Category: News and Views

A Plea to New Law Students

Among other things, I am Firearms Instructor.

When I tell people this, it’s usually a 50/50 split as to whether their eyes are filled with fear or interest.  Minds have been conditioned by the media and social biases that “Guns are bad.”  When I counsel students at the college where I work who are starting their education in legal studies, I ask them a few questions (this works a bit better during an election year):

1) Do you think guns should be banned?
2) The guy who held the sign “You’re a Liar” in the front row of an Obama/Bush rally — should  he have been escorted out?
3) Should a person be allowed to wear their pants low so you can see their boxers?
4) Are DUI checkpoints a good idea?

Each of these issues deals with specific individual freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, some of which have been compromised, but all of which usually (8 times out of 10) solicit an expected knee-jerk response from the person I’m asking.  So, here is my plea to you — the incoming 1L class:

Wait. When you’re asked a question such as the one above, bite your tongue and prevent yourself from giving the “right” answer…  The “right” answer being common sense.  Instead, take a few moments and think, not just about the rights of the people and public safety, but of the rights of the individual.  Remember that “the people” are comprised of individuals and each of us has inalienable rights — remember your Con Law case studies…  Once you’ve taken everything into account, then give the “correct” answer.

Express. When you have a spirited debate, pot shots are bound to happen, but I beg that, while you should debate and defend your position with zeal, that you do so as civily as possible.  Resorting to foul language can instantly destroy any credibility you may have built and you will most certainly loose any respect gained by your opponent.

Love. Our Constitution is a wonderfully glorious thing — it laid the foundations for our individual freedoms and our way of living.  If, at this very moment, you believe that jump-out squads and curfews are good for public safety; if you believe someone who says, “Fuck” in public should be cited with disorderly conduct; if you think that police should be allowed to require you to show them your ID at will…  I beg of you to learn all of the reasons to hate these ideas and love your Constitution and freedoms it provides you.  Research the case history and learn WHY obvious criminals are let go because an officer illegally siezed a weapon and cherrish that.  Understand that the laws that let suspects off on “technicalities” aren’t just there for them, but that every single day they protect people like you.

Once you’ve done this, if you still believe your previous notions were correct then, by all means, return to them.  You’ll go back, not only with an appreciation for the other side, but you’ll be better able to defend your position because you will understand your opponent and their line of reasoning.

Good luck on your Fall semester, my friends…  keep up with your reading and remember to challenge your mind every single day.

News and Views #23: New Feeds And Nominations

In this episode, we let you know that our two new feeds are both finally up — Introduction to Criminal Justice is a 100-level Criminal Justice course for Delaware Tech and Criminal Judiciary is a 200-level Criminal Justice course at Delaware Tech.  Both feeds should be up on iTunes shortly; however, in the mean time, you can subscribe to the feed through iTunes by going to our Feeds back and clicking on the iTunes icon next to the feed name.

Also, nominations for the 2008 Podcast Awards has begun!  Please visit http://www.podcastawards.com/ and, under the Education topic, please nominate us!  Part of the criteria for selection is the number of nominations received…  You only need to nominate once and the period ends soon, so please lend us a hand with this!

News and Views #22: New Feeds and Podcast Awards!

This is a quick podcast to tell you about a couple of new feeds we have no for the Fall and to request your help!

To begin with, Episode 1 of our Criminal Judiciary podcast is up and available!  By tomorrow, I’m hoping to have up the first episode of the Introduction to Criminal Justice podcast — listen to the podcast for details on what they cover.

Lastly, our call for help…

Come September 15th, nominations will open for Podcast Awards.com Listener’s Choice Award.  For 2008, Life of a Law Student will be seeking nomination for the Best Podcast in the area of Education so, come mid-September, we ask that all of our listeners go to http://podcastawards.com/ and give us a nomination.  40% of the decision on whether or not a podcast will be nominated is on the number of nominations, so we’ll be dropping reminders as we get closer to the date!

Can we count on you?  Drop us a comment here and let us know!

News and Views #21: D.C. v. Heller

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

No other sentence has been the root of so much contention, confusion and controversy when it comes to the Bill of Rights. In this episode, we’ll be reviewing D.C. v. Heller, the landmark supreme court case that has defined the Second Amendment as an individual right.

D.C. v. Heller (2008)
Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
SCOTUS Decision (PDF)

News and Views #17: CALI Conference Talk

On Friday, June 16th, 2006 I gave a talk at CALI’s annual Conference for Law School Computing. (For those who are unfamiliar with CALI, they are the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction.)

The conference theme was “Rip, Mix, Learn” and my talk focused on Life of a Law Student. Topics of my talk included history, policies, and goals of the project, concerns and objections raised by my law professors, the technical details of how the podcast is produced, how I am working to bring on additional law students, and finally a Fair Use analysis.

CALI
Statutory Fair Use text