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2L Olivia Luehrmann Sets Her Sights on Career as a Prosecutor


A tri-state native from Boone County, Kentucky, Olivia Luehrmann ’16 feels right at home here at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.  “I love Cincinnati,” shared Luehrmann.  “Both the city and the school have so much to offer, so it was naturally one of my top choices for law school.”

Before law school, Olivia attended the University of Louisville where she majored in psychology and minored in political science and justice administration.  This background in psychology drew her to UC Law’s Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry, of which she is now a fellow.  “Throughout my undergraduate studies, I began to see the unique ways in which the law, psychiatry, and psychology are forever intertwined,” said Luehrmann.  “I wanted to further my studies in this field, specifically in criminal law.” 

During her time at Louisville, she worked for a small law firm, and saw how mental illness and psychology play a significant role in the overall functionality of our judicial system.  The issues of recidivism and lack of treatment for the mentally ill stood out to her, and she has set her sights on helping to reform the system in these areas in her career after law school.

Outside of class, Luehrmann currently works for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in Boone County, Kentucky.  For about 10 years, her family has lived just down the road from the office, and she has always been interested in working there.  Now this is an experience she is excited to be having during her second year at UC Law.

In her past few months at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Luehrmann has been able to see and take part in a number of cases and investigations.  She has written motions and responses, taken part in a complete murder trial, a grand jury investigation, dockets, suppression hearings, and a Daubert hearing among other things. “I have been able to see a side of the justice system that not many people are able to see,” she explained, noting in particular that her work has allowed her to see the functions of the Sheriff’s Department and to understand the mechanics of a police investigation.

“Take as many criminal law-based classes as you can,” Luehrmann advises, “but do not expect to know everything — don’t be afraid to ask questions!”   She has also found it enormously beneficial to learn as much about the entire process as possible.  “See if you can do a ride-along with an officer, or shadow the crime investigation unit for a day. There is so much more to criminal law than cases, and you must have a deep understanding of it all to truly appreciate where the law is coming from and what those involved do every day.”

After law school, Luehrmann hopes to continue working for the Commonwealth, or otherwise as a state or federal prosecutor, or even possibly for the FBI.  “I want to be able to have an impact on the system,” she shared.  “Lately, you hear so much about how the justice system is failing and people have lost all faith in the way things have always worked – this saddens me. While some may think my ambitions sound naïve, I want to make a difference.”

Federal Prosecutor Kyle Healey Talks About Crime, Ethics, and Lessons Learned with the OIP


Originally from Cincinnati, Kyle Healey ’08 is currently working as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice.  Healey grew up in Westwood, attending Oak Hills High School before heading to Oxford, Ohio to study economics at Miami University.  After graduating, he worked for a consulting firm in Cincinnati for a year doing internal audit work.  With the idea of eventually working for the federal government, Healey decided to return to the classroom and came to UC Law for his legal studies.

During his second and third years at the College of Law, Healey worked with the Ohio Innocence Project.  A significant portion of his time with the OIP was spent working on examining DNA petitions for the potential merit to refile under Senate Bill 262 which became law in 2006 and expanded post-conviction DNA testing rights.  “Working with the Innocence Project really piqued my interest in criminal investigations,” he shared, noting that the experience ultimately led him to apply for his current position with the Department of Justice.

Out of law school, Healey moved to Arizona where he spent about six years working in the U.S. Attorneys Office in Tucson.  “I had never been to Arizona before,” he explained, “but the move was an excellent experience for me.”   For an Ohioan, Healey remarked, Arizona has some stark cultural and climatic differences from the Midwest; but, he noted, that he was never really out of his comfort zone. 

“While no crime is good, Arizona is a good place to be a prosecutor,” Healey said.  “I’ve spent a lot of time prosecuting drug crimes, aliens, and alien smuggling – the work was always intriguing.”  He further explained the ongoing problem in the region involving what are called “rip crews” – groups of people who go out into the desert robbing and killing migrants and drug dealers.  “It was really eye-opening to see what the border is really like,” he shared. “Growing up in Ohio you hear a lot about immigration, but I never really experienced it or knew what it was like until I moved to Arizona.”  Recently, he moved back to Ohio, but is still with the U.S. Attorneys Office, this time working out of the Dayton office.

