THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS OF THE 2003 IRAQ WAR: A MORAL OBLIGATION OR A MANDATORY MEASURE UNDER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

Ramy A. Ibrahim*

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The 2003 Iraq War has left a long-lasting detrimental impact on the lives of Iraqis. Aside from the highly destructive sectarian divide, political instability, and stunted economic development, both the United States and the Iraqi Governments have failed to address the environmental contamination that resulted from the military munitions used during the war.[1] This article focuses on the effects of that contamination, the reaction both governmental systems have taken, how these actions constitute violations of various international treaties, and also calls for action.

Studies have linked the highly radioactive environmental contaminates left behind by the war to dramatically increasing rates of cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses—including respiratory and neurological ones—in all affected areas.[2] Iraqi women and children continue to live in these hazardous conditions and are constantly exposed to these left-over toxic munitions and carcinogenic waste.[3] The failure of the U.S. and Iraqi Governments to take sufficient measures to decontaminate the affected areas, and to provide healthcare services for affected persons constitutes a blatant violation of a number of international treaties, including, but not limited to: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),[4] the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),[5] and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[6]

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E-DISCOVERY IN CRIMINAL DEFENSE: CHALLENGES OF PRETRIAL DETAINEE ACCESS

Emilee A. Sahli*

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Introduction

Imagine that you are a criminal defense attorney and your client is being charged with a felony, denied bail, and held in pretrial detention on federal drug charges. It could be years before your client has an opportunity for trial. In the rare event that your client decides to hold out against pressures to accept a plea agreement, your client’s ability to participate in their own defense is extremely limited by the conditions of their confinement. Any reasonable penological explanation for restricting their access to calls or meeting with you to review evidence in the law library and otherwise participate in the investigation process will be constructively unchallengeable in court.

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THESE PARKS ARE OUR PARKS: AN EXAMINATION OF THE PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC PARKS IN NEW YORK CITY AND THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE’S PROTECTIONS

Thomas Honan*

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Introduction

The Great GoogaMooga, advertised as “an amusement park of Food, Drink, & Music” was a music, artisan food, and drink festival in Prospect Park.[1] GoogaMooga lasted two days during the summer of 2012 and three days during the summer 2013,[2] and demonstrates the negative impact of private use on public space.[3] The Prospect Park Alliance, a non-profit organization founded to raise private funds to supplement the financing of Prospect Park,[4] and Superfly, a privately owned music festival company, organized GoogaMooga.[5] The festival was strategically placed in Nethermead Meadow, a lovely tree-lined meadow located in the center of the park.[6] Nethermead Meadow is traditionally used by the public for dog walking, tossing a football, and gathering with friends for a picnic, the leisure activities one would expect to take place in a park meadow. Over the three-day event, Nethermead Meadows played host to approximately 120,000 people, and accommodated approximately 75 restaurant stands, 65 drink stations, and two stages where 20 bands performed.[7] As one Prospect Park local aptly put it, “It’s like bringing a boombox into a library – it doesn’t belong there.”[8]

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THE SEWARD PARK URBAN RENEWAL AREA, FORTY-FIVE YEARS LATER: AFFORDABLE TO WHOM?

Eugene Chen

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Introduction

From the 1950s through the 1960s, two thousand families with low incomes were displaced from their homes when the City of New York embarked on an urban renewal plan targeting the area east along Delancey Street at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, otherwise known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA).[1] Forty-five years later, the “Seward Park Slum Clearance Project” left 165 million square feet of parking lot space, devoid of any signs of human occupation aside from the coming and going of vehicles. After a contentious community debate, the City Council passed a resolution (the “Resolution”) on October 11, 2012, for a mixed-use plan to develop SPURA.[2] Proposals were due to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on May 6, 2013, and on September 18, 2013, Mayor Bloomberg announced that Delancey Street Associates LLC, a joint venture composed of L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners, had been selected to develop the site.[3] The plan calls for 60/40 residential and commercial development, with 500 units of permanently affordable housing, out of the 1000 units of housing being built.[4] In all likelihood, the developer chosen to develop SPURA will apply for the 421-a tax exemption, an incentive intended to encourage the construction of market-rate and affordable housing in New York City (the “City”).

