Justice Sonia Sotomayor greets University of Arizona Professor Rebecca Tsosie, Jan. 23, 2017, ASU Gammage Auditorium, at the annual John Frank Lecture.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor greets University of Arizona Professor Rebecca Tsosie, Jan. 23, 2017, ASU Gammage Auditorium, at the annual John Frank Lecture.

This week, I had the privilege to attend the annual John Frank Lecture at ASU. This year’s esteemed speaker was Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who engaged in a dialogue with Hon. Mary Schroeder of the Ninth Circuit (and its former Chief Judge). I’m happy to share excellent reporting of the event (below) by attorney Ashley Kasarjian, of Snell & Wilmer. She’s also a former Chair of the Arizona Attorney Editorial Board, so she’s excellent in multiple ways!

If this blog post were a movie, the opening scene would be the end of the evening—roaring applause and a standing ovation with Justice Sotomayor shaking hands, hugging kids at the end of the aisle, and walking through the crowd at Gammage Auditorium. Now, rewind back… Last night, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor […]

via Justice Sotomayor Visits Arizona State University — Employment and the Law: A legal blog from the perspective of an employment attorney

Keep reading here.

Blogging (even a wee bit) may help curb your technology fears.

Blogging (even a wee bit) may help curb your technology fears.

We’re midway through November, and I thought I’d share my wish (early New Year’s resolution?) regarding courage and technology.

That’s what I wrote about in the November Arizona Attorney Magazine, and I’ve posted my column below.

You can read the whole terrific issue here.

Someone—or someTHING—at ASU knows my name.

That was my somewhat disconcerting realization as I strolled through the new ASU Beus Center for Law and Society last month. Besides being filled with real, live humans, the building also has impressively sized screens scattered throughout, which offer information—often personalized for those who downloaded a free app.

Seeing your name appear on a screen as you approach falls somewhere on the creepy scale, let’s admit. My first impression was like something out of Blade Runner—Siri with bad attitude. But I had to admit that the ’tude was all mine. In fact, I came to be charmed by the devices, created by New York-based interactive design firm Unified Field.

Remember how odd GPS seemed, and now we can’t live without it? These screens are like that, HAL minus the antisocial personality.

Tomas Rossant, Ennead Architects, and Tom Williams, ASU, demonstrate an interactive screen in the ASU Beus Center for Law & Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

Tomas Rossant, Ennead Architects, and Tom Williams, ASU, demonstrate an interactive screen in the ASU Beus Center for Law & Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

Those screens are one of the things I spoke about at the California Bar Leaders Conference in September. Tasked with discussing communications beyond 2016, I also mentioned wearable technology, cloud services, Big Data, and more. I even snuck in a suggestion to get blogging.

Ultimately, though, I said that what I was really discussing was not tools, great as they can be, but a futurist outlook. Not video options, but experimentation. Not social media, but fearlessness. To convey my point, I shared more than a few photos.

One photo I snapped at Chicago’s Midway Airport. A narrow hallway, more of an alley, could easily be missed in the blink of an eye. The 40-foot dead-end meandered off the concourse, and what it held was an archaeological dig, of sorts—the airport’s land-line phones, a bank of telephone directories, and newspaper dispensers, for good measure.

The alley’s sole occupant sat at a telephone. Based on attire and brief-bag, I’m guessing he was an attorney—the only one who would partake of the mausoleum of ancient technologies. Is anyone surprised?

Advanced thinking is not what draws you into Midway Airport's Mausoleum of Ancient Technologies.

Advanced thinking is not what draws you into Midway Airport’s Mausoleum of Ancient Technologies.

Another photo I shared was snapped by my older daughter Willa when she was 3 or 4. She was so pleased by that picture of me—though she did cut my head off.

Both photos enliven the futurist impulse and remind me of technology advice from UC-Berkeley professor Richard Hernandez: Start even if you feel you’re not ready. And when it comes to cutting off heads in photos—and tech generally—the imperfect but genuine trumps the perfect but robotic—every time. Let’s get fearless.

