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News Posted on May 10, 2010

Professor Smith Receives Ohtli Award from Mexican Consulate

Jim SmithProfessor James F. Smith was presented with 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 event drew coverage in the Sacramento Bee and La Opinion and was attended by several King Hall faculty and alumni.

The human rights award is "the highest recognition granted by Mexico to individuals who pave pathways for Mexicans abroad," said Gutiérrez, adding that Professor Smith "has advocated for the rights of immigrants in this country and particularly in California and has been the mentor of dozens of successful practitioners in the field of immigration law."

Professor Smith joined the King Hall faculty in 1976 after having worked as a legal services attorney for VISTA, California Rural Legal Assistance, and Legal Services of Northern California. He is the founder and former director of King Hall's Immigration Law Clinic, and one of the original coauthors of the California State Prisoner's Handbook, and of the Practice Guide for California Pleas for Noncitizens.  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."  

The May 4 event, which featured Professor Emeritus Cruz Reynoso as master of ceremonies, was attended by dignitaries including Dean Kevin R. Johnson, California Senator Gil Cedillo, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Emily Vasquez, Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel, and former Chief Arturo Venegas.  Also in attendance were King Hall faculty including Professors Miguel Méndez, Carter White, Amagda Pérez, and Holly Cooper, along with Law School alumni including Melinda Guzman Moore '88, Kirsten Hill '04, Griselda Perez Begines '99, Mary Waltermire '95, Clara Levers '03, Michelle Ruskofsky '03, Stuart Thompson '91, Julia Montgomery '96,  and Marien Sorensen '97.

UC Davis School of Law has enjoyed an expanding relationship with the Mexican Consulate that has included internships for King Hall students, who have worked at the Consulate in Sacramento in providing Mexican nationals with legal information and assistance.

Sacramento Bee article

La Opinion article

Professor Smith to Receive Human Rights Award

Quin Hodges '11, Immigration Clinic to Work with Mexican Consulate

King Hall Faculty, Staff, Students and Alums Volunteer for Citizenship Fair