Friday, November 18, 2011

I Just Want to Tell You Both Good Luck. We're All Counting on You.

Soon the results will come out.  A few years ago, co-blogger Danny Z had some insightful comments as he awaited the results.  This year, aside from the traditional pithy post that opens it up for commenters to vent any angst or frustration, I want to offer a list of DOs and DON'Ts.

1.  Do celebrate your bar passage with friends and family.  You become a licensed attorney only once.

2.  Don't celebrate by posting your name followed by "Esq." on Facebook.  In fact, never refer to yourself as Esq. or Esquire; it's really obnoxious.  Imagine if a judge introduced himself, "Hi, I'm the Honorable John Smith."  Esquire is no exception.  It's an honorary title that others may use to refer to you.  When people use honorary titles on themselves, they come off as pompous pricks.  We have Hastings for that kind of nonsense.  KIDDING!

3.  Do go home early to check your results.  You don't want to be at work.  Trust me.

4.  Don't feel like it's the end of the world if your name is not on the pass list.  Always reenter your info in case you had a typo...happens more often than you might think.  If it's not a typo, it's still not the end of the world. 

That is all for this year.  Only a couple of hours more of feeling like you're on a roller coaster that's continuously falling.  Good luck.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breaking: Cal Supremes on Prop 8

The California Supreme Court has just issued its opinion on the recent certified question in Perry v. Brown, the Proposition 8 case. The short answer, so far as I can see, is that the case is headed back to the Ninth Circuit with only minimal guidance on the core inquiry: do the backer of Proposition 8 have standing to defend it?

Rather than read and contemplate the opinion, however, in true busy associate fashion I have given it a skim and will now fire off a few disorganized thoughts before turning the forum over to the comments where, no doubt, someone anonymous will do the hard work of saying something profound. Thanks for that in advance.

As you will recall, last year a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit used the “certified question” procedure to send a portion of the case to the California Supreme Court. As Boaltie federal court nuts are no doubt aware, the procedure is designed to further our federal system of government by providing the federal courts with an avenue by which they may ask state courts to resolve “novel or complex questions of state law.” (This is also know as “judicial restraint” or “punting the question,” depending on the circles in which you run.)

In this case, the question certified was:
Whether under article II, section 8 of the California Constitution, or otherwise under California law, the official proponents of an initiative measure possess either a particularized interest in the initiative’s validity or the authority to assert the State’s interest in the initiative’s validity, which would enable them to defend the constitutionality of the initiative upon its adoption or appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative, when the public officials charged with that duty refuse to do so.
In plain English, what the Ninth Circuit really wanted to know was whether the proponents of Proposition 8 had standing to defend it from a constitutional attach in federal court. Obviously (at least to those Boaltie federal courts nuts), Article III standing presents a rather common question of federal law, and not a “novel or complex question” of state law. But by disguising the inquiry in language like “particularized interest” (see the quotation above), the Ninth Circuit hoped to find a backdoor path to the issue -- that language is designed to tip off the Ninth Circuit as to whether voter-backers of Proposition 8 have an interest under California law that also is legally cognizable under Article III of the United States Constitution.

If you wonder why a federal court needs a state court’s help with this issue (i.e.., with whether a person has been injured in a way that is cognizable under Article III), you’re asking good questions. And, according to my very hasty read of the opinion, the California Supreme Court is on our wavelength. Rather than state “yes, these voters have been injured,” the Cal Supremes have avoided that question and asserted only that the backers of Proposition 8 have chosen a procedural path that is valid under California law. That’s a distinction with a substantial difference: instead of accepting the Ninth Circuit’s invitation to answer its own standing inquiry (which was a question of federal law anyway) the California Supreme Court appears to have addressed the relevant California law and left the rest of matters as they found them. Good for them.

The next step is a return to the Ninth Circuit where, hopefully, the panel will commence to answering its own threshold question: have the backers of Proposition 8 been (1) injured, in a way that is (2) fairly tracable to the defendant's wrongful conduct and that is (3) redressable by court order?

