Sherlock Gomez

-Artemio Guerra Over the holidays I watched Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey, Jr., a fine way to blow off steam after a stressful period of finals. Between the awesome fight scenes and Victorian Era pyrotechnics, I could not avoid thinking about the themes covered in the past semester of Law and Literature. Sherlock Holmes: disabled by his addiction, working outside the law. Scotland Yard: the rigid and sterile British police, begrudgingly patronizing Holmes’s genius. For Holmes, who exists outside the law, stories unfold and mysteries are solved by his obsessive attention to detail. On the other hand, Scotland Yard’s adherence to procedure always misses fundamental clues and lags behind Holmes’s quick eye and mind. I think Sherlock Holmes is Mexican. According to recent studies about 90 percent of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. that entered the country in the past ten years are undocumented. Most Mexicans in New York are


Finding Justice in District 9

by Bernard Ozarowski District 9 is the feature film debut from South African director Neil Blomkamp. Blomkamp grew up in South Africa under apartheid, which was, simply put, the legally enforced racial segregation system that subjugated the black majority of the population beneath the white minority. Of particular note in South African apartheid history was the ordeal of District Six. District Six was an area of Cape Town largely made up of a Muslim populace. The government decided that the populace needed to be moved, forcibly, for a variety of reasons. The government stated that the close proximity of the races developed tension, that District Six, which had once been rather well cultured, was a slum, that it was full of vices, such as prostitution, and that it bred criminal behavior. Over the course of about a decade the majority of the District Six population was moved to Cape Flats


Integrity and Professional Football

Brett Katz As the NFL season comes down to its the uglier side of the league. With Braylon Edwards, the New York Jets wide receiver pleading no contest to assault charges stemming from a bar fight, and surely facing a one-game suspension (most likely next season) we are distracted from the game on the field to focus on the mayhem off of it. This season has been filled with disciplinary turmoil, ranging from Michael Vick’s return to the league after serving two years in prison on dog fighting charges, to Donte Stallworth’s one-year suspension and thirty-day prison sentence for felony DUI vehicular manslaughter. This was the season of Marshawn Lynch, who was suspended four games for both a hit-and-run accident and a weapons charge in which police found a 9 mm handgun in a backpack in his trunk. And this was the season of Shawne Merriman, and Tom Cable, neither


School of the Hard Knox

An Italian jury found Amanda Marie Knox guilty of sexual assaulting and murdering Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher.  The two girls were studying abroad in Italy and lived together in an apartment. The prosecution alleged that Knox and another accomplice attempted to lure Kercher into a sex orgy.  When Kercher protested, they allegedly sexually assaulted and murdered her by repeatedly stabbing her body and slitting her throat.  Knox her accomplice then staged a break in to cover their tracks.  The prosecutions evidence is tenuous at best. Mixed samples of Knox’s DNA and Kercher’s blood were found on the apartment’s bathroom sink. Not surprising considering the two women lived together and shared common living spaces.  The prosecution also lacked the murder weapon.  Although, Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a knife found in the girl’s kitchen drawer, which the prosecution alleged was the murder weapon, it is questionable whether that


Sotomayor v. Judy

By: Daniel Buckley For: Law and Literarature I recently read an article in the New Yorker by Lauren Collins entitled “Number Nine – Sonia Sotomayor’s high-profile debut.” The article gives you pretty much all that you would expect from it – a comprehensive rundown of her personal history with a focus on her appointment and the “controversies” surrounding it. What I feel the article was attempting to get at, as is suggested by the title and the conclusion, is that Sotomayor is the first Supreme Court Justice to reach a level of celebrity in her appointment to the Supreme Court. I also saw an interview with Sotomayor on C-SPAN about a week ago in which she talked about celebrity and accessibility and how they relate to educating the public about the inner workings of the Supreme Court and the civil and criminal systems in place in the United States as


Jury Failure: the Never-Ending Gotti Saga

by Laura DeRossi On December 1, 2009, John Gotti walked out of a courtroom as a free man.   For a fourth time, a jury failed to come to a decision regarding the charges against the head of the Gambino crime family. Four separate groups of twelve people failed to find that a known mobster was guilty (or not guilty) of federal charges of racketeering and murder conspiracy. This failure to convict a known criminal shows the problems of the jury system, and the difficulty in getting twelve members of the public to agree on a person’s fate.  With mobsters it is often even more complex.  Often having enormous resources, both legitimate and illegitimate, mobsters inspire hatred, admiration and most importantly, fear.  While there is a logic to having members of the public, which the accused is assumed to have wronged, decide the fate of the accused, there are also


War of the Roses blog post for Law and Lit.

The movie War of the Roses provides the most compelling example of how the law consumes lawyers and the personal costs that accompany the prestige and wealth of life at a large firm.This movie shows that the law can have profound affects, not only on lawyers themselves, but also on those close to them in their private life. The initial allure of the money, power, status and prestige transformed their lives. The larger house more expensive possessions were initially attractive. However, maintaining such a lifestyle had consequences for Mr. Rose. He was transformed into the mechanical, impersonal, cold, and spiritually dead-yet wildly successful and prominent attorney type of lawyer described by Melville in Bartleby. Yet, his success as an attorney comes at the cost of his own humanity, his ability to properly prioritize his family and his marriage, which leads his wife, to file for divorce. This movie serves as


Avatar – Where Artificial Settings Provide Greater Reality Than

By Assaf Ben-Atar Millions of moviegoers flocked to see the recently released movie Avatar because of its technical forays into artificial computer generated animation.  The plot surrounds a human named Jake Sully, who goes to work for a corporate military entity that seeks to mine and harvest a natural energy resource called “unobtanium.”  The resource is located underneath the home/habitat of the “Na’vi” creatures and thus Jake is sent, via an avatar system, to embody his own Na’vi and assist the corporation in removing the natives from their home.  In the process, Jake falls in love with one of the Navi women, and is forced to choose between his employer’s assignment and his moral compass. Despite the generic plotline, the artificially animated imagery that exists while Jake is his avatar system provides a wonderful visual contrast that illustrates the “disconnect” between two worlds: the private-moral and the public-professional.  While in


The Aftermath of the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots in India

By Danny Chahel October 31, 2009 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of India’s former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. In every state throughout India, tributes were paid to Gandhi and Indians of all faiths reflected on her service to India. Nearly every major newspaper in India carried a headline story detailing Gandhi’s fifteen years as India’s Prime Minister. What received far less attention was another grim anniversary: the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, also referred to as the anti-Sikh pogroms, which took place immediately following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. A brief history of the events leading to Gandhi’s assassination and the anti-Sikh riots is necessary. On June 3, 1984, Indira Gandhi launched Operation Blue Star. The purpose of this four-day military operation was to remove separatists who were amassing in the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh religious shrine. The justification for the Operation, which was


Penn & Teller's Airport Security Challenge

by Sara Yood Over winter break, I had the pleasure of attending Penn & Teller’s magic show in Las Vegas. Unlike some other magicians, Penn & Teller’s show isn’t about fooling you in the traditional way. Penn & Teller are skeptics and libertarians, and their performances show that quite clearly. At the beginning of the show, Penn lectured the audience on how every single thing they were showing was a trick, and about how other magicians (and conjurers, fortune tellers, dead-communicators and the like) are all lying if they tell you otherwise. It is a provocative perspective from two people whose job it is to fool you. But the presentation of one of their newer tricks seemed designed to strike at the heart of their libertarian beliefs. In the setup, Penn describes how they stopped traveling after the September 11th attacks. Even though they would often get recognized at the