Faculty in the News

Ohio State law professors are sought out for their expertise by a number of news media outlets and blogs with large audiences. Topics range from the death penalty to voter ID laws to artificial insemination – and our faculty members’ quotes and analysis can be found everywhere from small-town and national newspapers to radio broadcasts to cable news programs. The following is a selection of media coverage for Moritz College of Law faculty.

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Recent Media Coverage

Experts: GPS monitors couldn't save OSU student's life

February 17, 2017

Featured Expert: Ric Simmons

Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in The Columbus Dispatch about Brian Lee Golsby, the convicted sex offender charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and rape in the death of Reagan Tokes, a student at The Ohio State University.

Data from a GPS monitor Golsby had been wearing at the time confirmed that he was at the scene of Tokes’ murder. GPS monitors are not watched in real time, however, and authorities are not always notified immediately if parolees leave their designated areas.

“There are times when it's obvious who the worst of the worst are. But we didn't know at the time that he was one of the worst of the worst. For those terrible, terrible people, nothing works. Even GPS," Simmons said.

“[GPS monitors are] certainly not to be watched all the time. Frankly, that would be unrealistic,” he added. "You can say the system broke down in a lot of ways, but this was not one of them."

Arizona to death-row inmates: Bring your own execution drugs

February 17, 2017

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Doug Berman was quoted in the Associated Press about a recent policy in Arizona allowing death-row inmates to provide their own lethal drugs for execution.

Executions in the state have been postponed since 2014, after Joseph Rudolph Wood took almost two hours to die following 15 doses of the sedative midazolam. They will remain on hold until an ongoing lawsuit questioning the state’s discretion during executions is resolved.

Overall, it has also been more difficult nationwide to procure the drugs necessary for lethal injections, as many European pharmaceutical companies have since prohibited their use. Berman views Arizona’s policy as opposition to the lawsuit and to the scarcity of lethal injection drugs across the country.

“I think the idea is to say in the protocol, ‘You guys want pentobarbital? Then get it. If you can get us the drugs, we’ll use them,’” he said.

Sharon Davies Named Spelman College Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

February 14, 2017

Featured Expert: Sharon L. Davies

Professor Sharon Davies was mentioned in a Marketwired press release regarding her recent appointment to provost and vice president of academic affairs at Spelman College, effective in June.

Davies is currently vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer for The Ohio State University, as well as director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity. She has spent 22 years on the faculty of the Moritz College of Law and currently serves as the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

"Ms. Davies' distinguished record of scholarship and leadership in higher education and beyond will further advance the College,” Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said. “As we seek to heighten the intellectual experience, global impact of Spelman women, and career horizons for our students, her experiences will allow her to effectively lead the College's academic functions with insight, creativity, and innovation in the dynamic and rapidly changing higher education environment."

Suspect in OSU student's murder arrested three months after getting out of prison

February 13, 2017

Featured Expert: Ric Simmons

Professor Ric Simmons was quoted in WSYX about the man arrested and charged with the recent murder of Reagan Tokes, an Ohio State student. The suspect, Brian Lee Golsby was arrested three months after he spent six years in prison for robbery and attempted rape in 2010. Although he faced 16 years in prison for the previous crimes, he took a plea deal for six years instead.

Jail time in a plea deal varies depending on the strength of the case, the age of the defendant, and their criminal history, according to Simmons. In 2010, Golsby had no prior history of violent crime. If he is found guilty for Tokes’ murder, Simmons said the prosecution could make a case for a life sentence or the death penalty.

"As a former prosecutor I think, 'what if I had been that prosecutor that did the sentence for the prior crime?'" Simmons said. "A rape case is going to be very hard to prosecute. Rape victims may not want to testify. You might not want to put them through that and there's a chance always you'll get an acquittal."

Separation of Powers, Explained

February 10, 2017

Featured Expert: Peter M. Shane

Professor Peter Shane was quoted in Moyers & Company in an explainer of the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.

