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Students in new Human Rights Clinic handle immigration case, address the rights of defendants in East Africa

Students in new Human Rights Clinic handle immigration case, address the rights of defendants in East Africa

Wednesday, October 14, 2015  /  Rate this article:
Students in Case Western  Reserve’s new Civil Rights and Human Rights Clinic handled an asylum case, analyzed counterterrorism laws in East Africa, fought for a blogger’s first amendment rights, and litigated a class-action lawsuit on behalf of homeless in Akron, Ohio.

Their work this academic year marked a successful beginning to the law school’s new clinic, directed by Professor Avidan Y. Cover. It kicked off in the spring semester.

Students have been working in immigration court on behalf of a Mexican family who were extorted by violent gangs and subjected to death threats and fled to the United States for safety. The students worked closely with the mother and her two sons, helping them with a number of legal issues, and ultimately finished their application for asylum.

Students also worked together with representatives from Horizon Institute, a Somalia-based consultancy firm, in addressing legal issues confronting the Republic of Somaliland. In particular, the students analyzed the country’s draft counterterrorism legislation, culminating in an 80-page report examining how the proposed law comports
with international human rights law and best practices. While criticizing the bill, the report offers series of
recommendations to improve the draft. The report will be provided to the Somaliland National Human Rights Commission.

In addition, third-year law students Emily Baldwin, Jon Dawson, Amanda  Doom, Madeline Jack, and Malea Hetrick worked on a variety of domestic and international legal issues, from free speech in Northeast Ohio to the rights of suspected terrorists detained in East Africa.

In Ohio state court, a team of students defended a blogger and website operator’s First Amendment right to
publish information about a local politician’s fitness for office against defamation and libel claims. Students conducted depositions and ultimately filed a motion for summary judgment, now pending before the judge.

In federal court, students have been litigating a class action on behalf of the Akron, Ohio homeless population whose tents and belongings were seized and destroyed by police and sanitation crews. Claims include unlawful
seizure and violation of procedural due process. Fact-finding and discovery consumed much of this past semester.


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