Spolin Law P.C. Announces 2019 Winner of Civil Rights and Criminal Law Essay Competition & Scholarship

Posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 at 9:13 am    

Spolin Law P.C. is proud to announce the winner of their 2019 Spolin Law P.C. Civil Rights and Criminal Law Scholarship. The Spolin Law P.C. team has chosen Meena Venkataramanan, who will receive a $1,000 scholarship to use toward tuition and other educational expenses.

Created in 2017, the Spolin Law P.C. Civil Rights and Criminal Law Scholarship was developed to support students whose work brings awareness to civil rights issues. This falls in line with the firm’s overarching goals of representing individuals whose rights have been violated and protecting each person’s right to be treated with dignity.

Meena Venkataramanan was chosen as the 2019 winner for her impressive curriculum vitae, the scope of her work as a writer and editor, and her leadership initiatives. Ms. Venkataramanan is working toward an A.B. in English and South Asian Studies, with a secondary focus in Government. She will matriculate in May 2021. In addition to writing and editing for The Harvard Advocate, ABC News, and The Harvard Crimson, Ms. Venkataramanan also serves in several organizational leadership roles. She is the founder of Stories from the Border and the founder/president of Harvard South Asian Americans in Public Service (SAAPS) Initiative.

Ms. Venkataramanan’s essay, titled “The Spirit of Our Constitution,” explores troubling ties between the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the current political climate of the United States. Throughout the essay, she points to legal decisions that have upheld the rights of Americans and draws attention to missteps of the American legal system. Her essay explores the fallout of decisions that take away Americans’ rights and considers the future of the democracy if the values described in the Constitution are not upheld.

In “The Spirit of Our Constitution,” Ms. Venkataramanan draws parallels between recent counterterrorism efforts and the internment of Japanese-Americans. After describing the reparations made by the United States government to its Japanese-Americans, she writes, “However, to many Japanese-Americans, the scars caused by such brutal and unjustified treatment in the name of national security are truly indelible, and the federal government’s recent counterterrorism efforts are painful reminders of such maltreatment.”

Our team of Los Angeles criminal appeals attorneys looks forward to seeing how leaders like Ms. Venkataramanan, her peers, and other scholarship applicants will preserve the values of the Constitution and support human rights in coming years. We firmly believe that the future of America will be built by compassionate individuals and civil rights leaders.

The Spolin Law P.C. Civil Rights and Criminal Law Scholarship aims to encourage students from different fields to apply.


UCLA Student Crystal T. Huynh Wins 2018 Spolin Law P.C. Scholarship

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 at 6:06 am    

Spolin Law P.C. is pleased to announce the winner of their 2018 Spolin Law P.C. Civil Rights and Criminal Law Scholarship – Crystal T. Huynh. A student at the University of California – Los Angeles, Ms. Huynh will receive $1,000 towards her tuition and educational fees from Spolin Law P.C..

Ms. Huynh was chosen based on her application, academic record, essay, and commitment to and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution. As a first-generation American, Ms. Huynh recognizes that she is lucky to live in a country where she can express herself freely, and not live in fear of a government controlling or taking away her liberties. As she writes in her essay, “I am able to fully appreciate the way I am able to live my life because of this document. I can live in a society where my civil liberties are protected and not all people can say that. The Constitution is written proof of this and I am incredibly grateful for it.”

Ms. Huynh’s winning essay is listed below:


As stated in the Preamble, the U.S. Constitution was created to provide the people of the United States of America a government that would protect its citizens in both internal and external affairs for multiple generations. Americans would be able to live in a society where they had a set government that existed to serve them rather than take advantage of them. Throughout the years the Constitution has been amended to serve and protect every type of American. As a first generation American, I am no exception. If anything, the U.S. Constitution means more to me than Americans whose families have lived in this country for multiple generations because I get to see firsthand the difference between what this country provides for me and what my family’s birth country provides. I am able to have a better understanding of the Constitution because I know that I am both lucky and grateful to have it be the foundation of my country. For me, the U.S. Constitution means that I am able to live my life freely and equally because the government protects my civil liberties.

The Articles of the Constitution were written to establish the branches of government as well as to set guidelines for the states, for amending the Constitution, and for the country itself. To me, this means that I am represented in the government through my state’s representatives. My concerns are delivered all the way to the federal government to be heard. I have a say in who leads this country through elections. My liberties are preserved no matter which state I am in. I can influence change in the Constitution to fit current societal standards. These may seem like normal benefits that every American has, but to me they mean so much more because of the fact I am a first generation American.

