuit Practice Manual”.  Finally, she is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 John P. Kiely Professionalism Award from the Cincinnati Bar Association, the 2005 Nettie Cronise Lutes Award from the Ohio State Bar Association, recognition by Ohio Super Lawyers® for Criminal Defense: White Collar, “Top 50 Women Attorneys in Ohio” by Ohio Super Lawyers® for 2015, and “Leader in Their Field” (Ohio) in the area of Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations by Chambers USA. Brinkman is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Meet 2015 Award Recipient the Hon. Robert H. Gorman ‘60

Judge Robert H. Gorman, a native Cincinnatian, followed the path of several family members into the field of law. His father, Robert N. Gorman, served on the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas and was later appointed to a seat on the Supreme Court of Ohio. His brother also attended law school.

After graduating from Brown University, Gorman returned to Cincinnati to the College of Law, graduating in 1960. Immediately thereafter, he was inducted into the US Air Force, where he served as a judge advocate general for three years. He returned to Cincinnati to develop a career in private practice. To prepare, he worked at Legal Aid of Greater Cincinnati and in Juvenile Court, gaining additional experience. It was at this time that he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives.

Soon, Gorman began his private practice career in earnest. Then, in December 1972, he joined the bench, where he remained until his retirement. Judge Gorman served on the Hamilton County Municipal Court, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, and the Hamilton County Court of Appeals: First Appellate District of Ohio.

In addition to his work on the bench, he served as an adjunct professor at the College of Law, teaching appellate practice and procedure. Judge Gorman retired from the bench in 2006, but returned the next year as a visiting judge, a position he held until 2012.  

Meet 2015 Award Recipient David P. Kamp’81

David P. Kamp is the President and Managing Partner of White, Getgey & Meyer Co., L.P.A., a firm specializing in civil trial practice.  Having gravitated to courtroom trial practice while in law school (Dave clerked for a number of top rated litigation firms in Washington, Cleveland and Cincinnati), the transition from law school to private practice at Dinsmore & Shohl was relatively seamless.  While at Dinsmore, Dave worked with the firm’s top litigators and participated as second chair in several major jury trials including a case tried before Chief Judge Carl Rubin in which Dinsmore and its client obtained a $7.3 milion verdict.

In 1987, Dave was recruited to White, Getgey & Meyer as the heir apparent to the firm’s then managing partner, Alvin White.  He successfully tried major cases for the firm including the wrongful death case of John Getgey, one of the founding fathers of the firm. 

Since becoming managing partner of White, Getgey & Meyer in 1989, Dave has continued to spearhead the firm’s litigation efforts on behalf of plaintiffs, defendants, large corporations, small businesses, individuals and not-for-profit institutions.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, has been named by Outstanding Lawyers of America, Chambers List and Best Lawyers in America, and has been ranked by SuperLawyers as one of the top three lawyers in the state every year since 2009.

Realizing the largess of his law degree and the scholarship money that permitted him to go to law school full time and not co-op, Dave contributes his time to teaching young trial lawyers in the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and contributes financially to a vast array of law school-related funds, projects and other outside charities.  When he is not in the office, which is infrequently, his spare time is devoted to family:  his wife, Eileen, who has gracefully put up with Dave’s tireless work ethic; his three children, Jenny, Jeff and Evan; as well as his grandson, Corran.  Regardless of his workload, Dave never misses a volleyball or lacrosse game. 

OIP Nets Another Triple Win; Defendants To Be Set Free After 18 Years in Prison


Legal advocacy from the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati has helped set three men wrongfully imprisoned for murder on the path to freedom.

Cincinnati — Today three men are one step closer to freedom after being wrongly incarcerated for 18 years.  Derrick Wheatt, Laurese Glover and Eugene Johnson had their convictions for the 1995 murder of Clifton Hudson Jr. thrown out after nearly a decade of legal advocacy from the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP). 

Judge Nancy Margaret Russo, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, threw out the conviction, granted a new trial and set bond. The OIP expects bond to be met today, which will result in their clients' immediate release.

Their impending freedom came after a key eyewitness recanted her testimony and the revelation that information from police reports that cast doubt on the defendants’ guilt had not been disclosed to the trial team years earlier.  Today’s win marks the second triple exoneration for the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), which operates out of the University of Cincinnati’s Rosenthal Institute for Justice in the College of Law. To date, the OIP has freed 23 people on grounds of innocence, who together served more than 500 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.   

