Rights of the Accused: Fact or Fiction? An In Depth Look at Constitutional Protections of Criminal Defendants


The School of Business arranged a special event in honor of Constitution Day,  that included three prominent panelists who discussed issues of defendants’ rights in the criminal court system.

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Emerson Suites

Distinguished Panelists:

Tom Kertscher is the reporter for the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel who covered the trial of Steven Avery, the defendant portrayed in the 2015 Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer.

Brad Rudin, J.D. is an Assistant District Attorney of Tompkins County.  He worked as the staff attorney at the Ithaca office of Prisoners Legal Services of New York and was a supervising and staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society in New York City.  He has co-auhtored, with Betsy Hutchings, articles on lawyer ehtics for the New York Law Journal and other publications. Brad has been a presenter on ethics panels sponsored by the Tompkins County Bar Association and the NYS Bar Association.  

Joe Joch, J.D. was born in 1943 in Mineola, New York and grew up in Manhasset, New York (Long Island). He attended Cornell University and obtained his B.A. in Government in 1966. He attended New York University School of Law and obtained his J.D. in 1969. Joe was admitted to practice in New York State in 1970. He started law practice as an Assistant District Attorney in Queens County in 1970 and soon progressed to the position of Prosecutor of the Special Narcotics Courts for the City of New York. Joe was elected Tompkins County District Attorney in 1974. He is admitted to practice in Federal and State Courts in New York and Pennsylvania. (description from jochandkirby.com)

Tom Kertscher: Writings

 Milwaukee Wisconson Journal Sentinal writings (newspaper  website) Follow him in Twitter.
(photo from LinkedIn)

Brad Rudin, J.D.

Tompkins County: District Attorney, Personnel
Articles by Mr. Rudin in the New York Law Journal
Articles by Mr. Rudin in the New York Legal Ethics Reporter

New York Times article distributed and discussed:
Mckinley, J. (2016, September 13). Prosecution in Potsdam Murder Case Admits a Lapse. The New York Times.   Mr. Rudin discussed how prosecutors can fail to bring forth evidence to the defense.  "On Tuesday, the trial’s second day, the prosecution acknowledged that it had failed to provide the defense with a statement from a purported witness — currently in prison — who placed another suspect at the crime scene."

New York's Criminal Procedure Law:  FindLaw

Crime Reporting

Criminal Law books: a selection

Armani, J.D. &The Buried Bodies case

Mr. Armani, originally scheduled to speak, was not able to participate in the panel.

Member of the Onondaga County Bar Association.
Profile:  matindale.com ; LinkedIn

Radiolab. (June 3, 2016). The Buried Bodies Case
Lerman, L. G., Armani, F. H., Morgan, T. D., & Freedman, M. H. (2007). Buried Bodies Case: Alive and Well after Thirty Years,  American Bar Association.  Abstract: "Over thirty years ago, two lawyers represented an accused murderer who told them he had killed other teenagers and where their bodies were. The lawyers' struggle to protect these confidences earned them criminal charges, a disciplinary investigation, death threats, ostracism within their community, and extensive damage to their law practices. The case remains a central one in legal ethics instruction. What follows is an edited transcript of a panel discussion at the 33rd ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility that re-examined the case and its impact."

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The Constitution

You can access high resolution images and transcripts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights through the National Archive's "Charters of Freedom" website.


  • Criminal Law. (2005). In S. Phelps & J. Lehman (Eds.), West's Encyclopedia of American Law (2nd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 273-281). Detroit: Gale.  
  • Brady v. Maryland. (n.d.). Oyez. Supreme Court case from 1962 which poses the question, "is the prosecution’s suppression of Boblit’s confession deny Brady due process?"
  • Due Process of Law. (2005). In S. Phelps & J. Lehman (Eds.), West's Encyclopedia of American Law (2nd ed., Vol. 4, pp. 37-41). Detroit: Gale. "The constitutional guarantee of due process of law, found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, prohibits all levels of government from arbitrarily or unfairly depriving individuals of their basic constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. The DUE PROCESS CLAUSE of the FIFTH AMENDMENT, ratified in 1791, asserts that no person shall 'be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.' This amendment restricts the powers of the federal government"
  • Preface to "Is the Right to Due Process in Danger?" (2013). In N. Merino (Ed.), Opposing Viewpoints. Civil Liberties. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
  • Criminal Procedure. (1999). In M. Mikula (Ed.), Great American Court Cases (Vol. 2). Detroit: Gale.
  • Exculpatory (definition from the Oxford English Dictionary)
  • Search and Seizure. (2005). In S. Phelps & J. Lehman (Eds.), West's Encyclopedia of American Law (2nd ed., Vol. 9, pp. 39-44). Detroit: Gale.

The Making of the Documentary

NPR staff. (2016, January 5). Over 10 Years, 2 Filmmakers Documented The “Making” Of A Murderer.  In the 10 years Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi spent making this 10-part series, they came to know Avery and his world in rural Manitowoc County, Wis.
(photo from NPR)

PBS NewsHour video & transcript

Click here to view.  This report was shown as a primer to the case.  

Netflix: Watch Making of a Murderer online