Child Advocacy Practicum Hosts "Advocating for our Adolescents" Forum

Hurt people hurt people. It's a vicious cycle that oftentimes began in the home for many United States juveniles lost within the pipeline.

On Thursday, November 19, Regent University School of Law's (LAW) Child Advocacy Practicum hosted "Advocating for our Adolescents," a panel discussion exploring what serves "the best interest of the child" in the realm of crime and punishment.

Special guests were brought to campus by Brittany Tabb '16 (LAW), who currently works with Lynne Kohm, associate dean of LAW Faculty Development & External Affairs and the Child Advocacy Program, and The Clapham Group, which represents clients to address modern-day injustices.

Abby Skeans '14 (LAW), an associate at The Clapham Group, took the practicum at Regent when the program was in its infancy. Kohm said that she is happy to see her students care for such important issues such as making sure incarcerated children are "treated like human beings."

"I knew Brittany was very interested in juveniles as in terms of the legal requirement for how to treat children when they're in court. I knew it should be Brittany, and she's done a great job," said Kohm. "She just has a heart for this."

The juvenile reform panel included Judge Patricia West, distinguished professor and associate dean of students in LAW, and Linda Filippi, executive director of Tidewater Youth Services Commission. Together they discussed the past, present and future of juvenile justice reform in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"I believe that prevention is cheaper than correction," said Gabriel Morgan Sr., sheriff of Newport News, Virginia, who was present for the panel. He said the "do the crime, do the time" philosophy of punishing non-violent juvenile delinquents is nothing more than a "codification of sound bytes."

He noted that it takes up to $31,000 a year to house one adult in a correctional facility and $155,000 to place one juvenile. On the flip side, $8,000-$9,000 is the average annual cost per student for K-12 education.

"We need to put our money up front and help them read, so that we don't have to pay in the back end," said Morgan.

According to Linda Bryant, deputy attorney general for Virginia's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Division, children who witness traumas at a young age are more likely to replicate them. This is why she believes in a mentorship, having spent much of her career finding children who had run away – and even going so far as to become a godmother to a six-year-old client who had witnessed her mother's violent death.

"If you're a decent person, you can't turn your back when the case is done," said Bryant. For Judge Randall Blow, who serves in the Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, the solution for dropping crime statistics among juveniles is finding more programs for parents.

"Children have to learn that they can't walk all over authority," said Blow. "Most of the time this happens, because 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.'"

He called for a "creative" and more flexible sentencing process that has less "zero tolerance policies" and uses "common sense." To him, "sparing the rod" isn't always an effective method for crime-prevention.

But for Gina Lyles, program leader at Art 180 Atlas Center, "prisons don't work." By many accounts, Lyles admittedly fits the description: witnessed trauma at a young age, an absent father figure, and a mother who was in and out of drug recovery programs. It was this chronic trauma which led her to landing in what she calls the "prison pipeline" herself at the age of 23.

"What helped me was watching my mother recover – she is my role model," said Lyles. "I went to therapy and acquired self-love and became a part of society."

The event also included a Juvenile Justice Art Exhibit & Panel of artwork by youth in the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center through an exhibit entitled, “Performing Statistics” featured in Robertson Hall. 

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law.

CAS Moot Court Team Takes Top Three - Prepares for National Tournament

Battling 44 teams and 88 competitors, Regent University undergraduate students took the top three places in the Moot Court Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament November 6 and 7 at Regent University. These top teams will go on to compete in a national tournament at California State University at Long Beach.

Eight teams from Regent competed in the tournament. Five of these teams placed within the top 16. Two Regent students received top-five speaker awards. Michael Maunder received second and Abigail Lisa received fourth. Marie Dienhart, a third-year law student in Regent’s School of Law, coached the team to success.

"Regent Law's Moot Court Board enjoyed hosting the ACMA Competition to foster the appellate advocacy skills of aspiring law students," said 3L Matthew Dunckley,Vice Chairman and Legal Research Director of Regent Law's Moot Court Board. 

By Brennan Smith

Regent Hosts National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition

Earlier this month, Regent University's Moot Courtroom was filled to the brim with trial advocate competitors from all over the nation who participated in the Leroy R. Hassell Sr. National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, hosted annually by Regent's School of Law (LAW).

Matthew Dunckley (left) at the
Moot Court Competition.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Dunckley.
Fall Semester 2015 marked the 15th year that LAW has hosted the competition. This year 15 teams, made up of about 50 competitors, participated in the event. The chief justice, for whom the competition was named, was the first African-American to preside on the Virginia Supreme Court.

"He was a great friend of this school," said Jason Rodriguez '16 (LAW), chairman of Regent's Moot Court team. And though Hassell passed away in early 2011, the school continues to host the competition in his honor.

Rodriguez was active in his hospitality service to the competitors. He and his teammates had an "all hands on deck" approach to the weekend, ensuring the competitors and various speakers were comfortable and had necessary transportation.

"It's really an amazing opportunity to meet with people and to talk with competitors," said Rodriguez. "It's always cool to see their reaction to Regent."

According to Rodriguez, the competition always reflects well on Regent's Moot Court Board, and helps hone in on the true definition of service.

"It also gives us a great opportunity to see what it's like out there practicing law in reality," said Rodriguez.

"Hosting the competition gave Regent Law the opportunity to foster excellence in appellate advocacy skills by providing competitors with engaging issues and outstanding judges," said Matthew Dunckley '16 (LAW), legal writing director for the board.

Dunckley enjoyed spending time with the visiting justices, judges and Regent Law alumni, and said he is excited for the year of advocacy trial competitions ahead.

"The people are the most important part of any competition Regent Law hosts," said Dunckley. "At times the event felt like a reunion of friends from whom I've learned and continue to learn much. Personally I hope I imparted greater joy in those around me during their experience here, and I am confident that next year's board will carry on the tradition of demonstrating servant leadership in the joy of the Lord."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law.

By Brett Wilson Tubbs | October 28, 2015

Regent Law Secures Victory at 12th Annual Statewide Legal Food Frenzy for Third Year Running

Regent University School of Law students, faculty,  and staff contributed to the 1.5 million pounds of food collected by the local legal com...