All of the above comes with the caveat that I have not read the entire opinion. I’ll get to it later today, I hope, but in the meantime discuss away.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Faculty Strongly Condemns UC Actions Against Protestors in Letter to Birgeneau

In a letter sent to Chancellor Birgeneau, an impressive list of over 60 members of the Boalt faculty have condemned the UCPD and UC Berkeley Administration actions towards the Occupy Cal protestors. The letters also calls on the administration to follow Judge Brazil's report on the 2009 police brutality incidents and implement policy changes to prevent police violence and harassment towards UC students.

It's commendable that so many individuals on the faculty have taken such a strong stance on what has been happening at Cal. Here is the entire letter reprinted (with the faculty signatures after the jump):
Dear Chancellor Birgeneau and Vice Chancellors Breslauer and LeGrande,

We, the undersigned members of the Berkeley Law faculty, write to condemn in the strongest possible terms:

  1. the violence directed against non-violent student, staff and faculty protesters at Sproul Plaza on November 9, 2011;
  2. the temporary detention by police of two law students near the law school on the same day; and
  3. the Chancellor’s public and explicit defense of the police action of November 9, 2011, which made inaccurate distinctions between violent and non-violent civil disobedience and which he apparently signed without having viewed the videos of the incidents at issue.
Sproul Plaza. The First Amendment enshrines the right to assemble peaceably, to speak freely, and to petition for governmental redress of grievances. Interference with these rights, particularly in the form of violence that was visited upon protesters in Sproul Plaza last week, is inexcusable by any government entity, but is particularly troubling at a public university. While the University may enforce its rules, including citing or arresting those engaged in acts of civil disobedience (such as linking arms and refusing to disband), there is no place for instigating violence in a community dedicated to the free exchange of ideas.

Kroeber Plaza. On November 9, in separate incidents, a group of officers detained two Berkeley Law students who were attempting to return to class after participating in the peaceful demonstration at Sproul Hall. The officers detained each student near Kroeber Plaza, though there had been no protest activity at the Plaza or the law school, and the students were simply walking back to class. Ostensibly, the officers were asking for identification. However, the accounts of these incidents provided by the two students and other witnesses – law students and law school faculty and staff – describe police actions that were unwarranted and excessive.

Going Forward. The police conduct at Sproul Plaza, and the humiliating and frightening police activity at Kroeber Plaza, have caused a number of our students to question whether they can safely come and go from the law school, much less exercise their First Amendment rights at our university. In addition to the urgent need for a thorough review of these events – including holding accountable those parties responsible for any actions that violated the civil and political rights of our community members – we call on the administration to:

  1. implement immediately the recommendations of the June 2010 Brazil Police Review Board Report;
  2. publicly support and defend the rights of community members – and especially our students – to engage in non-violent political expression; and
  3. take all other actions necessary to reestablish Berkeley’s reputation as a beacon of peaceable assembly and free speech.


Read more »

Shooting at Haas?

Students at Boalt: please be safe. Anyone with details, please provide.

The Most Interesting Boalt Profs in the World

Piggybacking off of the popular internet meme "The Most Interesting Man in the World" (which mocks the Dos Equis Beer ads), some internet savvy Boaltie has come up with his or her own version:

The site can be found here and it encourages us all to make and submit our own.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Town Hall Liveblog Kicking Off at 1235pm Today

Dean Edl*y will be having a conversation with the student body today at 1245 in Booth Auditorium.

We will be covering all of the action right here at your one and only Nuts and Boalts.

Andrew and I will both be blogging. I'll be kicking things off and Andrew will likely continue on this post.

James and Andrew here:

12:35 - Booth is cold as usual.  A few people are here and are generally impressed by Booth's new seats.  As discussed, Andrew will take over for me about halfway through (or if I start to talk too much).  Or he might post intermittently.  We're figuring out the structure as we speak.  Any bets on what Edley will say?   I'd expect that the crowd is pretty pro-99%, but you never know.

12:35 - Some clases have been cancelled for tomorrow due to the general strike in response to the UCPD's brutality and the general UC response to the protests.

12:36 - Some professors are asking media services to film the classes, but ironically, the media services people may strike too. So some classes might only have audio recorded.

