News

January 8, 2016

Professor Carroll Comments on Attorneys’ Motion to Leave Hubbard Case

Professor Jenny Carroll recently told The Montgomery Advertiser the move by Mark White and his co-counsels to withdraw from Mike Hubbard’s case could delay the trial.

Carroll said there “was no evidence Hubbard is going to be left at a huge disadvantage,” due in part to the defense continuity in his case.

White, Hubbard’s lead attorney since 2013, recently filed a motion in court to leave the case. The motion did not state a reason for the withdrawal, but it was signed by Hubbard.

A grand jury indicted Hubbard in 2014 on 23 counts of using public office for private gain.

For more, read “Judge to Hear Hubbard Attorneys’ Motion to Leave Case.” 

January 7, 2016

Professor Krotoszynski Discusses Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Order to Halt Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Professor Ronald Krotoszynski told The New York Times Chief Justice Roy S. Moore’s order to Alabama probate judges to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses is “an exercise in futility.”

 “At best, it sows chaos and confusion; at worst, it forces couples to bring federal court litigation in order to exercise a clearly established federal constitutional right,” Krotoszynski said.

For more, read:

“Top Alabama Judge Orders Halt to Same-Sex Marriage Licenses”

“Roy Moore: No Gay Marriage in Alabama.”

“Alabama Probate Judges Should Obey U.S. Supreme Court on Gay Marriage, Federal Prosecutors Say”

“Roy Moore: the Alabama Judge Who ‘Relishes” Gay Marriage Fight” 

January 6, 2016

Professor Vars Weighs in on President Obama’s Announced Executive Action on Guns

Professor Fred Vars weighed in on President Barack Obama’s announced executive action, saying it could curb gun violence.

“I’m not going to say that’s going to happen a lot, right, that we’re really going to make a significant reduction in gun violence,” Vars said. “I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think Obama would say that’s true but again, it’s just clarifying the existing law.”

The plan is intended to expand background checks for some gun purchases and increase federal enforcement of the nation’s gun laws.

For more, watch or read “Opponents and Supporters Weigh in on Obama’s Executive Action on Gun Control.

January 5, 2016

Law School Announces Call for Entries for 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

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The University of Alabama School of Law is pleased to announce the official call for entries for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

The Prize, authorized by Ms. Lee, is given annually to a book-length work of fiction, published in the preceding year, that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.  Past winners include Havana Requiem by Paul Goldstein, Sycamore Row by John Grisham, and The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson.

The work must be:

  • A published book-length work of fiction.
  • Published originally in 2015.
  • Readily available to readers via commercial sources (retail or online bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or iTunes).
  • An electronically published work with an ISBN may be submitted but unpublished manuscripts may not.

The deadline for nominations is March 31. There is no entry fee.

The winning title will be honored at a ceremony and panel discussion, and the winner will receive a special edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, signed by Ms. Lee.

Visit HarperLeePrize.com for more information.

December 21, 2015

Scott Tindle: Serving the State

Scott Tindle: Serving the State

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Scott Tindle (’09) uses innovation to drive profits and support the citizens of Mobile.

In 2013, Tindle was hired as the Executive Director of The Grounds, home of the Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds, to transform the organization.

Scott Tindle-IMG_4813-23-1The first stop on the entertainment venue’s turnaround was the Disney Institute in Orlando, where Tindle and his staff studied the success of The Walt Disney Company. They learned how Disney makes emotional connections with attendees and how to add value to admission. Tindle immediately hired 25 employees who were trained by the Disney College Program. As a result, members of the guest services staff at The Grounds are former Disney cast members.

“What we’re really trying to do is create a theme park destination,” Tindle said.

It is a substantial goal, and Dr. Grant Zarzour, a resident in orthopedic surgery at the University of South Alabama, said Tindle can achieve it.