 “We’re excited about today’s event, but even more excited for our clients,” said Mark Godsey, the Daniel P. and Judith L. Carmichael Professor of Law and Director, Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project. “They have been fighting to prove their innocence for nearly 20 years. They had tried for exoneration twice before, and had come close in the past.  OIP has worked on the case since 2006, and are happy to be with them as they finally taste their long-sought freedom.” 

The OIP represented defendants Wheatt and Glover; Johnson was represented by attorneys Brett  Murner and Jim Valentine. Additionally, co-counsel on this case was Carmen Naso, Senior Instructor of Law, and the law students at the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic, Case Western Reserve School of Law in Cleveland, OH. The OIP and Kramer Law Clinic partnered on this case and plan to work together on additional cases in the future.

“UC donors who contributed to the UC OIP’s tremendous success provided case workers with the funds needed to facilitate their pursuit of justice,” said UC Foundation President Rodney M. Grabowski. “Since its founding in 2003, more than 600 donors have contributed more than $5.3 million toward the OIP’s efforts. We are forever grateful for their generosity.”

 

A Murder Many Years Ago

On February 10, 1995, in East Cleveland, Ohio, 19-year-old Clifton Hudson Jr. was found murdered, shot multiple times. At the time, witnesses reported seeing a person wearing dark clothing and a dark hat at the scene. Three juveniles—Wheatt, Glover and Johnson—happened to be near the scene. But, they emphasized, when the shooting started, they sped off. All three later provided the police with descriptions of the shooter that matched the basic descriptions given by other witnesses. But in a twist of events, they were charged with the crime.

A year later in 1996, the three were convicted of Hudson’s murder, based on their presence at the scene and identification by Tamika Harris, then a 14-year-old. Harris originally reported to police that she saw the shooter get in and out of the defendants’ truck; but, she insisted, she never saw the shooter’s face. It was this tip, though, that led to the group’s initial arrest.

At the trial, Harris changed her story, admitting that she never saw the shooter actually get in or out of the truck. She testified, however, that she could positively identify Eugene Johnson as the shooter. Additionally, the prosecution found what it alleged to be gunshot residue on Wheatt and Johnson. They offered to completely drop charges against Glover if he testified against his friends and also offered Wheatt probation for his testimony. Both refused and continued to assert their innocence. Unfortunately, they were convicted; Wheatt and Johnson were sentenced to 18 years to life in prison; Glover was sentenced to 15 years to life.

 

Finding Grounds for a New Trial

Through the years the three men continued to maintain their innocence. Then in 2004, Johnson’s attorneys, Murner and Valentine, filed a motion for a new trial on the grounds that Harris had recanted her testimony. Now an adult and in nursing school, she admitted she could not see the shooter’s face from where she stood and that she never saw anyone get in or out of the truck.

She relayed that when she went to the police station years earlier, the officers told her they had found the people responsible, showed her photos of the three defendants, and asked which of the three was the shooter. Harris said she picked the one whose jacket was closest to the one she saw: Johnson’s.   Though the trial court granted a new trial on this basis, it was overturned on appeal, in part because of the alleged gunshot residue evidence.

Two years later in 2006, the OIP accepted the case. Attorneys and fellows spent hundreds of hours reviewing evidence, interviewing potential witnesses and filing motions. In fact, Brian Howe, now the attorney of record, previously worked on this case as an OIP fellow. 

In 2009, OIP attorney David Laing filed another new trial motion based on advancements in knowledge about gunshot residue.  Specifically, the type of testing used in 1995 is known to be particularly prone to false positives from other items, and is no longer used by the FBI.  Further, recent studies showed the high likelihood of gunshot residue contamination from police sources, especially when the tests are not performed on scene or immediately upon arrest.  This motion, however, was denied. 

Late in 2013 a break in the case came when the OIP received the police reports.  The reports included information that was not raised at the original trial, including the existence of two witnesses who confirmed that the shooter came from a nearby post office lot, not the defendants’ truck.  One of those witnesses even claimed he recognized the shooter as a sibling of one of his classmates.  The reports also showed that unknown people in a different car had shot at the victim's brother just days before the crime, and that someone had threatened the victim himself the day before the murder. There was no known connection between any of those threats and the defendants. 

