News - March 2004
Student Funded Fellowships Auction raised $50,000
March 16, 2004
The Student Funded Fellowships (SSF) Auction raised $50,000 this year. This represents an increase of $5,000 over the amount raised last year. When putting together the auction proceeds with other monies slotted for SFF, more than 60 competitive grants will be available this year for students who want to take summer public interest or public service jobs that offer little or no pay. Since its founding in 1978, SFF has funded more than 700 students who chose summer internships at over 250 organizations across the country.
Law Professor cited in major Supreme Court Decision
March 8, 2004
The Supreme Court today issued a decision that fundamentally transforms the way in which it considers the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. The Confrontation Clause guarantees the right of a criminal defendant to "be confronted with the witnesses against him." Until today, the Court had treated the Court as a flexible rule that could be overcome by showing that a particular statement, although made by a witness out of court and not subject to cross-examination by the defendant, was reliable. By a 7-2 vote in today's decision, Crawford v. Washington, the Court held that this doctrine should be discarded. Instead, the Clause provides a categorical rule that a testimonial statement cannot be offered against a criminal defendant unless the defendant has had a chance to cross-examine the person who made the statement. Although the Court declined to offer a precise definition of the term testimonial, it declared that the statement involved in this case -- a statement to the police in the station-house, made shortly after a crime was allegedly committed, by a witness to the incident -- was at the core of the concern underlying the Confrontation Clause.
Justice Scalia's opinion for the majority noted that academics as well as individual justices had suggested that the Court revise its doctrine "to reflect more accurately the original understanding of the Clause." One of the two academics it cited was Richard D. Friedman, Ralph W. Aigler Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. For years, Prof. Friedman has been the leading academic advocate of the view now adopted by the Court. "This is a decision of great and beneficial importance," Prof. Friedman said. "It restores the Confrontation Clause to its proper position of glory as one of the chief bulwarks of our system of criminal justice. Over the long term, it offers the potential for significant transformations in procedure and evidentiary law. Prosecutors will now understand better than before the importance of taking testimony subject to cross-examination, and we can anticipate that this will happen before trial more frequently than has been the case. Because the confrontation right has been articulated in robust terms, there is now less justification than there was for the complex and amorphous rule against hearsay, and if that is transformed over the years, the conduct of both civil and criminal trials will be far more efficient than it has been."
Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
March 5, 2004
The University of Michigan Law School team has won the Central Regional Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition held at Valparaiso Law School in Indiana. This victory marks the fourth year in a row that the U-M Law School team has won a slot to compete at the international championship to be held the last week in March in Washington, D.C. Fourteen schools competed on the regional level and only eight U.S. law schools will be represented at the international competition that will include teams representing some 70 countries.
The 2004 Jessup team consists of four speakers, all first-year
students, including Joe Ashby, Sarah Bender-Nash, Josh Deal, and Adam Wolfson. Scott Risner, also a first-year student, trained as the alternate, and the team was coached by third-year law student Anthony Gill and 2003 graduate Francis Franze, who was on the team for his second and third years
of law school. The final round of the regional competition was argued by Sarah Bender-Nash and Adam Wolfson, both of whom received individual speaker awards for their performances during the competition.