My parents came from a country that controlled the people instead of protecting them. They had no voice and they were forced to live a life that they thought was wrong. The stories and lessons they told me made me realize how lucky I was to be in a country that put its citizens first. I do not have to live in fear of the government controlling the people because Articles 1 through 3 the Constitution established three branches that balance each other out. I do not have to worry about one state being more politically safe than another because Article 4 of the Constitution states that all states will honor the laws of all other states. I do not have to worry about living by past beliefs because Article 5 of the Constitution details guidelines on amending the Constitution. I do not have to think about my liberties being taken away because Article 6 states that the Constitution, along with all laws and treatise of the U.S., to be the supreme law of the land. If I was living in my parent’s birth country, these Articles would not exist and I would be living in constant fear. This part of the Constitution to me means that my parents sacrificed everything to come to this country to allow me to live freely without fear.

The Constitution also includes the many Amendments that details the civil liberties that every American has. I am allowed to freely speak, vote, and even protect myself against the government if officials improperly search my property or cruelly punish me thanks to the Amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Civil War Amendments, and the 26th Amendment. These Amendments are there to protect my liberties from being taken away from the government. They allow the people to retain some power so that the government cannot fully control them like in a dictatorship. Other Amendments such as the 17th Amendment give citizens more political power so that the government does not become corrupt. Not only do I have a voice in the government through someone who represents me, I get to help choose that representative. These Amendments give people the power to move society, and I am able to have a part in all this because of the Constitution.

The Amendments of the Constitution to me mean that I have the right to stand up for myself, something that my parents could not do in their birth country. I do not have to worry about saying the wrong thing in public or not being able to vote because of who I am. I do not have to worry about the government not caring about its citizens and staying in power because there is no way to vote them out. I do not have to be living a lifeless life filled with worry and fear of the government. Thanks to my parents, I get to live in a country whose Constitution protects its citizens, and I am reminded every day of how lucky I am compared to my parents. I do not have to face the hardships they did when they were younger because of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution means I can just live my life while being a part of society, and that is truly a gift for which I am grateful for.

As a first generation American, I grew up listening to the childhood stories of my parents who lived in a different country. Comparing life in their birth country to the U.S., I did not realize how powerful a document like the U.S. Constitution could be in creating the foundation of a society where the government serves to protect its citizens rather than harm them. I am able to fully appreciate the way I am able to live my life because of this document. I can live in a society where my civil liberties are protected and not all people can say that. The Constitution is written proof of this and I am incredibly grateful for it. It means the world to me that I get to live my life freely and it is all because of the U.S. Constitution.


Spolin Law P.C. selected a second student as an honorable mention in acknowledgment of her application and supplemental material:

  • Honorable Mention – Chloe Stoddard, Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

We sincerely appreciate all of this year’s applicants and the hard work they put into their applications. If you have an interest in applying for next year’s scholarship, the deadline is October 1, 2019.

Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Appeals and Civil Rights Attorney

If you’ve been accused of committing a criminal offense in Southern California, or already convicted, don’t try to handle the situation on your own. Contact a lawyer from Spolin Law P.C. for help. The Los Angeles criminal law attorneys at our firm have years of experience handling a wide variety of cases, and we are dedicated to ensuring our clients’ rights remain protected throughout the entire criminal justice process. To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case, contact us today at (310) 424-5816.


Benjamin Carew-Gonzales Wins 2017 Spolin Law P.C. Scholarship

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 at 12:38 pm    

Benjamin Carew-Gonzales has won the 2017 Spolin Law P.C. Civil Rights and Criminal Law Scholarship.  Mr. Carew-Gonzales is a student at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.  As a result of his selection, Spolin Law P.C. will pay $1,000 towards his college tuition and fees.