12:38 - M*ndi is here.  I'm going to ask her about the action figure idea as soon as I have the chance.  Auditorium continues to fill up.  No one has any illegally sized signs.

12:44 - No DE in sight.  Maybe he's waiting to make a grand entrance.  Booth is mostly full.  Not sure how many people it holds.  There are too many Castro baseball caps in here for my taste, but that's a personal problem.

12:45 - Right on time DE makes his way to the front.  Several professors are also in attendance in the audience.

12:47 - And by on time, we mean fiddling with mics for a few minutes.

12:48 - DE just spent the last few moments talking to one of the Student Regents.  He opens by saying he has nothing prepared, but wants to make a couple of points to get things started:

- He's watched several of the videos and he's read several things and most of what he saw was "pretty standard protest fare, but some of what I saw was shocking and unacceptable and just not my university."  This gets applause.

- He can't understand nor imagine the circumstances that could have created any justification for using batons and he certainly saw nothing of that sort and couldn't even imagine what the justification might have been.

12:50 - Apparently, both DE and the Chancellor were at the same event in Shanghai. DE's not sure how familiar the Chancellor was with the circumstances.

12:51 - DE: "I have been criticized for acting as though I believe the law school is a world unto itself. and I plead guilty to that. But one of the consequences of that is that we have zero control over the police."

12:53 - Things last week didn't go as well as ordinarily because the Alameda County Sheriff's Office don't have the same set of sensibilities and relationship with our law school folks and there were some harsh words exchanged by M*ndi and KVH and the police.

12:55 - DE has several responsibilities:

- Giving us the best legal education in the world.
- This doesn't include being stopped and questioned and interrogated; feeling threatened; feeling unsafe and DE will be taking steps to communicate with the police and the Chancellor to communicate what he believes to be unacceptable police behavior towards our students at Berkeley.
- Also is responsible for being a teacher and he's going to get pedantic on our asses.

12:55 - I'm going to posit that the Chancellor didn't have any independent sources of information apart from what the police said when he sent out his infamous "linking arms" e-mail. Also, YouTube sometimes doesn't work in China, so he may not have seen the videos. [AFong]

12:55 - DE: As a tactical matter, sometimes you want to get in trouble with the police, so "be mouthy".

12:56 - DE makes it clear that cops can misbehave when you act out towards them and that this is something that DE knew growing up and we should as well.  He's now asking us to be lawyers and put ourselves in the shoes of the cops and that Berkeley students, from their point of view, must be "privileged, entitled kids" and the students have an enormous amount of power over the police.

12:57 - When students file a grievance the life of that officer can be hell.  DE is now saying we have more power than the cop does.  I don't think this is accurate, but I think he means in a societal sense.  So the chances they'll act out are high because we have more societal power and they have more on the ground power.

12:59 - There are serious problems with the training and disciplinary measures within the department.  There are huge problems with the way they coordinate with outside agencies.  But, what about deploying riot police at all? That seems like a UC position and not simply a UCPD position.

1:00 - Incidents of police misconduct are not as significant as the movement itself and the issues and that we move past this as quickly as possible and try to change the world instead of Cal.  This is some great advice.  But, the police are deployed in order to keep the status quo.  Oh man, the comments are now open.

1:02 - And of course it's immediately a personal anecdote.  And now the Dean is being told he was mocking.  He's been told he's consistently mocking at town halls.  A few people booed, basically this individual is super pissed because of all of the problems at Cal ever.  Fee hikes have been brought up and now he's being called out on how the cops are taking orders from the administration.

1:03 - For those not clear, shit has just gotten real.  DE apologizes for his tone as he does not mean to mock and he wants to be clear.  This is the right way to deal with the criticism.

1:04 - DE: "The 99% issue in the larger scheme of things is more important than, uh (long pause), is this about fee hikes or the police misconduct?"

1:05 - Commenter: You're trying to tell us about police misconduct as something we don't know anything about. "We live next to Oakland" DE: Maybe you're more of an expert than the rest of the people here.