The OIP, on behalf of the defendants, filed another new trial motion on the basis that this information was never disclosed to the defense.  A hearing on the motion was held on Jan. 29, 2015, led by OIP attorney Brian Howe and the Kramer Clinic’s Carmen Naso.  “The evidence at the hearing was overwhelming,” said Howe. “None of these men should have ever been convicted."  

A Day Worth Waiting For

“This has been a long day coming for Mr. Johnson, Mr. Wheatt and Mr. Glover,” said Howe. “I know it must be an incredible feeling. It is particularly important and gratifying for me because I worked on the gunshot residue motions as an OIP fellow. It’s incredible to see all of our hard work come to fruition.”

Special thanks to the many individuals who spent hundreds of hours working on this case over the years. The list includes attorneys: Brian Howe, David Laing, and Carrie Wood; and student fellows: Shabnam Allen, Nicole Billec, Amanda Bleiler, Scott Brenner, Chris Brinkman, Chris Brown, Eric Gooding, John Hill, Matt Katz, Eric Kmetz, Amanda Rieger, Bryant Strayer, Queenie Takougang, and Brandon Brown, Amanda Sanders and Shaun McPherron, who spent significant time in East Cleveland last summer canvassing the neighborhood speaking to witnesses.

2015 Judge in Residence Program featuring the Hon. Solomon Oliver, Jr.


Event Dates: March 25-27, 2015

All School Talk: Thank God for Life Tenure

Date: March 26, 2015 at 12:15 p.m.

(View schedule) (pdf)

About Solomon Oliver, Jr., Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr. was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by President William Clinton on May 9, 1994.  He has served as Chief Judge of that court since June 1, 2010.

Judge  Oliver  was  born  in Bessemer,  Alabama,  the fourth  of  ten children  of Reverend Solomon Oliver and Mrs. Willie Lee Oliver. He attended the segregated public schools of Bessemer, graduating from J. S. Abrams High School in 1965.

Oliver graduated from the College of Wooster with honors in 1969, majoring in philosophy and political science.  He received a J.D. degree from New York University in 1972, and a master’s degree in political science from Case Western Reserve University in 1974.

Oliver served as Assistant Professor of Political Science at the College of Wooster from 1972 to 1975. From 1975 to 1976, he served as a law clerk to the late Judge William H. Hastie of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.  Judge Hastie was the first African American to serve as an Article Ill judge.  From 1976 to 1982, Oliver served with the U.S. Justice Department as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Cleveland.  From July, 1978 to March, 1982, he was Chief of the Civil Section of the United States Attorney's Office.  In March of 1982, he became Chief of Appellate Litigation in that office. Oliver joined Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University as a faculty member in the fall of 1982.  From May, 1991 to May, 1994, he served as Associate Dean of Faculty and Administration at the Law School.

Judge Oliver has written articles and lectured on a wide range of topics at colleges and universities, at continuing legal education seminars and at judicial conferences. Judge Oliver was especially gratified to deliver a keynote address entitled, "The Role of Judicial Review in a Democracy" in March, 1995 at a conference of East African judges in Arusha, Tanzania.  His most recent publications include an article on educating law students for the practice of law, an article on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and a chapter on summary judgment.

Oliver has received various awards, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Wooster and the Distinguished Alumni Award from New York University Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association. He has also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Akron and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from New England School of Law-Boston.

Judge Oliver previously served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body of the federa1judiciary, and currently serves on its Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.  He is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the College of Wooster.  He previously served as Chair of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and is its Immediate Past Chair. He has also co-chaired the ABA Litigation Section's Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

Christopher Varner, '96 Elected Tennessee Bar Foundation Fellow


Christopher T. Varner has recently been elected a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, an association of 801 attorneys across the state. Invitations to membership, which is a position of honor, were extended to 29 attorneys this year by the Board of Trustees. The introduction of new Fellows took place at the annual Fellows' Dinner in Nashville.

The Bar Foundation's purpose is two-fold: to honor attorneys who have distinguished themselves in the profession and to administer a grant making program. That project, known by its acronym “IOLTA” (Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts), has awarded grants in excess of $20,000,000 to law-related, public interest projects throughout Tennessee.

