Temple University Beasley School of Law, in collaboration with Temple’s Klein School of Media and Communication and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, played host to local journalists for a day of spirited discussion about the structure of state and federal courts,  Pennsylvania trial and appellate process, and how the Courts can participate in addressing social crises like the opioid epidemic.

The event was part of an ongoing series sponsored by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) and Klein School of Media and Communication called The Media, The Courts, and Counsel TM. It also built on Criminal Law 101 for the Media, a program created and led by Professor Jules Epstein.

Dean Gregory N. Mandel welcomed participants and thanked them for their “incredibly valuable work and the diligence with which you pursue it.” Continuing, he remarked that, “lawyers and journalists have a shared duty to protect our democracy – lawyers to uphold the rule of law and journalists to shine a light on those who would undermine it. The need for this work has rarely been greater than today, and I thank you for your efforts.”

The program was robust and engaging. PMC President Maida Malone led the first presentation on the structure of state and federal courts. Epstein and Temple Law Professor Mary Levy then offered detailed overviews of the trial and appellate processes in Pennsylvania. Two panels followed: the first, titled Journalists and Judges: The Tension Between a Fair Trial and an Informed Public, featured Judge C. Darnell Jones, Judge Jeffrey Minehart, Philadelphia Media Network deputy managing editor Jim Neff, and Pepper Hamilton LLP partner Eli Segal. The second, titled The Opioid Crisis and the Courts, featured Temple Law Professor Scott Burris, Matt Schmonsees of the Philadelphia Treatment Court, Silvana Mazzella from Prevention Point Philadelphia, and videotaped remarks from Aubrey Whelan, a reporter for the Inquirer who has been covering the opioid epidemic.

Citing significant interest in the event, Professor Epstein said he looks forward to collaborating with PMC to create a more regular series. Dean Mandel expressed hope for that as well as for an ongoing collaboration with local and regional press, “one where Temple Law School and our faculty can serve as a resource in (the) shared endeavor” to protect American democracy.