Hana Sahdev-Writing Prize

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Students Win Prestigious Writing, Ethics Awards

Hana Sahdev ’17 has won the American Constitution Society’s 2017 Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition for her paper—written for her Wrongful Convictions seminar—on how safeguards meant to protect children are, in fact, failing them by not preventing uncounseled confessions.

Sahdev’s prize was among three awards won by BC Law students in April. Rufus Urion ’17 received one of the Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC) Student Ethics Awards, Northeast Chapter, for his track record in BC Law’s innocence and public defender clinics. Caroline Reilly ’18 won honorable mention from If/When/How, the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law, and the Center for Reproductive Rights for her article on parental involvement laws.

Sahdev’s paper, “Juvenile Miranda Waivers and Wrongful Convictions,” comes with a $3,000 cash prize and publication in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. “The students’ paper presentations—often advocating reforms to reduce the risk of wrongful convictions—are the best part of the seminar,” said Sharon Beckman, who teaches the Wrongful Convictions course and is director of the BC Innocence Program. “Hana’s paper urging the state and federal governments to prohibit the use of uncounseled juvenile confessions is a great example.”

ACC-ethics-orion

Rufus Orion, top right, with other ACC award winners.

Urion impressed the ACC judges with his work in the BC Defender Clinic, under the supervision of BC Criminal Justice Clinic Professor Frank Herrmann, SJ; the BC and CPCS innocence programs; the NY Legal Aid Parole Revocation Unit; and as president of the BC Law Public Interest Law Foundation. Like Sahdev, Urion wrote a 30-page research paper in the Wrongful Convictions class, his on the professional responsibility of prosecutors to avoid and remedy erroneous convictions. That led to an independent study with Professor Michael Cassidy, who was then serving on the SJC Standing Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Reilly won the Sarah Weddington Writing Prize honorable mention for her paper, “Not Just a Minor Burden: A Post-Whole Women’s Health Analysis of Parental Involvement Laws.” The Weddington Prize encourages innovative analysis and advocacy in writing about reproductive rights and justice issues. Hers was among the top four papers in the country selected and was recognized alongside articles by Stanford, Berkeley, and Columbia students.

Photograph: Hana Sahdev ’17  won the 2017 American Constitution Society writing prize.

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