1:07 - DE: "I disagree with you about the fees. If you want to talk about the fee issue, we can talk about the fee issue." DE thinks this is distinct from the general education policies of the state and the federal government (and this is what, he thinks, OWS is talking about). But "he has to manage for today while thinking about tomorrow."

1:08 - We've moved on to another commenter who wants two things:

- Wants to have assurance that regardless of what kind of influence you think you have with the police that you are expressing your displeasure with what has occurred.  Who do you plan to talk to?  What do you plan to say?
DE response: Spoken with the Chancellor and the President of the University and he will write something in addition.  I'd like to see it in a big media outlet in the Bay and on the internet.  He expects that the chancellor will act.  He doesn't know to what extent the administration was involved in the tactical decisions or the clear rules of engagement for dealing with the protestors.  It doesn't appear that they have clear or good rules of engagement.  "I do know the administration does not want a semi-permanent encampment on the campus."

1:13 Commenter thinks everyone is united against the brutality (take that anon) and she wants the Law School to take a leadership position on this issue.

1:14 - DE immediately waffles about what the school's role should be regarding this issue.  Faculty are encouraged to make statements and DE needs to think about what he should do publicly.

1:15 - DE contrasts "publicly" berating the Chancellor about how to do his job with quietly advising him.

1:16 - DE does not think linking arms is violent protest and disagrees with the Chancellor and how do we respond to campus leaders making statements like this?

1:17 - Comment from the peanut gallery:  "it sounds like DE wants to think about some things. wasn't this his forum for expressing what he's thought about?"

1:17 - DE talking about China now and rule of law. Concern about how vague rules chill speech. Likewise, unclear what is acceptable and unacceptable here. DE will press for clarification about the linking arms issue and where line should be drawn.

1:18 - DE clarifies - If you're engaged in civil disobedience, remember they can arrest you (that's the point).

1:19 - Everyone gets more than one question, apparently, as we continue to make sure we tell DE all of the ways he was slightly wrong or over broad in his statements. Commenter complains about how protesters are being dismissed as hippies or otherwise ignored.

1:21 - DE says those are terrific points and agrees.  "Don't go crazy trying to fix this school- think about out there."  DE was never that into campus.  I also would have liked to see more UC students at Oscar Grant Plaza instead of at Sproul.

1:22 - DE says go to Sacramento to protest how the UC's are being treated. (You can take Amtrak)

1:23 - DE: "I am not being mocking. Okay, so saying that I'm not mocking is mocking." But he explains faculty is frustrated that people are protesting here and not in Sacramento. "You care enough to protest only when its convenient."

1:24 - DE: Berkeley is #2 in leading research university. And Berkeley has more Pell Grant recipients than the entire Ivy League. Would love to be part of conversation about how to have more of an impact, but it is "not a simple job."

Commenter: We would be more willing to take this to the administration if we didn't feel like you viewed us as the enemy.

1:26 - Basically, the students want more handholding about how to change stuff from Edley.  We're going to have a planning meeting.  It seems like this is a step forward as long as we don't use that whole meeting to attack straw man DE positions.  DE wants the movement to be led by students.

1:27 - The mic is stuck on one side of the room.  Let the left side speak!

1:28 - Now we're going to argue more about what actually happened and how the students "were prevented from walking through the campus" and DE clarifies and apologizes.
Hey BHSA, remind him about that planning meeting next time you see him.

1:29 - Everyone is getting emotional.  DE's response wasn't quite right because the full facts weren't talked about by DE.  DE reiterates what he said at the beginning of the talk.

1:30 - DE says I don't get the point.  DE says he'll send the letter.  This is the kind of thing that makes DE pissy.  And he's getting pissy.  And some of the crowd is yelling that they're not getting support.  He's getting blamed for an inaccurate interpretation of what happened and he didn't provide all of the facts.

1:31 - Both students who were confronted were latino and there were racial slurs used by the police towards the students.  DE was not aware of this and gets called out on for not speaking to the students about what happened.  The students are not ok and are not traumatized.  DE should have first reached out to them instead of just going ahead with what he thought he knew.  DE apologizes and says the student was right.

