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LLM Student to Prosecute Cases in Allen County Prosecutor’s Office

Feb 10, 2014

Ezmarai Osmany, an ONU Law LLM (Master of Laws) student who also is a prosecutor on leave from his position in Afghanistan, will have the opportunity to prosecute in the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office after receiving special permission from the Ohio Supreme Court.

Bruce French, ONU professor of law and director of clinical programs, helped spearhead the efforts to have Osmany prosecute cases and said that this is the first time anything like this has been done in the state of Ohio. Traditionally, students must have completed two years of law school in order to get a student license, but a petition to the Ohio Supreme Court granted a license for Osmany.

“This is an amazing opportunity for Ezmarai to assist in prosecution in an American state court,” said French. “To my knowledge, it’s the first time that the Ohio Supreme Court has approved such an experimental initiative. I am delighted that the clinic can find practice opportunities for students in the LLM program that supplement the rigorous doctrinal training that the College of Law’s program in democratic governance offers. We are constantly exploring placement opportunities for ONU law students in the clinic, which provide a value-added education and often lead to employment upon graduation.”    

According to Howard Fenton, director of the Democratic Governance and Rule of Law LLM program at ONU, this is the third year that the program has had Afghan lawyers sponsored by the Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, which is supported by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement of the U.S. Department of State and private donor law firms.

“These lawyers are working to promote the rule of law in the most challenging environment imaginable, and we are happy to make some small contribution to their efforts through our LLM program,” Fenton said.

Osmany, who will start Feb. 10, will work under the direction of Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick. Waldick, who is a 1985 graduate of the ONU Pettit College of Law, has served as an adjunct professor at ONU since 1988.

“Unlike traditional learning experiences, this internship will allow Mr. Osmany to experience the American criminal justice system firsthand,” Waldick said. “He will prosecute actual cases on behalf of the state of Ohio under the supervision of a prosecutor.”

French said that law students in prosecution and public defender placements assist attorneys in a full range of criminal court activities, such as interviewing witnesses, assisting in court, engaging in research, and presenting arguments in court in routine matters.

Osmany received his bachelor’s degree in law from the faculty of law and political science of Herat University in Herat, Afghanistan. He is a prosecutor/criminal investigator and head of the Case Management Department at the Afghanistan Attorney General’s Office in Herat. In these capacities, Osmany investigates crimes and brings criminal cases to court, organizes training workshops for prosecutors, and serves as the point of contact for the Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan, the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and UNDP.