A sans-head portrait of me by my daughter, circa 1999.

A sans-head portrait of me by my daughter, circa 1999.

Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will speak at two Valley events this week on the topic of climate change. (photo by Nicholas Whitman)

Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will speak at two Valley events this week on the topic of climate change. (photo by Nicholas Whitman)

Extinction—and not of the legal profession—will be the topic of some important conversations this week.

Typically, I offer nonlegal items on Fridays, when Change of Venue requires a loosening of the tie and a gaze turned toward the weekend. But a few events this week lead me to shift the schedule a bit.

the_sixth_extinction_cover1-by-elizabeth-kolbertSpeaking at a few events, Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will discuss humanity’s role in climate change, the history of cataclysm, and the future of our species. In her presentations, she will draw on one of her books, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

The first of two related events occurs in downtown Phoenix at the Orpheum Theatre (203 W. Adams St.) on Wednesday, October 19, at 7 pm. There, as part of the “Origins Project Conversation: Inconvenient Truths,” Kolbert will have “an unscripted and candid conversation” with Arizona State University archaeologist Curtis Marean, Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer, and ASU theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss.

Tickets for the Orpheum/Origins Project evening may be purchased here.

Then, at 7 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2016, Kolbert will speak again at the Tempe Center for the Arts (700 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281). This is a free event, “as part of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, an interdisciplinary partnership between the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, the Center for Science and the Imagination and the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives that explores how imagination, storytelling and the arts can merge with scientific inquiry to shape humanity’s response to climate change and create global solutions for the future.”

A Q&A session will take place after the lecture, with a brief reception and book signing to follow. This event is open to the public and free.

You can RSVP to the Tempe/Piper Center event here.

And you can get more detail from the event’s Facebook page here.

eliabeth-kolbert-10-20-16-event

Professor Sarah Deer (photo: MacArthur Foundation)

Professor Sarah Deer (photo: MacArthur Foundation)

Professor Sarah Deer (a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma) will speak and be recognized on Monday, May 2, at ASU’s Labriola Center, in Hayden Library, Tempe.

Deer is the recipient of the eighth annual Labriola Center American Indian Book Award for her 2015 book The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America. The event will be held at 2:00 p.m., when she will participate in an interview with Dr. David Martinez, American Indian Studies Faculty.

Professor Deer is a legal scholar who in part is well known for her significant scholarship regarding violence against Native American women. She is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow and authored Amnesty International’s “Maze of Injustice” Report (2007).

You can read a helpful review of her work here.

As Deer told the Indian Country Today Media Network:

“The advantage the tribes have at this point in our nation’s history is that many tribes do not yet have comprehensive anti-rape strategies in law, which is understandable given the legal system and the challenges that tribal nations face in addressing these types of crimes.”

“So there’s a perfect opportunity to say, ‘What would a good anti-rape strategy look like from the ground up if we don’t have the baggage and the trappings of American rape law, which is deeply problematic? What can we do outside of that construct?’ If tribes are really able to deal with rape without falling into the same mistakes that the American system has made, then they might indeed come up with models that could work for rape victims throughout the world,” says Deer.

American Indian book award Sarah Deer sexual violence in Native America

This Saturday, an annual Prison Education Conference will be held at ASU in Tempe.

This Saturday, an annual Prison Education Conference will be held at ASU in Tempe.

This coming Saturday is the fifth annual conference focused on the power of education—including arts education—to better the lives of people who are incarcerated.

Judge Lilia Alvarez, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

Judge Lilia Alvarez, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

The Prison Education Conference occurs on Saturday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be staged at the Tempe campus of Arizona State University, in the Memorial Union Turquoise Room (MU 220).

More detail about the event, which is open to the public, is here.

You can register for the free event here.

As announced by organizers:

Keynote speakers Judge Lilia Alvarez and attorney Kirstin Eidenbach will discuss how best to deter juveniles from entering the system.

