April 14, 2014 | Volume XXI, Issue 14

Faculty Scholarship & Activities

Published: October 14th, 2013

Category: News

UF Law and the Florida Law Review received notable coverage for this year’s Poucher Lecture, “National Security in a Changing World: From the perspective of an academic, a general, a spy and Florida statesmen,” including a front page story in the Gainesville Sun, segments on WCJB TV-20 and GTN News, and a story in the Alligator.

Bob Dekle
Director, Criminal Prosecution Clinic; Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Center, Master Lecturer

Florida mom to get new trial: Did court detect a ‘stand your ground’ inequity?” (Sept. 27, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

Marissa Alexander, a 20-year-old Florida mom, is serving time for firing shots, although she claimed it was self-defense. Her attorneys are arguing that the stand-your-ground law did not apply to her. They claim that her race led to bias from jurors.

From the article:
“Appeals courts are supposed to decide cases based on law, but they’re human beings, too, and they have been known to fudge” in favor of equity rather than mechanical application of criminal law, says Bob Dekle, a law professor at the University of Florida, in Gainesville. “That’s where the old legal maxim comes from, that says hard cases make bad law. But in this particular case, based on the jury instruction placing the burden of proof on the defendant, it would appear that a mechanical application of the law would bring you the result that the [appeals court] came up with.”

Gore executed for murder of two Florida women” (Oct. 1, 2013, The Gainesville Sun)

After 23 years on Death Row and filing appeal after appeal that he was mentally ill and unfit to be put to death, Marshall Lee Gore was executed Tuesday evening as the families of two of his victims watched in silence through a glass window.

From the article:
Bob Dekle, one of the prosecutors in the case, said he felt empty after watching Gore be put to death. “He did some horrible things to a vast number of undeserving people, and he got what he deserved.” Dekle said. “It took too long.”

Robert Jerry II
UF Law Dean; Levin Mabie & Levin Professor of Law

UF Levin College of Law bucks national trend of decreasing admissions” (Oct. 8, 2013, The Alligator)

Though most law schools have seen decreasing admissions nationally, the University of Florida Levin College of Law did not follow these trends.

From the article:
This year, UF Law enrolled a class size of 318, which is about 30 more students than last year’s class, said Robert H. Jerry, dean of UF Law.

“I think it’s because our applicant pool is so strong, and we are viewed as a very strong school,” Jerry said.

Even with the increase in UF Law’s entering class size, Jerry said he expects to see a decline in the average credentials of students accepted to UF Law — a median of about one LSAT point, which he said he expects will be on par with the national average.

He attributes this expected decline in student credentials to the decrease in law-school applicants nationally.

To offset the drop in credentials, Jerry said, some schools have been shrinking the size of their classes.

Lyrissa Lidsky
Stephen C. O’Connell Professor; Associate Dean for International Programs 

M.I.A.’s middle finger to the NFL is back in spotlight” (Sept. 25, 2013, The Alligator)

Singer M.I.A. showed her middle finger to the crowd at the NFL’s halftime show in February 2012. The NFL decided to sue her for tarnishing their reputation. Now M.I.A. is now speaking out against the NFL’s reputation as “wholesome.”

From the article:
M.I.A.’s lawyer was quoted saying the league’s claim of a “wholesome reputation” is pretty funny considering the violence that occurs on and off the field with the players, but UF professor Lyrissa Lidsky said regardless of where the league’s values stand, it’s a simple matter of contract.

“The time to say the NFL is being hypocritical is before you agree to [signing away certain rights],” the Levin College of Law professor said.

Lidsky said the NFL might have tried to keep this issue under wraps to avoid drawing negative scrutiny toward the league.

California becomes second state to ban revenge porn, but still legal in Florida” (Oct. 7, 2013, The Alligator)

Though California recently became the second state to pass a law against revenge porn, Florida failed to pass that law. The legislation died in the appropriations process and also failed to pass in Missouri.

From the article:
Currently, revenge porn websites are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, an immunity provision that protects websites from being responsible for the content posted by its users, said UF law professor Lyrissa Lidsky.

