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News Posted on February 16, 2010

Professor Reynoso Petitions Federal Court in Yoo Case

Professor Cruz Reynoso was one of a group of legal ethics professors urging a federal appeals court in San Francisco not to dismiss a prisoner's lawsuit that accuses former Justice Department attorney John Yoo of providing a legal cover for torture during the Bush administration. 

Yoo wrote memos justifying waterboarding and other forcible interrogation measures.  Earlier this year, published news reports indicated that Justice Department investigators had found Yoo violated standards of professional conduct, but more recently, reports have surfaced indicating the government has softened its stance and will pursue no action against Yoo, who insists he only gave good faith legal counsel. 

But Yoo may face charges as a result of a suit brought by Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held captive and subject to forcible interrogation that he claims Yoo authorized.  U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White refused to dismiss the suit in June, but Yoo has appealed, and the Obama administration has taken his side, prompting several prominent lawyers to petition the court to hold Yoo accountable.  Professor Reynoso was part of a group of legal ethics professors who filed a petition stressing the importance of applying ethical standards to lawyers who advise the president on constitutional issues.

"The integrity of the legal profession and the sanctity of the rule of law hang in the balance" in this case, the petition states.

A member of the UC Davis School of Law faculty since 2001, Professor Reynoso is an internationally known civil rights leader, the first Latino to sit on the California Supreme Court, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.  He has been awarded the UC Davis Medal, the university's highest honor, and the Law School has established the Cruz & Jeannene Reynoso Scholarship for Legal Access to help students with financial needs.