Justice with civility encouraged


– Photo by John Meiu

On Wednesday, June 29, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Integrity in Our Communities Speaker Series featured a lunch discussion with Valerie Newman (center), an attorney with the State Appellate Defender’s office for more than 20 years. The topic of the discussion was the importance of civility when promoting justice. Newman successfully argued Lafler v. Cooper (2012), which dealt with issues of ineffective assistance of counsel during plea negotiations in a criminal case, before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Most recently, Newman was instrumental in earning the release of Davontae Sanford (far right).  Sanford was wrongfully convicted at the age of 14 of a quadruple homicide and served nine years in prison before being released. Newman also litigated the highly publicized case of People v Thomas (and Raymond) Highers which resulted in the release of two brothers who had each served 25 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.  Welcoming Newman to the Auburn Hills WMU-Cooley campus were (left to right) WMU-Cooley Asst. Prof. Erika Breitfeld, WMU-Cooley Assistant Dean Lisa Halushka, and WMU-Cooley Prof. Mark Cooney.