Vol. 19.2

Explore the complete digital version of Volume 19.2.

Public Interest Practitioner Section (PIPS)

Demanding a Race to the Top: The 2015 Strike Against MFY Legal Services in Context by Jota Borgmann and Brian Sullivan, members of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW Local 2320

Can Reproductive Trans Bodies Exist? by Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & AIDS Project


From Michigan’s Strawberry Fields to South Texas’s Rio Grande Valley: The Saga of a Legal Career and the Texas Civil Rights Project by James C. Harrington, Founder and Director Emeritus of Texas Civil Rights Project

Puerto Rico’s Odious Debt: The Economic Crisis of Colonialism by Natasha Lycia Ora BannanAssociate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF


A Veil of Anonymity: Preserving Anonymous Sperm Donation While Affording Children Access to Donor-Identifying Information by Aliya Shain, J.D. Candidate ’16, City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law

Fast Food Sweatshops: Franchisors as Employers Under the Fair Labor Standards Act by Thomas J. Power, J.D. Candidate ’16, City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law

Fall 2016 Events

Join CUNY Law Review for some exciting events this fall in our 20th year of publication!

Bluebook Training

Join us for our semiannual Bluebook Training! We’ll review common errors, oft-forgotten rules, and correct some sample law review citations together. Please bring your Bluebooks, any office supplies you use to mark important pages, and your computers!

Tuesday, Sept. 13 | 7:30-8:30 PM
Room 1/205
Note: a makeup training for evening students and others with immovable conflicts will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 8:00-9:00 PM in Room 1/204.


Welcome Back Happy Hour

We invite the whole CUNY School of Law community to join us for our annual welcome back happy hour! Help us kick off a new school year and celebrate the beginning of our 20th publication year.

Friday, Sept. 16 | 6:00-9:00 PM
The Beast Next Door
47-51 27th St
Long Island City, NY

CUNY Law Review Welcome Back Happy Hour

SCOTUS Preview

Save the date! Join CUNY School of Law Professors Janet Calvo, Jeffrey Kirchmeier, Stephen Loffredo, and Ruthann Robson for an evening discussion about the Supreme Court’s docket for the upcoming term. Learn about contested public interest cases and hear predictions for when the 8-member Court might deadlock this term. This event is open to the public!

Thursday, September 29 | 6:00-7:30 PM
Community Room @ CUNY School of Law (3rd Floor)

Lunch with Law Review

Join us to learn more about publishing as a student author! CUNY alums and current students will discuss how to navigate the process of preparing your scholarship for publication. Featuring Allie Robbins (CUNY Law ’09, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs), Tom Power (CUNY Law ’16, CUNYLR Managing Editor ’16), Navid Khazanei (3L, CUNYLR Executive Articles Editor ’17), Shawn Simpson (Writing Fellow).

Wednesday, October 5 | 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Community Room, 3rd Floor


Perspectives on the Fight for Black Lives

Join us to learn about how and where to get involved in supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement as a legal advocate. Panelists will include Erin Cloud of the Bronx Defenders, Carl Lipscombe of Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Thenjiwe McHarris of Blackbird and Vision for Black Lives, Victoria Phillips of the Urban Justice Center, and Anthonine Pierre on behalf of Communities United for Police Reform. Moderated by Chaumtoli Huq of Law@theMargins & CUNY Law’s own Nicole Smith of the Criminal Defenders Clinic.

Monday, November 7 | 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Community Room, Room 3-115 [3rd Floor] 2 Court Square, Long Island City, NY

Sponsored by CUNY Black Law Students Association [BLSA], Law@theMargins, and CUNY Law Review.

Food will be provided. This event is open to the public & will be live-streamed (link forthcoming).



The Many Meanings of Montgomery v. Louisiana: How the Supreme Court Redefined Retroactivity and Miller v. Alabama

The Many Meanings of Montgomery v. Louisiana: How the Supreme Court Redefined Retroactivity and Miller v. Alabama

Brandon Buskey

Click here for a recommended citation and to download a paginated PDF version of this article.


Henry Montgomery has survived the remarkable arc of the Supreme Court’s evolution on juvenile sentencing. In 1970, Louisiana sentenced him to die in prison for the murder of a police officer, a crime he committed when he was seventeen years old.1 The sentence was mandatory, and it was perfectly legal. At that time it was also perfectly legal to execute juveniles. A generation later, the Supreme Court barred the execution of children under age sixteen in 1988,2 but the next year refused to extend the bar to all juveniles.3 Not until 2005 did the Court exempt all juveniles from the death penalty.4 In half a decade, the Court ruled that juveniles could not be imprisoned for life without any possibility of release for non-homicides.5 A mere two years later, yet forty-six years after Mr. Montgomery’s conviction, the Court declared, in Miller v. Alabama,6 that mandatory life sentences like Mr. Montgomery’s were unconstitutional.