“He not only dreams big, but he’s willing to act on the dream,” said Dr. Zarzour, co-founder and chairman of the Fuse Project, a nonprofit that invests in initiatives promoting the health, fitness, education and social responsibility for children along Alabama’s gulf coast.

Jeff Galle (’09), Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Idyllic, an entertainment company based in Mobile, is also confident Tindle will attain his goal. Galle said he has never seen anyone work a room better than Tindle can. What’s different about Tindle, Galle said, is that he wants to know how he can help other people.

“There are few individuals I know that display the kind of selfless community activism that Scott does,” he said.

When Tindle arrived at The Grounds, it had been losing money. In two years, the venue has improved its product by creating a new theme each year and raising ticket prices, allowing it to become profitable and invest $800,000 back into the community.

A product of public education – from kindergarten to his law degree – Tindle said education is the key to lifting up the nation and moving it forward. There must be educational opportunities for every child, not just those whose parents can afford to enroll them in a good school or move them to a good school district.

While at UA Law, Tindle learned how to manage his time more efficiently, exceed expectations and never settle. He also embraced the importance of building lifelong relationships with people, including his classmates.

“Had I not learned those things there, we would not be doing the things we’re doing today,” he said.

As Tindle has made The Grounds profitable, he has helped improved the community. Each year, more than 65,000 public school children sell tickets to the fair and keep 10 percent of those sales for their schools. Most schools use the money to improve their libraries, he said.

A $5,000 grant, provided by The Grounds to the Mobile Area Education Foundation for its Leadership Academy, helps high school juniors and seniors develop leadership skills. The Grounds has helped raise money for the Mitchell Cancer Institute Patients’ Assistance Fund, which helps offset household expenses when someone has cancer, and in 2015 The Grounds provided a home for Project Homeless Connect. The program, sponsored by Housing First, provides health, legal, employment and other services to the homeless.

“It’s really fascinating because we’re able to fund these things through entertainment,” Tindle said. “We want to go from entertainment to impact.”

When Tindle accepted the position as Executive Director, he didn’t know anything about fairs or theme parks. Now he’s setting goals to make The Grounds even more successful. The fair draws most of its attendance from the coastal areas of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. In the near future, Tindle would like to expand the fair’s reach farther into Alabama and Florida, as well as continue to develop the fair.

“We want it to be a regional destination,” he said. “We have told the community we want to create the cleanest most family-friendly event in America.”

December 21, 2015

Professor Fair Discusses the Effect of Browder v. Gayle

Professor Bryan Fair recently discussed the effect of Browder v. Gayle with WBHM 90.3.

“Once Brown is decided the question is what is the scope of Brown,” Fair said. In this new lawsuit, known as Browder v. Gayle, two judges agreed that Montgomery’s segregated buses violated the 14th amendment. The Supreme Court later agreed.

“The meaning of Browder is much broader than Montgomery,” he said. “The meaning of Browder is that you can’t have separate systems of schooling. You can’t have separate systems of transportation. You can’t have separate systems of swimming pools or parks or golf courses. All of that comes out of this next step.”

For more, read “Plaintiff in Landmark Civil Rights Montgomery Bus Case Shares Her Story.”

December 17, 2015

New Field, New Corn Anthology Features Research by Young Scholars

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Eight University of Alabama School of Law alumni have been published in New Field, New Corn, an anthology of research papers that explores Alabama legal history and the state’s legal and judicial figures.

The anthology, published by Quid Pro Books in New Orleans, covers Alabama legal history from the pre-Civil War era through the civil rights era, and the essays were first written when the contributors were students at UA Law.

“These are youthful scholars and yet their work is original, and it significantly adds to our knowledge,” said Paul M. Pruitt, Jr., Special Collections Librarian in the Bounds Law Library.

Pruitt edited the anthology and penned the introduction, “Alabama Legal History as a Field of Study,” while Professor Bryan Fair wrote the foreword, “Critiquing our Present, Interrogating our Past.”

