Faculty Focus is a monthly publication documenting the activities, accomplishments, and honors of the University of Houston Law Center Faculty.

January 2009

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here 


Gavin Clarkson is invited to present his research on tax-exempt bonds at the upcoming Native American Finance Officers Association conference. He is also invited to present research on tribal economic development at the annual meeting of the State Bar of Texas, Indian Law Section.


David Dow’s letter, “Obama’s Invocation Choice,” appeared in the New York Times on December 19, 2008. His op-ed,”Senate Lacks Authority to Reject Seating of Burris,” was published in the Houston Chronicle on January 7.


Barbara Evans was invited to serve as a member of a multi-stakeholder panel on issues related to the FDA Sentinel Initiative and she testified about privacy impacts of system architecture and financing alternatives at a December 16 public meeting (Docket 2008-N-0612) on the 100-million-person Sentinel health data network. Prof. Evans participated in external advisory committee activities for Duke’s clinical and translational science institute. The Government Accountability Office sought her input on privacy requirements in connection with an ongoing audit of certain federal database activities.


Victor Flatt was featured on a panel speaking to the Houston Bar Association’s Environmental Law section about ethics in the practice of environmental law.  He will speak at the University of San Diego’s first energy and climate symposium on “California in the Face of National Climate Policy” in February. Also in February, Professor Flatt will speak at the North Carolina statewide annual CLE on issues in the Clean Air Act and North Carolina. In March, he will speak at a conference in Washington D.C., sponsored by the University of Maryland and the Center for Progressive Reform, on climate change pre-emption issues. Professor Flatt was quoted in the Washington Post on President Obama’s environmental and energy picks, and was quoted in the Louisville Courier Journal on efforts by the City of Louisville to control air toxins.


Julie Hill presented her work in progress “Bailouts of Government-Sponsored Enterprises: What We Can Learn from the Farm Credit and Home Mortgage Crises” at the J. Reuben Clark Society Conference in San Diego. She is also invited to participate on Wyoming’s Lien Study Task Force. The Task force will draft legislation designed to standardize the process for filing and enforcing liens.


Peter Hoffman is the editor of the recently published 2008-2009 Texas Rules of Evidence Handbook. He also participated in the following CLE programs:

  • Team Leader & Program Director, CAN Expert Deposition and Negotiation Skills Training Program, NITA National Education Center, Louisville, Colorado, November 10-12, 2008.
  • Presenter, “Giving and Taking Depositions” State Bar of Texas Consumer Law Conference, Dallas, November 14, 2008
  • Program Director, NITA Trial Skills for the Juvenile and Family Courts Program, Houston, November 15-16, 2008
  • Team Leader and Program Director, Bracewell & Giuliani Deposition Skills Training Program, Houston, November 20-21, 2008.
  • Team Leader, NITA Rocky Mountain Regional Deposition Program, NITA National Education Center, Louisville, Colorado, December 4-6, 2008



Craig Joyce attended the Association of American Law Schools’ Annual Meeting and was reappointed to the LexisNexis Law School Publishing Advisory Board.


Joan Krause was interviewed on November 18, 2008, by Medical Newspapers about the ongoing controversy over the so-called “Stark Law” physician self-referral limitations.


Malikah Marrus spoke on “Mental Health and the Juvenile Justice System” at Intra-Care North on January 9. She also continues her work as co-chair of the task force on Self-Inspection with the Harris County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.


Tom Oldham’s article “Changes in the Economic Consequences of Divorce, 1958-2008” will appear in 42 Family Law Quarterly (Fall 2008) this month. One of his articles has been chosen for the Best of ABA Sections magazine.


Michael Olivas is the winner of the inaugural William A. Kaplan Award for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy Scholarship. The award, presented by the National Center for Excellence in Higher Education Scholarship at Stetson University Law School, recognizes outstanding college law scholarship. The award will be shared with University of Virginia law professor Robert O’Neil.


