Central Park Five Prosecutor To Leave Columbia Law School

Seven years ago Ken Burns released documentary about the Central Park Five. Then as now, Columbia students petitioned the school to get rid of Lederer. But seven years ago, Columbia responded by whitewashing Lederer’s bio and ignoring student concerns. -- Abovethelaw.com

Central Park Five Prosecutor To Leave Columbia Law School

By Elie Mystal (Abovethelaw.com, Jun 12, 2019 at 7:43 PM )

Elizabeth Lederer, the lead prosecutor in the Central Park Five case, will not seek reappointment as a Lecturer at Columbia Law School. Students were informed by a letter from the Dean Gillian Lester, this evening. Here’s the message, in full:

Dear members of the Columbia Law School community,

This afternoon, Elizabeth Lederer informed me that she will not seek reappointment as a part-time lecturer. In doing so, she conveyed the following:

“I’ve enjoyed my years teaching at CLS, and the opportunity it has given me to interact with the many fine students who elected to take my classes. However, given the nature of the recent publicity generated by the Netflix portrayal of the Central Park case, it is best for me not to renew my teaching application.”

The mini-series has reignited a painful—and vital—national conversation about race, identity, and criminal justice. I am deeply committed to fostering a learning environment that furthers this important and ongoing dialogue, one that draws upon the lived experiences of all members of our community and actively confronts the most difficult issues of our time.

Last year, I convened a special committee on diversity and inclusion, which includes faculty, students, and administrators. A centerpiece of the committee’s charge is to examine ways to advance and support inclusive teaching and learning experiences. As the committee progresses in its essential work, I look forward to continued participation and engagement. I value the recent input from the Black Law Students Association and others as we work together to achieve these shared goals.

Gillian Lester
Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

You’ll note that Lederer still cannot bring herself to apologize for her actions which resulted in the wrongful conviction of five innocent teenagers. Lederer, like Linda Fairstein, still probably thinks she didn’t nothing wrong and the boys were guilty of “something.”

I’m also not wild about Dean Lester’s message here. Yes, yes, yes, drawing from the lived experience of all members of the Columbia community in a safe and respectful learning environment, is super important. Also important, rejecting the racism and malfeasance that leads to injustices committed upon black and brown children. You don’t need to be a person of color to know what happened to the Central Park Five was wrong. And it’s really not on people of color at Columbia to tell their white friends that their prosecutors need to act right. Teaching students how prosecutors are supposed to behave is literally part of Columbia Law School’s job. If there’s ONE THING we should expect all Columbia Law students to know after, at most, a semester, is that you don’t work teens over for confessions without their lawyer or guardian in the room. Columbia shouldn’t have needed a miniseries to remind them of that… teachable moment.

Read more: Central Park Five Prosecutor To Leave Columbia Law School

Leave a Reply