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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

UALR law student contributes to U.S. Supreme Court brief

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law student has contributed to a legal brief that will be heard in oral arguments March 4 in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lakesia Morrison, UALR law student

Lakesia Morrison, UALR law student (photo by Evelyn Gomez)

Lakesia Morrison, a law clerk at the Arkansas Municipal League since 2012, was asked to contribute to the Plumhoff v. Richard brief after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

“We have top notch clerks, and Kesia is certainly no exception,” said Municipal League Attorney Michael Mosley. “Her help in the case has been instrumental in crafting excellent arguments and helping me to get prepared for oral argument.”

Mosley and co-counsel John Wesley Hall Jr. will argue the case on behalf of the plaintiff, Sgt. Vance Plumhoff.

The case stems from a high-speed police chase involving Plumhoff and other law enforcement officers that resulted in the deaths of Donald Rickard, driver of the car being pursued, and his passenger, Kelly Allen.

The Supreme Court justices must determine if lower courts erred in analyzing whether the force used by the officers was supported by subsequent case decisions.

Also under consideration is whether officers were wrongfully denied qualified immunity, which states that the force used by law enforcement was reasonable as a matter of law.

Morrison said she was working on Allen v. West Memphis, the sister case to Plumhoff v. Richard, when Mosley asked for her input. She wrote the first draft of the legal argument and is now helping with the reply brief.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work on this brief. It has been a tremendous learning experience. Plumhoff v. Rickard is an interesting case with compelling facts. I’m lucky to be a part of it,” said Morrison.

She and two other law clerks, Monica Didion and Nikki Cox, will travel in March with Mosley and other attorneys from the Municipal League to present oral arguments in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its opinion by June 30.