1:32 - These students were singled out, they were alone and they were humiliated in front of their own school.  DE's comments about "power" come back to bite him in the ass because they weren't clear.

1:33 - DE agrees with almost everything accept his complete culpability for sending the memo without knowing all of the facts.  Now that he has more information he will send another memo.  DE is getting called on the fact that he didn't email from Shanghai before talking to us.  As he gets additional facts he'll send out another memo.  This seems to be a "either you're with us or against us" situation in Booth.

1:35 - DE is getting called out on his "consistent attitude towards the students" for what the new commenter says is "mocking" and that the fee hike cannot be separated from the 99% or the police brutality.  I feel like we're missing the point here.  Instead of getting DE on board, we're insisting on attacking him.

THIS JUST IN - All students granted amnesty if they were arrested.

1:36 - Commenter says DE doesn't care about anything we say.  Why even hold the meetings?  DE holds them because he wants to respond when stuff happens and that students what to hear from him even when they disagree.

1:37 - DE agrees that fee hike issue and 99% issue are the same.  He doesn't agree police misconduct is the same, commenter interrupts DE and clarifies.

1:38 - "Expressing your views is not identical to having political effectiveness."  In this circumstance DE thinks it's preaching to the choir and it's better to preach to the infidels (in Sacramento).

1:39 - DE is trying to get more money for the students so that the law school can use the money in place of lost California state revenues so we can stop having future increases.  He cannot cut back on tuition without revenue to displace it. The reason he was in Shanghai was to push executive education programs that would raise revenue.

1:40 - Having campus protests about fee increases doesn't help Edley.  He wants more pressure on Sacramento.

1:40 - DE: This has been going on for several years now. And generations of students have made the same point many times. DE says he get the point. Having another meeting to tell him what last year's students told him does not improve the politics of opportunity.

Commenter asks for more transparency about what DE is up to. DE says he'll do that.

DE - "Students should do more than administrators do."

1:42 - A whole bunch of hands went up after that.

1:44 - J. Ste*n, student regent - Regent meeting has been cancelled. This is bad. This is also going to double or triple student passion at future regent meetings. Ste*n re-routing buses from regent's meeting to Sacramento. Invites DE to come with them.

Chancellor sent e-mail about granting amnesty to students arrested while this was going.

More transparency requests - want more info other than at town halls.

1:46 - Commenter doesn't understand how the administration can justify riot police and why there's no encampment being allowed.  I am not sure if DE will be able to answer this question.  DE is getting bashed for not seeming "upset" enough.

1:47 - Now the students have taken over, finally, and we're just going to talk to each other.

1:48 - Can we please move on from this "you haven't sounded" right BS?  Wanting DE to respond at exactly the right pitch just seems counterproductive.

1:49 - Someone finally says, "Yelling at Dean won't fix the problem," and some people clap.  Some people sort of clap.  People are definitely afraid to clap for moderation.  I know I am.  DE cannot be our "avatar" which is an awesome word, but a shitty movie.

1:50 - DE: I can't be your "avatar" in attacking the Chancellor or Regents. Most effective use of Dean's position to speak in measured tones and to speak the truth. As such, anything I say can't express student's passion. Not my job. My job is to be effective.

1:51 - Student: What expectations should we have about our safety at tomorrow's strike?

DE: If I were in your shoes, I'd be very puzzled about that. I'll try to get some guidance from the police department and chancellor.

DE: Take your Cal ID with you! Police will definitely be concerned about trouble-makers from Oakland. See head bashing and murders in Oakland. Of course, this has nothing to do with Occupy, but police are concerned about non-protesting troublemakers trying to get in.

1:54 - He's being told he's mocking again.  He's being accused of calling students "nutty."  He says he's being unfairly attacked.  He said it was nutty to attack members of the staff as uncaring.  He's right.  There's no reason to personally attack DE.  It does nothing for the conversation and when you hear it for the 10th time it gets distracting to what's at stake here:

- stopping police brutality on campus
- continuing the 99% movement.

