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Films for Thought Series

All films are free and open to the public.

Spring 2014

February 17, 2014
Crime After Crime
Crime After Crime tells the story of the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of domestic violence. Over 26 years in prison could not crush the spirit of this determined woman, despite the wrongs she suffered, first at the hands of a duplicitous boyfriend who beat her and forced her into prostitution, and later by prosecutors who used the threat of the death penalty to corner her Into a life behind bars. Debbie’s story takes an unexpected turn two decades later when two rookie land use attorneys step forward to take on her case pro bono. Springfield attorney Bonnie Allen will introduce the film.   Cosponsored by Career Services

Bonnie G. Allen L’93 is in private practice with offices in Springfield and Northampton, specializing in criminal defense, civil rights and education law.  She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst - University Without Walls in 1990, and Western New England College School of Law in 1993.  She was a judicial intern for the Honorable Michael M. Ponsor, U.S. District Court, after which she joined the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Springfield Superior Court Trial Unit as a Public Defender (1994–1998). Attorney Allen served as Supervising Attorney for the District and Superior Court Bar Advocates in Hampden County from (2005-2010). She has been a presenter for CLE seminars for MCLE, MBA and CPCS, and annually cochairs MCLE’s Trends in Eyewitness Identification. In 2006, Attorney Allen was awarded the CPCS Thurgood Marshall Award for “zealous advocacy of the poor and the right to effective assistance of counsel.” 

Spring 2013

February 20, 2013
Protection: Men and condoms in the time of HIV and AIDS
Presented in collaboration with the AIDS Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Conceived and produced by Jill Lewis, Professor of Literature and Gender Studies at Hampshire College, this documentary is intended to encourage discussions on sexual well-being and safety among men, particularly those in sub-Saharan African countries. The challenges and realities of condom use are explored through poignant glimpses into the attitudes and feelings of men of different backgrounds and ages in South Africa, Kenya, and Sierra Leone, in rural and urban settings. Professor Lewis introduced the film and participated in an audience discussion after the screening.

April 9, 2013
"Using U.S. Courts to Protect Human Rights Abroad: A Community Discussion of Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Scott Lively."
A presentation by Attorney Pam Spees, Center for Constitutional Rights, about a lawsuit alleging that local pastor Scott Lively’s political activities in support of anti-gay legislation in Uganda constitutes persecution under international human rights law. The case is the first to rely on the federal Alien Tort Statute to seek accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

April 3, 2013
"Gay Marriage and the Supreme Court: Reflecting on the Oral Arguments.” 
Excerpts from the gay marriage oral arguments, as well as the virtual presence of Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, a renowned scholar of Constitutional Law, who presented his analysis and took questions.

March 13, 2013
“Gay Marriage and the Supreme Court: A Public Discussion

A panel of experts from the law school discussing the complex and exciting issues in the two marriage equality cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term:Hollingsworth v. Perry(California's Proposition 8) and United States v. Windsor(the Defense of Marriage Act). 

January 23, 2013
Telling Amy’s Story
a documentary about domestic violence presented by Detective Deirdri Fishel of State College, PA.
Hosted in conjunction with Hampden County District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni L'89.