New Board Members Announced

Congratulations to the 2015 – 2016 CUNY Law Review Board!

Samuel Bruce
Elizabeth Vulaj
Digital Articles Editors

Hoda Mitwally
Executive Articles Editor

Jonathan Cantarero
Serena Newell
Chloe Serinsky
Notes & Comments Editors

Aubree D’Alfonso
Alanna Sakovits
Public Interest Practitioner Section (PIPS) Editors

Leonard Leveille
Special Events Editor

Jacqueline Meese
AJ Wipfler
Managing Articles Editors

Tom Power
Managing Editor

Alexandria E. Nedd

Storytelling Guantánamo: Using Creative Advocacy & Lawyering to Challenge Dominant Political and Media Narratives


CUNY Law Review, in collaboration with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), presents:

Omar Farah, Staff Attorney, CCR
Murtaza Hussain, Journalist, The Intercept
Professor Ramzi Kassem, Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic
Aliya Hussain, Moderator, Advocacy Program Manager, CCR

Andrew Adams & Syeda Tasnim
Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, Law & Security Docket

6PM, TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2015
Reception at 6pm, panel begins at 6:30pm
CUNY School of Law, Community Room, 3/116
2 Court Square
Long Island City, 11101

Please register at:

CUNITY Conversations: Exploring Sex Work, Harm Reduction, and Housing Rights in NYC with Chelsea Breakstone & Zoë Root

Come join us for the third installment of our discussion series, CUNITY Conversations!

CUNITY Conversations is a discussion series designed to create discussion around a particular topic. The discussion leaders are the Law Review’s Note and Comments student authors, along with professors and practitioners. It is an informal time to get together, hang out, and talk about a relevant social justice issue.

The next installment of the CUNITY Conversation series is Wednesday, March 4, from 6-8pm, in the Community Room, 3/116.

Notes and Comments student author and 3L Chelsea Breakstone will be presenting “Exploring Sex Work, Harm Reduction, and Housing Rights in NYC,” along with Zoë Root, Staff Attorney and Human Trafficking Intervention Court Part Coordinator from The Bronx Defenders.

Join the dicussion on Twitter and Facebook on the hashtag #cunityconvo.

Vol. 17.2

Explore the digital version of  Volume 17.2.

Public Interest Practitioners Section (PIPS)

Notes & Comments 

Tax a Bank, Save a Home: Judicial, Legislative, and Other Creative Efforts to Prevent Foreclosures in New York by Erica Braudy, Staff Attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group, Housing Project/Mobile Legal Help Center, J.D. CUNY School of Law (2013).

Executive Article

The Chicago Police Torture Scandal: A Legal and Political History by G. Flint Taylor, founding partner, People’s Law Office (PLO).


Discriminatory Maintenance of Reo Properties as a Violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act by Stephen M. Dane, of the civil-rights law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC; Tara Ramchandani, associate at Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC; and Anne P. Bellows, 2013 Relman Civil Rights Fellow.


A Tribute to Justice: Honoring Forty Years of Struggle to Advance Judicial Process for Crimes Against Humanity in Chile with Judge Baltasar Garzón Real, internationally renowned Spanish jurist who issued the first detention request, through Interpol, for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on charges of abductions, torture, murder, forced disappearances and terrorism; Sir Geoffrey Bindman, QC, a British attorney specializing in human rights law who represented Amnesty International and Chilean victims’ interests in the case against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in the late 1990s; and Joan Garcés, a Spanish attorney who has made major contributions to international human rights law in the fight against impunity for heads of government who commit crimes against humanity. Moderated by Almudena Bernabeu, International Attorney for the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA).



Video — The Long Crisis: Economic Inequality in New York City

The City University of New York Law Review presented The Long Crisis: Economic Inequality in New York City, on November 12, 2014, at the CUNY School of Law.

The Long Crisis reflected the theme of the Law Review’s 18th volume, which focuses on the role that economic inequality and injustice play within the context of social justice legal issues and practical solutions lawyers and activists are employing to help overcome the inequality.

The panel featured: Fahd Ahmed, acting executive director of DRUM—South Asian Organizing Center; Tom Angotti, professor of Urban Affairs and Planning and Director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development; Stanley Aronowitz, Distinguished Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center; Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and executive director of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Shawn Blumberg, legal director of Housing Conservation Coordinators; and Robin Steinberg, founder and executive director of The Bronx Defenders.



Rajendra Persaud*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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