1:56 - Commenter: The time that the law school isn't going to take a position on this has passed.  Working group with everyone working together and making public comment.  DE: That's a great idea. Yes it is.  This is what we need to be doing.

1:57 - Staff witness saw people get pepper sprayed and is telling us about it.  She lends her support to the students standing up for public education.  She commends us for our courage and now we all applaud ourselves/her/both?

1:58 - Now we're being thanked!  Not sure who is thanking us, but he's glad we came.  So am I.

1:59 - A lot of people came here wanting an emotional response and they didn't get it initially, but we appreciate all of what was said and that things continue to build and be positive.

1:59 - That are actually quite a few staff members floating around hear. Saw Bamb*rger and T*lley listening in.

2:00 - DE: Explaining "nutty" comment. Staff stayed after hours to chastise police and make sure there were no further incidents affecting students. So when he received communications (in Shanghai) from student groups accusing law school of not doing enough, he though it was nutty, if not worse. Distinguishes between central campus and law school employees.

2:02 - Prof. Alp*r - Re. creating committee to work through police conduct - this was done in 2009 by Wayne Br*zil. Hard to reconcile video with conclusion of that report. Asks people to look at that report and see how to build on that.

Re. faculty members not expressing support publicly - Many members of our faculty were appalled and wrote directly to the Chancellor to protest. Also, Prof S*mon wrote a blog post.

DE - There is a petition circulating among faculty about no confidence vote in Chancellor.

And we're done!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dean Edl*y Doesn't Carry His Cal I.D., BUT YOU BETTER PUNK...

...unless you want to get arrested by the UCPD.

DE just emailed the student body with his reaction to some of the recent activity on campus involving law students and UCPD. There will be a town hall meeting tomorrow at lunch (location TBD) for Boalt students to discuss. There is also talk of a student strike on Tuesday, in opposition of recent UCPD behavior and to support the greater protest movement at Cal.

I just have a few initial thoughts: 1) I appreciate getting this information; 2) I appreciate the way KVH and MM handled the situation in the heat of the moment; 3) Just because UC has a campus regulation doesn't mean that regulation is constitutional and/or good policy; 4) Just because UC has a campus regulation that sometimes makes sense doesn't mean UCPD should enforce it by senselessly harassing individual students not bothering anyone; 5) I would really like to hear DE's thoughts (or actually, maybe Professor B*mberger or Ch*per's thoughts) on the other well-documented UCPD actions in Sproul; 6) I hope DE is pressuring UCPD to leave us alone and keep their distance from the law school.

DE's Email:

This memo would be shorter, with fewer typos, if I had more time.

1: I have asked by staff colleagues to arrange for a brief “Town Hall” meeting for our community tomorrow, Monday, during the lunch hour. The location is likely to be the “west commons” outdoor space, but details will be nailed down first thing Monday morning. This will be an opportunity to share information and, I hope, constructive ideas. The issues I imagine people may want to discuss include not only UC Police Department actions with respect to our students, but also the Occupy Cal protests, the broader Occupy movement, and the relationship of these to the future of our University. I envision this as highly participatory, not performance art by me as dean.

2: I returned a few hours ago from a week of travel to Seattle and Shanghai. While abroad I received reports on the campus protests and police actions, but it was impossible for me to be fully sure of the facts. I now know more, which is what I wanted before shooting my mouth off – especially since none of our students were in any immediate crisis.

3: Although the Law School was distant from the protests on Sproul Plaza, we (my colleagues in Boalt’s administration) know of two incidents involving Law students who were walking across Kroeber Plaza, the fountain west/downhill from us. On their way to class, the students were stopped and detained by U.C. police officers stationed near the Law School. Here’s what we think happened: Police physically detained the first student and confiscated some signs he was carrying. He was released when he produced UC Berkeley student identification; the police allege that he initially refused to do so. Later, police physically detained a second student, confiscated her bullhorn, and instituted arrest proceedings-- including handcuffing her and placing her in a squad car. Unlike the first student, she did not have her ID with her. As this second student was being arrested, our Director of Student Services Mindi [] arrived on the scene. She had been phoned by students witnessing these events unfolding. [Mindi] convinced the officers that this was a Boalt student. The police then removed the handcuffs and cited the student for a misdemeanor, without formally arresting her. (This latter point is important for purposes of admission to a bar to practice law. Getting arrested, under any circumstances, is not something a law student can afford to take lightly. Please remember that it will create headaches later, including demands for elaborate explanations.)

