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

June 2009

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here


Richard Alderman published “Why We Really Need the Arbitration Fairness Act: It’s All About Separation of Powers” in 12 Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law 151. He also spoke about public education programs such as the People’s Law School at the EuroAmerican Conference for Consumer’s Legal Protection, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


Marcilynn Burke presented her work-in-progress entitled “Private Solar Energy Development on Federal Public Lands” at the Property Works in Progress Conference at the University of Colorado Law School on June 2, 2009. Presenters at the conference included Professors Carol Rose, Robert Ellickson, and Thomas Merrill of Yale; Professors Joseph Singer and Henry Smith of Harvard; Professor Molly Van Houweling of Berkley: and Professor Lee Fennell of Chicago, to name just a few. Professor Burke has been invited to give the luncheon presentation for natural resources law professors at the 55th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute in San Francisco, California, in July. The institute promotes the practical and scholarly exchange of information among individuals, corporations, law firms, law professors, and government agencies. She has also been invited to participate on the North Dakota Law Review’s 2010 Energy Law and Policy Symposium in April 2010. The theme of the symposium is “Energy Law in a Clean Era: An Infrastructure, Environmental and Exportation Analysis of the Future of Energy on North Dakota and Beyond.”


David Dow spoke about recent Supreme Court developments at the State Bar of Texas annual Bill of Rights seminar. He also received this year’s Individual Rights section award. His Newest book, America’s Prophets: How Judicial Activism Makes America Great, has just been published by Praeger.


Barbara Evans presented a talk on health data network privacy and governance issues at the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics Annual Health Law Professor’s Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended the NIH Pharmacogenetics Research Network Analysis Workshop and Scientific and Steering Committee meetings at the Mayo Clinic and spoke about the ethical and economic framework for clinical implementation of pharmacogenomics. Prof. Evans was named an Affiliated Investigator of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics and continues as a research affiliate of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at IU School of Medicine.


Jim Hawkins published a short article in the summer issue of the Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law entitled “When Your Car Dealership Goes Broke.”


Peter Hoffman taught a depositions course over the winter break at Wake Forest Law School. In January, he organized and taught in the first NITA North Carolina Advocacy Teachers Training Program held at Elon Law School in Greensboro, North Carolina. The one-day program was open to advocacy teachers at all the North Carolina law schools. He was the Team Leader and Program Director for the Nixon Peabody Motion Practice Program in Washington, D.C., February 3-4. Prof. Hoffman created NITA’s new Advanced Deposition Program and was Program Director for its first offering in Houston, February 26-April 1. The new program covered 30(b)(6) depositions, video depositions, and expert witness depositions. The program, which assembled a group of nationally recognized NITA teachers, was very well received and will be offered around the country in the upcoming months. On March 5, Prof. Hoffman gave a presentation to the Elon Law Faculty on the NITA method of critique and its application across the curriculum. He was a faculty member in an SEC program, Taking Testimony, in Washington, D.C. on March 12-13. He was team leader and Program Director for the Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale Motion Practice Program in St. Louis, May 1-3 and for the Nixon Peabody Motion Practice Program in New York on June 16-17.


Douglas Moll attended the Business Organizations conference at the AALS Mid-Year Meeting in Long Beach, California. On June 19, Professor Moll spoke on “Shareholder Oppression in Texas Close Corporations: What Texas Business Lawyers Need to Know” at the UH CLE program Advising Businesses in a Troubled Economy.


Gerry Moohr will contribute a solicited article on the criminal liability of corporations under respondeat superior doctrine in a symposium issue of Georgetown’s American Criminal Law Journal. She published a short article “Tax Evasion as White Collar Fraud” in the Houston Business Law and Tax Journal and she moderated the conference on that topic which the journal sponsored last autumn. She and Roger Sherman are pursuing their own brand of law and economics, having written two articles that analyze empirical studies relevant to current legal issues. Their first effort, a book review of Monica Miller, Religion in Criminal Justice, appears in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Law and Religion. It analyzed (and found wanting) Miller’s claim that appeals to religious values have no effect on a jury’s decision to impose the death penalty. Their second essay “Medical Malpractice Tort Reform in Texas: Treating Symptoms Rather Than Seeking a Cure” was just published by the Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law. It analyzes several empirical studies that show the data do not support claims made about the benefits of reform. They conclude that the problem of the negligent practice of medicine is still largely ignored.


Tom Oldham was a visiting scholar at Australian National University in Canberra in early May. He will participate in a conference about comparative views toward marital contracting in Cambridge, England in late June.


Michael Olivas served as a consultant to the New Mexico State History Museum in its acquisition of several rare texts printed by a New Mexico cleric on the first printing press west of the Mississippi. One of the books was a spelling primer written in Spanish and another was a manual for parish priests, used by rural priests to administer sacraments, written in Latin and Spanish. He wrote about the press, the cleric, and these 1830’s texts in “Reflections Upon Old Books, Reading Rooms, and Making History”, 76 UMKC Law Review 811 (2008). The Santa Fe New Mexican ran a series of stories about the rare texts, including “Scholar Maintains One of New Mexico’s Most Intriguing Historical Figures Unfairly Maligned” in the first page of the April 30, 2009 newspaper:


Prof. Olivas also participated on a panel in a retreat with the ABA Council to discuss legal education issues, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in June.


