Et Tu Rwanda?

I was originally schedule to leave Uganda Friday night after eight days on the ground in Africa.  Early last week, however, my Thursday meeting in Kigali, Rwanda was pushed back to the following Monday (yesterday) to enable Uganda’s Principal Judge to attend the meeting.  This delay served to calm (somewhat) my usual frenetic pace while on the ground in Uganda.  I enjoyed a Saturday evening with the family of a member of Uganda’s Law Reform Commission who is, more than anyone, driving the logistical bus in Uganda for the reforms being implemented.  I also had a chance to worship Sunday morning with some friends from Sixty Feet, an American non-profit caring for Ugandan juvenile prisoners and orphans.

In Rwanda early Monday afternoon, I was once again reminded of the surprising contrast between life in Kigali and life in Kampala – separated by just forty minutes by air.  Kigali more closely resembles Western Europe than Eastern Africa – there are clean, wide, pothole-free roads lined with manicured vegetation, functioning (and obeyed) traffic signals, and modern buildings and shops.  Rwanda has recovered well from its devastating genocide in 1994.  Critics contend, however, that the economic and political stability Rwanda enjoys comes at the price of free speech and political dissent.

A few minutes earlier, I’d been greeted by at the airport by International Justice Mission’s former Kigali field office director, Lane Mears, who now works for USAID, a funding arm of the US State Department.  (Before I left Kampala that morning, I had a good meeting with IJM’s Kampala field office director, Kathryn Wilkes, about potential further collaboration between Pepperdine and IJM).  I’d invited Lane to attend the meeting between the Ugandan and Rwandan delegations so he could connect more closely with the players and assist in evaluating the whether Rwanda should consider following Uganda’s lead.

Uganda’s delegation consisted of Justice Bamwine, who leads the High Court of Uganda (trial court) as the Principal Judge; Andrew Khaukha, who serves as the Secretary of the Plea Bargaining Task Force chaired by Justice Bamwine; Betty Khisa, who serves as Deputy Director for Uganda’s Department of Public Prosecutions; and me, in my role as Specialist Advisor to the High Court of Uganda and meeting convener.  (Incidentally, Betty is the lawyer against whom I argued Henry’s appeal more than two years ago.  We’ve since become friends and she is going to inquire this week about the status of the ruling in Henry’s case).

Chief Justice Sam Rugege headed the Rwandan delegation.  When the genocide occurred 21 years ago, Justice Rugege was teaching law in South Africa.  At the urging of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Justice Rugege returned home to serve as Rwanda’s Deputy Chief Justice to help stabilize the country’s judicial system.  About four years ago, he became Chief Justice.   For the past half-dozen years, Justice Rugege has welcomed two Pepperdine summer interns each year into his judicial chambers, and has been a good mentor for our students.

Also on the Rwandan side: the Prosecutor General (who will have a Pepperdine intern this summer); the President of the High Court (counterpart to Principal Judge Bamwine); the Solicitor General; the Deputy Minister of Justice; the Inspector General of Courts; the Inspector General of Prosecutions; the Inspector General of Police; a couple High Court Justices; the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Prisons; and a few others.

Chief Justice Rugege and Principal Judge Bamwine at the head of the table

Chief Justice Rugege and Principal Judge Bamwine at the head of the table

After warmly welcoming us, Chief Justice Rugege turned the floor over to “us Ugandans.”  I started off with a thirty-minute overview of plea bargaining concepts and the historical events that put Uganda on the path to plea bargaining.

Rwanda Meeting #2

The Principal Judge followed me, providing further depth to Uganda’s decision-making process and plea bargaining adaptations.  Andrew then concluded with a report of statistics, successes, and lessons learned along the way.  Our presentation last about two hours, and was followed by a lively question and answer session.  One of the obstacles in Rwanda’s path to plea bargaining is its Civil Law heritage.  Unlike the United States and Uganda whose Common Law legal systems trace their roots back to the British, Rwandan’s system derives from the French.  In fact, Rwandan laws are translated into three languages – Kinya-Rwandan, French, and English.  Unlike Common Law countries, Civil Law countries combine, to a large degree, criminal and civil cases such that a murder trial would also involve a component of monetary damages sought by the victim’s family.  (Those would be totally separate in the United States).  I suspect our students serving as interns in Rwanda summer will be called upon to assist the Rwandese in evaluating whether plea bargaining would be an appropriate way to enable Rwanda to reduce the criminal court backlog and prison congestion.