Miller confirmed the lessons of these prior decisions that children’s youth and immaturity make them categorically different for sentencing purposes, and that life imprisonment without parole is akin to the death penalty for juveniles. Thus, automatically sentencing children to a lifetime of imprisonment “poses too great a risk of disproportionate punishment.”7 The Eighth Amendment’s protection against “cruel and usual punishments” therefore prohibits such sentences.

But Mr. Montgomery’s path to a hope for release was not yet complete. In fact, it was cut off by the Louisiana Supreme Court. That court ruled Mr. Montgomery could not benefit from Miller8 because,9 under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Teague v. Lane,10 Miller did not apply retroactively to cases that were already final at the time of the decision. Mr. Montgomery’s case became final in 1984, thirty years too soon.

In Montgomery v. Louisiana,11 the Supreme Court reversed the Louisiana Supreme Court and held that Miller applies retroactively. The Court found that, by categorically prohibiting life sentences for the majority of juveniles whose crimes reflect “transient immaturity” rather than “irreparable corruption,” Miller announced a substantive rule of criminal law that is not subject to Teague’s general bar against retroactivity. Now, unless Louisiana can show that the crimes of those like Montgomery demonstrate “irreparable corruption,” it must grant them meaningful hope of “some years of life outside prison walls.”12

As discussed below, Montgomery affirmed the Court’s supremacy in declaring federal law while bolstering the significant limits that Miller places on states’ ability to condemn any juvenile to die in prison. But the Court left unresolved a critical question: how much hope for release is enough? Whatever the answer, it must account for Miller’s impact on the obligation of states to grant parole to juveniles facing lifelong incarceration. This article asserts that Miller cabins the state’s power to deny parole permanently to reformed juveniles. It does so by creating a modest, but absolute, liberty interest in release before death for rehabilitated youth. The Supreme Court, rather than state parole systems, must be the ultimate protector of this right.

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CUNY Law Review’s Spring Symposium: “Reimagining Family Defense”

CUNY Law Review Spring Symposium:
“Reimagining Family Defense”

On Friday, April 8th, we hosted our 2016 Symposium, Reimagining Family Defense. More than 100 people attended the half-day event to engage in a discussion of how family defense can become more available throughout the U.S.

The plenary panel featured contributions from Professor Kara Finck of the University of Pennsylvania Law School; Diane Redleaf, Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago based Family Defense Center; and Lauren Shapiro, Director of the Brooklyn Family Defense Project.

Marty Guggenheim, Director of NYU Law School’s Family Defense Clinic, moderated the plenary session, which focused heavily on the need to increase legal representation for parents in child welfare cases. Professor Guggenheim was presented with the CUNY Law Review Scholarship for Social Justice Award.

Making parental voices more prominent in child welfare cases was a focus of the symposium. Members of Rise Magazine, a publication written by and for parents involved in the child welfare system, were invited to share their thoughts on how attorneys and judges can make parents’ family court experiences more empowering.

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2016 First Toast!

Come join us and toast to all of the hard work the outgoing 2015-2016 CUNY Law Review Board did this year and send well wishes to the incoming 2016-2017 CUNY Law Review Board!


CUNY Law Review Spring Symposium

Reposted from Public Square Logo




April 11, 2016

Making parental voices in child welfare cases more prominent was the focus of CUNY Law Review’s recent symposium.

“We are the professionals, but [parents] are the experts,” Angela Burton, a former CUNY Law professor and now with the New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services, said in her opening remarks.

More than 100 people attended the half-day symposium on Friday to engage in discussions of how family defense can become more available throughout the U.S.

CUNY Law Review members invited representatives from Rise Magazine, a publication written by and for parents dealing with the child welfare system to ensure that parents’ voices were included.

The plenary panel featured contributions from family law professors from NYU and University of Pennsylvania, along with legal defenders from Brooklyn Defender Services and the Family Defense Project (based in Chicago).

“All of the presenters today start from one basic premise—families matter. Every family matters,” Burton added.

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I Am a Victim Too: Applying the “Dual Victim-Offender” Framework to Reform New York’s Family Court System

I Am a Victim Too: Applying the “Dual Victim-Offender” Framework to Reform New York’s Family Court System

Nikki Whetstone


New York has two separate judicial systems within Family Court: one for children who are considered “victims,” and another for those who are considered “offenders.” Children whose parents are suspected of abuse/neglect are placed in dependency court, under the guise that the state must step in as parens patriae to protect the well-being of the child.[1] On the other hand, children who are accused of committing a crime are placed in delinquency court, with the purpose of protecting society and holding the youth accountable for their actions, while also attempting to rehabilitate them.[2] However, often the same social and familial circumstances lead children to become involved in both systems, simultaneously yet separately becoming both the “victim” and the “offender” in the eyes of the court. Despite recent efforts to reform the family court system, New York fails to address the needs of youth who are involved in both delinquency and dependency court.