 

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WHERE ARE YOU GOING, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? SERIOUSLY, LET ME SEE YOUR GPS.

CASE COMMENT: UNITED STATES V. ALVAREZ (2014)

Rajendra Persaud*

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Technological advances continue to confound already dense fourth amendment jurisprudence. As modern devices become more powerful, the information stored and accessed within raises new issues that did not exist only a few decades ago. As such, new technological devices have the potential to create cases of first impression upon the courts. Recently, in U.S. v. Alvarez, Judge McAvoy ruled warrantless searches of cell phones unconstitutional in the absence of exigent circumstances or a need to protect officer safety.[1] The opinion compared cell phones to modern computers[2] that house a wealth of private information within[3] (akin to personal residences[4]). Thus, the smart phones were granted protection similar to computer hard drives[5] and all information obtained from the seized phones was suppressed.[6]

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VAWA @ 20: Index

VAWA @ 20 – Index

Introduction – Nishan Bhaumik on the history of the Violence Against Women Act’s passage and reauthorization and the goals of the VAWA @ 20 series.

VAWA After the Party: Implementing Proposed Guidelines on Campus Sexual Assault Resolution – Mary P. Koss and Elise C. Lopez of the University of Arizona on the effect of existing and proposed VAWA guidelines on the process for sexual assault adjudication at institutions of higher education.

Roll Back “Prison Nation” – Donna Coker, Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law, on VAWA’s contribution to hyper-incarceration.

Raising the Visibility of the Margins and the Responsibility of Mainstream – Marcia Olivo, Sisterhood of Survivors/Miami Workers Center, and  Kelly Miller, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, on the need to expand VAWA in order to guarantee protections for marginalized communities.

HIV, Violence Against Women, and Criminal Law Interventions – Aziza Ahmed, Associate Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law, on HIV/AIDS and the negative consequences of the criminal law approach to sex trafficking.

Art, Violence, and Women – Yxta Maya Murray, Professor at Loyola Law School, on how visual art can inform the feminist legal process.

The Politics of Pretext: VAWA Goes Global – Deborah M. Weissman, Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law, on VAWA International (I-VAWA), Congress’s attempt to expand U.S. influence in the realm of violence against women as a matter of foreign policy.

Building the Knowledge Base: Research Funding through VAWA – Claire M. Renzetti, of the University of Kentucky, Rebecca M. Campbell, of Michigan State University, and Allison Adair, of the University of Kentucky, on the substantial increase in empirical studies of the causes and consequences of violence against women, as well as research on responses to both victims and perpetrators.

Stalled at 20: VAWA, the Criminal Justice System, and the Possibilities of Restorative Justice – Leigh Goodmark, Professor Law at the University of the Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, on restorative justice and the failure of VAWA to provide abuse survivors with alternative venues for seeking justice.

The Mainstreaming of the Criminalization Critique: Reflections on VAWA 20 Years Later – Mimi E. Kim, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, California State University, Long Beach, on the troubling collaboration between feminists and the criminal justice system represented by VAWA’s attachment to the Crime Bill of 1994.

VAWA in the Lives of Battered South Asian Women in the United States – Shamita Das Dasgupta, Ph.D., DVS, Manavi, on the experiences of battered South Asian immigrant women under VAWA.

The Gender Justice Movement: The Fullest Expression of the former Battered Women’s Movement, and the Domestic Violence Movement – Tiloma Jayasinghe, J.D., Executive Director, Sakhi for South Asian Women, on the New York City Gender Justice Taskforce and her work leading the Sakhi for South Asian Women, an anti-domestic violence agency.

VAWA and Welfare Reform: Criminalizing the Most Marginalized Women – Ann Cammett, Professor at CUNY School of Law, on how national welfare reform legislation and the rising rate of female incarceration undermined VAWA’s goals for poor women.

Improving Civil Legal Assistance for Ending Gender Violence – Elizabeth L. MacDowell, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Family Justice Clinic at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas, on necessary reforms to VAWA to expand civil remedies for domestic abuse survivors.

A Disappearing Act: The Dwindling Analysis of the Anti-Violence Movement – Kerry Toner on the failure of VAWA to address the complex social phenomenon of domestic violence and the complete experiences of survivors.