Group Photo after Meeting

Group Photo after Meeting

All in all, the meeting was quite productive and I look forward to seeing where it leads.

Once I am back and settled in the US later this week, I will update where things stand in my quest to lose my “amateur” writer status.

Expecting the Unexpected

Since arriving back in Kampala after a weekend visit with Henry at his medical school, I have been running around town for various meetings.  My initial itinerary called for me to leave tonight, but I have come to expect the unexpected in Uganda.  Consequently, I wasn’t too surprised when my return trip was delayed by three days.  I now head home on Monday – out of Kigali, Rwanda.

Monday through Thursday involved a series of successful and encouraging meetings.  My meeting at the US Embassy with a Ugandan professor (employed by the Embassy) and American diplomat went quite well.  I appreciated the opportunity to share all of what Pepperdine is doing with the Ugandan Judiciary, and they are eager to find ways to work together in the future.  They had heard about some of our work from various Ugandan officials and were glad to finally connect.  I suspect I will be meeting with the Embassy on each of my return trips in the future.

My meeting with the newly appointed Chief Justice of Uganda, Bart Katureebe, also went quite well.  A few years ago, one of our students had interned for him for the summer, so he had a general idea of Pepperdine’s involvement with the judiciary as a whole.  He has accepted our invitation to come to Pepperdine this next fall to further deepen the relationship between our respective institutions.  His past experience in all three branches of the government — Member of Parliament, Attorney General, and Supreme Court Justice – makes him an ideal candidate to succeed retired Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki.

I also had productive meetings with both the Solicitor General and the Chief Registrar of the High Court of Uganda, both of whom are coming to Pepperdine next month for a study tour focusing on case management structures, which is aimed at improving the efficiency of work flow in both the civil and criminal realms in Uganda.

We are still “patiently” awaiting the ruling on Henry’s appeal (25 months and counting), and I met with the lawyer who assisted me with the case to discuss if any avenues exist to expedite the ruling.  We also discussed the seemingly intractable land battle Henry and his family are embroiled in.  I was encouraged to learn a few aspects of Ugandan land law that may provide a roadmap toward resolution.  I anticipate hiring him soon to represent Henry’s family’s interests.

For the past several years, I have been communicating periodically with the Chief Justice of Rwanda, mostly about our student internships with his court each summer.  Recently, however, our discussions have turned toward the possibility of Rwanda evaluating some of the criminal justice reforms with which we are assisting Uganda.  Those discussions have led to a meeting that will now take place this coming Monday (necessitating my unexpected delayed return).  There will be four of “us Ugandans” (including the Principal Judge (head of the trial court)) meeting in Kigali, Rwanda with about a dozen of the top judicial, prosecutorial, police, and prison officials in Rwanda about possible next steps for Rwanda.  I am excited about the prospect of becoming more deeply involved in assisting Rwanda, if they decide t to proceed.  It should be an interesting meeting.

Further unexpected was my debut on Ugandan television, as I was captured in a clip filmed at the plea bargaining conference last week.  Even more unexpected was the startling headline accompanying the clip – “Principal Judge Opposes Introduction of Plea Bargaining.”  Nothing could be further from the truth – the PJ is the staunchest supporter of plea bargaining, as is clear from the clip itself:  Featured in the clip is one of the prisoners our team helped secure a plea bargain last summer.

More after Monday’s meeting in Rwanda.

A Different Kind of Commission

Commissioning Prayer

Commissioning Prayer

Pepperdine is a different kind of place to study law than most, as evidenced by the annual Commissioning Ceremony that takes place for those graduates who attend the weekly Bible study at the Gash home each week.  I was heartbroken that my responsibilities in Uganda necessitated my absence from this culminating event.  My wife, Joline, was kind enough, however, to read for these graduates a few words I prepared for this occasion:

“While my body is in Uganda, my heart is with you right here, right now. I eagerly await my return to Pepperdine to celebrate with you in person, your graduation.

I will swell with pride and emotion as Dean Sturgeon reads your name in the book of graduation before you walk across the stage. I will do my best not to cry, but no promises.

I am so proud of you.

As you know, God has been reading your name in the book of life, and (as Bob Goff is fond of saying) Jesus is carrying a picture of you around in his wallet. He is quite proud of you as well.

But not for graduating from law school.

