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Bernstein Symposium

This year the Bernstein Symposium will be combined with the annual Liman Public Interest Fellowship Colloquium.  Click here for printable schedule. 


Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium
and Arthur Liman Public Interest Colloquium

Yale Law School
April 9-10, 2015


9:15–10:30 am Changing the Story: How Capital Defenders Craft a Case for Life [Faculty Lounge]

Like most lawyers, capital defense attorneys are most successful when they craft persuasive stories about the injustices suffered by their clients. However, often because of the types of crimes their clients are accused of convicted of committing, nobody wants to hear about the injustices they have faced. How do capital defenders craft stories that cut through the narratives offered by prosecutors, courts, prison officials, politicians, or the media? How do they frame arguments for unsympathetic, elected state court judges to make a record for judges who might be more receptive in later stages? In investigating a client's case, how do capital defenders let go of preconceived notions and listen for the hidden stories that clients and their families may have never told before? The panelists, each of whom works at different stages of capital defense in some of the most ardent capital jurisdictions in the country – trial level in Louisiana, state post-conviction in Alabama, and federal habeas in Texas – will discuss the ways they work to make the criminal justice system respond to their clients’ stories.

• Burke Butler, YLS ‘11
• Katie Chamblee, YLS ‘12
• Matthew Vogel, YLS ‘13
• Laura Fernandez, Senior Liman Fellow in Residence, YLS ’03 (moderator)

The Ripple Effects of Mass Incarceration: Detention’s Impact on Families and Communities in Poverty
   [Faculty Lounge]

The collateral consequences of arrest and conviction are often as harsh as the legal punishment itself. People lose jobs, housing, benefits, educational opportunities, and even access to their children. Many people spend weeks or months in jail simply because they are poor and cannot afford to make bail or pay court costs. Lawyers who address collateral consequences must necessarily bridge areas of law and activity that are normally in separate silos (criminal and civil; legal and nonlegal; etc.) What practical challenges emerge? What opportunities? The panelists, who work in New York, Texas, Louisiana, and Oregon, will share their experiences working to reduce the impact of the criminal justice system on clients, their families, and their communities.

• Anna Arkin-Gallagher, YLS ‘09
• Emily Gerrick YLS ‘14
• Caitlin Mitchell, YLS ‘12
• Alyssa Work, YLS ‘13
• Fiona Doherty, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Yale Law School (moderator)

12:30-2 pm  Current Bernstein & Robina Fellows present their work - Lunch  [Faculty Lounge]

• Megan Corrarino (Human Rights First)
• Kyle Delbyck (Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, Bosnia)
• Stephanie Kim (Human Rights Watch Refugee Program)
• Tienmu Ma (Ombudsperson Institution of the Republic of Kosovo)
• Clare Ryan (European Court of Human Rights)
• James Shih (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia)
• Jessica So (United Nations Development Program in Myanmar)
• Leah Zamore (Office of the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees)

3-4 pm Conference Registration [Room 122]

4:10-5:30 pm Democracy and Detention   [Room 127]
Political and social theorists have long posited a close relationship between how a state punishes and how it governs. One puzzle is the variation among contemporary democracies in the incidence of incarceration and the forms incarceration takes. By examining different penal regimes in the context of larger political economic dynamics, is it possible to posit preconditions for a more tolerant criminal justice system? What effects do detention practices have on a state’s governance, and who participates in government and how?

• Nicola Lacey, School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy, London School of Economics
• Lukas Muntingh, Co-Founder, Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative, Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape
• Vesla Weaver, Assistant Professor, Political Science and African American Studies, Yale University
• James Whitman, Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law,
Yale Law School
• Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School (moderator)

5:45-7 pm Detaining Outsiders: Migrants, Borders, and Security  [Room 127]
Detention is an increasingly common fixture of national strategies to manage geographical borders. What dynamics contribute to the proliferation of immigration detention? What are justifications for and against detaining people who lack legal authorization to be present within a nation’s borders? To what extent should immigration detention be viewed as a form of “preventive detention,” and what are the effects of doing so?

• Mary Bosworth, Professor of Criminology and Fellow of St. Cross College, University of Oxford, and Professor of Criminology, Monash University, Australia
• Michael Flynn, Director, Global Detention Project, Geneva, Switzerland
• Zonke Majodina, Former Member, United Nations Human Rights Committee
• Allegra McLeod, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
• Darryl Li, Associate Research Scholar and Robina Visiting Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School (moderator)


10-11:45 am Punishment Before Trial  [Room 127]

More than 3.3 million people worldwide are held in pretrial detention, sometimes for longer than the maximum sentences they would have received upon conviction. What drives pre-trial detention, and what are possible solutions? Should the emphasis for reform be on access to counsel? Or reliance on less formal (and less expensive) alternatives, such as paralegals or community education? On alternatives to incarceration, such as probation or diversion out of the criminal process? Or should decriminalization be central to the conversation?

• Uju Agomoh, Director, Prison Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, Nigeria
• Maja Daruwala, Executive Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi
• Martin Schoenteich, Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Institute
• Melanie Vélez, Litigation Director, Southern Center for Human Rights
• Fiona Doherty, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Yale Law School (moderator)

12-1:30 pm Lunch & Lecture: Inferno [Room 127]

Robert Ferguson, George Edward Woodberry Professor in Law, Literature, and Criticism, Columbia Law School

1:45-3:30 pm Rights, Oversight, and Change

What role do rights have in challenging the “penal populism” described by Nicola Lacey? What are the promises and limits of rights in this context? On one hand, there is a risk that “rights” will reach acute abuses but not systemic issues, such as the overuse of confinement. On the other hand, how relevant is “rights talk” in systems that lack the resources to implement reforms? How are rights used in practice by prisoners, lawyers, courts, and institutions? What roles do international law and institutions play? Where are they effective? Where do they fall short? Should advocates push for greater involvement in international mechanisms, or are such efforts unlikely to yield results?

• Basak Çali, Director, Center for Global Public Law, Koç University, Istanbul
• David Fathi, Director, ACLU National Prison Project
• Rick Raemisch, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Corrections
• Miguel Sarre, Professor of Law, Instituto Tecnólogico Autónomo de México (ITAM)
• Dirk Van Zyl Smit, Professor of Comparative and International Penal Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham School of Law, United Kingdom
• Johanna Kalb, Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Director Liman Public Interest Program, Yale Law School (moderator)

3:45-5:30 pm The End(s) of Detention? [Room 127]
Prisons are often viewed as objects of reform, but they also have a long history of being sites of experimentation for social reform. What are the likely sources of change in the ways incarceration occurs in the coming decade? Should prisons try to do more, not less? Should reform efforts work on measuring and incentivizing positive outcomes for prisoners? Or are we better off abandoning the idea of prisons as a site of transformation? Should the emphasis, instead, be on decreasing the numbers detained pending trial? Minimizing the sentences for those convicted? Finding alternatives to incarceration altogether? All of the above? None?

• Marie Gottschalk, Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
• Glenn Martin, Founder, JustLeadershipUSA
• Nils ?berg, Director-General, Swedish Prison and Probation Service
• Bernie Warner, Secretary, Washington Department of Corrections
• Hope Metcalf, Executive Director, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights and Clinical Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School (moderator)

5:30-6:30 pm Joint Bernstein-Liman Reception  [Dining Hall]