4: All of this has raised questions about police behavior in our community. Several students have asked, "Why were police stationed at this end of campus, when the protest activity was on Sproul Plaza?" Associate Dean [KVH], who went to investigate when she learned of the first incident, spoke with one of the UCPD officers involved. He told her that they were under orders to prevent the occupation of Kroeber Plaza (the fountain area) and any surrounding buildings. The police also know that I have insisted on various occasions that protests at Boalt are generally fine, and even welcome if by members of our community. But I draw the line at disruption of classes because we should respect the right-to-learn of students and instructors. (I’m mindful of the tuition.)

Associate Dean [KVH] also asked officers why they stopped someone who was simply walking by himself, carrying signs. A UCPD officer cited to 5 CCR 100014, which limits the size of any sign, placard, banner, etc. that non-affiliate visitors to UC campuses are allowed to carry onto the campus. When they saw a person carrying large, protest signs they stopped and asked him for ID because if he were a non-affiliate then he would be told to leave campus. Officers stated that they would not have detained the student if he had shown his Cal ID. (We don’t know at what point any or all of this information was shared with the student, if ever.) Dean [KVH] explained that it is likely many students were not aware that they were required to carry and show ID while on campus. UCPD officers responded that if any students should know the law it would be Law students. (A natural mistake. They obviously have the wrong idea about what we do.) Dean [KVH] then argued that detaining our student was counterproductive, unnecessary, and would likely escalate matters.

After this discussion the police van, which held the six officers, left the area. Dean [KVH] assumed these six officers were off to the real action on Sproul Plaza, so went back into Boalt to try to find out more details about what happened.

Unfortunately, the officers returned a short time later and the second incident occurred, this time with Mindi [] playing defensive tackle. Then, after the second incident, Dean [KVH] sent an email to everyone in the law school community, warning them that there had been two confrontational situations, letting everyone know that UCPD was demanding ID, and noting that they appeared to be concentrating on people with large signs, banners, and sound amplification devices. She suggested that students avoid the West Terrace area if possible. She then stayed late into the evening and monitored Kroeber Plaza. She also instructed the Community Service Officer on duty in the South Addition, who was monitoring police radio calls in the area, to call her if there was any problems arose. On both Wednesday and Thursday Mindi [] also met repeatedly with students about the incidents.

5: To characterize the Law School administration’s response as “unsupportive” seems incorrect. Actually, with my jet lag it seems nutty. I don’t know how we could have responded better, although we are certainly open to suggestions. My colleagues did not wake me up in Shanghai, which I appreciate because they performed brilliantly without me. They always have.

6: These and other UCPD actions will be dissected at great length, I am sure. There’s a campus investigative body for that purpose. There may be disciplinary actions, there may be changes in training, or there may be nothing. In any case, I hope that our Law School community we will turn quickly to the broader issues that animate the Occupy movement, which deserve the nation’s attention and ours.

7: Finally, here is something to consider. Police in these circumstances are perfectly within the law to demand identification. That doesn’t excuse inappropriate force, or just plain non-rational actions, if either of those occurred. But as far as I can tell, if both students had been willing and able to quickly produce Cal identification, that would have been the end of it. Since the incidents last Wednesday, many students have asked whether they really have to carry their Cal ID cards and show them to UCPD on demand. Campus policy, as stated on the Cal 1 Card website, is that all students, staff and faculty MUST carry their Cal1 ID whenever they are on campus. The card itself states that "[t]his card...must be shown to Campus representatives on demand." In addition, UCB Regulation 211 states: "All persons on campus property must abide by University policies and campus regulations and must identify themselves upon request to University officials acting in the performance of their duties." The Berkeley Campus Student Code of Conduct (102.16) states that: Failure to identify oneself to, or comply with the directions of, a University official or other public official acting in the performance of his or her duties while on University Property or at official University functions; or resisting or obstructing such University or other public officials in the performance of or the attempt to perform their duties is grounds for discipline. Having said all of that, most of the time I don’t carry my Cal ID because I would lose it if I did.