In reflection, Healey acknowledged the utility of the lessons he learned while with the OIP. The experience he gained looking at where prosecutions go wrong, understanding the rules of discovery, and, in particular, recognizing the importance of disclosing exculpatory evidence has proved beneficial to his time as a federal prosecutor.  He explained the application of his Innocence Project lessons to his work:  “None of the prosecutors I’ve worked with want to convict somebody of a crime they didn’t commit.  They want to prove a person’s guilt beyond all doubt when building a case, not just beyond a reasonable doubt.  Because of this, it is important to have a foundation of where things can go wrong when investigating a crime and building a case.”

One-on-One Advice on Ethics

In advice to students interested in becoming a federal prosecutor, Healey emphasizes the importance of knowing and understanding a prosecutor’s ethical duties:  “Often times in an interview, you will be asked some ethics questions, and the interviewers don’t want a soft answer.  They are looking to see if you really know your stuff, and understandably so.  Not only will having a mastery of ethics help you in an interview, but it will help you in your career as well.”  

A Globe Spanning Career Helps FBI Instructor Michael Pettry as He Trains Future Agents


Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Michael Pettry ’89 moved down Interstate 71 to the Queen City for college.  As a Bearcat, Pettry studied foreign affairs and Latin American studies before coming to UC Law for his legal studies.  As a law student, he enjoyed his time on Moot Court and had an exceptional second summer experience studying and working in Mexico City.

After taking the Ohio bar, he worked for a year as a ski instructor in Colorado before returning to Ohio and landing a job with the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office.  “I always had an interest in criminal investigations and trial work,” shared Pettry.  “The prosecutor’s office was a great experience given my interests,” he continued, noting that the interaction with police, witnesses, and court personnel were positive experiences for him.  While a prosecutor, he worked with federal agents on several occasions, and eventually he decided to apply to the FBI.

Pettry started training as a new agent at Quantico, Virginia in 1997, and his first assignment was to the field office in Kansas City.  “I was the type of prosecutor that really liked to get out from behind the desk,” he said.  “Going to crime scenes and meeting with witnesses – this aspect of the work is something I really enjoyed as an agent.”  He has had a diverse career investigating organized crime, drug trafficking, and national security threats as an agent.  He later served as the Kansas City Field Office’s Chief Division Counsel, wherein he provided legal and policy advice to division personnel and management on a wide range of issues.  Following his time in Kansas City, Michael joined the FBI’s Global Initiatives Unit, a position that involved travelling to numerous countries around the world and facilitating the exchange of biometric data relating to terrorists and transnational criminals with foreign partners.

Training Future Generations

Since working with the FBI, Pettry had always wanted to return to Quantico and become a legal instructor, a position he now holds.  “I was very impressed with the legal instruction at Quantico,” he shared.  “It was thorough and very relevant to the work we do as investigators, and when I put in for the next opening, I was fortunate enough to be selected.”  For Pettry, it is gratifying to give real world, impactful legal instruction to agents who will soon be out in the field.  “I really like the ability to impact people in the early parts of their careers because I know that if they start off on the right foot, understanding the importance of full compliance with the law, they will be better agents because of it.” 

Pettry’s current position further gives him the opportunity to pursue academic endeavors.  He still has the opportunity to travel, giving lectures at conferences and at training programs in various countries.  Additionally, he writes the occasional academic article, his most recent to be published in the coming weeks. Look for his article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (http://leb.fbi.gov) discussing First Amendment constraints placed on public employees in the context of their use of social media.

The Importance of Public Servants

Pettry’s advice for those interested in prosecution work or the FBI is to embrace the importance of the role of the public servant.  “Always continue to seek training and to hone your skills.  While I could have made more money in private practice, the opportunity to work to make the system function at the highest level possible is something I take very seriously and enjoy doing, and has led to a fulfilling and rewarding career.”

3L John Holschuh Talks Criminal Defense, Externships, and Writing for Ohio Lawyer


“Four years ago, I was eating lunch with my grandfather and my best friend, Mike, who   mentioned that he was considering going to law school to be a prosecutor.  My grandfather smiled and told Mike he thought that was a great idea.  He then said something that inspired me to become a lawyer, and that best represents why I am interested in pursuing a law career,” said 3L John (Johnny) Holschuh III.

“He told us that too often in criminal cases the scales of power are tipped in favor of the government against the defendant, especially when the defendant lacks money.  The government has the superior resources and manpower to bring cases, while public defenders are [often] overburdened and under resourced, which can lead to unfair trials.  The law, then, needs committed public defenders to help prevent miscarriages of justice.  So that idea – to use the skills I have to help even the scales of justice by advocating for the marginalized whose rights are at risk – has always stuck with me and inspires me to be a lawyer.”

