Tuesday, March 31, 2015

St. Thomas University School of Law Selected as the Repository for Judge William M. Hoeveler’s Judicial Papers

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015, St. Thomas University School of Law welcomed more than 100 judges, attorneys, legal scholars, alumni(ae), and friends for an event honoring Judge William M. Hoeveler and announcing the selection of St. Thomas University School of Law as the repository for Judge Hoeveler’s judicial papers.

The St. Thomas University School of Law’s Alex Hanna Legal Information Center will serve as home to Judge Hoeveler’s case-related documents and correspondence, distinct from the official court record of his cases. The collection includes his personal anecdotes, exchanges with attorneys, and notes that may serve to document Judge Hoeveler’s career and give unique insight into the process of his judicial deliberation through many of the cases over which he presided. These documents can bring judicial history alive for law students, legal scholars, and the general public alike in a way that textbooks may not. In addition to the papers, the law school will house memorabilia that include courtroom sketches from the Manuel Noriega trial, the Pontifical Medal Benemerenti bestowed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, personal photographs, and even Judge Hoeveler’s famous briefcase.

The announcement ceremony, held in the Law School’s Moot Court Room, began with a welcome from St. Thomas University President, Monsignor Franklyn Casale. After thanking Judge Hoeveler for his distinguished service on the bench, Monsignor Casale expressed his gratitude and pride that the law library was selected as the repository. He also spoke of his admiration for Judge Hoeveler and the impact he has had on the law both locally and nationally. He noted the papers will join those of the late U.S. District Judge C. Clyde Atkins whose judicial papers also are housed at St. Thomas University.

Dean Alfredo García delivered remarks that highlighted Judge Hoeveler as a legal giant in the south Florida community who was fair, humble, patient, joyful, deeply religious, and courageous. The Dean expanded by sharing details of how Judge Hoeveler conducted himself in what was probably the most high-profile case over which he presided: the Manuel Noriega trial. “The Noriega trial is the prism through which we can view the career of the most respected jurist in South Florida,” stated Dean García. “The case was complex: There were more than 250 pretrial pleadings, motions, responses, memorandums, and court orders. The trial lasted a few months. Amidst all of this, Judge Hoeveler demonstrated remarkable patience, legal understanding, and, above all, fairness.” Dean García noted that after the trial, and during Noriega’s sentencing speech, Noriega rebuked the U.S. government but praised Judge Hoeveler – a testament to the character of the judge and the man.

Senior United States District Judge Donald Graham was called on to make a special presentation to Judge Hoeveler. In his remarks, Judge Graham described Judge Hoeveler as “an incredible man, an incredible judge, an incredible friend, and an incredible servant to the country as a Marine.” Judge Graham presented a brass dedication plaque to Judge Hoeveler on behalf of the judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and members of the bar. The plaque reads in part:

“In grateful appreciation for his lifelong commitment to the legal profession to ensure that justice and equality are guaranteed for all people. Judge Hoeveler’s exemplary service to the federal court has been an inspiration to generations of attorneys.  He is a legal legend – the epitome of professionalism and ethics…we honor his legacy.”

Judge Hoeveler also was presented with a book entitled Judge William M. Hoeveler: A Humble Judicial Hero. The book is a published collection of reflections and anecdotes from more than 80 contributors who know him either personally or professionally. As Dean García stated, the book “memorializes all the character traits that define Bill Hoeveler.”

The ceremony was followed by a wine and cheese reception and tour of St. Thomas Law’s Alex Hanna Legal Information Center where attendees were given the opportunity to view Judge Hoeveler’s memorabilia and personally greet the guest of honor.

Judge William M. Hoeveler was born in France in 1922 and attended high school in Havertown, Pennsylvania. He began college at Temple University but left when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He served in the armed forces from 1942 to 1946, and after leaving the Marine Corps, enrolled at Bucknell University. He graduated from Harvard Law School with an LL.B. in 1950 and entered private practice in Miami from 1951 to 1977. He was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter and assumed senior status in 1991. Judge Hoeveler gained a reputation as a hero to environmentalists and an opponent of Florida's sugar industry during his time on the bench. In addition to the high-profile trial of Manuel Noriega, he presided over many of the hearings in the Elián González case.  He officially retired in 2014.

