Second-year student Laura Thomas Merkey won first place and $750 in a student writing competition offered in conjunction with the Missouri Law Review symposium, “Policing, Protesting, and Perceptions: A Critical Examination of the Events in Ferguson.”
Merkey’s paper, “Building Trust and Breaking Down the Wall: The Use of Restorative Justice to Repair Police-Community Relationships,” was inspired by the events in Ferguson, Missouri and examines how restorative justice processes can rebuild relationships between police departments and the community.
“Our traditional justice system is simply not adequately responding to all of the issues currently confronting society,” she writes. “A proactive initiative, targeted at sparking authentic communication between police, public officials, and the communities they serve would begin to eliminate the wall that has come between citizens and the police.”
The awards were announced on February 27, 2015, and Merkey’s paper will appear in a forthcoming edition of the Missouri Law Review, along with other articles arising out of the symposium.
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution (CSDR) at the University of Missouri School of Law and supported by the University of Missouri Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, the competition asked law students to write on a subject relating the symposium topic and incorporating either a conflict resolution or dispute resolution perspective so as to provide some guidance on how to address the outstanding problems and tensions in a useful manner.
The competition was advertised nationally. Second place went to Arrin Kendall Richards from Vanderbilt University School of Law for “Using ARIA-C3 to Improve Police-Community Communications.” Third prize was given to Nicole Duncan of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles for “The Crimes of Colorblindness.”