In cooperation with The Edward G. Donley Memorial Law Lecture
12 p.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom
WVU Law Center
Moderator & Donley Lecturer
Henry Weinstein, J.D.
Joint appointment in Literary Journalism and Law
University of California , Irvine School of Law
Henry Weinstein teaches law and journalism at the University of California, Irvine. He was one of the Founding Faculty members when the University of California, Irvine School of Law was launched in July, 2008, marking the first time a public law school had opened in the state in more than four decades. Previously, Weinstein was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times from 1978 to 2008, specializing in the coverage of law, labor and politics, while doing a considerable amount of investigative reporting. During this time, Weinstein wrote hundreds of articles about courts at all levels, from municipal courts to the U.S. Supreme Court. Many of these articles were about appellate court decisions. Prior to joining the Los Angeles Times, Weinstein was a staff writer for the San Francisco Examiner and the Wall Street Journal and a regular freelancer for the New York Times for three years. Weinstein has won numerous journalistic awards, including, in 2006, the John Chancellor Award for Excellence, presented annually by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, honoring “a journalist in any medium in the United States whose reporting over time shows, courage, integrity, curiosity and intelligence, and epitomizes the role of journalism in a free society.” He also has won awards for his writing from, among others, the California Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Criminal Courts Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Orange County Bar Association. A member of the California Bar, Weinstein has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley’s School of Law.
CRIME & PUNISHMENT: The Legal Ramifications of Prison Overcrowding
“At present, the United States is plagued by severe prison overcrowding; a surplus population of offenders is living in overly congested prison conditions that threaten their health and safety and the health and safety of penal staff, all the while implicating important constitutional issues.”
The State of California has the most drastic example of prison overcrowding in recent years, however West Virginia is not far behind. Recent statistics indicate that West Virginia has one of the fastest increasing rates of prison growth, nearing 7% each year. This fact, coupled with the lack of utilization of community corrections and criminal sentencing inequities creates a conundrum for not only the state Department of Corrections but society as a whole.
Prison overcrowding has been recognized as a national problem and legislatures have commissioned work at various levels in order to explore solutions. Therefore, a discourse on this issue including a discussion of the problems in California, in West Virginia as well as the social and legal implications is not only relevant but warranted.
The experienced and extremely knowledgeable speakers slated to provide their expert analysis and opinions are projected to speak about the following topics:
Benjamin Rice, J.D., General Counsel in the Office of Legal Affairs for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Mr. Rice intends to outline the problem of prison overcrowding in the State of California, which is seen by many commentators as a microcosm of prison conditions in the United States. His presentation will provide a firsthand perspective of one of the most extreme examples of judicial intervention in this nation’s history, through the prisoner release order issued by an impaneled Federal Court in the state of California..
J. Norbert Federspiel, J.D., Director of the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services. Director Federspiel will speak to the problem of prison overcrowding as it currently stands in the State of West Virginia as well as reformative efforts that have taken place such as the p. p. p. Governor’s Commission on Prison Overcrowding and the Legislative Report completed by the West Virginia Law Institute. His presentation will also include the impact that prison overcrowding currently has on West Virginia communities, the impact it is likely to have as well as particularized recommendations for reform.
Professor Craig Haney, Ph.D., J.D., U.C. Santa Cruz. Professor Haney as a leading scholar and celebrated speaker on the psychological effects upon prisoners intends to provide commentary on both the psychological effects of prison overcrowding as well the constitutionality of conditions currently existing in American prisons. He also will provide valuable insight regarding potential criminal justice reform necessary to curb existing populations.
Professor Cecelia Klingele, J.D. University of Wisconsin School of Law. Professor Klingele will speak to the highly debated issue of criminal sentencing reform, suggested as a solution to reduce ever-growing prison populations. Her argument will focus on what needs to be done anticipatorily in order to prevent burgeoning populations from growing further. This is a hotly debated topic among legislatures and one of the most championed responses to the problem as it currently stands.
Prof. Craig Haney, Prof. Henry Weinstein, Prof. Cecelia Klingele, Benjamin Rice,
Dir.J. Norbert Federspiel, WVLR Editor-in Chief, Lee Adair Sparks
The West Virginia Law Review
Founded in 1894, the West Virginia Law Review is the fourth oldest law review in the United States and publishes three issues each year. The West Virginia Law Review is a professional, student-governed legal journal that publishes articles of interest to legal scholars, students, legislators, and members of the practicing Bar. The publication, which includes notes, comments, and articles of scholarly and practical value to the legal community, is published by a student editorial board.