His pride in you is because of your steadfastness in the face of hardship, your faithfulness in the face of fear, and your love and support for the brothers and sisters here with you tonight as you walked this path together.

Over the course of your three years at Pepperdine, you have attended classes, briefed cases, written papers, presented arguments, and taken exams. Some of you liked law school. A few of you loved it. All of you have loved each other. You sang together, studied together, prayed together, played games together, walked beside each other, and at times, carried one another. Through it all, you have inspired your professors and you have shown your classmates what it looks like to follow Jesus in a community.

Over the course of this year on Wednesday nights, we have collectively pondered what it means to be powerful in Christ amidst our weakness. You have led worship, led prayers, led our thoughts, and led from your seats as the 1Ls and 2Ls watched your consistency and faithfulness. Some of you have excelled at the game of law school, and some of you have simply survived. But each of you in your own way has modeled perseverance and grace and joy in this journey.

Some of you have a clear vision of what the next step will be occupationally. Others are still waiting for God to reveal that. We pray that He will reveal that soon, but we also pray for patience as God unfolds His plan in His time.

But I do not believe that your first job, your second job, or your last job is your calling. The calling you have received is to live life overflowing with the joy that comes from being a child of God, a follower of Christ. You are a vessel, made by the hand of God, made in the image of God, made to reflect the love of the Son of God.

The context in which you live out this calling is but a backdrop for the content you pour into those around you.

My prayer for you as you receive this commission is:

That you, though hard pressed on every side by the stresses of your chosen profession, will not be crushed.

That though you are at times perplexed by the vagaries and ambiguities of the law, will not be in despair.

That though you may be persecuted for the stands you take, for the people you represent, for the God you serve, you will never feel abandoned.

And that even when you stumble in your cases, in your deals, in your relationships, and in your daily walk – when you feel struck down, that the Spirit of God that lives within you will never, ever be destroyed.

We will miss you, but a part of you will always be here among us each week we gather as law students, law professors, and brothers and sisters in Christ. Come back and see us often.”

My Three Sons

While in Uganda this week, I sadly missed the opportunity to help my biological son get ready for his first prom on Saturday.  Fortunately, Joline got a picture of Joshua with his date.  Since Joshua is a junior, I plan to be there for his senior prom.

Joshua and Nina before Prom

Joshua and Nina before Prom

Earlier that day, I had a chance to spend several hours with my surrogate son, Henry, as he showed me around western Uganda’s Ishaka, where he is studying medicine at Kampala International University.


Henry rents a modest room about 200 meters from school in a small house where four other medical students stay.

Henry Studying at Home

Henry Studying at Home

We also toured the medical school campus where he studies, which is quite primitive, at least by Western standards.

Medical School Lecture Hall

Medical School Lecture Hall

On the tour, we stopped at the wall where the semester grades were posted, and Henry showed me his student number among those who passed the initial semester; about one-quarter of the class were academically dismissed.


Our visit was way too short, but driving at night in Uganda is a bit dicey, so Tango and I got on the road in time to arrive just after nightfall in Kampala after a six-hour journey.

I spent much of Sunday with my God son – Mark Kiryabwire – who is the one year-old son of one of my favorite people in the world, Justice K, as he is known in Pepperdine circles.


Tomorrow begins a long week of meetings, beginning with a morning visit with my friends at the Atlanta-based non-profit called Sixty Feet, which is doing tons of heroic work on behalf of kids here in Uganda.

Also, today’s New Vision carried an article about the meeting I primarily came to Uganda this trip to attend.

Sweet Sixteen

I did something on Wednesday I never thought I would do and hope to never do again.  But I couldn’t help myself – it was a necessary compromise of my otherwise firmly held beliefs.

While a few of my colleagues have long since jettisoned their suits and ties when they teach, I have remained a traditionalist.  There is something about legal education that cries out to me for professional attire, which is why I never thought I would find myself wearing light, waterproof, zipper-laden safari wear as I taught my last Remedies class of the semester.  My students were as shocked as I was.  But the last flight out of LAX on Wednesday that would land me at the Entebbe International Airport on Thursday night departed just over two hours after my class.  So I hopped an Uber taxi straight from class and got to the airport just in time.

LAX à Detroit à Amsterdam à Entebbe.