Judge Alvarez is the presiding judge for the Guadalupe Municipal Court and also leads a “teen court” in Guadalupe. Kirstin Eidenbach is an admired attorney who focuses on prisoners’ rights issues.

Attorney Kirstin Eidenbach, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

Attorney Kirstin Eidenbach, a keynote speaker at the 2016 Prison Education Conference

Michelle Ribeiro, recently retired from the New Mexico Corrections Department, will speak on the creation of the Pen Project—a class that allows maximum security and other incarcerated writers to receive feedback from ASU interns. Sheldon Thompson, a Pen Project participant who, on his release, was accepted on scholarship to the Institute of American Indian Arts, will speak of his educational experiences (both in and out of prison) and also share some of his creative work.

Click here to watch a video of Michelle Ribeiro’s remarks at last year’s conference.

Michelle Ribeiro speaks at ASU in 2015.

Michelle Ribeiro speaks at ASU in 2015.

And you can read a class description of the Pen Project class here.

For a terrific roundup of last year’s conference, go here.

The conference is hosted by the Prison Education Awareness Club (PEAC) and the Department of English.

Prosecutorial discretion is the topic at an upcoming ASU Morrison Institute event (image: screen shot from the opening sequence of the "order" portion of Law & Order)

Prosecutorial discretion is the topic at an upcoming ASU Morrison Institute event (image: screen shot from the opening sequence of the “order” portion of Law & Order)

So when it rains, it pours.

Later this week, while I attend a conference examining criminal justice, a panel discussion exploring prosecutorial discretion will be held here in Arizona.

Sheesh.

Well, just because I cannot attend the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy event, doesn’t mean you can’t. It will be held this Thursday, Feb. 25, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Here is a description by the organizers:

ASU Morrison Institute logoOver the last 30 years there has been a power shift in Arizona’s criminal justice system, with many sentencing outcomes no longer determined by judges and parole boards but now by prosecutors. Mandatory minimum sentencing, truth-in-sentencing, and three-strikes maximum punishments have greatly increased prison populations in Arizona and elsewhere, taking greater shares of state budgets.

Part of an ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy series on criminal sentencing reform, The Full Impact of Prosecutorial Discretion will focus on the pros and cons of this shift through this compelling dialogue.

Panelists:

  • Honorable Pamela Gates, Superior Court Judge
  • Honorable Ronald Reinstein, Retired Superior Court Judge
  • Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney
  • Erik Luna, ASU Law Professor

Also: Arizona Sen. Martin Quezada and Arizona Sen. Adam Driggs will engage in discussion about their perspectives on Arizona’s incarceration rates, the role of “discretion,” and whether there is political will in the Legislature for criminal sentencing reform by changing the judicial code or other action.

The event will be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Room 128 (ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus, 555 N. Central Ave.)

Details and free registration are here.

Prison Education conference 2015-page0001

It’s beginning to look like my Friday morning will be corrections-focused.

Yesterday, I mentioned a school-to-prison pipeline symposium focused on that topic. But on the same day—Friday, March 27—an ASU student group addresses the issue of what we do with individuals once they are incarcerated. Specifically, they are focused on prison education.

(I wrote before about this annual conference on prison education.)

This Friday’s event marks the fourth annual Prison Education Conference and will be held in the Turquoise room of the Memorial Union at ASU from 10am to 4pm (with complimentary lunch included).

ASU Prison Education Awareness Club logo-page0001Below is some detail about Friday’s free conference. You can register here.

“The Prison Education Awareness Club (PEAC) presents the 4th Annual Prison Education Conference, featuring Kyes Stevens from the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project and Judith Tannenbaum, teaching artist and author of Disguised as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin and By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives. Alongside them, representatives from the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rio Salado Distance Learning Program, and ASU prison teaching will speak.”

I spoke with Jess Fletcher, who heads up ASU’s Prison Education Awareness Club. She indicated that given the large attendance at last year’s event, this week’s conference will be in a larger space (in the ASU Memorial Union). There are still some spots left, so RSVP here soon.

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