Professor Kinsley Tells the Story Behind the Story of Her Argument to the Ohio Supreme Court

Professor Jennifer Kinsley

Chase Professor Jennifer Kinsley is getting national attention in a story published in The New York Times and elsewhere about her argument to the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of a now-adult the court’s chief justice characterized as “a forced sex slave.” Here is the story behind the story:

• How Professor Kinsley became involved in the case of Alexis Martin: “I first met Alexis through the juvenile attorneys at the Ohio Public Defenders Office. While I was initially reviewing her case for possible post-conviction issues, I became invested in her direct appeal, as well. I represented Alexis on a pro bono basis seeking the Ohio Supreme Court’s review. When the court accepted her appeal, it appointed me to represent her.” 

• How she developed her argument: “Given the significance of this case as a matter of first impression in Ohio involving a law that protects juveniles whose crimes are related to being a human trafficking victim, and the importance of combatting human trafficking nationwide, I employed a collaborative approach to representing Alexis. From the beginning of her appeal, I was assisted by lawyers from the Ohio and Hamilton County Public Defenders Offices, law professors from Case Western and Ohio State, the attorney and legislator who drafted the Safe Harbor law, and national advocacy organizations who support human trafficking victims. I could not have handled this case without them.”

• Why her involvement is important as a professor: “Paraphrasing for the law school environment the military adage that a good leader never asks of his troops that which he wouldn’t do himself, I can’t teach what I can’t do myself. Taking on emotionally charged, socially important, and trend-setting cases helps me expose students not only to cutting-edge legal theories and the process by which law is made, but also helps me effectively model empathy, advocacy, and time- and stress-management skills for students, as well.”

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