In a landmark ruling today, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision requiring police to obtain warrants in order to search cell phones of those arrested. Earlier this year, the Court granted the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic’s petition for certiorari in Riley v. California, the lead case subject to today’s ruling. Students Julia Reese ’13, Ben Chagnon ’14, and Seth Lloyd ’14 drafted the petition. Seth and Ben continued working on the merits briefing, along with Tess Reed ’15, Alec Schierenbeck ’15, and Kristin Saetveit ’15. The Clinic also collaborated and strategized on the case with the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic. Professor Jeff Fisher, director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, argued the case in April. Congratulations to all!
For more than a year, the Religious Liberty Clinic has represented a small church in Southern California facing a zoning challenge to its homeless ministry. This work took on an exhilarating dimension this quarter. In early May, clinic students Janice Mau ’14, Ryan Nelson ’15, Tom Wakefield ’15, and Paul Harold ’14 (advanced) presented at a City Council hearing. Days later, the clinic filed a federal civil rights lawsuit with motion for preliminary injunction, and then sought a temporary restraining order (which the court granted). The students will not see the case resolved before the quarter ends. But after many long nights and weekends, and under the steady supervision of staff attorney Jared Haynie, they can be proud of their service to the church and its efforts to serve the poor. ◊
Immigrants’ Rights Clinic students Stacy Villalobos ’15, Jeffrey Middleton ‘15, and Matthew Verdin ’15 drafted sections of the soon to be filed Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals brief in Rodriguez v. Holder. The Clinic represents a class of hundreds of immigrant detainees who have been imprisoned for more than six months. Litigation leading up to this appeal has established the right of detainees to a bond hearing before a neutral decision maker. The appeal hopes to ensure additional due process protections at these bond hearings, including a consideration of alternatives to detention—such as conditions of supervision or electronic monitoring—and the length the immigrant has already been detained as well as the length of anticipated detention. The appeal also hopes to establish a redetermination of bond every six months an immigrant is detained. ◊
In a unique joint engagement with the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic (“JIPIC”), Organizations and Transactions Clinic students Kaleisha Stuart ’15 and Denise Ballesteros ’15 worked with JIPIC students Jaryn Fields ‘15, Rachel Kimball Wilcox ‘15, and Yale Fu ‘15 to provide contract and IP advice to a national nonprofit focused on teacher development. ◊
Immigrants’ Rights Clinic students Stacy Villalobos ’15 and Matthew Verdin ’15 represented their client at a hearing at the immigration court in San Francisco this spring.
Their client is a legal permanent resident facing the prospect of deportation. Deportation would separate the client, who is a Bay Area resident, from her husband and two daughters.Stacy and Matthew researched potential avenues to prevent the deportation in preparation for their client’s court appearance. At the hearing, they successfully submitted two applications they prepared that represented two independent defenses to their client’s deportation.
The clinic will continue to fight against the client’s deportation in immigration court in the months to come. ◊
Organizations and Transactions Clinic students had terrific experiences this past quarter working on several advice and contract matters. Read on for highlights.
Mansi Kothari ’15 and Cameron Ormsby ’15 provided technical advice regarding agricultural conservation easement documents and developed compliance and educational materials for one of California’s most prominent land trusts. Mansi and Cameron also drafted loan documents for a large insurance cooperative and revamped fiscal sponsorship contract and operating documents for a San Francisco organization that provides support and services to the Bay Area dance community.
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Denise Ballesteros ’15 and Kaleisha Stuart ’15 provided advice about legal structures for geographic expansion to a large international nonprofit whose mission centers on developing children’s literacy skills. Denise and Kaleisha also created multiple employee, client, and collaborator agreements for a rapidly-growing national organization focused on teacher development, and a set of contracts for a San Francisco resource center for visual and performing artists.
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Cecilia Oyediran ’15 and Alex Pacheco ’15 worked with one of the country’s leading charter school organizations to revise its core trademark license agreement and related external communications. Cecilia and Alex also prepared multiple contracts for a statewide organization that supports legal service providers, and developed compliance materials for a Marin County agricultural and environmental nonprofit relating to a complex site use agreement with the federal government.
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Mari Guttman ’15 and Lincoln Lo ’15 advised a group of Bay Area bicycling organizations on a range of governance and operating matters including the principal contracts relating to Bike to Work Day. Mari and Lincoln also provided copyright law advice, developed educational and contract materials, and led a training session for a San Francisco children’s health nonprofit, and provided extensive advice to a large Silicon Valley health services and advocacy organization regarding its corporate compliance program. ◊
Community Law Clinic students Blair Green ’15 and Jack Kider ’15, recently represented a client in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, in a claim for disability benefits. Their client had been waiting for benefits for over five years, having previously been denied by the Social Security Administration multiple times including at a prior hearing.
After developing new evidence of their client’s impairments, the students presented a new theory of the case, arguing that their client was entitled to disability benefits because of a combination of mental and physical impairments, several of which had been previously undiagnosed. At hearing, the Administrative Law Judge found their arguments persuasive and issued a bench decision granting their client ongoing and retroactive benefits!
Jon Frank ’15 returned this past spring from a prior term in the Criminal Defense Clinic to draft a Ninth Circuit brief on behalf of a client previously sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison for a non-violent unarmed robbery of less than $2,000.
At the time of his arraignment, the client sought to represent himself pro se. Without informing him that he could be designated a “career offender,” the court allowed him to proceed without the appointment of full counsel. After reviewing the entire record and meeting with the client, Jon prepared to file a brief in the Ninth Circuit arguing that the client did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
This past spring, Nikki Marquez ’15, Lauren Tsuji ’14 and Keny Zurita ’15 co-authored a pro se guide to empower detained immigrants facing reinstatement of removal proceedings to represent themselves. Reinstatement is an expedited process by which the government can quickly deport someone who has previously been removed and has re-entered the U.S. without authorization. Immigrants that are afraid of being hurt or killed in their home country can challenge their reinstatement orders.
This past spring quarter, Immigrants’ Rights Clinic student Keny Zurita ’15 (pictured here) supported a father of two in his request for prosecutorial discretion. The client was placed in deportation proceedings as a result of a two-decade-old criminal conviction and, after discussions with Keny, he decided to ask the government to drop his case. To prepare a request for prosecutorial discretion, Keny led seven client-centered sessions, visited the client’s home and interviewed his family members, led exhaustive fact gathering, drafted declarations, and conducted country conditions research. Through his work on the case, Keny considered the immigration court’s treatment of rehabilitative relief programs. He also gained experience explaining complex legal and strategic ideas to enable his client to critically weigh his options for relief.