While this twenty-seven hour journey certainly sucks, I mind it less than others because I am able to get quite a bit of uninterrupted work done, and because my friends in Big Pharma have provided me with an effective body-clock adjuster – Ambien.  My trusted driver/friend Tango was waiting for me at the airport with a big smile and hearty “Welcome back.”  By 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning, I was comatose at the Mosa Court Apartments where I will spend the next eight nights, and where my students will spend eight weeks this summer.

By 7:30 a.m., however, I was seated at the Kabira Country Club for a Consensus Building Workshop on plea bargaining.  Among the sixty attendees were Ugandan High Court and Magistrate Judges, prosecutors for the Department of Public Prosecutions, wardens at several Ugandan prisons, one prisoner who had benefited from the introduction of plea bargaining, representatives of donor nations who have been funding aspects of the plea bargaining initiative, a handful of members of the Ugandan press, and two judicial officials from Zambia who are studying best practices in plea bargaining for their country.

The Principal Judge of Uganda (head of the trial court system) presided over the gathering and invited me to address the crowd about how plea bargaining in Uganda got started – two Pepperdine students with an idea.  Most of what I said, however, consisted of words of encouragement and admiration for how Ugandans were building and implementing a system that accounted for their culture, desires, and resources.

Over the course of the six hours, we marched through the Plea Bargaining Practice Direction that appears set to be issued soon by the new Chief Justice.  This document will govern the procedures and practices of plea bargaining in Uganda and serves a pre-cursor to formal legislation that will likely follow in the next year or two.  The provisions that garnered the most discussion had been hammered out over the course of a week in Malibu about a year ago with the assistance of Pepperdine Professors Carol Chase and Harry Caldwell and a handful of Pepperdine alums.

At the end of the day, a strong consensus emerged among the wide-ranging members of the Ugandan judicial sector and everyone left happy.  The highlight of the conference, for me, was the heartfelt speech made by one of the prisoners our Pepperdine team worked with last summer.  A team of consisting of two Pepperdine students, one Pepperdine lawyer, one Ugandan law student, and one Ugandan lawyer had met with him in Murchison Bay Prison (part of the Luzira complex) and had prepared his case for resolution through plea bargaining.

He shared that he had been arrested three years earlier and had simply sat in prison waiting for something to happen – no lawyer, no court date, and no clue what would happen next.  Our summer project finally allowed him to meet with a lawyer, accept responsibility for his crime, and receive the sentence he is now serving.  He was overflowing with gratitude for the fact that he now knew when he would be going home.  He said that the anxiety associated with waiting for court and not knowing what his future held had been the worst part of being in prison.

As I write this on Saturday morning, I am sitting next to Tango staring out a long stretch of road that will, in five hours, take me to Ishaka, where Henry is attending medical school at Kampala International University.  I first met Henry in January of 2010 when he was a sixteen year-old prisoner in a juvenile remand home waiting for his day in court.  I was a wide-eyed Torts professor sure that this was the only trip to Africa I would ever make.  My, how things have changed.  This is my sixteenth trip to Uganda, but it will be my first to this part of the country.

More tomorrow.  Thanks for reading and thanks for your prayers.

Regarding Henry

Several of you have kindly asked how things are going with Henry – the boy I met during my first visit to Uganda in a juvenile prison and with whom I am (hopefully) in the process of publishing a book.  After being released from prison in May of 2010, he completed eighteen months at Bob Goff’s Restore Leadership Academy in Gulu, where he finished second in his class and was voted as the student with the most “Outstanding Character.”  He then completed his last two years of secondary school at a leading science school – Uganda Martyrs Namugongo.

During the late summer of 2014, he was admitted into Kampala International University’s Biomedical Program.

KIU Logo

Despite its name, KIU is not located in the capital city of Kampala, but is instead six hours to the west in Ishaka.


Because Uganda is a former British Protectorate (independence in 1962), its educational system mirrors England’s.  Hence, Ugandan school kids complete thirteen years of post-kindergarten education before beginning university, the last two of which are called “A Levels” and focus on three primary subjects that lead into their undergraduate program of study.  Additionally, both law and medicine are actually undergraduate majors and allow the students to begin their careers earlier than their American counterparts – five years post-secondary graduation for law and six for medicine.