Jordan Paust’s article “The Absolute Prohibition of Torture and Necessary and Appropriate Sanctions” published in the Valparaiso Law Review as the article from a keynote speech, has been translated into French for publication in the Hague Justice Journal. Portions of the article will  form part of a book chapter that also addresses newly released DOJ memos from the Bush Administration (book title to be determined, Marjorie Cohn will be the editor and NYU Press the publisher). Prof. Paust created an Amicus Brief on behalf of the Human Rights Committee of the International Law Association for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Freund, et al. v. Societe Nationales des Chemins de fer Francais, et al. with respect to a lawsuit filed by Holocaust survivors and others against the French Railroad and others for the taking of properties in violation of international law. The brief will also be part of a book chapter (with an introduction and postscript) edited by Keith D. Nunes entitled “Democratic Values, the Holocaust, and Law” (2009). Prof. Paust’s latest op-ed in Jurist “Obama’s Military Commission and International Law” is available at:


His other recent op-ed in Jurist “The Complicity of Dick Cheney: No ‘Necessity’ Defense” (May 2009) is available at:


On June 1, Prof. Paust was one of the speakers on the 2-hour Gary Null show on WNYE radio (an NPR associate) and PRN (Progressive Radio Network) in New York and elsewhere regarding torture and other unlawful conduct authorized by Bush Administration officials.


Spencer Simons completed the teacher’s manual for his book Texas Legal Research, published by Carolina Academic Press.


Sandra Guerra Thompson presented a paper entitled “Blind Justice: Judicial Tolerance of Suggestive Eyewitness Identification Practices” at a symposium at Marquette Law School on June 15 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The article will appear in the Marquette Law Review symposium on Criminal Appeals Courts. She has co-authored, with Prof. Susan Klein, UT Law School, two other articles that will appear in symposia editions of the Tulsa Law Review and the Ohio State Criminal Law Journal. Prof. Thompson was honored as one of the Top 25 Women of Vision by Hispanic Business magazine at a gala at the Hilton Americas in Houston on June 4. The honor was highlighted in the April 2009 edition of Hispanic Business. She also appeared on Channel 13 Eyewitness News on May 30 regarding a drug arrest in Fort Bend County.


Diana Velardo was a co-panelist at a United Way luncheon on “Human Trafficking in Our Houston Community”. She was also a co-host on KPFT’s Progressive Forum Series during Crime Victims Week, speaking on immigration relief for victims of crimes and domestic violence. Diana dedicated the program to the late Professor Vail, a local hero. As part of the U.S. State Department’s International Exchange Visitors Program, Diana hosted a human trafficking delegation from Kazakhstan. The Mayor’s Crime Victims Office presented the Immigration Clinic with a proclamation during Crime Victims Week. The proclamation is a major honor recognizing the work spearheaded by Diana as part of the crime victims program within the Immigration Clinic. The program is funded through the OVAG and CVCLS grants the clinic receives. Diana also took part in Constable May Walker’s 2009 Harris County Precinct 7 May Day Festival Health Expo. She informed over 150 attendees of their legal rights if they are victims of crime. Diana spoke on “Immigration Relief for Victims of Domestic Violence” at an immigration training session for the Houston Area Women’s Center. She was a presenter at the biannual Violence Against Women Act Training held at Catholic Charities presenting on “VAWA Relief in Court. The training, co-sponsored by our Immigration Clinic, was attended by over 60 pro bono attorneys. Diana was a guest speaker at Clear Lake Presbyterian Church discussing “Immigration Law, Human Trafficking and Immigration Consequences for Human Traffickers”. On May 22, Diana was a speaker at the Adult Protective services (APS) Conference with a presentation titled “Immigration and the Elderly”. The presentation was attended by over 150 attorneys, social workers, and law enforcement personnel.


Greg Vetter organized and presided at IPIL’s Santa Fe conference on June 5-6. The topic was “Intellectual Property in International Perspective”. Professors who presented papers authored for the conference include Rochelle Dreyfus, NYU School of Law; Peter Yu, Drake Law School; Cynthia Ho, Loyola-Chicago School of Law; Chuck McManis, Washington University School of Law; and Jerry Reichman, Duke Law School.


Jacqueline Weaver spoke at the Committees of Foreign Relations branches in Billings, Montana and Caspar, Wyoming in May before proceeding to attend the Natural Resources Law Professors Conference held near Yellowstone Park. The topic was “The Future of Our Petroleum-Based Economy”. She also hosted a group of Ugandan officials who were touring various oil and gas centers of the United States under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. Prof. Weaver’s paper “Energy, Economics, and the Environment: Cases and Materials” was recently listed on SSRN’s Top Ten Download list for Environment & Natural Resources. This paper is the first chapter of the casebook and it discusses the top ten issues in energy law and policy as of 2006, although the list is a good one for 2009 as well.


Stephen Zamora and Prof. Gidi gave lectures at the 46th Annual Academy of American and International Law, at the Center for American and International Law in Plano, Texas, in early June. The 6-week program brings foreign lawyers to the United States for lectures by leading experts on U.S. and international law. Information on the Academy can be found at:


Prof. Zamora and Prof. Gidi lectured on “International Litigation in U.S. Courts” to a group of 47 lawyers from 20 countries. This is the twentieth straight year that Prof. Zamora has lectured in this program and the Center was kind enough to celebrate with an anniversary cake!





Helen Boyce