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    09.28.17 Professors Godsoe and Mogulescu Team with Jones Day on Amicus Brief for Human Trafficking Victim
    Scales of justice

    Professors Kate Mogulescu and Cynthia Godsoe, teaming with lawyers from Jones Day and the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center (HT Pro Bono), have filed an Amicus Brief in a criminal appeal pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.

    The case involves a then-15-year-old girl who was a victim of human trafficking. She was arrested and prosecuted as an adult for her role in a robbery that caused the death of one of her traffickers.   The court sentenced the girl to 21 years to life, despite ample evidence of her own victimization, safeguards in state law that should have prevented such an outcome, and prevailing norms concerning sentences for juvenile offenders.

    “Tragically, Ohio’s Safe Harbor law was not utilized in this case. The record indicates that no one responsible for [the girl’s] case contemplated the law’s application or even knew of its existence at the time she was bound over [to adult court]. As a result, a child who should have been given the chance at rehabilitative services, was convicted and sentenced to more than 20 years in adult prison,” said Peter Mazza, a Jones Day partner who worked on the brief.

    “This case typifies the common injustice trafficking victims confront when prosecuted for acts stemming from their own victimization,” Mogulescu said. “The result here was particularly egregious but the efforts of local advocates and the work of the pro bono team brings a much-needed national spotlight. We are grateful for the collaboration of Jones Day. Their team was unwavering in its willingness to help and generous with its time and resources, even under extreme time constraints.”

    Mogulescu recently joined the Law School as a Clinical Law professor after 14 years with The Legal Aid Society, where she served as a supervising attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice. Her work and scholarship focus mainly on gender issues in the criminal legal system, with special attention to human trafficking. In 2011, she founded the Exploitation Intervention Project, which represents victims of trafficking and exploitation and sex workers who are prosecuted in New York City. She also developed and continues to lead the Survivor Reentry Project at the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, a national training and technical assistance initiative on post-conviction advocacy for survivors of trafficking.

    Godsoe is a respected expert on juvenile justice and family law issues. She teaches courses in family law, criminal law, children and the law, professional responsibility and public interest lawyering. Before joining the Law School, she represented children and youth in impact litigation and individual cases in juvenile justice, education and child protection matters as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division and Advocates for Children, among others. Godsoe was chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the New York City Bar from 2008-2011 and continues to participate in pro bono work on a variety of children's rights issues.

    Read the brief