Henry decided when he was young that he wanted to be a doctor after observing the relative scarcity of doctors in Uganda.  Consequently, he focused on Physics, Chemistry, and Biology during his A Levels.  After scoring quite high on his national entry exam, he was admitted to KIU into their Biomedical Program, which began in September of 2014.  During his first semester, he and the other 400+ students provisionally admitted into the program were required to take (and pass) thirteen subjects in order to be officially declared Biomedical students:

Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, Behavioral Science, Ethics, Research Methods, Communication Skills, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Computer Science, Mathematics, and First Aid.

After first semester grades were released last week, 35 were dismissed from the program for failing to make the grade.  Another 35 were also dismissed, but are allowed to repeat all thirteen subjects a second time to see if they can make the grade.  Yet another 102 have been provisionally advanced into the Biomedical program on the condition that they take additional supplementary courses.  The other 300 or so have been officially admitted.

I am pleased (and proud) to report that Henry was in the latter group – passing all thirteen subjects comfortably.  We couldn’t be happier.

This semester, he is taking Biochemistry, Physiology, Human Anatomy, Environmental Health, Nutritional Disorders, and Nursing Practices.  Please continue to pray that his studies are blessed.

We are still “patiently” waiting for the ruling in the appeal I argued on his behalf just over two years ago, and there have been no developments in the ongoing saga concerning his family’s land.

I am heading back to Uganda next week for ten days and really hope my schedule allows me to visit Henry at school.

Confessions of an Amateur Writer, Part IV

On each of my return trips to Uganda from 2012 through 2014, I brought with me new or revised chapters for Henry to read.  He filled in missing details and explained what he was thinking and feeling at critical junctures.  He was getting very excited about the prospect of the manuscript becoming a book.

Along my educational book-writing journey previously described in parts one, two, and three of this “Confessions of an Amateur Writer” series, I learned that perhaps the most important document a wannabe author writes is not the agent-seeking query letter, or even the manuscript itself.  Instead, the critical piece is the book proposal.

For established authors, this can often be dispensed with because publishers already know the author’s writing ability and platform.  But for amateurs, the book proposal is the only thing a potential publisher will ever read.  Once again, Amazon came through for me.

Nonfiction Proposal

As I was digesting this very helpful book, I was chatting with an old friend (Jenny Rough) from my Pepperdine/Kirkland days who’s since abandoned the practice of law in favor of writing.  Not only does she write all kinds of articles and pieces for a wide variety of audiences, but she’s in the middle of writing her own book.  And she has friends in the business.  One of those friends shared with her a copy of what her friend considered to be a truly outstanding book proposal.  Jenny graciously shared it with me.

Soon thereafter, I mimicked this exemplar and wrote my own book proposal, which had the following Table of Contents:

Overview and Outline ………………………………3

About the Author………………………………….…8

Target Audience and Competing Books ………..9

Marketing and Promotion …………………………14

Manuscript Specifications …………………………..22

Annotated Table of Contents ……………………..23

Sample Chapters

One ………………………………………….29

Two ………………………………………….30

Three ………………………………………..36

Eighteen …………………………………….47

I was pretty proud of myself when I was finished – it actually looked like a real book proposal written by a real writer.  While it is customary to include the first few chapters at the end of the book proposal, I decided to include chapter eighteen also, which was then the final chapter, so I could prove I had substantially completed the manuscript.

But the question Curtis Yates had previously asked continued to eat at me.  Why not wait until the elements of the story played out before trying to finish the book?  While Henry had been released from prison, and while I had argued his appeal before a Ugandan court, the ruling hadn’t been issued and Henry’s dream of attending medical school was still unfulfilled.  Additionally, the nationwide impact of Henry’s case and my subsequent engagement with the Ugandan judiciary was still in unfolding.

So while all of this was playing out, I continued to edit and supplement the manuscript.  This meant more three-day writing trips to Buffalo Bill’s Casino (my teenage son Joshua accompanied me once and greatly helped me figure out which of the legal portions were too technical), and more imposing on close friends.  One of my former students who served as a Nootbaar Fellow in Uganda for four months, Jeff Wyss, was particularly helpful and encouraging.  All of his comments and suggestions – even when I didn’t like them – were spot on.

Eventually, I gave the Yates firm the book proposal and the now-swollen manuscript.

Much better, but still not good enough.  Your manuscript is 129,000 words.  Anything over 100,000 in this genre will scare publishers away.  You really should aim for 60,000-75,000.  Just because it happened, doesn’t mean it should be in the book.  Have you considered hiring an editor?  And the book proposal looks way too much like a legal document.  Your chapter-by-chapter summaries need to be written like the book and need to tell the story.  Way too sterile.

