Amy Kokot, a rising 4th year evening division student at the Columbus School of Law, was named the winner of 2013 Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition, sponsored by the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL).
Kokot’s paper, "Prosecutorial Indiscretion: District Attorneys' Misuse of Alabama's Chemical Endangerment Law to Criminalize Pregnant Women's Substance Abuse" was termed “exceptional” by NAWL President Deborah S. Froling.
In an Aug. 1 congratulatory letter, Froling wrote:
“This year, we received several excellent papers, and while the decision was not easy, our committee decided your paper was the best on several criteria: content, analysis, and writing style.”
The National Association of Women Lawyers established the annual writing compensation to encourage and reward original law student writing on issues concerning women and the law. The competition carries a $500 first place prize and the opportunity for the winner's work to be published in NAWL's Women Lawyers Journal, which is read by thousands of NAWL members and subscribers nationwide. Kokot’s paper is expected to be published in the journal later this fall. It was nominated for the competition by Professor Cara Drinan.
This was not the first time Kokot’s paper has drawn attention. She was selected as one of three presenters for CUA Law’s 2012-2013 Student Scholar Series, and discussed her scholarship last April (top and left) before a conference style setting of faculty and fellow students.
Kokot’s paper argues that Alabama’s chemical endangerment laws have been applied against expectant mothers too widely and not in accordance with the intention of the law, resulting in the jailing of some mothers whose newborns have tested positive for substances such as cocaine.