Fixing the System
In leading an independent review of breakdowns in the wake of the Earl Bradley case, Linda Ammons drew upon her vast life experiences.
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Ammons also worked at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law as a professor for 15 years, then an associate dean for three before taking over at Widener in 2006, when she moved to Delaware.
Ammons may be best-known in Ohio for crafting a law that made it easier to get certain evidence introduced in cases involving battered women and for leading a project that resulted in clemencies for 28 Ohio women. For two years she chaired the American Bar Association National Institute on Defending Battered Women in Criminal Cases.
Reforming legislation to aid the abused is a recurring theme in her career. “You never know what’s going to come your way,” Ammons says. “These types of issues found me as opposed to me finding them.”
And so it was when she was asked to review state laws and procedures in the wake of Bradley.
In January 2010 Ammons was preparing to speak—about the importance of law schools promoting pro-bono activities—at the annual American Association of Law Schools meeting in New Orleans when her cell phone rang. She didn’t recognize the number, so she sent the caller to voice mail. She listened later in her hotel room, “He said, ‘Jack Markell’ not governor, and then left three numbers to reach him at. I thought, Oh no, this cannot be good,” she recalls.
Markell had called to ask if she would lead a probe into the failings of the child protection system and relevant state law. “I rarely immediately decide to do anything, so I told the governor I would think about it,” Ammons says. “However, it is difficult to tell the governor no…”
Ammons was the governor’s first choice to lead the investigation, Markell says. “Her experience with Governor Celeste meant she had a familiarity with state governments, but would also be able to bring a fresh perspective to an examination of Delaware’s processes. She brought a solid reputation for independence and inquiry and has had real success as a lawyer, professor and administrator.”
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