While those weren’t their exact words, that’s exactly what they meant.  What I heard was, “Take half of your book and throw it in the trash.”  While it felt like an uppercut to the trachea, it wasn’t a knockout blow.  Instead, I took it on as a personal challenge – I felt like I was getting close and I didn’t want to admit failure by hiring a ghostwriter and pretending that I actually wrote the book myself.

I really tried to take to heart what he said – Just because it happened doesn’t mean it should be in the book.  Each time I read through the manuscript, I trimmed away a few thousand words.  After eight or nine times passes, I was down to 89,000.  I refused to cut anything else because I felt I would lose critical pieces if I did.  As I was editing, I also convinced the Yates firm to send me two successful book proposals in the memoir genre (the other sample proposal I had was in the reference book category).

These excellent proposals were structured a bit differently, but had all the same elements.  Once again, I patterned my proposal after these models and then re-submitted the entire package to the Yates firm.  This happened in the spring of 2014.

During the summer, I got the answer I was hoping for.  Almost.  The Yates firm liked the proposal, but the book was still too long and needed to be professionally edited before it was sent out.  They explained that the editor would not be a ghostwriter, but would instead help tighten and shorten the book.  With this clarification, I eagerly accepted their recommendation of Kris Bearss in Nashville.

During my first phone conversation with Kris, I learned she’d previously been an editor for two major book labels before becoming a free-lance writer and editor.  She was also in the process of editing a version of Bob Goff’s Love Does for a Young Adult audience, so she was familiar with some of the work I was doing in Uganda.

Small world.

Truth be told, I was very nervous about what Kris would try to do – I was highly protective of the manuscript in its current form.  I was quite skeptical that much could be done to shorten it without losing important story elements.

As usual, I was wrong.  Kris was phenomenal.  She sent me chunks at a time via Microsoft Word’s “track changes” function.  I would accept most of her changes and then push back on a few of them.  Sometimes she would push right back at me, but most of the time, she would find a way to let me keep what I wanted, but still make it better and shorter.  By the time we finished, the manuscript was 78,000 words and much better.

In November of 2014, the Yates firm officially said yes and sent me a contract.  I was now officially wannabe author with a real agent.  But I was still a wannabe author without a book contract.

In the next (and last) installment in this series, I will discuss my final meeting with the Yates firm before the book proposal was sent to publishers, and the typical terms of an agency and publishing contract.

Thanks, again, for reading.

Tribute to a Hero

Earlier today, Uganda laid to rest one of its true heroes – a prosecutor slain for doing her job.  At the memorial service, she was remembered as one who did her job “without fear or favour.”  Her life motto was “Live every day, love every day, love beyond words.”

Joan-Kagezi-in-court (1)

In his eulogy today, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mike Chibita, mentioned the tributes to Joan that have poured in from around the world this week, including the one from Pepperdine.  Here is the text:

“Justice Chibita,

Our community was blessed just over a year ago to welcome Joan into the Pepperdine University family during her visit here in Malibu, California.  On behalf of that Pepperdine family, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Joan’s loved ones, her dear and adoring colleagues at the Department of Public Prosecutions, and to the entire practicing bar and judiciary of Uganda.  As a result of this senseless act of cowardice, the world today has one less champion fighting for the cause of justice, and those of us who were privileged to know Joan have one less faithful friend.

While Joan’s earthly work in pursuit of truth of justice has reached its end, Joan now resides with the heavenly author of all truth and the dispenser of all justice.  Nothing would be a more fitting tribute to Joan’s life and legacy than for her work here on earth to be carried on with the same passion and integrity she so beautifully modeled for us all.

Those who carried out this evil deed, and those whom Joan was in the process of bringing to justice, must not prevail.  Just as Joan held her head high and refused to blink in the face of evil, so, too, will those who follow in her broad and deep footsteps.  Though the struggle between good and evil rages on, we know how the battle will ultimately end.  We know that good will prevail because we have a Savior who has gone before us and secured our victory.

Joan has fought the good fight, and she has run the race set out before her with perseverance and grace.  Though it is far too early, we know that Joan has achieved the prize.  The Creator of the universe is waiting to receive her, and He will greet her with these simple words: “Well done good and faithful servant.”

With overflowing hearts of sorrow and love,



Jim Gash

Global Justice Program Director

Pepperdine University School of Law