Cuba and International Judicial Assistance

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that the United States and Cuba will normalize their relations. This announcement, the long-overdue release of American Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds, and the honorable exchange of three of the so-called “Cuban Five” for a US intelligence agent, show that despite the predictable fury from American hardliners on Cuba such as Senator Rubio and Senator Menendez, things can change for the better and we don’t need to keep repeating the mistakes our grandparents made forever. What a great message for this time of the year!
Continue reading Cuba and International Judicial Assistance

Book Review: Elizabeth Williams and Sue Russell, The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art

The Illustrated CourtroomI’ve always thought that a good courtroom sketch can tell you more about what really goes on in a trial than a transcript or even sometimes than a good firsthand narrative account. A trial is a drama, and sometimes the drama is conveyed better by the expression on the witness’s face, or the body language of the lawyer confronting the witness in front of the judge or the jury, than by the transcript.

If you think this way, or even if you don’t, you will love The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art, by Elizabeth Williams and Sue Russell. Continue reading Book Review: Elizabeth Williams and Sue Russell, The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art

Letters Blogatory Mourns The Victims Of The School Shooting In Pakistan

My colleague Javier Ochoa at Cartas Blogatorias suggested that our two blogs should not be silent about the atrocious murder of more than a hundred students at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan yesterday. I share his sentiment. Yesterday’s attack recalled the sadness we felt after the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre, but in a way it was worse. Newtown was the work of a mentally ill young man abetted by our collective negligence when it comes to firearm regulation. The Pakistan shootings appear to have been the calculated work of combatants who thought of their attack as an act of war. The attack was particularly upsetting because some reports are suggesting it was triggered by the award of the Nobel peace prize to the brave Malala Yousafzai. It’s as if the Taliban can’t bear the thought that people could have hope for the future of Pakistan.

All of us who are parents, and I’m sure all of us who aren’t, must feel revulsion at the Taliban’s uncivilized cruelty. No civilized people treat children as legitimate targets in a war. That’s true in Pakistan as in the case of gang warfare in El Salvador or the case of the missing children in Iguala, Mexico, or the case of the missing girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Nor are schools part of the battlefield, a basic point that it’s clear many terror groups refuse to grant (I am thinking of Hamas, for example, which infamously and cynically stored rockets in a UN school in Gaza).

This isn’t really a legal post. Rather, it’s just a statement of solidarity with the victims of this atrocity. I hope you will join Cartas Blogatorias and Letters Blogatory in mourning the deaths of so many innocent Pakistani children.