Holschuh, who plans to pursue a career in public criminal defense and human rights, hails from a family of attorneys: grandfather Hon. John D. Holschuh, Sr. ’51; father John D. Holschuh, Jr. ’80; and mother Wendy G. Holschuh ’83.   A Cincinnati native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Tulane University (New Orleans, LA), returning to Cincinnati for law school.

Holschuh commented that the experiential opportunities he’s had at the College of Law have been very beneficial for preparing him for a career in the legal field. Currently, he is participating in the Sixth Circuit Clinic. “I … assist in the representation of an indigent criminal defendant’s appeal.  Although it has just started, we reviewed our cases, and so I have already learned a lot about what not to do as a criminal defense lawyer.”

While at the College he’s also had opportunity to extern at several places around the world. “I have undertaken several human rights internships over the summers, thanks to the help and guidance of Professor Lockwood.  In the summer of 2012, I worked as a legal intern at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre Clinic.  From June until December 2013, I worked as a research fellow at the International Commission of Jurists’ Southeast Asia office in Bangkok, Thailand.  (The ICJ is a human rights organization that promotes and protects human rights through the Rule of Law.)  Last summer, I worked as a legal intern with EarthRights International’s Mekong Legal Team in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  (EarthRights works with local communities and uses the law to protect against human rights abuses connected with environmental destruction.) 

“All of these internships have been extremely beneficial, helping to provide me with an understanding of human rights practice and theory.  Additionally, they have given me friends from all over, and expanded my perspective of the law as well as the world. 

“I also completed an externship under Hon. Judge Susan J. Dlott in Spring 2014.  This, too, was a great experience.  Judge Dlott is a wonderful judge and person, and I gained a valuable understanding of how the federal court system operates.

“The most important lesson I have been taught by the professors at UC Law, though, is not to be afraid to think creatively and out of the box when addressing challenging legal issues.”

Recently Holschuh penned an article that was published in the September/October issue of Ohio Lawyer. “I originally wrote the article for the UC Law Review Blog, and after my dad read it he recommended that I submit it to Ohio Lawyer.  So I sent it in, and was fortunate enough to be selected for publication.”

The response to the article has been positive thus far, he noted. “Dean Bilionis and a few professors have told me they enjoyed the article.  I think the death penalty advocates have politely withheld their criticisms (so far), although I would encourage everyone to be open in discussing the topic.  I think one reason the death penalty is still around is because no one likes talking about it, and so I hope this article will spur discussion on the issue.”

When asked if he plans to continue a writing career, he stated, “I hope so, though I’m not sure what topic is next!”

UC Law Grad Ajla Glavesevic named to Spot on U.S. Bobsled Team


How did you relax while studying for the bar exam? For Ajla Glavesevic ’14, the solution was an easy one. Needing an outlet from the stress of bar preparation, she began chasing an Olympic dream, training for a spot on the U.S. bobsled team.  And on Sunday, November 9, 2014 Glavesevic, along with three others, was named to the U.S. national women’s team for the 2014-15 World Cup season.

Glavesevic will be joined by Natalie Deratt, Lauren Gibbs, and Michelle Howe as program first-timers. They’ll be trained as brakemen or “pushers.”

With the end of law school nearing last spring, Glavesevic felt it was time to reach out to Elana Meyers Taylor, an athlete who had recently won her second Olympic bobsled medal at the Sochi Games. Years earlier Meyers Taylor had contacted her about a future in bobsledding, given her running and jumping background. You see, Glavesevic was a track and field star in high school and at her undergraduate college. After winning awards in the triple jump, she transferred those skills to the heptathlon. The heptathlon combines seven events: 100 meters hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw, and 800 meters. She also became an all-Mid-American Conference Academic selection.

Glavesevic and her family moved to the United States from war-ravaged Bosnia in 1995. Her father had been an admiral in the Bosnian Navy; her mother was a doctor. Recognizing that it was becoming too dangerous to stay, the family moved to the U.S., setting in Pennsylvania. Her dad took a job with General Electric; her mother became a business owner. The family became American citizens in 2000. Even still, they kept their connections to their former country. In fact, Glavesevic’s mother’s best friend is the director of bobsledding in Bosnia!

Now that the race is over and she has made the team, Glavesevic has little time to relax. The 2014-15 World Cup is scheduled to start in Lake Placid, N.Y. the weekend of December 12, 2014. It will be followed by stops in Calgary, Alberta, and several stops at European and Russian tracks, with the two-week World Cup championships ending March 8, 2015 in Germany.

