November 17, 2016 | By Alexa Brown — Student advocates from Pepperdine Law’s Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic recently appeared in court again (WATCH VIDEO). Under the supervision of appellate attorney Jeremy B. Rosen of Horvitz & Levy LLP in Burbank, California, students Cory Batza and Helen Andrews drafted briefs and argued a case on behalf of Charles Byrd, who had filed a section 1983 lawsuit challenging Maricopa County’s practice of having female guards routinely observe male inmates at extremely close quarters while they are using the toilets and taking showers.
Observers noted that judge feedback to the students’ arguments seemed very positive. If successful, the victory would mark the sixth win in eight appeals made by students through the clinic.
“I continue to marvel at the extremely talented Pepperdine students who participate in the Ninth Circuit clinic. Cory and Helen are no exception,” said Rosen. “They showed in the briefing and at argument that they are well on their way to making a significant mark on the legal system. I was so proud to watch them handle questions from the Ninth Circuit judges with poise and a keen understanding of the facts and law.”
Brief background on case: “The Ninth Circuit appointed the Pepperdine Ninth Circuit Clinic to represent pre-trial detainee Charles Byrd who filed a section 1983 lawsuit challenging Maricopa County’s practice of having female guards routinely observe male inmates at extremely close quarters while they are using the toilets and taking showers. Such cross-gender observations have been routinely disallowed when the guards are male and the prisoners are female and case law suggests the same should be the case here. The district court exercised its authority under the Prison Litigation Reform Act to dismiss Byrd’s lawsuit at the screening stage. The students argued on appeal that such dismissal was improper because Byrd plainly stated a claim for constitutional violation.”
The Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic:
Pepperdine’s Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic requires a one-year commitment from students. Over the course of the year, students in teams of two represent a client in an appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the largest of the thirteen federal appellate courts. Students review the appellate record, research the legal issues presented by the case, prepare the opening and reply briefs, and argue the case before a panel of Ninth Circuit judges.
The clinic’s clients are drawn from the Ninth Circuit’s pro bono docket and generally include pro se litigants with civil rights claims. The cases are often suggested directly to Professor Rosen by the court, which has been highly supportive of the clinic, even arranging due dates for briefs around school schedules. Students are able to spend several hours per week at the Encino office of Horvitz & Levy, the largest firm in the nation specializing in civil appeals.
“The Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic is a critical component of Pepperdine’s clinical education program,” says Professor Jeffrey Baker, Director of Clinical Education. “In our clinics, students work under expert teachers to gain vital experience and to develop as professionals. We work with purpose to expand access to justice. Students apply their knowledge and skill in the real world for people in need, and the work accelerates their preparation for practice.”