Gender Violence and Civil Rights – Julie Goldscheid, Professor, CUNY Law School, on the need for a renewed civil rights initiative in light of Morrison striking down VAWA’s original civil rights remedy.

 

VAWA @ 20: Introduction

Nishan Bhaumik

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In 1994, Congress passed the most comprehensive response to what Congress had identified as a disturbing trend of violence against women. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 was a result of decades of hard-fought, strategic advocacy highlighting the legal and public neglect of violence against women, both inside and outside of the private home.

In 2014, on the 20th anniversary of VAWA, CUNY School of Law reflects upon the progress of VAWA. Our VAWA@20 Symposium first examines VAWA’s past political struggles and legal battles and then considers its future role in eliminating gender-based violence. Footnote Forum collaborated with the VAWA@20 Symposium to present a collection of cutting-edge analyses by scholars and practitioners on VAWA’s role in eliminating gender-based violence.

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VAWA @ 20: VAWA After the Party: Implementing Proposed Guidelines on Campus Sexual Assault Resolution

Mary P. Koss and Elise C. Lopez
University of Arizona

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The 20th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) and its reauthorization in 2013[1] merits celebration and marks a time to contemplate the future legislative and policy agenda. This commentary considers the effect of existing and proposed VAWA guidelines on the process for sexual assault adjudication at institutions of higher education. The focus is several documents including the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights “Dear Colleague Letter”[DCL],[2] DCL clarification,[3] and the Proposed Guidelines for the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization as disseminated for comment in the Federal Register of June 20, 2014.[4] We aim to establish that taken together, these documents: (1) blur the distinctions between campus misconduct resolution and criminal justice process;[5] (2) lack scholarly analysis of sexual assault justice on campus;[6] and (3) clash with contemporary values and practice standards of student affairs professionals.[7] This commentary identifies enhancements derived from restorative justice principles [RJ] and situates them within misconduct resolution framework while maintaining consistency with DCL and VAWA required elements. RJ offers a range of formats that are relevant to the student body at large as well as to individuals involved in sexual misconduct of varying severity and can be implemented at multiple time points in case processing. We draw upon many sources that collectively express desire for policy guidance that supports evidence-based innovations intended to increase congruence with victims’ perceptions of what constitutes justice, raise the likelihood that offenders will be held responsible by sanctions proportional to the harm done, and augment the extent to which institutional responses deter future sexual misconduct.[8]

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VAWA @ 20: Roll Back “Prison Nation”

Roll Back “Prison Nation”*

Donna Coke

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The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) represents an unprecedented federal focus on violence against women, both in terms of money allocated and in terms of changes in federal law.   VAWA dollars have increased services for victims including civil legal representation, shelters, and youth prevention programs.   The substantive law changes in VAWA include relief for some immigrant victims, expanded tribal court jurisdiction over certain instances of gender violence that occur on Native American land, and the provision that protection orders in one state are enforceable in another state. While VAWA has made these important positive changes in civil law and remedies, the most significant changes and the most significant dollars have been in the area of law enforcement. More than 50% of the current VAWA allocation is directed to training and support of police and prosecutors.

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VAWA @ 20: RAISING THE VISIBILITY OF THE MARGINS AND THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MAINSTREAM

Marcia Olivo, Sisterhood of Survivors/Miami Workers Center, and Kelly Miller, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

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Introduction

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) originated over twenty years ago from a movement lead by predominately white, middle class, educated women in a strong capitalist economy, who were outraged at the lack of response to violence against women and who looked to the criminal justice system as the solution. The federal legislation has been the foundation for addressing gender based violence in our country. In recent years, there is a growing understanding that the criminal justice system as the primary mechanism to end gender based violence is a false solution. Decades of mass incarceration of African American men and men in other communities of color have resulted in the “New Jim Crow” and the school to prison pipeline. Instead of helping youth get their lives back on track, incarceration in a juvenile facility is the greatest predictor of adult incarceration and adult criminality. The criminal justice response assumes that violence against women is an individual aberration and ignores the complexity of violence and the structural oppressions that sustain it. It also heightens the potential for state control of marginalized communities through police surveillance and interventions utilizing the criminal justice system.

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