About the Children's Rights Clinic Section
Students represent the rights of children in cases such as: intra-family and private adoptions, avowal and disavowal of paternity, attorney for the child in highly contested custody cases, limited interdictions, and continuing tutorship. The students also represent unaccompanied minors from countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in Special Immigrant Juvenile proceedings. Students work closely together with the immigration section to obtain optimal results for our clients. Students also work with the Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative to offer legal services to incarcerated or recently released persons in Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes to resolve legal issues for these participants including traffic, custody, misdemeanor attachments, divorce, and child support in an effort to help them successfully reenter the community.
The student practitioners in the Children's Rights section continue advocate for the minor child in a paternity action that began in 2017. The case is now going before the Louisiana Supreme Court for the second time. This time, Loyola Law Clinic will be preparing an amicus brief on behalf of our child. In addition to preparing the brief, the clinic is taking an alternative road to advocacy in this case as well. The students have researched the legislative history behind the problematic statute at the heart of this case and proposed a revision to this article. The students are preparing to present their legislative revision to the Marriage and Persons Committee of the Louisiana Law Institute.
Supervised by Professor Ramona Fernandez
Mackenzi Saucier and Mallory Knudsen, student practitioners in the Children's Rights section, obtained a Final Judgment of Partition of Community Property and achieved an equitable result for their client. They successfully argued in memorandum and at trial that it is not the party committing the act that classifies the debt, rather it is whether the marriage benefitted from the act. They questioned witnesses on both direct and cross examination and presented evidence at trial, successfully concluding a 3-year old case.
Children's Rights clinic student practitioners Soren Lannes and Madison Tuck assisted a grandmother in preparing a continuing tutorship for her disabled granddaughter. Loyola Law Clinic has been working with this client since 2017 on a different continuing tutorship for her disabled grandson. Soren and Madison also prepared the grandmother's end of life documents to ensure her end of life wishes are followed, her loved ones may handle her affairs, and that her grandchildren will be cared for no matter what happens.
Professor Fernandez and Tobie Tranchina, staff attorney for the Children's Rights section, were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Governor John Bel Edwards to discuss the Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative. The law clinic partners with United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Catholic Charities, and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to provide legal services to formerly incarcerated individuals, removing legal barriers as they reenter society.
International Custody Win
In Spring 2022, the Children's Rights clinic section won an international custody dispute. The judge granted the Exception of No Subject Matter Jurisdiction. The section represented a mother and her two daughters, who were all residents of Panama. They came here on a Tourist Visa. The father, a U.S. citizen, took their travel documents and filed a custody action in Jefferson Parish to prevent them from returning home, even though a court in Panama had already rendered a custody judgement.
Embodying the Mission
On October 15, 2021, the Honduran Embassy presented Professor Ramona Fernandez with a service award for her long-standing service to the Honduran community.
Pictured above, from left to right: German McNiel (Vice Consul of Honduras), Latoya Cantrell (Mayor, City of New Orleans), Professor Ramona Fernandez, and Marcela Mejia (General Consul of Honduras).
Professor Fernandez and Tobie Tranchina, staff attorney for the Children's Rights section, were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with Governor John Bel Edwards to discuss the Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative. The Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic & Center For Social Justice partners with United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Catholic Charities, and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to provide legal services to formerly incarcerated individuals, removing legal barriers as they reenter society.