PS: This statement reflects what I think I know as of 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Police Brutality During Occupation Protest in Sproul Today

Regardless of how you feel about the Occupation, this behavior by police against unarmed, non-violent protestors is not only illegal, but is shameful.

This is how police treat students on the UC campus. Watch the video and see for yourself that the protestors were standing, with their hands raised and not advancing on the police. Observe the police strike students multiple times with their batons despite no resistance being offered.


Lady, I Got Buddies Who Died Face Down in the Muck So that You and I could Enjoy this Family Law School

First things first: check out the ultra-important, context-enhancing video here.

Next, review this recent email from KVH to Boalt students:
UCPD officers have told us that they are under orders to stop anyone carrying large signs, banners, bullhorns or other amplification devices on campus property. Officers have been monitoring the area in front of the Law School that adjoins Kroeber plaza. If you are carrying signs, banners, bullhorns, or other amplification devices you will likely be stopped by UCPD and asked to produce identification. There have been some confrontational incidents in the last couple of hours that demonstrate that the officers expect immediate compliance with their request for ID. While we do not understand UCPD's position on this issue, we cannot control or direct UCPD's behavior and we are concerned for your safety and well being. It might, therefore, be wisest to avoid the west end of the building for now, if you can do so. Instead come into the law school through the EAST cafe door.
Finally, some historical context might be helpful background as you think about this issue.

Ready to crack some (figurative) heads? Good. Like KVH, I also doubt that I "understand UCPD's position on this issue." Are the campus police stopping students for the hefty offence of "carrying large signs"? On a weekday? On a campus? And are they really asking for ID? Really? If it actually is true that the UCPD can't think of a single better thing to do with its officers' time, I invite the Chief to call me. As a former resident of the greater Boalt Hall metropolitan area, I feel confident that I could provide an extensive list of better ideas.

Monday, November 07, 2011


The jury has reached a verdict in the Conrad Murray trial, which will be read between 1 and 1:30 pm.  You can watch live, here.  I've tried to catch the trial in the background at work.  Based on what I have seen and in particular based on the quality of the prosecution's presentation (which should be watched by all wannabe litigators as an example of near-perfect trial presentation), I would set the odds as follows:

Guilty:  -1000*
Not Guilty:  +900**

All others afflicted by Gamblor are welcome to lay their bets until the verdict is read.

* For those who aren't degenerate gamblers, this means that to win $100, you have to bet $1000. 

** A bet of $100 wins $900.  

Sunday, November 06, 2011

James Lyd*'s Departure

I am not in the habit of speculating as to the feelings of others; but I’m willing to bet that tonight’s email from James Lyd* meant a great deal more to some of us than it did to the rest.

Understandably, people tend not to say much about their visits with Dr. Lyd*. The walk to 362 Boalt is often, by design, an inconspicuous one. But it is important that the Boalt Community recognize the role that Dr. Lyd* plays, as both a counselor and a friend to so many.

I don’t know how quickly the administration plans to replace Dr. Lyd* - but I hope that when they do, it is with someone who is equally supportive, sincere and free of judgment.

That in mind, a quote from Mr. Rogers:

“Part of the problem with the word disabilities is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can't feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November

Today is Guy Fawkes Day.  And children all over the UK are taught poems demonizing Guy Fawkes' plot to blow up Parliament.
Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match
But more recently, Guy Fawkes has been transformed (thanks in large part to the V for Vendetta comics/movie) to full-fledged hero status, particularly among those protesting authority, such as the Occupy movement.  The LA Times had a short story on the transformation that's worth a read.

So who are the people wearing the Guy Fawkes mask?  We probably all have our own opinions, but the most sensible answer comes from the movie:
Evey Hammond: Who are you?
V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask.
Evey Hammond: Well I can see that.
V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.