“Too High a Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado”

February 16, 2016

The Homeless Advocacy Policy Project (HAPP) is a student-driven project at Denver Law that focuses on research and analysis of laws criminalizing homelessness. On February 16, 2016, HAPP released Too High a Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado, their report on ordinances enacted and enforced by Colorado cities that criminalize activities homeless people necessarily perform in the course of their daily lives – camping, sitting or lying in public, panhandling, and more. In all, HAPP identified and documented over 350 anti-homeless ordinances in place in 76 cities. Their report estimates that in Denver alone enforcement of only five of these anti-homeless ordinances cost the city well over three million dollars in the years 2010-14 and achieved little positive effect on the problems of the homeless in our city. “Modern homelessness is a solvable problem,” the report concludes. “Unfortunately, too many Colorado cities are attempting to ‘solve’ the visible problem of homelessness by making them ‘invisible’ through criminalization.”

HAPP grew out of Professor Nantiya Ruan’s Homeless Advocacy Policy Seminar, taught in the Fall of 2015 at Denver Law. The group partners with community organizations Denver Homeless Out Loud and the Western Regional Advocacy Project, advocates for the homeless in Colorado. The report “Too High a Price” was released a week and one day prior to discussion by the Colorado House Local Government Committee of “The Right to Rest Act,” designed to permit the homeless to sleep in automobiles, parks or other public spaces.

See student members of HAPP and Professor Ruan here.
See the Denver Post article on “Too High a Price” here.
Below are pictures from the press release party of 2/16/2016, at St. Paul’s Church in downtown Denver.

Conversations on Race and Gender in the Colorado Legal Community

February 04, 2016

The two most recent issues of The Colorado Lawyer (January and February 2016) contain conversations about race and gender in the Colorado legal community. Participants included attorneys, business people, a law student, a social scientist and Denver Law professor Eli Wald. In January’s discussion about implicit bias in the legal profession, Professor Wald presents evidence for the existence of implicit bias in law firms and offers this prescription: “Bias awareness, a cornerstone of diversity-enhancing policies, requires that we acknowledge that the practice of law is not blind to lawyers’ personal identities. Because standards of assessment, performance, and excellence tend to be implicitly biased in favor of white male heterosexual lawyers, bias awareness calls for leveling the playing field and developing yardsticks that measure objective professional performance, rather than stereotypes and biased assumptions related to lawyers’ gender and race.” In February’s discussion of diversity in the legal profession, Professor Wald states, “The business case for diversity is centered on enhancing the quality of representation: When lawyers make decisions in a diverse context, the quality of the decision is improved because diverse perspectives are reflected in the decision-making process.”

These two articles are made available on Denver Law’s Diversity webpage with the permission of the Colorado Bar Association.

Campus activists speak out: “Young black people have the potential to transform American politics”

February 02, 2016

A New York Times article presents the thoughts and views of seven college student activists about racial justice on their college campuses. And, at the University of Denver’s Diversity Summit, held in January, faculty from DU and CU Boulder discussed the implications of the Black Lives Matter movement for higher education.

Case Western Law names Professor Yearby Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusiveness

February 01, 2016

In January, Case Western Reserve University School of Law named Professor Raqaiijah A. Yearby to the newly-created position, Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness. “A handful of law schools have administrative positions dedicated to diversity, but most also include responsibilities for student affairs or other aspects of the schools’ operations,” stated the Case Western press release announcing the new position. Denver Law created its Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness position in the Fall of 2010. Professor Catherine Smith has held the position since then.

OpEd - Denver Post: Ending the war in Syria is critical

January 26, 2016

Professor Ved Nanda’s most recent Opinion published in the Denver Post , Posted: 01/08/2016 12:00:00 PM MST

John Echohawk, NARF Executive Director, speaks at Denver Law January 28 at noon

January 25, 2016

John Echohawk has served as Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) since 1977. On Thursday, January 28 at noon in Room 280, he will speak on the topic, “Why Indian Law is Important for All of Us.” Located in Boulder, CO, NARF, whose staff of forty includes fifteen lawyers, has for nearly 50 years provided legal services to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide, working in the areas of tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection and Indian education.

“Tale of Two Communities” in Denver’s downtown, by 3L Ty Nagamatsu

January 22, 2016

In last November’s issue of The Docket, Denver Law 3L Ty Nagamatsu (pictured below) explored the role lawyers play in managing tensions existing in the Five Points/Ballpark area between Denver’s homeless population served by the Denver Rescue Mission and businesses and residents increasingly drawn to this popular downtown neighborhood. Ms. Nagamatsu is a student attorney in Denver Law’s Community Economic Development Clinic (CEDC), where, under the direction of Assistant Professor Patience Crowder, students “are exposed to a variety of social systems that impact their clients and are encouraged to think reflectively about the nature of transactional advocacy in the public’s interest.” In her article, Ballpark Neighborhood: A Tale of Two Communities, Ms. Nagamatsu writes that “it is important for those in leadership to consider alternatives to litigation that promote thoughtful community engagement. Creative, transactional attorneys should be able to bring everyone to the table to find good solutions for all parties involved.”

Updated Submission Date for Sutton Writing Competition

January 19, 2016

Submissions for the Leonard v.B. Sutton International Law Essay Competition are now due Monday, February 1st.

Detailed information may be found at the the Sutton Writing Competition webpage

The Aurora Theater Massacre

January 19, 2016


At the University of Denver Sturm College of Law

aurora theater

District Attorney, Colorado’s 18th Judicial District
Rich Orman
Karen Pearson
Jacob Edson
Lisa Teesch-Maguire

Thursday, Feb 11th, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

• Responding to the theater the morning of the shooting
• The challenges of managing 4000 witnesses and victims & admitting 1000’s of items of evidence
• Ethically protecting survivors’ voices and honoring all victims’ legal rights
• The use of graphic photographs and testimony during trial
• Strategies employed to prosecute a mass murderer who claimed insanity
• The experience of the on-call prosecutor the night of the shooting
• Evidentiary presentation of the explosives & hazardous devices found


Please email question to David Schott, Director – Center for Advocacy DSchott@law.du.edu

Open letter from Denver Law faculty and staff opposing discrimination on college campuses

January 18, 2016

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