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Citing Curtis Reitz: Professor Marks 45 Years of Teaching
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Citing Curtis Reitz 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Reitz at the 1963 dedication ceremony for the opening of Roberts and Pepper Halls

Bazelon was a member of Reitz’s Prison Research Council. Originating from Reitz’s scholarly interests in habeas corpus and his own efforts to provide legal counsel to prisoners post-conviction, the group researched and responded to legal questions from inmates at Lewisburg Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. (Reitz argued three cases before the Supreme Court. In all of them he was appointed by the Court to represent prisoners who had been proceeding pro se. Two involved post-conviction relief for federal prisoners - Matsushita v. U.S. and Hill v. U.S. The third case involved the imposition of a prison sentence for criminal contempt by a Pennsylvania judge.) In a matter of months, Bazelon recalls, the group developed a nationwide “grapevine clientele.” “In addition to providing services,” says Bazelon, “it was a wonderful exercise for us in analyzing problems.” Newly graduated, Bazelon worked as co-counsel with Reitz on a case involving a hospital for the criminally insane, [decided by a three-judge federal court convened to decide the constitutionality of Pennsylvania mental health commitment laws.] “The message he conveyed in all the work I have done with him,” says Bazelon, “is the sense of obligation to the client and what it means.”

Law reform has long been a passion for Curtis Reitz. He has a three-decade history with the ABA Criminal Standards Project, including working with his son, Kevin Reitz L’82, law professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, on sentencing reform. (If Reitz had his druthers, sentencing would be part of the curriculum for law students. “There are very, very few criminal prosecutions in which there is a serious dispute about guilt,” he has said, “but every criminal prosecution has a sentencing question.”)

Alumnus James Strazzella also points to Reitz’s “great national contributions to advancing the law.” Perhaps the greatest of these contributions is the revision of the Uniform Commercial Code. A commissioner to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws since 1975, Reitz has seen the UCC through a nearly complete revision, with close work on several Articles, including Article Eight on investment securities.

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