Widener Law Review Symposium Looks at Legal, Ethical, and Medical Issues Raised by Earl Bradley Tragedy
Web Editor - Published: November 8, 2011
On Friday, November 4th the Widener Law Review and Widener Law’s Health Law Institute hosted a symposium titled “Lessons from Tragedy: Legal, Professional, and Ethical Issues Raised by Bradley and Beyond,” in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom on Widener Law’s Delaware campus.

Following an introduction from Widener Law Review Editor-in-Chief M. Stewart Ryan, Dean Linda L. Ammons offered a welcome and then introduced Delaware Governor Jack Markell. Markell praised the students on the Widener Law Review, saying of ongoing efforts to prevent similar tragedies, “We have some incredibly important work to do, and I thank the students for taking the lead.”

In the aftermath of Sussex County, Del. pediatrician Earl Bradley’s arrest in December of 2009, Governor Markell turned to Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons for an independent review of the system that failed to protect the children victimized by Bradley. The Governor noted that Dean Ammons immediately came to mind when he thought about whom to approach for the independent review, and in thanking her for her efforts, he said, “Her enthusiasm never waned and her critical eye never wavered from the task.”

Following the Governor’s remarks, Health Law Institute Director and event organizer John G. Culhane welcomed Dean Ammons back to the podium. The Dean spoke about her investigation and the report that she produced, relating the story of how she received a call from Governor Markell just as she was preparing to speak at the American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting in New Orleans in January of 2010.

“One of the greatest challenges for me was not to impede the ongoing criminal investigation by the Attorney General’s Office,” said Dean Ammons of the difficulties she faced in putting her report together before speaking about the process she used, what she found, and what she believed were six “key moment” points of failure at which something could have been done. “I’m pleased to have been able to make this contribution to the people of the state of Delaware,” she concluded before taking a few questions from the audience.

The remainder of the symposium consisted of three panels and a roundtable discussion. The first panel, covering Health Law and Professional Ethics, featured Dr. Karyl Rattay, the Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, as well as Professor Culhane, Dr. William G. McNett of Nemours, and noted Philadelphia attorney Gina Maisto Smith. Widener Law Distinguished Professor Jean Macchiaroli Eggen moderated the panel.

The panel on Criminal Law, moderated by Associate Professor Jules Epstein, featured Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman ’92 as well as University of Oklahoma Professor of Law Stephen Henderson, University of Delaware Assistant Professor Chrysanthi Leon, and the Honorable Albert Cepparulo of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.

A panel on Child Advocacy moderated by Executive Director of Volunteer Legal Services Janine Howard O’Rangers followed lunch. Speakers on the panel included Tania Culley, Esq. from the Office of the Child Advocate; Patricia Dailey Lewis, Esq., Deputy Attorney General and Director of the Family Division for the State of Delaware; C. Malcolm Cochran IV, Esq., of Richards Layton & Finger, P.A.; and Dr. Vicki Kelly, Director, Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.

A Roundtable Discussion on Legislation moderated by Associate Professor Thaddeus M. Pope rounded out the program. Participants in the discussion included the Director of the Delaware State Licensing Division James Collins; Delaware State Representative Michael Barbieri; Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children Medical Director Dr. Stephen Cook; and Delaware State Senator Robert I. Marshall.

A short reception followed the program.