On May 29, 2018, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) of NYU School of Law held a book launch for the release of their two newest publications, Questioning Police Interrogation Methods: A Comparative Study and The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law: A Comparative Study. These two books are products of multi-year projects undertaken by USALI, featuring a variety of articles written by leading legal scholars, social scientists and law practitioners from the U.S., the UK and P.R. China about the important and evolving fields of pretrial detention and police interrogation methods.
By Jerome A. Cohen
I gave a talk entitled “Jack Downey, Sino-American Relations and International Law — Lessons for Today" at the Woodrow Wilson Center today in Washington, DC. It was in memory of the late distinguished historian of Sino-American relations Nancy Bernkopf Tucker and reviewed the case of my Yale college classmate Jack Downey, a CIA agent whose plane was shot down in China November 29, 1952.
I discussed the secret, unlawful and hypocritical policy of the US Government that led to this case and the consequences for Downey and “new” China’s perception of U.S. practice of international law. The talk ended with a consideration of the relevance of the lessons learned to contemporary relations between Beijing and Washington.
The talk’s webcast recap is here: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/the-seventh-annual-nancy-bernkopf-tucker-memorial-lecture-us-east-asia-relations.
The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) is a model of legal ingenuity spurred by political necessity. Jimmy Carter inherited Richard Nixon’s challenge, which was to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Nixon took the first step in February 1972 with his famous trip to Beijing, where he, Henry Kissinger, and China’s leaders concluded the Shanghai Communiqué. The Communiqué gave ambiguous assurance to China about Taiwan.
We were delighted to see this article by USALI long-term partner Judge Jed Rakoff in this week's New York Review of Books, regarding the problem of inaccurate eyewitness identifications and also responding thoughtfully to how this problem might be addressed in an age where the majority of criminal matters are disposed of by plea bargain.
There have been several important legal developments in Australia and New Zealand over the past two weeks relating to the use of DNA evidence in criminal investigations. The first takes place in Australia's second largest state - Victoria. The second development is that the New Zealand Law Commission (a government funded law reform body) will soon close its public submissions period for its study The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations.
SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (AP) — Seven Chinese men allege in a lawsuit that they were victims of a forced labor scheme while constructing a Saipan casino.
The casino and its contractors violated U.S. trafficking laws by exploiting the workers, the lawsuit said. Saipan is part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
At this stage the basic facts surrounding the case against former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn remain unclear. It is too early to decide between the two diametrically opposed narratives that have been offered to date: (1) Ghosn is a greedy autocrat who violated laws and company rules to enrich himself at the expense of the company and its stakeholders or (2) Nissan management, aided by inadequate protections for the accused under Japanese law and by the Japanese government, undertook a coup d’etat to rid Nissan of Renault’s control. We may ultimately discover that this case contains elements of both narratives.
Two great pieces on junk science litigation and investigations this week:
The first, from the ABA Journal, tracks a lawsuit by the Innocence Project against the National Museum of Health and Medicine of the Department of Defense seeking disclosure of the records of the American Board of Forensic Odontologists (ABFO) (aka "the bite mark experts"), more here:
In November 2018, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute hosted our 24th Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia. The theme to the forum was “East Asia, America & International Law'“ with noted speakers from Asia and the United States to discuss human rights, intergovernmental and territorial disputes, and international tribunals.
In January 2019, as part of our project on the Prevention and Redress of Wrongful Convictions, USALI launched its fourth lecture trip to China with a special focus on forensic science and wrongful convictions. The trip was composed of four lectures/round-table discussions at China University of Political Science and Law, Nankai University, and Renmin University.
Affiliated Scholar Aaron Halegua quoted and referenced in recent Financial Times article. …Desperate for cash because he had not been paid for two months and fearing he could be deported because he lacked official papers, Jiang Wei and two colleagues turned up at the Chinese consulate in the Zambian capital of Lusaka in search of help.
(October 10, 2018) U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair and Cochair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the Commission’s 2018 Annual Report and announced several new joint initiatives to protect U.S. citizens and residents from intimidation and address possible crimes against humanity occurring in China.
(September 12, 2018) Professor Jerome A. Cohen discussed China and foreign relations on September 12, 2018. The event was hosted by the Paul Tsai China Center.
On August 31, USALI affiliated scholar, Aaron Halegua, presented his research on worker exploitation in Saipan and labor abuses along China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The conference, held in Brussels, was hosted by the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and co-organized by Dr. Maria Adele Carrai, a former visiting scholar (2014-2015) and Global Hauser Fellow (2016-2017) at NYU Law School.
In May 2018, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) traveled to China as part of its continuing program to work with partners in Asia to prevent and redress wrongful convictions. Working with Chinese partner institutions, we convened several events in Beijing and Shanghai to share the research and expertise of Western scholars on one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the U.S. and around the world: false confessions.
The U.S.-Asia Law Institute congratulates Dr. Eva Pils on her recent promotion to a full professorship (chair) at King’s College London, effective from September 2018. Eva Pils joined King’s College London in September 2014 as a Reader in Transnational Law. She studied law, philosophy, and sinology in Heidelberg, London, and Beijing.
On May 29, 2018 the U.S.-Asia Law Institute held a book launch for two the release of their two newest publications, “Questioning Police Interrogation Methods” and “The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law.” These two books are the result of many year’s work, and feature a variety of articles from leading legal scholars and practitioners about these two important and evolving fields of pretrial detention and interrogation methods.
The books feature an English language and Chinese language versions, with articles translated into Chinese by USALI staff and scholars. The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law introduces the history and practice of U.S. and Chinese pretrial release history. Meanwhile, Questioning Police Interrogation Methods offers a perspective and methods to alleviate police-induced false confessions.
The book launch was held at Beijing Normal University, where friends of USALI, the publisher China Law Press, and contributors to the book gathered to discuss the contents and the evolution of the work itself. USALI Executive Director Ira Belkin states, “I am confident that this book’s groundbreaking research, comprehensive commentary and imaginative proposals will stimulate further law enforcement progress in China and the United States.”
USALI has been working with experts in in Asia to share information about criminal justice reform generally and in China to share information about “bail reform” in particular. In fact, we have a bilingual book scheduled for publication later this month comparing pre-trial detention regimes in the United States and China.
April 4, 2018 -- Jerome A. Cohen, NYU Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute, received the illustrious honor of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Consul General Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi awarded the prestigious honor. The evening also featured congratulations by NYU Law School Dean Trevor Morrison and U.S.-Asia Law Institute Senior Fellow Ren Ito. Professor Cohen was awarded for his outstanding contributions in promoting interactions among Japanese and U.S. legal professionals as well as to enhancing the understanding of Japan among people in U.S.