Mr. Carew-Gonzales was selected based on his essay, academic achievement, and personal background of continuing his family’s commitment to service.  Mr. Carew-Gonzales is an example of the type of person whose personal goals involve the protection of others.  As he notes in his essay, one of Mr. Carew-Gonzales’s earliest memories was that of his father instructing him to “defend those who cannot defend themselves, speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Four other students were selected as honorable mentions in recognition of their outstanding essays and personal achievements.  Below is a list of all those recognized in this year’s scholarship season:

  • Winner: Benjamin Carew-Gonzales (Austin Community College; Austin, Texas)
  • Honorable Mention: Courtney Smith (Augustana College; Rock Island, Illinois)
  • Honorable Mention: Jeremiah Taylor (Louisiana Tech University; Ruston, Louisiana)
  • Honorable Mention: Stefan Pinkston (University of Scranton; Scranton, Pennsylvania)
  • Honorable Mention: Amber Banks (Alabama A&M University; Huntsville, Alabama)

Spolin Law P.C. would like to thank everyone who applied this season.  For those interested in applying for next year’s scholarship, the application deadline is October 1, 2018.

 

 

Mr. Carew-Gonzales’s winning essay submission is posted below:


The Constitution means me everything to me and my family.  I will give a little background to my family life and then you will see how things have shaped my life.

I guess I should start from the beginning. I was born and raised in a small affluent town in the inner city of San Antonio where my family was far from affluent. I come from a family that values an education and effort put forth to be greater than any expectations set. My grandfather barely completed the second grade, while his wife, my grandmother started over with nothing after her family was run out of Mexico by Emiliano Zapata in the early 1900’s and was forced to work in the fields as a little girl. My mother’s parents barely completed high school. These figures in my parent’s life influenced them to at all costs graduate with a college degree. They did. They didn’t stop there, they understood the value of an education so well they planned for the future by buying a small two bedroom one bath house in Alamo Heights School District so that my brother and I would be prepared for college when the time came. Following the purchase of a house, my parents applied for the drawing of the Spanish Immersion Program at Alamo Heights Elementary School. Luckily, we were selected. This monumental moment in my life has bettered my education and life experience by giving me the ability to speak another language fluently and communicate with a wide variety of people, as well the ability to immerse myself in another heritage and culture.

My parents instilled the mindset of hard work and determination into my life at a very young age. To be myself and not to be afraid to go against the crowd if I know that’s what is right. That perseverance, knowledge, and a little bit of sweat can go a long way. To respect my elders and always reply with yes/no ma’am, yes/no sir no matter the situation. To hold my ground and not only defend myself, but also protect those who cannot protect themselves. To love and be loved and not to be afraid to show your emotions at times. Tell the truth no matter the circumstance and before bed each night thank God for the opportunity and blessing of another day.

One of my first memories was my father telling me “You’re going to be a leader of men someday, defend those who cannot defend themselves, speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and be a person that others will turn to for guidance and direction” being so young it was hard to comprehend, but it is something that has shaped me into the man I am today. Throughout my years my father’s words have rung true. I have led a diverse group of men and women, from the football field on Friday night to 6AM ROTC land navigation and PT (Physical Training) in college. Then this past summer where I worked at a Christian summer camp (Laity Lodge Youth Camp) and led a large group of men, women, and children in high ropes activities, as well as worship where I encouraged these individuals to go outside their comfort zones and become vulnerable to trust. My second language of Spanish has also only helped me with that leadership and ability to communicate and help those who cannot communicate with others.

With all of this being said you can start to get the idea that my family was very grateful to come to the United States back in early 1900’s and to start over.  My grandparents as well as my parents have always instilled what it means to be proud to be an American and what the Constitution allows every American the basic freedoms.  We respect the Constitution, the American flag and our Country.

My family also has a sense of duty to preserve our Constitution and defend it.  My father served our country in the United States Army for 8 years.  I have enrolled into ROTC to follow in my father’s footsteps.  My younger brother just enlisted into the Marine Corp and will ship out at the end of the year.  We take pride in our Constitution and what it means to live in a country where we are free.

With this past weekend’s events with the President and the NFL controversy just shows that our country’s Constitution allows for freedom of expression.  It does not matter your political views or if you see the protest as right or wrong – it just shows that we as Americans have the privilege to express our views freely.  For this we all should be grateful for our Constitution.

Our founding fathers had amazing insight to allow us to live protected with certain fundamental rights.  When I think of the Constitution I think of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. These branches mean that there will be laws to protect our citizens. The checks and balances mean that no one person will take over the county.  The Constitution along with the Bill of Rights protect us in many ways that most do not truly appreciate.

Talk to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Aaron Spolin, a former prosecutor, and award-winning Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, has a track record of success handling violent crime cases. He has been on the winning side of hundreds of cases. To receive a 100% free and confidential consultation from Aaron today, please call this number: (310) 424-5816.