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 Louisiana Supreme Court took its latest action in the Kinnett vs. Kinnett case on September 20, 2022. As attorney for the minor child since 2017, the Loyola Law Clinic has argued the unconstitutionality of Louisiana Civil Code article 198 before the district court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Louisiana Supreme Court. In this latest action, the Louisiana Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus ordering the Fifth Circuit to render an opinion on the constitutionality of the problem code article after both the Fifth Circuit Court and Louisiana Supreme Court declined to do so. In the meantime, the student practitioners decided to take another approach at addressing article 198. After extensive research and debate with their supervising attorneys and other Loyola faculty members, the students have drafted proposed legislation to modify Louisiana Civil Code article 198. This proposal has been forwarded to members of the Family Law section of the Louisiana Law Institute.
Supervised by Professor Ramona Fernandez
Success In Court
Congratulations to Soren Lannes and Madison Tuck, Children's Rights clinic students for the 2022-2023 academic year, who conducted a two-day termination of parental rights trial. After successfully presenting evidence and arguments, the court rendered a judgement of adoption for the maternal grandparents of our 9-year-old client.
The case was heard by the Honorable Amanda Chauvin Calogero, Juvenile Court Judge of Jefferson Parish.
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.