Volume 50, Issue 1

4 posts

Enhanced Disclosure as a Response to Increasing Out-of-State Spending in State and Local Elections

By Tyler Roberts

Over the past several years, states and localities have experienced increasing amounts of election spending flowing in from out of state. A number of states passed statutes limiting the amount candidates may accept from out-of-state donors, but most of these statutes have been struck down by lower courts. The Supreme Court’s steady emphasis on the value of political speech — regardless of the source — makes it doubtful that the Court will overturn these decisions and permit states to limit contributions from out of state. This Note suggests that states enact disclosure requirements that require aggregate disclosure from out-of-state groups at the time of advertising. These disclosure requirements are likely constitutional and are also effective at informing voters about the sources of political speech.

Download Article

Does Brady Have Byte? Adapting Constitutional Disclosure for the Digital Age

By Hilary Oran

Under Brady v. Maryland and its progeny, prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to disclose any material evidence that may be favorable to the defendant. Despite a prosecutor’s best efforts to comply, there are inherent difficulties associated with identifying such documents. For instance, discerning what is “material” requires anticipating, before trial, how all the evidence will come together during trial. Further, finding this evidence may resemble the proverbial search for a “needle in a haystack” when the amount of evidence becomes copious. This search becomes even more daunting in an age of voluminous electronic discovery that spans from digital files to social media to e-mails, potentially amounting to over a million pages of documents.

This category of discovery was foreign to the judicial system at the time of Brady’s 1963 decision. However, despite the transformation of discovery since then, prosecutors’ constitutional disclosure obligations remain unchanged. Accordingly, there is currently no uniform approach to assess potential Brady violations premised on high volume electronic discovery. This Note will explore the current practices for adapting Brady for the digital age. Ultimately, this Note advocates for a new standard that requires prosecutors to adhere to recognized, minimum requirements when divulging a case file, but provides for circumstances in which a defendant’s limited resources require the prosecution to surpass this benchmark in order to fulfill its constitutional obligation.

Download Article

Inadequate Access: Reforming Reproductive Health Care Policies for Women Incarcerated in New York State Correctional Facilities

By Kate Walsh

In February 2015, the Correctional Association of New York released a report studying the quality of and access to reproductive health care for incarcerated women and found that “[o]verall . . . reproductive health care for women in New York State prisons is woefully substandard, with women routinely facing poor-quality care and assaults on their basic human dignity and reproductive rights.” The findings of this and other studies provide concrete evidence of the poor quality of reproductive health care available to incarcerated women and signal to legislatures that these policies should be changed.

Incarcerated women face three issues of particular concern relating to reproductive health care: access to gynecological examinations, sanitary supplies, and contraception. The purpose of this Note is to examine New York State policies addressing reproductive health care for incarcerated women, identify problems with them, and make recommendations for reform. This Note will examine current policies and practices of New York State correctional facilities that address gynecological examinations, sanitary supplies, and contraception, and assess why these policies are problematic from both legal and medical perspectives. Furthermore, it will recommend bringing New York’s policies in line with legal, medical, and international standards as a strategy for reform. Finally, it will advocate for using existing federal and state programs including Title X to provide funding for reproductive care both prior to and after release.

Download Article

Charter School Jurisprudence and the Democratic Ideal

By Tara Raam

This Note will explore the implications of recent charter school legislation on democratic principles in the context of public education. In 2015, the Washington Supreme Court held, in League of Women Voters of Washington v. State, that charter schools are not “common schools.” Thus, the court proscribed the application of state funds designated for “common schools” towards supporting charter schools. Part II provides background on the development of charter schools and describes the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in League of Women Voters, particularly the Court’s reliance on its 1909 interpretation of the Washington constitution’s “common schools” principle in School District No. 20 v. Bryan, as well as the legislative response to League of Women Voters and subsequent lawsuit. Part III argues that evolving views of school governance necessitate a reading of the Bryan requirements that is more sensitive to the democratic ideals of participation, deliberation, and accountability underlying Bryan. Recognizing the League of Women Voters interpretation of Bryan as the only appropriate means of voter control of public schools would have harmful and far-reaching effects not contemplated by the Bryan court on public schools across the United States. Part IV challenges whether a system of state-authorized charter schools can achieve the democratic ideal, and ultimately offers a portfolio of school options as one possible democratic solution.

Download Article