April 5, 2012

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›› Alumna adjusts to civilian practice
›› Pro bono work leads to political asylum, clean energy cases

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›› Students work on Supreme Court amicus brief
›› New journal editors named
›› Moot court teams bring honor to Moritz
›› Journal symposium to question existing securities regulation
›› Moritz to host biennial lecture on ethics
›› Democracy Studies Speakers Series continues
›› More Moritz News

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›› Discussing leadership lessons
›› PILF Auction
›› Filing an amicus brief
›› 12 & High

Dicta...

›› Moritz 'On the Record'

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Students work on Supreme Court amicus brief

Students from Professor Douglas A. Berman’s autumn semester Sentencing class had a choice: They could take a four-hour exam or write a brief for the Supreme Court of the United States on a case involving a mandatory life sentencing without possibility of parole for teenagers involved in felony murders.

Five students chose the latter – 3Ls Elbert H. Aull IV, Maureen Fulton, and Jennifer M. Halas and 2Ls Rees Alexander and Adrienne Chin-Perez. Aull explained that the 14-year-olds involved were in the periphery of the criminal act; neither committed the act of killing another person.

“By sentencing them to life without parole, you’re basically saying, ‘We don’t believe in the possibility that you could ever be different than you are now,’ ” Halas said. “The Supreme Court has time and time again recognized that juveniles are less culpable as a category. That was our starting point.”

After reviewing students’ briefs, Berman invited the group of five over their holiday break to pen the final section of the brief he was submitting. “It was exciting for us,” Alexander said, “and we felt like we were making a difference in the cases.”

The cases were heard by the court in March, and a decision is expected in June.

For more on the students’ participation in the amicus brief, watch a video here.

– Monica DeMeglio

SideBar is a monthly electronic newsletter for Moritz College of Law alumni. Questions regarding this publication should be directed to moritzlawnews@osu.edu.