Lidsky said some opponents of revenge porn legislation feel the proposed laws would infringe on the First Amendment.

“Generally, I’m opposed to new legislation that effects free speech, but this is so dramatic,” Lidsky said.

Not all victims of revenge porn are completely without recourse. Certain cyberstalking and cyberharrassment laws can apply, Lidsky said. Other protections exist for photos that are inherently illegal, such as images obtained through hacking or images involving a minor.

The California bill hasn’t solved all of these concerns, though. The law rests on the intent to cause serious emotional distress, a point that may be hard to prove, Lidsky said.

Omri Y. Marian
Assistant Professor of Law

“Bitcoin is the offshore tax haven of the future” (Oct. 10, 2013, The Daily Dot)

Marian’s essay “ Are Cryptocurrencies ‘Super’ Tax Havens?,” is referenced in this article about how the nature of Bitcoin, combined with a recent shift in how the United States government deals with foreign banks shielding U.S. citizens from taxation, has the potential to make encrypted, electronic currencies the “weapon of choice for tax evaders.”

From the article:
Marian admits Bitcoin tax evasion likely isn’t happening on a very large scale at the moment, simply because aren’t enough Bitcoins to hold the necessary amount of value. The total net worth of every Bitcoin in existence is currently about $1.63 billion—a tiny fraction of the money tied up in worldwide offshore tax evasion. However, as both the use and number of Bitcoins in the market grow, the strategy is likely to become increasingly common. Marian argues that governments looking to combat tax evasion need to get out in front of the issue. “If we think tax evasion is bad and we want to stop it, the time to act is now before it becomes widespread,” he said.

Jon Mills
Professor of Law; Dean Emeritus 

Lawsuit aims to increase education funding in Florida” (Oct. 7, 2013, Bradenton Herald)

A group of parents from four Florida counties say the state’s public schools are unsafe, underfunded, inefficient and ineffective. These parents from Alachua, Duval, Orange and Pasco have been fighting in court since 2009. Their lawsuit, alleging that Florida lawmakers are shortchanging schoolchildren, is now moving forward. If successful, they could force the Florida Legislature to overhaul the state’s education system.

From the article:
“The [new] provision was drafted very specifically to allow litigation,” said former House Speaker Jon Mills, who sat on the 1998 Constitution Revision Commission and is now partnering with Chonin on the lawsuit.

Jason Nance
Assistant Professor of Law; Associate Director, Center on Children and Families

Nance’s article, “Students, Security, and Race,” was published in Emory Law Journal. The cite is 63 Emory L.J. 1 (2013).

Cape schools tighten up security” (Sept. 22, 2013, Cape Cod Times)

For the first time, every school in the Cape is locked during school hours and visitors are required to use a buzzer system to enter. Most schools have police officers on scene all hours of the school day and it is required that all Cape schools practice lockdowns at least once a year.

From the article:
Jason Nance, assistant professor at the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, has written a white paper, published by the Stanford Law Review, that says schools are already among the safest places for children. Money being spent on security, Nance contends, would be better spent on mental health and more teachers.

“When you have something like Newtown, when you have something like what happened in Littleton, Colo., people demand an immediate response,” Nance said in a telephone interview. “I see it as a cost-benefit analysis. Right now, schools tend to be safe. In fact, they are among the safest places for children. If you add in more resources to make them even safer, then the costs are tremendous. But the benefits are actually quite small. You may prevent some incidents from happening, but you’re certainly not going to be able to prevent all incidents from happening.”

Nance also argues against having police officers in the schools, saying there isn’t enough for them to do, which may prompt them to meddle in school discipline. In the process, low-income students and minorities become unfairly targeted, creating a school-to-prison pipeline, Nance said.

“There have been lots of studies done on school safety. All have come up with the same conclusion, which is if you want to improve school safety, relationships matter the most,” Nance said. “It is the relationships you develop with kids to create a climate of trust and responsibility – that’s what makes the difference with school safety – not metal detectors, not the police officers, not the drug-sniffing dogs.”

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