This paper first examines the separate theoretical and historical foundations of both New York dependency and delinquency court, including their differing rationales and treatment of children. Part II of this paper evaluates the correlation between victimization and offending, and the connection between dependent youth and their subsequent involvement in the delinquency system (“dual-status youth”). Finally, part III explores the “dual victim-offender” framework and offers this as a lens to be used by Family Court to inform their view of children and, in turn, reform the way children are treated in the system.

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By Andrea Scozzaro1


This article addresses the issues of unethical employment practices and lack of fair labor standards in developing countries. The discussion on such problems, although ongoing since the 1970s, is still of primary importance both within the scholarly community and the wider public. The fact that big, multinational enterprises of developed countries still engage in violations of workers’ rights is certainly stunning, yet not so surprising given the connections between such violations and the current structure of the global economy. In the wake of a nearly fifty-years-old process of globalization, the worldwide implementation of competition rules in the labor market stimulates “race to the bottom” outcomes, with millions of workers in developing countries suffering from slavery-like working conditions, wages below subsistence level, and inhumane treatments.

Despite the progress made in the field of labor protection thanks to private and governmental initiatives in the last several decades, the current legal tools used to avoid massive workers’ rights violations have been proven ineffective. This is due to the apparently unsolvable friction that exists between the huge economic power of enterprises and the desperate need for economic support of developing countries.

Given the global nature of these causes, possible solutions may only achieve success if they entail a global approach to the problem. Remedies should be found in order to create a universal rule for labor protection applicable and enforceable in all countries throughout the world.

The first part of this article explains which are the most widespread violations of workers’ rights in relation to the current economic structure of the world, and presents the economic dynamics that lie within them. The second part provides a short account of past and present initiatives in favor of the improvement of labor standards. The third part presents the main critical aspects of these initiatives, by focusing on lack of accountability mechanisms and their inherent voluntary nature. Finally, the fourth part suggests the idea that a possible remedy aimed at stopping labor rights violations is to create and implement a universal rule for labor protection through international customary law. Such a remedy would also perform a change in the way the responsibility for compliance to labor law is placed upon states, by shifting the obligation to punish misconduct of multinational enterprises from developing states to developed ones. Continue reading



Lindsay Lee Cowen*

Click here for a recommended citation and to download a paginated PDF version of this article.


These days, the world knows South Korea (“Korea”) as the land of Samsung,[1] kimchi,[2] and k-pop,[3] for which its upsurge in popularity owes “Gangnam Style” much thanks.[4] Below the surface of this most recent hallyu, or “Korean wave”[5] of popular culture ascendency across the globe, lies the darker side of Korea. Numerous articles have scrutinized its colossal plastic surgery industry, questioning the motives behind such procedures and crowning Seoul the new plastic surgery capital of the world.[6] A generation of transnational adoptees has renewed attention in what, during the 1988 Summer Olympics,[7] was labeled the country’s greatest shame: mass exportation of unwanted babies.[8] Media outlets have exposed a “remote island where the enslavement of disabled salt farm workers is an open secret.”[9]

Nonetheless, the hallyu surges forward. Tourism rates in 2015 nearly tripled those from only a decade prior.[10] College student study of foreign languages has declined nearly 7% since 2009, yet enrollment in Korean-language classes increased 45% from 2009 to 2013.[11] In 2014, The Huffington Post launched “Huffpost Korea” and published an article proclaiming what the country can teach “the rest of the world about living well,”[12] while ignoring its low happiness index and high suicide rate.[13]

Rapid economic growth has rocketed South Korea’s Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”) to the fourteenth highest in the world[14] and secured its position in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”).[15] In the 1960s, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, had higher per capita GDPs than Korea.[16] The Korean War left the small East Asian peninsula one of the poorest nations in the world.[17] Few other countries can boast such drastic transformation of economic circumstances in a half-century period.[18]

However, the aforementioned societal realities demonstrate a deep chasm between the country’s economic development and its social progress. Contemporary society in South Korea shuns minority groups from the benefits of Korea’s commercial gains. Due in large part to an entrenched Confucian class hierarchy, which dates back to the Chosun dynasty,[19] conformity is king.[20] Prevailing discriminatory employment practices illustrate Korea’s ambivalence toward its new social obligations as it grapples with antiquated ideologies in a modern marketplace. Part II of this article will discuss disability-focused anti-discrimination law in Korea. Part III will address the actual efficacy of such legislation to date. Continue reading

2016 Symposium

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