Nearly 25 years ago, Fair taught his first seminar at the Law School on Race, Racism, and American Law. His class read portions of Derrick Bell’s casebook and the students prepared research papers. He said he was honored and delighted when the editors of the UCLA National Black Law Journal agreed to publish the collection of essays, along with one of his articles.

“Since then, many faculty at Alabama Law have supported students in their quest to publish scholarly articles,” Fair said. “Pruitt’s New Field, New Corn is an exceptional illustration of such an academic collaboration.”

Seven of the essayists completed their research while enrolled in Alabama Legal History, a course taught by Professors Tony Freyer and Pruitt.  An eighth writer was chosen from Fair’s seminar on Equal Protection.

The title of the anthology is derived from an adage credited to Sir Edward Coke, who was quoting Geoffrey Chaucer, when he asserted, “Assuredly out of the old fields must spring and grow the new corn.”

“We’re only beginning to scratch the surface,” Pruitt said. “The more background we have the better we are able to judge, assess and draw conclusions.”

The essays cover a variety of topics, from economics, race, education, and concerns of the legal profession, to legal doctrine, to illustrate how those issues influenced Alabama’s development. While some of the contributors chose topics based on scholarly interests, a few researched and wrote about how Alabama’s laws affected their hometowns.

Courtney Cooper (’14), a native of Eutaw, researched the evolution of the Alabama Constitution, the disenfranchisement that was built into the constitution and how the constitution was illegally ratified.

“I had concerns about the constitution, the fact that it was illegally ratified and that we continue to live under something that does have some corruption behind it,” said Cooper, an attorney for Dodson Gregory LLP in Birmingham.

Cooper grew up in Alabama’s Black Belt region, where the effects of the 1901 constitution, which deliberately disenfranchised black and poor white voters, are still felt today.  She began researching the constitution while an undergraduate at UA, and she said she was surprised to learn “several U.S. Supreme Court cases before 1901 encouraged what was ultimately done by Alabama legislators.”

Ellie Campbell (’13) researched Strange v. State, the first case in Alabama where an all-white jury convicted a white man for killing a black man in Anniston in 1965.

Campbell, a native of Anniston, shaped her essay around the trial and what had been happening in Alabama in the years preceding the trial so that a white jury could convict Hubert Damon Strange of killing Willie Brewster as he drove three friends home one evening.

Campbell returned to her hometown and interviewed Judge Robert Parker because her father, James M. Campbell, who also practices law in Anniston, knew him and was familiar with the case.

As she researched the essay, Campbell discovered her grandfather, James J. Campbell, was among a group of more than 250 Anniston citizens who paid for a full-page advertisement in the Anniston Star, announcing a $20,000 reward for information on the killing.

“That was kind of a turning point,” said Ellie Campbell, the Reference and Instruction Law Librarian at the Grisham Law Library at the University of Mississippi. “Prior to the mid-1960s, middle class white folks in the South had been silent. They didn’t like the violence, but they didn’t protest it too much because they didn’t want to be targets.”

Paul Rand (’13) researched the way that 19th Century Alabama courts handled what are called parol problems, or the admissibility of evidence that contradicts a written document.

The issue arises when a contract says one thing, but someone involved says what the contract says doesn’t reflect the agreement. Rand found the law on how to handle those situations changed before, during and after the Civil War.

“I was surprised, and a little amused, to learn how complicated the Confederate bureaucracy became by the end of the war,” said Rand, a trial lawyer for the Community Law Office, which provides criminal defense services for indigent defendants in Jefferson County. “That’s totally at odds with the image most history books give of the Confederate government.”

The anthology provides insight into elements of Alabama legal history that don’t garner a lot of research attention. As a result, the field, long considered an important part of Southern history, is wide open for new development.

“There is not nearly enough historical work out there about the development of the law in our state, so it’s very important that the university encourage and support Dr. Pruitt’s work in that field,” Rand said. “It’s a public service of the kind that the Law School is there to provide, and it’s great that it has been doing it.”

