2014 Winners

First Place:  Jeremiah Chin, Red Law, White Supremacy: Cherokee Freedmen, Tribal Sovereignty and the Colonial Feedback Loop

Second Place:  Jennifer Walston, Arizona’s Domestic Violence Victims Need a More Safety-Centered Approach in Their Pursuit of Family Court Orders

The Ross-Blakley Law Library at the Sandra O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of the Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research. Jeremiah Chin is the first place award recipient for his paper, Red Law, White Supremacy: Cherokee Freedmen, Tribal Sovereignty and the Colonial Feedback Loop and Jennifer Walston earned second-place honors for, Arizona’s Domestic Violence Victims Need a More Safety-Centered Approach in Their Pursuit of Family Court Orders. Jeremiah Chin and Jennifer Walston’s papers demonstrate sophistication and originality in the use of research materials, exceptional innovation in research strategy, and skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis. 

A review panel comprised of librarians Victoria Trotta and Beth DiFelice and Associate Clinical Professor Kimberly Holst selected the winners from the competitive entries.

In addition to receiving a monetary award, the winners are also invited to publish their papers in the Law Library’s digital scholarship repository, and to feature their papers in the Law Library Display Case.

Chin’s research highlights the intersections of race and sovereignty and raises important questions about shifting conceptions of citizenship, self-determination, racial identity, and indigeneity in the United States. His paper blends legal and academic publications, secondary historical research, archival research and case law from several different courts.  Chin says one of the big discoveries he found while researching for the paper was not only the amount of Cherokee law that was digitally archived online, but also the extent to which the Dawes Rolls and other historical government documents are available through the United States Government Archives. The discovery of these resources allowed him to look at the form and content of the Dawes Rolls, a crucial document for analysis, and even look-up the names of individuals mentioned within the research study. He goes on to say that unlike many other papers he has written, this paper mixes archival research with a case that has yet to reach a final decision in federal court. Therefore his research not only encompassed historical texts, but also included different Google alerts and social media to locate information about the ongoing cases and conflicts to ensure that the case law is up-to-date.

Walston’s article addresses domestic violence victims and issues they encounter when they attempt to navigate the Arizona Family Court.  Her research process included review of not only procedural and substantive legal issues concerning custody, parenting time, and child support, but also encompassed substantial review of literature and statistical information regarding domestic violence issues. Since domestic violence affects many facets of social and family institutions, and effects governmental and agency institutions economically, Walston said her research was vast and demanded an extraordinary amount of time and effort.  When she began the research process for her article, Walston already was of the opinion that the current procedural framework within the family court was ill-designed for domestic violence victims. She did not envision that her paper, which began as a review and critique of the procedural process, to transform into the design of and proposal for a new procedural process. But as time went on, Walston realized that the problem was significant enough that a call for restructuring of the system was not sufficient; a new procedural process needed to be designed and implemented for the underlying issues to be properly addressed. It was this thought process that inspired her to conduct further research. Indeed, it was this research process that led her to acquire an even more passionate and educated stance on the issues surrounding domestic violence.