"Defamation Experience" Highlights Role of Personal Identity in Litigation
Rather than reading holdings out of casebooks, students got to determine the final verdict of a mock trial on Feb. 8. Hosted by Diversity Services, “The Defamation Experience” was an interactive play based on a defamation suit between Ms. Regina Wade, a self-made black business woman and Mr. Golden, a white wealthy Jewish business man. Ms. Wade was represented by white attorney Mr. Lawton, and Mr. Golden was represented by black attorney Ms. Allen. Ms. Wade claims that Mr. Golden defamed her with a false statement to a third party: that she stole Mr. Golden’s watch during a meeting at his home. The social consequences caused Ms. Wade to lose a major business client.
With no concrete evidence, the courtroom became full of drama as the attorneys appealed to the jury’s notions of race, gender, religion and class to advocate for their respective clients. With emotions running high, the jury was asked to conduct a preliminary vote. After a question-and-answer period, the jury sided with Ms. Wade in the final vote. Following the jury verdict was a post-show discussion about the struggle to remain objective despite the attorneys’ obvious use of race, gender, religion and class in their arguments.
“The play has a special resonance for students as attorneys-in-training, and I hope it challenged them to step more directly into the shoes of the characters,” said Shane Dizon, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement. “For example, can an attorney ethically employ the tactics on display to advocate zealously for his or her client? Should he or she be mindful of the issues of race, class, gender, religion, and poverty in directly examining or impeaching a witness? How do we call them out when members of the bench and bar use them against us in court? How are we bound and informed by our duties to the court and to the profession in a way that an audience member who is not a lawyer is not?”
CIP Dodgeball Tournament Raises 1K -- Sara Gold
Roughly 100 law students, attorneys, volunteers, and San Diego locals participated in the 13th annual California Innocence Project (CIP) dodgeball tournament Feb. 3, raising $1,000 for CIP, the on-campus clinic that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners.
Ten teams competed at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center on that Saturday afternoon for the coveted prize, which ultimately went to two-time champions the Straight Fades. The Colonial Innocence Project team took home the prize for best group costume.
“We were thrilled at the turnout and continued success of our 13th annual dodgeball tournament,” said Mike Semanchik, CIP managing attorney.
Students Eliminate "Unclean Beach" Defense -- Jenny Duren
On Saturday, Feb. 10, SBA Community Outreach encouraged students to take a study break and join the Surfrider Foundation in their beach clean-up at Torrey Pines State Beach. Phi Alpha Delta, Health Law Society, Public Interest Law Foundation, and other Cal West students came out to lend a hand, and the event was a great success. Stay tuned for future community events!