“The idea is to give each branch enough authority to be effective in the discharge of its functions. But they are also given powers that make the other branches partially dependent on one another,” Shane said. “It is that balance of independence and interdependence between the branches that is the distinct organizational characteristic of our federal government.”

Trump's Sloppy, Unconstitutional Order on 'Sanctuary Cities

January 30, 2017

Featured Expert: Peter M. Shane

Professor Peter Shane was quoted in The Atlantic in an article about the legality of President Donald Trump’s executive order that threatens to pull federal funds from sanctuary cities should they refuse to cooperate with the federal government to deport undocumented immigrants.

“There is nothing to the idea of state sovereignty if state and city officials are not entitled to direct how their subordinates exercise their lawful discretion to advance state and local interests,” Shane said.

Trump’s Executive Order On Ethics Pulls Word For Word From Obama, Clinton

January 29, 2017

Featured Expert: Peter M. Shane

Professor Peter Shane was quoted in NPR about President Donald Trump’s executive order that imposes a five-year lobbying ban on executive branch employees. Despite declaring his distance from the Democratic party, Trump “borrowed heavily” from language in similar executive orders signed by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, NPR reports. 

“When a new president’s executive order deals with a subject of operational concern to multiple administrations, it’s not surprising that the president’s lawyers would look to previous iterations as models,” Shane wrote in an email to NPR. “For a Republican president, reiterating the restrictive obligations prior Democratic presidents imposed on their appointees has the double advantage of using provisions vetted by other lawyers and apparently deemed acceptable to the political opposition.”

Trump Calls for Voter Fraud Probe: A Look at Past Inquiries

January 28, 2017

Featured Expert: Edward B. Foley

Professor Edward Foley was quoted in Voice of America about President Donald Trump’s plans to launch a “major investigation” into voter fraud. Trump claims he lost the popular vote because as many as 5 million non-U.S. citizens may have voted illegally.

“As I understand the latest allegations, somewhere between 3 to 5 million improper ballots were cast this past November nationwide, which Trump claims accounts for why Hillary Clinton won the popular vote,” Foley said. “Even if there were 3 to 5 million invalid votes nationwide, we can’t jump to the conclusion that the election result was tainted, because we don’t know who they voted for.”

The odds of a non-U.S. citizen successfully casting a ballot are “extremely low, extraordinarily low,” according to Foley. Instances in which invalid ballots are cast or when voters’ names appear on multiple state voter rolls also don’t necessarily indicate voter fraud either, he added.

“Just because a ballot was cast that was invalid, which is a problem, doesn’t necessarily mean there was a conspiracy to commit voter fraud,” Foley said. “Fraud is a pejorative term that implies intentional deception and manipulation, as opposed to there being mistakes in voter registration lists.”


National “Vote by Mail” Could Add Millions of Votes in 2018

January 27, 2017

Featured Expert: Steven F. Huefner

Professor Steven Huefner was quoted in Yes! Magazine about whether vote by mail systems have a measureable effect on voter turnout.

Vote by mail has led to “some marginal increase in turnout” during local or off-year elections, Huefner said, but ultimately has a relatively low impact during presidential elections.

“In high-profile elections … people who are going to vote are going to vote,” Huefner said.“And they’ll do that whether it’s voting by mail from their kitchen table or going to the polling place on the designated Election Day.”

Do Business Leaders Make Good Presidents?

January 19, 2017

Featured Expert: David Stebenne

An essay by Professor David Stebenne was quoted in a TIME article about whether business leaders are fit for the presidency.

Before Donald Trump, Dwight Eisenhower was one of the most outspoken presidents to embrace Big Business in his administration. Eisenhower, Stebenne writes, “felt government would be well served by successful men, who tend to be rich. If the leaders of successful businesses were excluded from consideration, [Eisenhower] wrote in his diary, the result would be an inability ‘to get anybody to take jobs in Washington except business failures, political hacks and New Deal lawyers.’”