AUWCL Faculty in the Media: Professors Discuss Chauvin Trial, Immigration, and More

April 2, 2021

American University Washington College of Law faculty often serve as expert sources for media outlets across the country, providing commentary and high-level analysis on emerging laws and high profile court cases. The following AUWCL professors have recently shared their insights on pressing legal matters facing the nation through television appearances, interviews, and op-eds.

Professor Jenny Roberts

Professor Jenny Roberts appears on CBS News.
Professor Jenny Roberts appears on CBS News.

With the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the June 2020 murder of George Floyd, underway, Professor Jenny Roberts appeared on CBS News to discuss both the trial and the country’s “mass misdemeanor system.”

“This trial, as well as other tragic cases involving death at the hands of police officers who have approached or are making an arrest for something petty…highlights that we have in this country what I would l call a ‘mass misdemeanor system,’” said Roberts, co-director of the Criminal Justice Clinic. “Yes, we have mass incarceration and more people in prison than anywhere else, but we also have mass criminalizations. One-in-three adults in the United States has some sort of arrest or conviction record – that’s a shocking number. Are we a nation of criminals? I don’t think so.”

Watch the interview here.

Professor Ira Robbins

On Wednesday, March 31, Georgia lawmakers approved a bill that repeals legal language allowing residents to make a “citizen’s arrest.” The bill – inspired by the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was chased and gunned down by three white men in a Georgia neighborhood last year – garnered almost unanimous support in both chambers of the State Legislature, as well as support from the state’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp.

In an interview with the New York Times, Professor Ira P. Robbins, Barnard T. Welsh Scholar and co-director of the law school’s Criminal Justice Practice & Policy Institute, characterized the revision to the citizen’s arrest law, a version of which dates to 1863, as “a doctrine whose time should have passed many decades — or centuries — ago.” Robbins added that it is often unclear whether a person has the legal authority to make an arrest.

Read the article here.

Professor N. Jeremi Duru

Professor Jenny Roberts appears on CBS News.
Professor Jenny Roberts appears on CBS News.

Professor N. Jeremi Duru, one of the nation’s foremost sports law authorities, was interviewed in a PBS NewsHour story about National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston – the U.S. Supreme Court Case argued Wednesday that addresses whether the NCAA’s prohibition on compensation for college athletes violates federal antitrust law, and ultimately whether student athletes can be paid.

"Coaches are getting six- and seven-figure salaries, administrators are getting salaries, conference commissioners are getting salaries, other stakeholders are getting money,” Duru said. “And the student athletes themselves, the most indispensable piece of the puzzle, are getting nothing.”

Watch the interview and read the full transcript here.

Professor Amanda Frost

President Joe Biden’s first press conference on March 25 underscored the desire for answers when it comes to immigration and unaccompanied minors at the U.S. southern border. For NBC News THINK, Bronfman Professor of Law and Government Amanda Frost authored a piece on how the issue should be addressed by confronting its long history.

“For centuries, U.S. immigration and citizenship policies benefited the ancestors of many of those living here legally today while excluding immigrants from the same countries now overrepresented by the undocumented population,” Frost writes. “Biden should work with Congress to create an immediate pathway to citizenship not only to provide these immigrants a stable home in America, but to allow the nation to atone for its past wrongs.”

Read the op-ed here.