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Wake Forest Law School Professor Kami Simmons

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons is interviewed about police misconduct by Legal Broadcast Network

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons of Wake Forest University Law School discusses in this video interview by Legal Broadcast Network on Tuesday, July 21, that police departments need to make some structural changes to cut down on incidents of police misconduct and that better training and community relations can make a big difference.

Watch the video on YouTube.

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Wake Forest Law School Professor Kami Simmons

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons quoted in Wall Street Journal about police-misconduct cases

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons is quoted in the Wall Street Journal article, “Cost of Police-Misconduct Cases Soars in Big U.S. Cities: Data show rising payouts for police-misconduct settlements and court judgments,” published on Thursday, July 16.

The cost of resolving police-misconduct cases has surged for big U.S. cities in recent years, even before the current wave of scrutiny faced by law-enforcement over tactics.

The 10 cities with the largest police departments paid out $248.7 million last year in settlements and court judgments in police-misconduct cases, up 48% from $168.3 million in 2010, according to data gathered by The Wall Street Journal through public-records requests.

“The numbers are staggering, and they have huge consequences for taxpayers,” says Kami Chavis Simmons, a former assistant U.S. attorney who now directs the criminal-justice program at Wake Forest University School of Law. “Municipalities should take a hard look at the culture of police organizations and any structural reforms that might help alleviate the possibility of some of these huge civil suits.”

View the article at Wall Street Journal.

This article also ran in Yahoo! News.

Wake Forest School of Law Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD '77)

Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) principal drafter for ULC legislation recognizing Canadian domestic violence protection orders

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) has approved legislation urging U.S. law enforcement and courts to recognize Canadian domestic violence protection orders. Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77), who was appointed to the ULC by former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, was the reporter of the statute’s drafting committee.

Today’s move comes four years after the Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted the Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Amendment Act (ECJDAA), which provides for the recognition of foreign protection orders.

“We hope this act, which grants a kind of reciprocity for Canadian orders, will usher in a broader recognition of the protection orders of other countries,” Reynolds said of the drafting committee’s legislation.

The Drafting Committee began its work with the benefit of years of significant work on cross-jurisdiction recognition of domestic violence protection orders, according to a committee memo. In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which requires states to give full faith and credit to the protection orders of sister states as long as the orders were issued consistently with VAWA’s provisions. In responding to this mandate in 2002, the Conference adopted the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic-Violence Protection Orders Act (IEDVPOA), facilitating interstate recognition and enforcement of the domestic violence orders of other states.  The uniform act has been adopted in 20 jurisdictions, and other states have enacted legislation that parallels the uniform act.

“Reflecting the friendship between the United States and Canada, our hope is that all states will eventually adopt the Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Protection Orders on Domestic Violence Act,” Reynolds says.  “Of course, the act is especially important for states along the Canadian border.”

The memo states that while the Joint Editorial Board on Uniform Family Law initially recommended an act on the recognition and enforcement of all foreign domestic violence protection orders, the final charge from Scope and Program was to facilitate recognition of Canadian orders only. The rationale for the narrowing of the scope of the Conference’s project was that the Conference did not want to interfere with the ongoing project of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which is studying the possibility of a convention on universal inter-country recognition of domestic violence orders.  In the meantime, in light of the Canadian recognition of protection orders from the United States, the Conference asked this committee to draft an act narrowly recognizing only Canadian orders in this country.

The passage of the Act was part of this week’s agenda at the UCL 2015 Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia. As the reporter for act, Reynolds assisted in presenting the act to the
conference.  At the annual meeting, Reynolds also accepted a position on the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Family Law, which will make recommendations on future uniform acts on topics related to family law.

The ULC, now in its 124th year, comprises more than 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors, and lawyer-legislators from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Commissioners are appointed by their states to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all the states.

After receiving the ULC’s seal of approval, a uniform act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures are urged to adopt it.  Since its inception in 1892, the ULC has been responsible for more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Partnership Act, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

Six new uniform acts or amendments, including the Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Protection Orders on Domestic Violence Act, were scheduled for completion at this summer’s annual meeting. The current drafts of all of the acts can be found at the ULC’s website at

Dean Suzanne Reynolds ('77)

Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) featured in The Chronicle of Winston-Salem

Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77), the first female Dean of the Wake Forest Law, was recently featured in The Chronicle of Winston-Salem for her accomplishments and future with the law school. The full article is as follows. Continue reading »

Professor Tim Davis

Professor Timothy Davis featured in Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Professor Timothy Davis has been appointed as Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He is one of eight other African Americans in the country to be recently appointed to an administrative role in higher education.  Continue reading »

Professor Shannon Gilreath

Professor Shannon Gilreath (JD ’02) to discuss his book, ‘The End of Straight Supremacy: Realizing Gay Liberation,’ on July 25 in Washington, D.C.

Professor Shannon Gilreath (JD ’02) will read from and discuss his most recent book at noon on Saturday, July 25, at The D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, 2000 14th Street NW, Suite 105. The event is free and open to the public.

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Professor of International Law John Knox

Professor John Knox writes for Open Democracy about the human rights and the environment

John Knox is the Henry C. Lauerman Professor of International Law at Wake Forest University, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Knox authored the following article which was published on Open Democracy online on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Continue reading »

United States Supreme Court

Professors tell Winston-Salem Chronicle why they support recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings

Law professors support of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings about the Affordable Care Act, fair housing, and marriage equality has been very high, according to an article written by The Chronicle of Winston-Salem.
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Wake Forest Law School Professor Kami Simmons

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons participates in Washington, D.C., Judiciary Committee’s Roundtable

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons will participate in the Washington, D.C., Judiciary Committee’s Roundtable, “21st Century Policing,” to be held Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Simmons will speak during the Policy and Oversight section of the roundtable. Continue reading »

Wake Forest law professor Harold Lloyd poses in the Worrell Professional Center on Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

Professor Harold Lloyd writes Huffington Post blog about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia in a fairly-recent co-authored book (Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts) tells us that “in their full context, words mean what they conveyed to reasonable people at the time they were written — with the understanding that general terms may embrace later technological innovations.” Justice Scalia considers something like this approach “the normal, natural approach to understanding anything that has been said or written in the past.” (I say “something like this” because in that most recent book Justice Scalia gives multiple and not entirely consistent definitions of original meaning — more about that below.) Continue reading »