Pictured –(seated) Judge William Hoeveler (Standing L-R) Senior United States District Judge Paul Huck, St. Thomas Law Dean Alfredo Garcia, St. Thomas University President Monsignor Franklyn Casale, Senior United States District Judge Donald Graham

Judge William Hoeveler surrounded by United States District and Magistrate Judges.  Pictured (L-R) Judge Robert L. Dube, Judge Darrin P. Gayles, Judge William C. Turnoff, Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes, Judge Alicia O. Valle,  Judge Jonathan Goodman, Judge Paul C. Huck, Judge Patrick A. White, Judge Donald L. Graham, Judge Patricia A. Seitz, Chief Judge Michael K. Moore, Judge A. Jay Cristol,  Judge Kenneth A. Marra

Guests viewing Judge Hoeveler’s memorabilia display in the St. Thomas University Law Library

St. Thomas Double Alum Appointed as Miami-Dade County Court Judge

St. Thomas Law proudly announces that St. Thomas University and St. Thomas University School of Law graduate Diana Vizcaino is Miami-Dade County’s newest County Court Judge.  Governor Rick Scott made the announcement of his new judicial selections on March 12.

Ms. Vizcaino, who is currently a City of Miami Assistant City Attorney, beat out four other finalists for the appointment. In his remarks after the announcement of the new appointment, Governor Scott said that she will make a great addition to the bench. He added that throughout her career, she has “demonstrated a strong understanding of the law, which will allow her to serve the citizens of Florida with dignity and compassion.”

Ms. Vizcaino joined the Office of the City Attorney in June 2008 and is currently the Division Chief of the Labor & Employment Division. She represents the city in employment litigation matters, arbitrations and collective bargaining. She is also the Recruitment and Internship Coordinator responsible for all new hires, internships, and consultant engagements.  Prior to joining the Office of the City Attorney, Ms. Vizcaino litigated in Federal Court on behalf of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as in private practice. Ms. Vizcaino also served as an Assistant State Attorney for Miami-Dade County prosecuting violent career criminals.

Ms. Vizcaino obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Thomas University in 1996 and her Juris Doctorate from St. Thomas Law in 2000.

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Educational Partnership

Starting this Fall (2015), students interested in legal careers will have an opportunity to earn their bachelor’s and law degrees in just six years, thanks to a new 3+3 Agreement between Miami Dade College and St. Thomas University School of Law. A signing ceremony and celebratory reception was held to celebrate the agreement that will allow qualified students to earn both their bachelor’s and JD degrees within six years, three at Miami Dade College and the remaining three at St. Thomas University School of Law. This will result in significant savings for students who are faced with ever-increasing education costs.

The signing was attended by President of St. Thomas University, Monsignor Franklyn Casale; President of Miami Dade College, Dr. Eduardo Padron; and key members of the administration and faculty from both institutions.

St. Thomas Law Mock Trial Team Wins the Phi Alpha Delta National Mock Trial Competition

We are pleased and proud to announce that the St. Thomas Law PAD Mentschikoff Chapter won Overall First Place and Best Defense at the 2015 National PAD Mock Trial competition, held March 5th through 8th, 2015, in Alexandria, VA.

This annual national mock trial competition was limited to 30 law school chapters. Members of the St. Thomas Law Mock Trial team who were also members of the St. Thomas Law PAD Chapter, were recruited to compete in the competition. Our STU PAD Mentschikoff Chapter was the 29th team to register, and registered only one team. At the mock trial competition, each team presented the case as both plaintiff and defendant. Following three rounds of competition, the St. Thomas Law PAD team consisting of Freddy Figueroa, Ileana Garcia, Natasha Pargas, and Tayron Lopez advanced to the final round, and then ultimately won the competition against a strong team from Tennessee University (the 2014 Champions). In addition to winning overall, Freddy Figueroa and Ileana Garcia were selected as the Best Defense team.

The team members were required to prepare and deliver opening statements and closing arguments; develop and conduct direct and cross examinations; convincingly play witness roles for their teammates; and analyze and argue complex evidentiary issues and objections. Our STU PAD teams put in hours of practice, and were coached by South Florida attorneys Jarred

Whaley, Debra Kay Cohen, and Lance August Harke. The team’s success was also due to the leadership and guidance of the STU Mock Trial Team Advisor, adjunct Professor Michael Mayer.