Mr. Varner is a partner in the firm of Evans Harrison Hackett, PLLC and has been practicing law in Chattanooga, Tennessee for 19 years. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and of the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

 

Alum and Brinks Attorney Rashad L. Morgan, '06 Joins The National Black Lawyers–Top 100


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Rashad L. Morgan, an attorney at intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione, was recently invited to join The National Black Lawyers–Top 100, a professional honorary organization composed of the top 100 black lawyers from each state.

Members of The National Black Lawyers–Top 100 exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, and performance.

Eligibility criteria include nominations from one’s peers, board certification in the attorney's respective area of specialty, leadership in other legal organizations, and rankings by leading national evaluation organizations.

Trained as a chemical engineer, Morgan focuses on patent litigation and prosecution for domestic and international clients with cutting-edge, complex technologies. His legal experience includes landmark litigation at the Federal Circuit and at the International Trade Commission.

Along with helping clients succeed in today’s evolving patent landscape, Morgan is deeply committed to increasing diversity in the law. Active in the North Carolina State Bar Association’s Legal LINK diversity pipeline program, Morgan also participates in programs including The Just the Beginning Foundation and Legal Prep Charter Academies. He provides volunteer legal assistance through Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and has mentored minority attorneys through The Chicago Committee. Morgan also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and serves on Brinks’ recruiting, hiring, and diversity committees.

The mission of The National Black Lawyers–Top 100 is to promote excellence in the legal profession for accomplished black attorneys in the United States through advocacy training, marketing, networking opportunities, and continuing legal education. The invitation-only organization highlights its membership by providing a public online search tool that identifies the top black attorneys in 20 areas of legal specialty. More information is at www.nbltop100.org.

Michael Stewart, ’07 received the designation as “Rising Stars” by the 2015 publication of Ohio Super Lawyers


(SANDUSKY, Ohio) - Recently three attorneys at the law firm, Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A., received the designation as “Rising Stars” by the 2015 publication of Ohio Super Lawyers® for their outstanding legal work.

 Specifically, Ohio Super Lawyers honored Murray & Murray partners, Florence J. Murray and Leslie O. Murray, and associate attorney Michael J. Stewart, naming the group among its “2015 Rising Stars.”  “Rising Stars” undergo a rigorous selection process that begins with peer nominations by fellow attorneys.  The honor recognizes exceptional up-and-coming legal talent, as it is only awarded to attorneys who are under the age of 40 or have been practicing law for less than ten years.   Indeed, selection to the “Rising Stars” list is a rare and exceptional accolade, as no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the State of Ohio are named to the list each year.

ABOUT THE FIRM:       

Founded in 1931, Murray & Murray is operated by the Murray family.  The firm has fourteen attorneys including nine Murray partners.  Located in Sandusky, Ohio, Murray & Murray provides legal representation for clients throughout Ohio and offers a free initial consultation.  Involved in many landmark decisions and settlements, Murray & Murray’s main practice areas are personal injury, wrongful death, consumer protection, business litigation, and class actions.

Tad LeVan (JD cum laude, 1995) Teaches "Deposition Boot Camp" at Penn Law


(Philadelphia) –LeVan Law Group LLC founder and managing partner Peter H. “Tad” LeVan, Jr., recently created and taught an intensive 4-day workshop for law students at the University of Pennsylvania Law School entitled “Deposition Boot Camp: The Art of Taking, Defending and Preparing for Depositions.”

Held from January 5-8, the workshop offered instruction on deposition procedures, examination techniques, how to deal with difficult witnesses and obstreperous opposing counsel, and best practices in taking, defending and preparing a witness for deposition. The workshop also provided the students with an opportunity to conduct and defend a full-day mock deposition, with witnesses, volunteer legal professionals and leaders, and actual deposition service providers, such as court reporters and videographers.

LeVan is a seasoned trial and appellate attorney who has tried a number of high-stakes cases against national banks, Wall Street financial institutions and a Madoff investment firm, securing settlements on behalf of injured plan participants that have exceeded $700 million. Earlier this year, he launched the firm that bears his name under a unique business model, offering flat-fee and other predictable alternative fee structures in high-stakes litigation matters.

For more information on LeVan Law Group, visit www.levanlawgroup.com.