Wisconsin judge leads seminar on confrontations in America’s courts

Provided by Rick Peterson, Manager of News Services

Wisconsin Reserve Judge Charles B. Schudson will spend part of Winter Term as a Scholar-in-Residence in Lawrence University’s government department, leading a three-part lecture/seminar series and a two-part discussion series for students who are considering attending law school.
Schudson will present three separate lectures under the title “Law and Society – Confrontations in America’s Courts.” The schedule for all three sessions is as follows: a reception at 5:30 p.m. in the Science Hall atrium, a lecture and question-and-answer session from 6:30-7:50 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102 and a movie and post-film discussion led by Schudson in the Wriston Art Center auditorium beginning at 8 p.m.
The first seminar was held Wednesday, Jan. 24, featuring the 2001 movie “Bartleby the Scrivener,” a modern adaptation of Herman Melville’s short story of the same name. The discussion following the movie focused on the topic “The Deviant and the Law: From Scriveners to Sex Predators – Criminals Confront Civil Liberties in America’s Courts.”
Part two of the series on Wednesday, Jan. 31 will feature the film “Absence of Malice,” the critically acclaimed legal drama about investigative reporting and libel. Schudson’s discussion topic afterward will be “The Journalist and the Law: From Lincoln Steffens to Judith Miller – the First Amendment Confronts National Security in America’s Courts.”
The seminar series concludes Wednesday, Feb. 7 with a showing of the 1980 Oscar-nominated short film “A Jury of Her Peers,” which explores issues of women’s victimization and justifiable homicide. Schudson’s follow-up discussion is entitled “The Vulnerable and the Law: From Suffragists to Assault Victims – Women and Children Confront the Good Ol’ Boys in America’s Courts.”
Also during his residency, Schudson will conduct two discussion/luncheon sessions for students interested in attending law school. The first, “So You’re Thinking about Law School: The Study and Practice of Law – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” will be held Thursday, Jan. 25 at 11 a.m. in Colman Hall. The second, “So You’re Still Thinking about Law School – Choosing and Applying,” will be conducted Thursday, Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. in the Barber Room.
A Wisconsin native born in Milwaukee, Schudson spent seven years as a state and federal prosecutor (1975-82) before joining the state judiciary. He served as a Wisconsin Circuit Court judge from 1982-92 and the following 12 years as a judge for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. He currently is senior counsel for the Wisconsin law firm von Briesen & Roper, s.c., and teaches trial advocacy as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He also has taught two Lawrence University Bjorklunden seminars.
An advocate for the rights of children, women and the elderly, Schudson is the author of the book “On Trial: America’s Courts and Their Treatment of Sexually Abused Children.” His work on the bench has been recognized with numerous honors, including the U.S. Justice Department’s Award for Superior Performance for his precedent-setting prosecutions of nursing home patient abuses and Medicaid fraud, the Wisconsin Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse Certificate of Special Achievement, the 1998 National Human Rights Leadership Award and the 2000 Foundation for Improvement of Justice Award.
He has served as keynote speaker for conferences throughout the world and has provided expert testimony at congressional committee hearings on child sexual abuse, battered women and the impact of unemployment on children and families. He has been a featured guest on numerous radio and television shows, among them NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS’s “The McNeil-Lehrer Report” and “Oprah.”
Schudson earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and a law degree from the UW Law School, where he was on Law Review.