And about that bar exam? Yep. She passed it too.

OIP Gets Triple Exoneration in Death Penalty case; Longest-serving Person to be Exonerated in U.S. History Set Free


Cincinnati, OH—“I … was sentenced to death by electrocution for a crime I didn’t commit,” said Ricky Jackson, testifying on the witness stand Tuesday, November 18, 2014, about spending nearly 40 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Jackson was exonerated that day, due to the relentless hard work of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP). He has the tragic distinction of setting the record for the longest-serving person to be exonerated in U.S. history; Jackson and co-defendants Wiley and Ronnie Bridgeman, together served over 100 years in prison.

Jackson will be freed officially on Friday, November 21, 2014. Terry Gilbert and David Mills, attorneys for the Bridgemans, are expected to ask the Cuyahoga County prosecutors to drop the case against the brothers. One of the Bridgeman brothers is still behind bars. 

A Frightening Beginning

In 1975 Jackson and the Bridgeman brothers were convicted of killing a money-order collector at a Cleveland grocery store. All three received the death penalty and came close to execution. It is now known that the convictions were based on a lie by a then 12-year-old boy Eddie Vernon, who helped build the case against them. Vernon recently recanted his story. As reported in The Cleveland Plain Dealer article, Vernon, this week, told Judge Richard McMonagle, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, that he lied to the police, prosecutors and juries when he was a boy. He shared that all of the information was fed to him by the police. He didn’t have any knowledge about what happened at the scene of the crime; in fact, he had been on a bus with several school friends at the time of the incident and did not see anything transpire. 

In the Cleveland Plain Dealer article Vernon shared that he hid the lies for years, saying the detectives told him that if he mentioned what he did, they would put his parents in prison for perjury.

OIP’s Exhaustive Investigation Was Key

OIP staff attorney Brian Howe’10 investigated and litigated the case, previously handled by Carrie Wood ‘05. Howe conducted an exhaustive investigation, including finding new witnesses for the 40-year-old case by literally knocking on random doors in the neighborhood where it happened and asking “Were you around in 1975? You know anyone who knows anything about that case?” Jodi Shorr, OIP administrative director, OIP student fellows over the years, and private investigators provided additional, crucial support.

In particular, noted OIP director Mark Godsey in an email to the College of Law community about the victory, OIP fellow Scott Crowley ‘11 took particular notice of the case in 2010, among the hundreds the group receives each year. He pressed the attorneys to keep it open and to continue digging because he had a feeling something wasn’t quite right. His persistence paid off.

Then, in 2011 undergraduate intern Gretchen Schrader, now herself a law student in Indiana, was assigned the Jackson case as a special project. Frustrated that the City of Cleveland wasn’t responding to public records requests, Schrader continued to dig and dig until she got all of the records needed in the case. Commented Godsey, “It was Gretchen who obtained the vital information that would eventually break open the case.”

Sierra Merida’14, another OIP fellow, spent many hours on the phone with potential witnesses, found through Schrader’s work. She developed a strong rapport with the community of witnesses and was able to get them to speak openly about the case.

An Amazing Moment

The Tuesday hearing, which was scheduled because Jackson was seeking a new trial based on Vernon’s attempt to correct the lie he told years before, started with the State offering to consider a deal for a plea to time served and the ability to walk free immediately. Jackson, however, said “I don’t need more time to think about it. I am an innocent man. I will not take the deal.”  He felt that he couldn’t lie to walk free –not for himself or the other victims in the case.

Said Godsey, the biggest moment of surprise came in the afternoon while waiting for closing arguments to start. The prosecutors did not return after the court recess. When they eventually appeared, the entire team entered and announced that the case was over. They had to concede the obvious and drop all charges against Jackson.  “The OIP has never had a moment like that in any of our cases where it happens right there in court in an unexpected way. We’re used to finding out that we won through some sort of electronic filing from the court long after the hearing is over,” said Godsey.

Congratulations to the legions of OIP alumni and attorneys who had a hand in this case: Gabrielle Carrier, Donald Clancy, John Markus, Julie Payne, Lacy Maerker, Caity Brown, Katie Barrett, Lauren Staley, Andrew Cleves, Sean Martz, Elise Lucas Elam, Kurt Gee, John Kennedy, Carrie Wood, Brian Howe, and many others.

Those wishing to support the OIP to help continue its work to free the innocent can do so at uc.edu/give .