December 17, 2015

Professor Gross Says Han Solo Was Legally Justified to Shoot First

Professor John Gross recently wrote in a guest op-ed for Al.com that Han Solo acted in self-defense when he shot Greedo in Star Wars: A New Hope.

In the original version of the film it is obvious that Greedo intends to kill Solo and his decision to shoot first is entirely reasonable. Greedo is already in the cantina when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrive. He doesn’t elect to confront Solo until Chewbacca leaves to get the Millennium Falcon ready for departure. Greedo waits until he sees that Solo is vulnerable before confronting him. Greedo points a blaster at Solo’s chest and forces him back to the table where he had been sitting.

If a person reasonably believes that deadly force is about to be used against them then they have the right to use deadly force in their own defense. They don’t have to wait until someone shoots at them; they don’t even have to wait until they see the barrel of gun. The scene never needed editing because it is clear that Solo was completely justified in shooting Greedo when he did. In other words, Han legally shot first.

For more, read “UA Professor: Han Solo Was Legally Justified to Shoot First.”

December 17, 2015

2015 End of Year Giving Information

Farrah Alumni Society

Planning to make a gift before the end of the year?

Go to the Online Giving page to ensure your gift is received by December 31, 2015 for maximum tax credit.

As you consider your charitable gifts between now and the end of the year, remember that gifts made now could generate income tax deductions that may help reduce your tax bill for 2015.

Ways to give include:

Online via Credit Card or electronic check:

The most convenient, secure and expedient way to ensure that your year-end gift to Law School is received on time is to make it online via the UA giving web-site,www.law.ua.edu/membership. You may make an online gift any time before 11:59 p.m. (Central Standard Time) on December 31, 2015.

Checks:

Contributions mailed via U.S. Postal Service with postmark and check date on or before December 31, 2015 will be credited for 2015. Gifts may be mailed to the following address:

The University of Alabama School of Law
Office of Advancement
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Securities:

Giving stocks that are worth more than you paid for them may result in additional tax savings. Stock transfers initiated and received on or before the close of the market on December 31, 2014, will be credited for 2014.

To ensure proper gift credit to you, please notify us in advance when you are ready to make a transfer. For more information regarding stock transfers, please visit UA’s Gifts of Securities page.

Cash Wire Transfer Instructions:

Domestic transfer instructions:
Bank: BBVA Compass
Address: P.O. Box 10566
Birmingham, AL 35296
Routing number: 062001186
University of Alabama disbursing account number: 0002703246

Wire transfers must be received at UA’s bank on or before December 31, 2015, in order to be considered a 2015 contribution. Please contact UA at (205) 348-6718 and provide the name of who is making the wire transfer and for what purpose. You may also email Mary Beth Thornton or Haley Glover.

 

Questions about year-end giving or supporting UA?

Please call the Law School Office of Advancement at (205) 348-5752 or UA Central Advancement toll-free at (888) 875-4438 or visit Giving to UA for additional information.

This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. Before making your charitable gift, please consult with your financial, legal and other advisors

December 14, 2015

Professor Rushin Says Federal Interventions Force Cities to Face Police Misconduct

Professor Stephen Rushin recently told the Chicago Tribune the salient question for cities that have undergone police reform is whether the improvements are sustainable.

“The No. 1 good thing about these federal interventions is they force local municipalities to face the issue of police misconduct head-on,” said Rushin, author of a forthcoming book evaluating two decades of federal intervention into law enforcement. “I think there’s a bunch of structural and organizational reasons, without federal interventions, that make it easy for cities to push those difficult decisions off their plate.”

Rushin said that if a pattern of unlawful police conduct is found in Chicago, the cost of implementing reforms and paying for court monitors could approach $100 million.

For more, read “Historic Probe of Chicago Police Expected to Be Long And Costly.”