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News Posted on April 26, 2010

Professor Smith to Receive Human Rights Award

Professor James F. Smith will receive the prestigious Ohtli Award at a special event in his honor hosted by the Consul General of Mexico, Carlos Gonzáles Gutiérrez, on May 4 in Sacramento.  The award will be presented by Professor Emeritus Cruz Reynoso, a past recipient of the Ohtli, who will act as master of ceremonies.

The Ohtli Award derives its name from a Náhuatl word that means "pathway," and is given by the Institute of the Mexicans Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to honor individuals who have dedicated their lives and professional activities to "to open a pathway" for Mexicans abroad.

Professor Smith joined the King Hall's faculty as a clinical adjunct professor in 1976 after having worked as a legal services attorney for VISTA, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), and Legal Services of Northern California. He is the founder and former director of King Hall's Immigration Law Clinic, where he and the students he helped to train have represented hundreds of immigrants in deportation proceedings. 

Professor Smith is one of the original coauthors of the California State Prisoner's Handbook, a practice manual on California corrections law and of the Practice Guide for California Pleas for Noncitizens. He has directed numerous seminars on the topic of Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions for the California Public Defender's Association and county public defender's offices, and frequently provides consultation for private attorneys on criminal, immigration and international commercial matters. He has taught comparative law courses in Latin America, Asia and Europe, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1986 and 1987.  He is the coordinator and coauthor of a two volume publication on "Comparative Constitutional Law; United States and Mexico."