Laura Oren is a co-editor and contributor to the book, Children, Law, and Disasters, What We Have Learned From Katrina and the Hurricanes of 2005 (2008) which has been jointly published by the Center for Children, Law, and Policy at the University of Houston Law Center and the ABA Center on Children and the Law.  The book was organized and edited by Professors Laura Oren and Ellen Marrus, together with Howard Davidson of the ABA. The book is an interdisciplinary study of an overlooked aspect of disasters – how they affect children. The book includes chapters on information sharing manuals and other needs for children in foster care displaced by disasters, on psychological risks, on juvenile justice and disasters, on archiving the voices of Katrina’s children, and on the stresses and strains on educational systems induced by the hurricanes in the short term and over the long run. The ABA booth at the AALS conference in San Diego reported that the book attracted quite a bit of attention in its initial appearance. Prof. Oren authored the final chapter “Children and Disasters: Child Evacuation in World War II and Public Policy in Great Britain.” It uses an example from another time and place, when the fear of mass bombing of civilian centers in Britain led to the evacuation of millions of children away from target cities. The experience provoked significant debate about the persistence of poverty uncovered because of the children’s evacuation. It therefore contributed to the demand for the creation of the welfare state in Britain after WWII. The historical comparison demonstrates how a focus on children in particular can reframe social policy in general. The book can be ordered through the link at the Center for Children, Law, and Policy’s website at:



Jordan Paust spoke on January 7, 2009, during the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools at a side panel session sponsored by the Society of American Law Teachers and the National Lawyers Guild. His topic was international criminal responsibility of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and others for authorization of and complicity in the use of unlawful interrogation tactics and the duty of the Obama administration to prosecute or extradite those who are reasonably accused.


Sandra Guerra Thompson spoke on a panel sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section on the topic of “Crimmigration” at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California on January 10, 2009. She also published an article entitled “What Price Justice? The Importance of Costs to Eyewitness Identification Reform” in the Fall 2008 symposium issue of the Texas Tech Law Review.


Ronald Turner is a newly elected member of Advocacy, Incorporated’s Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council. Advocacy is a nonprofit organization funded by the United States Congress to protect and advocate for the legal rights of people with disabilities in Texas.


Diana Velardo presented at the Human Trafficking Conference sponsored by the Montgomery County Women’s Center in the Woodlands.  Her topic was “Issues Surrounding Victims of Human Trafficking in the Sex Industry.” She was also a guest panelist at the Coalition Against Human Trafficking 5th Anniversary Event at the First Unitarian Universalist Church; Diana was invited together with Ruben Perez, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and ICE agents to discuss the Coalition and the local efforts made to eliminate human trafficking. Before Christmas, as part of the crime victims program at the Immigration Clinic, Diana co-hosted with the YMCA and Catholic Charities, the Second Annual Christmas Event for Victims of Human Trafficking. It is an event in which human trafficking victims and their children are given Christmas presents and an annual update on relevant laws for victims of human trafficking. Diana was also a presenter at the U/T Visa pro-bono CLE training hosted by the Immigration Clinic at the UH Law Center. She presented on U visas, special visas for victims of crimes, and on ethical issues that arise when representing immigrant victims.


Greg Vetter attended the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting held in San Diego during January 6-11. Prof. Vetter also joined three other professors to sign a contract with Lexis to author a new casebook for intellectual property law; his portion of the casebook will cover patent law.


Stephen Zamora’s article “A Proposed North American Regional Development Fund: The Next Phase of North American Integration Under NAFTA” was published in the December 2008 issue of Loyola University Chicago Law Journal. The article was presented as the Wing-Tat Lee Lecture in International and Comparative Law in Chicago in April 2008. He has also been appointed to the Advisory Council of the non-profit organization More Peace Corps, an organization of former Peace Corps volunteers that is committed to expanding and improving the U.S. Peace corps:





Helen Ehmann Boyce