Monthly Archives: January 2011

World Legal News: International Pirates

In the U.S. the word pirate conjures up images of Johnny Depp, and the Disneyland ride; at its most serious, we think of pirating software or music files. But the incidents of real pirates are hijacking ships and kidnapping people are increasing. “[T]he Piracy Reporting Center of the International Maritime Bureau, found that pirates had taken 1,181 people hostage and killed 8 in attacks on 445 ships over the course of 2010” (Goodman). The hostages are mostly fishermen and crewmen from cargo ships.

Their sphere of operation now stretches “from Oman on the Arabian Peninsula to Mozambique, more than 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) away in southeastern Africa” (Yoong).

In Somalia, the unstable government and widespread poverty have led many young people to join the dangerous but lucrative world of piracy
(Piracy at Sea). Although the shipping route through the Indian Ocean is clearly unsafe, global businesses risk the lives of workers from developing countries every day because the financial cost to corporations of the loss of human lives is small compared to the financial benefits of shipping food globally (Huang).

Naval military forces from China, Japan, Britain, Malaysia and South Korea have been doing battle with and in some instances capturing Somali pirates, however, unless pressed to destroy the pirate ships during battle, their response is often limited to disarming the pirates and releasing them in exchange for some of the many civilian hostages (Huang; Yoong; Hughes & Martinez ).

Although the U.S. navy incidentally destroyed a pirate ship that fired on a Warship, officials claim that they are too busy doing military exercises and searching for drug smugglers and terrorists to rescue ships from pirates (Hughes & Martinez).

Although Kenya and the Seychelles routinely prosecute pirates, last November, the “US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia began the first US piracy trial in more than 100 years” (Somali parliament blocks; Hilema ). Malaysia also intends to prosecute pirates, but for jurisdictional reasons,
pirates cannot always be prosecuted in the courts in which they appear (Piracy at Sea).

An international piracy court would solve the jurisdictional problem, and it is being proposed by the “UN Secretary-General’s special adviser on maritime piracy Jack Lang, [who] warned Security Council members on Monday that more needs to be done to bring Somali pirates to justice, proposing an international piracy court (Hilema). Lang has developed an extensive plan
for how to respond to the pirates, he has “proposed a series of far-reaching
measures to the Security Council [ ] on how to lift the legal constraints to
prosecute and imprison the pirates and criminalize their sea-borne raids in all
States” (In Race between).

A local tribunal for prosecuting Somalian pirates in Somalia was proposed, but the legislation was blocked by the Somali parliament in early January, in part because, the “text [of the bill] on the punishment of pirates is not compatible with Islam” (Somali parliament blocks ).


J. David Goodman, Piracy Reached Record Level in 2010, Monitors Say, N.Y.
, Jan. 18, 2011,

Ashley Hilema, UN expert calls for international maritime piracy court, Jurist, Jan. 25, 2011,

Carol Huang, Pirates must be pursued in court: UAE, The National, Jan. 18, 2011,

Dana Hughes & Luis Martinez, Piracy Watchdogs Urges Navies to Fight Back: Shipping Companies Must Protect Themselves, abc News International,
Nov. 20, 2008,

In Race between Pirates and International Community, Pirates Clearly Winning, Secretary-General’s Top Legal Adviser on Piracy Warns Security Council; Secretary-General’s Top Legal Adviser on Piracy Warns Security Council; Pirates Expanding Geographic Reach in More Sophisticated, Better Organized; Attacks, Says Jack Lang, Seeking Prosecution of Sea-borne Raids in Domestic Courts, MMD Newswire, Jan. 26, 2011, available at

Piracy at Sea, N.Y. Times, Nov. 10, 2010,

Somali parliament blocks piracy bill, AFP, Jan. 18, 2011,

Sean Yoong, Malaysia, SKorea seek to charge 12 Somali pirates, The
Associated Press
, Jan. 25, 2011,


Tips for Law School Success: Legal research skills

Legal research skills are essential to law student success as summer associates.

TJSL has a brand new state of the art building including a library with cutting edge learning technology. TJSL reference librarians are experts, prepared to guide students in their independent acquisition of legal research skills throughout their law school career.  The law school facility, including the library is a tool that you have the right to use during your law student career.

  • Librarians are experts in legal research, they can teach you how to research strategically so that your research process is efficient and effective. Students who seek their assistance early and often may be able to complete assignments more quickly and easily.
  • Make a plan for your legal research education, because you will NOT learn all you need to know about legal research in the substantive law classes.
  • Not sure what kinds of questions to ask your reference librarian? Check out this brief video (1 min 15 secs).

Students have many opportunities to plan and execute their legal research education with the guidance of experts (faculty and librarians).


About your Faculty and Librarians

According to a recent survey, the most important criteria for judging the value of a law school is the faculty.

  • At TJSL, we have world renowned faculty who have graduated from the top law schools, Harvard, Yale and Stanford.
  • Even our full-time reference librarian, Catherine Deane, is a Princeton University graduate with three graduate degrees in law, anthropology, and library and information science.  She has several years of experience creating legal research guides for UC Hastings College of the Law.
  • Part-Time reference librarian June MacLeod has over 30 years of experience as a law librarian including many years as the director of a huge downtown San Diego law firm.
  • The interim director and former associate director Patrick Meyer also has three graduate degrees, and he comes to us from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he specialized in foreign and international law and Anglo-American legal research.  Meyer’s own research is largely focused on the importance of legal research skills to new lawyers.
  • This means that TJSL students have experts on hand to assist them in acquiring the lawyering skills that will make them competitive with other San Diego law schools. ( )

California Legal News: Patients Rights v. Public Safety

San Diego County Department of Mental Health opposes the implementation of AB 1421 aka Laura’s Law because it is unfair to the mentally disabled. This is a complex issue because it allows mentally ill patients to be forced into treatment and potentially hospitalized without a fair hearing. Patient’s rights need to be balanced against public safety, and some do not believe that it is possible to implement Laura’s law in a way that is fair both to patients and to the public.


San Diego Legal News: Mount Soledad Cross ruled unconstitutional and new laws discussed

The enormous crucifix on government owned land that has been touted as a symbol of support for U.S. veterans has been deemed  unconstitutional. Government resources cannot legally be used to exclusively promote any specific religion, and the Mount Soledad cross is no exception. However, Republicans are determined to keep the cross and are trying to bypass the decision of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals by taking to Congress their request to keep the Christian symbol standing.