Law meets fiction: Batman oral arguments, student publishes novel

By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chief

Students defend Arkham Asylum in Batman mock trial

Ching-Yun Li, second from left, and Claudia Salinas, second from right, defended Arkham Asylum at a mock trial at San Diego Comic Fest.

Claudia Salinas (1L) and Ching-Yun Li (3L) were selected from among law student applicants nationwide to participate in a Batman-themed mock trial at San Diego Comic Fest on March 9.

Joined by teammate Zachary Sterling from the University of Kentucky College of Law, Salinas and Li served as defense counsel for Arkham Asylum, the psychiatric hospital featured in the Batman comic books. Arkham Asylum was on trial for alleged civil rights violations against comic book supervillain Two-Face (former lawyer Harvey Dent).

The asylum was charged with violating 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983, a civil cause of action for deprivation of rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. The asylum also was charged with violating the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, because taking away the villian’s coin left him unable to make basic decisions during a riot.

Federal magistrate judge Mitchell Dembin presided over the proceedings and ultimately denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, much to the satisfaction of the Cal Western students on the defense team. You can listen to the audio of the trial here.

“Our team defended Arkham Asylum so we were thrilled with the result,” said Li. “We all had a great time, and it was fun to apply real U.S. cases and law to the Batman universe.”

Ryan Stygar publishes third fiction novel

Ryan Stygar finished out his 2L year by publishing his third fiction novel! His latest book, “Snot Rocket and the Sahara Scandal,” is the second installment in his Snot Rocket educational book series for kids. He released the first Snot Rocket book, “Snot Rocket and the Weapon of Math Destruction,” last summer. Whereas the “Math Destruction” book teaches about math, science, and technology, the latest “Sahara Scandal” book revolves around Egyptian history and mythology.

“At its core, it’s a fun adventure story that a wide range of readers will enjoy,” Stygar said.

His very first book, predating the Snot Rocket series, was murder mystery “The Emperor of Vegas.” You can learn more about the author and buy his books at

Leave a Reply