STU Chapter PAD President, Regilucia (“Reggie”) Smith worked to make the competition a reality and to ensure that St. Thomas Law, at its first appearance at the PAD Mock Trial Competition left a memorable impression. We congratulate all of those involved in the competition from the St. Thomas PAD Mentschikoff Chapter for living up to those goals and aspirations

St. Thomas University’s Dr. Jan Bell Honored

Dr. Jan Bell was selected by the Miami-Dade Commission on Women as one of this year’s Women Worth Knowing. Dr. Bell was recognized at an event honoring women who have made a meaningful contribution to our community in various areas.

Dr. Bell received the recognition for her impact on education. She has been with the University for 27
years, and was instrumental in bringing our Sports Administration program to national prominence. From 1996 to present, she has held the position of Professor of Sports Administration teaching both Undergraduate and Graduate classes. Since 1988, she has served as Graduate Program Coordinator and eventually the Director of Sports Administration Programs. Her former students work throughout the country and world in the front and back offices of professional, amateur, collegiate athletic programs, as well as managing arenas and leading major organizations that support sports.

St. Thomas Law Dean, Alfredo Garcia, Named to the National Lawyers of Color Power List

Dean of St. Thomas University School of Law, Alfredo Garcia, has been named to the Lawyers of Color’s Fourth Annual Power List, a comprehensive catalog of the nation’s most influential minority lawyers and non-minority diversity advocates.  Past honorees have included Attorney General,  Eric Holder and the  Deans of such institutions as Penn Law and Cornell.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected to the Lawyers of Color Power List,” stated Dean Garcia after hearing the announcement. "As an immigrant to this country and the first member of my family to attend college and professional school, I hope to represent the values and mission of this esteemed group.”

As the first Cuban-born Dean of a U.S. law school, Dean Garcia is an eminent scholar with a wealth of experience as an administrator, faculty member, and legal practitioner. Prior to academia, he was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami and also worked in private practice as a criminal defense attorney. He has served as Vice Chair of the Race and Racism in Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Committee and on the Editorial Board of Human Rights Magazine, published by the ABA.

His publications include three books: Criminal Law: Concepts and Practice, with Podgor, Henning, and Taslitz, The Fifth Amendment: A Comprehensive Approach, and The Sixth Amendment in Modern American Jurisprudence: A Critical Perspective.

A reception for the honorees will be held on March 18, at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel (Georgetown) in Washington, D.C., and Dean Garcia will be profiled in Lawyers Of Color's Power Issue 2015.

Monday, March 9, 2015

St. Thomas University’s MBA High Performance teams wins 1st place in national 2015 KeyBank Foundation Minority MBA Case Competition

The St. Thomas University School of Business MBA High Performance Team won first place in the prestigious 11th Annual KeyBank Foundation & Fisher College of Business Minority MBA Student Competition, held February 27 through March 1 in Cleveland, Ohio. This was the first time the St. Thomas University School of Business Graduate Program had competed in this event, presenting against other top-tier business schools and universities in the nation, including Yale, American University, Penn State, Boston College, and UC-Berkeley, to name a few.

St. Thomas University’s School of Business team included graduate students Soledad Filgueira, Candy Sicle and Alicia Llamazares, who had sent their C.V. as part of the application package. It was the only team from South Florida invited to compete. Faculty Advisors Dr. Jose Rocha and Dr. Paul Maxwell started guiding the three students the second week in January as they were assigned a strategic management and business development case relating to the competition’s main sponsor, The KeyBank Foundation. During the six-week preparation period, our three participants conducted research and analysis, came up with alternatives, drafted the course of action and strategic decisions for the case. St. Thomas had made it to the final five alongside teams from Yale, USC, Boston College and the University of Chicago.

Traveling to Ohio with Professor Rocha, the team prepared to present to a panel of judges representing KeyBank and other advisors for two, twenty-minute rounds. Our team won first place and, in addition, Ms. Filgueira, a Global Entrepreneurship major expected to receive MBA degree in December 2015, won the Best Presenter Award during the 1st round of the competition.

“Our talented team, supported by our exceptional faculty, demonstrated the qualities of a St. Thomas University education,” said School of Business Dean Somnath Bhattacharya. “Our teams can perform at any level as a result of the well-rounded and intensive programs we have to offer.”