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On October 17, 2013, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the case of Rodrique Deshaun Watson v. State.  Student lawyers Ben C. Lewis and Laci McCullough Bonner (Class of 2013) wrote the brief of the Appellant.  The case was reversed on the grounds that the jury was mistakenly instructed that an open garage does not constitute a “constructive breaking” under the Court’s interpretation of the burglary statute.  “The Ladd court overruled its previous holding in Chaney, stating that the case was “wrongly decided.” Because the jury was improperly instructed on the requirements for satisfying the “breaking” element of burglary of a dwelling, a new trial was requested.

Link to opinion:

On October 26, at Franciscan University, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists will present its Pope Pius XI Award to University of Mississippi Law Professor Ronald J. Rychlak. This award is given annually by the SCSS to scholars whose efforts have significantly contributed to building up a true Catholic social science, resuming the charge given to scholars by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quadragesimo Anno.

The Pope Pius XI Award will be presented to Prof. Rychlak at the SCSS annual meeting in recognition of his scholarship on the Christian Churches in World War II and his work as an advisor to the Holy See Mission to the United Nations, where he has particularly focused on the International Criminal Court. Rychlak will give the keynote address on international diplomacy at the opening dinner on Friday, October 25, and he will speak on two panels the following day.

Rychlak is the Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada Lecturer and Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi, and he has been on the faculty since 1987. He serves as the university’s Faculty Athletic Representative, and he is the former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the law school. He is a graduate of Wabash College (BA, cum laude) and Vanderbilt University (JD, Order of the Coif).

Previous recipients of the Pope Pius XI Award include:  Prof. Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School; Dr. Robert P. George of Princeton, Prof. Gerald V. Bradley of Notre Dame Law School, Francis Canavan, S.J. of Fordham, and Dr. Paul C. Vitz of New York University.

The National Law Journal published a story recently about Dean Gershon’s participation in a new legal blog, Law Deans on Legal Education, whose content focuses on national issues in legal education.

Read the story.

If you’re unable to join us in person for the Sports Law Symposium, “Amateurism and the Future of the NCAA”, watch via U-Stream from 1 p.m.- 3 p.m. CST today.

Visit the event listing for a description of the event.

Film explores growing global concerns over privacy and technology BY 

University of Mississippi School of Law

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law will host a public screening of a futuristic psychological and political thriller that explores legal issues surrounding a speculative new medical technology that can read people’s memories in video form.

“Justice Is Mind,” an independently produced Hollywood film, takes a look at what happens when a new technology provides evidence that a person has committed murder. The screening is set for 3 p.m. Monday (Oct. 14) in the UM law school, Room 1078.

Inspired by a 2009 ”60 Minutes” segment that addressed mind-reading technology, ”Justice Is Mind” premiered Tuesday (Oct. 8) at the Boston University School of Law. The film is produced, directed and written by Mark Lund, an award-winning magazine publisher and award-nominated screenwriter.

“Having ’Justice Is Mind’ start its law school tour with such prestigious law schools and legal scholars is a great beginning to a film that revolves around new science and law,” Lund said.

“Justice Is Mind” follows businessman and restaurant owner Henri Miller, who has been afflicted with unexplained headaches since childhood. When he has the new procedure called FVMRI, which can read a person’s long-term memories as videos, it reveals that he has allegedly shot and killed two people.

Soon, the trial of the century begins and Miller is faced with his own memory at trial. In addition, a dark family secret, held by Henri’s minister father, Joseph, reveals itself in the courtroom.

To see the movie’s official trailer, go to

The film is timely with growing global concerns about privacy and recent Supreme Court decisions, which could have wide-reaching implications in the rapidly evolving technology surrounding criminal procedure.

“Through the involvement of medical and legal ethicists, the filmmaker has shed a light on a developing an unchartered area of the law,” said Richard Gershon, dean of the UM law school. “We are thrilled to be part of the national law school tour for ’Justice Is Mind’ and look forward to engaging our faculty and students in a robust discussion of these cutting-edge issues.”

“Justice Is Mind” stars Vernon Aldershoff, Robin Ann Rapoport, Paul Lussier and Kim Gordon.

For more information, visit or call 662-915-342

An article in the October issue of National Jurist magazine ranks the University of Mississippi School of Law as 15th in the nation for best value.  The article looked at tuition, cost of living, bar passage rate, debt accumulation and employment success to determine the rankings.

Read the article.

Jack Ford

Public invited to learn more about award-winning legal news analyst, author’s storied career in legal and journalism fields

By: Sharon Morris

(OXFORD, Miss.) – Law and investigative journalism meet crime drama as CBS News legal analyst and award-winning journalist Jack Ford visits the University of Mississippi School of Law to present his latest novel, “The Walls of Jericho,” and discuss recent national cases that include themes of race and civil rights. Ford will explore his journey from attorney to news, where he covered major trials and legal issues of recent years, including the Trayvon Martin and Bradley Manning cases.

The presentation is co-sponsored by the UM School of Law and the Meek School of Journalism. It will take place in Room 1078 in the law school on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Ford’s career in TV news spans nearly three decades. He has won two Emmys and a coveted Peabody award, among others. Ford holds a law degree from Fordham University School of Law, where he later served as adjunct professor. Ford spent three years as a prosecutor in New Jersey before building his own prominent law practice.

“The Walls of Jericho,” Ford’s second novel, is a thriller that recounts the story of a brutal, unsolved civil rights murder from 1960. The unlikely duo of an Ole Miss law professor and a NY Times reporter stumble upon a source who reveals the long-buried secrets of the case, which leads to a dramatic trial of a powerful political figure.

For more information, visit or call 662-915-3424.

Third annual sports law symposium attracts professionals, experts from across the country

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Sports Law Review will host the latest installment of the John Paul Jones Speaker Series next week at the University of Mississippi School of Law. This third annual symposium will explore the future of the student-athlete model of amateurism in intercollegiate athletics.

The symposium, titled “Amateurism and the Future of the NCAA,” addresses the issues surrounding the high-profile class action filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, in which current and former student-athletes are suing the NCAA for using their likenesses without compensating them. The outcome of this case could potentially change the landscape of college athletics and threaten the future of the NCAA.

The symposium begins at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 11 in the Robert Weems Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and participating attorneys can get two hours of Mississippi CLE credit for the session.

The symposium features a panel discussion with five prominent members of the sports law community.  The panelists are Richard Karcher, professor and director of the Center for Law and Sports at Florida Coastal School of Law; William King, partner at Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC in Birmingham, Ala.; Jason Levien, chief executive officer of the Memphis Grizzlies; Matthew Mitten, professor and director of the National Sports Law Institute and L.L.M. program in sports law at Marquette University Law School; and Maureen Weston, professor and director of the Entertainment Media and Sports Dispute Resolution Project at Pepperdine Law School.

“Our students have put together a fantastic panel of experts to address the legal and practical questions surrounding the propriety of compensating intercollegiate athletes,” said William W. Berry III, D.Phil., law faculty advisor to the Sports Law Review. “These controversial questions lie at the heart of the future of intercollegiate athletics. It should be a fascinating discussion.”