Read how your donations impacted this case. Private Donations Help Free Jackson

Links to article about story:

See NBC Nightly News story

Extended video of Ricky Jackson release/Cleveland.com

See video of Ricky Jackson and Wiley Bridgman released

Read ABC News story

Ohio Inmate to be freed after 40 years behind bars with help from UC's OIP/WCPO

A free man: Ricky Jackson to leave prison 30 years after a boy’s lie helped put him behind bars.

Ohio Men Wrongly Convicted of Murder After 39 Years Released

In Today's National Record-Breaking Exoneration, Prosecutors Stepped Up to Correct a "Lie from the Pits of Hell" Huffington Post editorial

This Week in Innocence: Ricky Jackson to be Released Tomorrow After 39 Years in Prison/Washington Post

#GivingTuesday at UC Law


After a day of giving thanks and all of the madness surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, UC Law is proud to be a part of a national movement, celebrating philanthropy…#GivingTuesday!  

#GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the holiday season.  Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, it is an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holidays to inspire action around charitable giving. This year, #GivingTuesday will be held on Tuesday, December 2.  We’ll be sending more information on how you can give back to the UC College of Law in the comings days.  #GivingTuesday will be a wonderful way to help support student scholarships, our tremendous faculty, and our world-class experiential learning opportunities! 

Ten Alums included on Best Lawyers in America list of 2015


COLUMBUS, OH. -Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP is proud to announce that ten Vorys attorneys, who are University of Cincinnati College of Law alumni, have been included on the 2015 Best Lawyers in America list. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 39,000 leading attorneys cast almost 3.1 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

The attorneys, their practice areas and the year they graduated are listed below.

  • Melvin Bedree ’84 –Banking and Finance Law, Franchise Law
  • Kent Britt ’97 – Commercial Litigation, Construction Litigation, ERISA Litigation
  • Daniel Buckley ’74 – Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Defendants Personal Injury Litigation
  • Hani Kallas ’94 – Banking and Finance Law
  • William Kloss, Jr. ’88 – Defendants Personal Injury Litigation
  • Nathaniel Lampley, Jr. ’88 – Commercial Litigation
  • Jeffrey Marks ’80 – Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Laws
  • Howard Petricoff ’74 – Energy Law
  • Eric Richardson ’96 – Commercial Litigation
  • Rosemary Welsh ’95 – Defendants Product Liability Litigation

One-hundred and ten attorneys from Vorys were named to the 2015 Best Lawyers in America List.

About Vorys: Vorys was established in 1909 and has grown to be one of the largest Ohio-based law firms with nearly 375 attorneys in six offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio; Washington, DC; Houston, Texas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Vorys currently ranks as one of the 200 largest law firms in the United States according to American Lawyer magazine. For more information, please visit www.vorys.com.

Alum, Oliver S. Howard '79 named as 2015 Best Lawyer


GableGotwals shareholder Oliver S. Howard was recently named as 2015 Best Lawyers in America "Lawyer of the Year" for Appellate Law in Tulsa.

Howard received his JD from the University of Cincinnati in 1979, his PhD from Hebrew Union College in 1978, his masters from Abilene Christian College in 1970 and his BA from Oklahoma Christian College in 1967.

Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers. 

Honorees are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during peer-review assessments. Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same community and practice area for ability, professionalism and integrity.

GableGotwals is a full-service law firm of more than 90 attorneys representing a diversified client base in Oklahoma, the Southwest and across the nation. 

 

Alums, Laura A. Ringenbach '83, Earl K. Messer '84, and Catherine T. Dunlay '81, Selected for Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2015


Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio (October 9, 2014): Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP is pleased to announce that the following University of Cincinnati alumni were selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2015. The number in parentheses refers to the number of years (in five-year increments) that the attorney has been listed.

  • Catherine T. Dunlay, Health Care Law
  • Earl K. Messer, Construction Law
  • Laura A. Ringenbach, Environmental Law

About Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. The Best Lawyers lists of attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for inclusion in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain on the list for each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be included on the lists.

About Taft

At Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, delivering outstanding legal performance to help clients succeed is what drives and motivates our more than 400 attorneys every day. Taft has offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Chicago; Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Covington, Kentucky; and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm practices across a wide range of industries, in virtually every area of law, including Business and Finance; Litigation; Labor and Employment; Intellectual Property; Business Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights; Environmental; Health and Life Sciences; Private Client Services; Real Estate; and Tax. With a proven track record of experience since 1885, the firm offers breadth and depth of legal expertise coupled with a trusted business perspective to help our clients, big and small, regionally, nationally and internationally, reach their goals. For more information, please visit www.taftlaw.com.