Jessica Carvalho Morris
Director of International Graduate Law Programs
J.D., University of Miami School of Law
Bacharel em Direito (J.D. equivalent), Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil
Jessica Carvalho Morris was educated at the University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil where she received a degree of Bacharel em Direito (J.D. equivalent) and at the University of Miami School of Law where she received a Juris Doctor degree cum laude. She works in the areas of constitutional law, international law, international human rights and cross-border practice of law. She has published and presented in these areas. While attending law school in Brazil, she was a member of the law review In Verbis as well as part of the Law Student Association Board. During her studies at the University of Miami School of Law she served as a research assistant to different faculty members, represented the school in international competitions and received different awards and scholarships based on her performance. She successfully passed the Florida Bar and began her practice at the National Labor Relations Board as a field attorney investigating and trying unfair labor charges. She was granted a Bilingual Award in recognition for her efforts in working with the Hispanic community in South Florida as well and an Award in recognition for the work performed as co-counsel in a high profile trial.
She then joined Greenberg Traurig where she represented a diverse national and foreign clientele in a variety of civil and complex commercial litigation disputes including contract, tax and employment issues as well as attempts to attain discovery in the U.S. She provided advice concerning general corporate matters to foreign corporations doing business in Brazil. Professor Morris was recognized for her dedication to pro bono and community involvement. Her pro bono work included representing a prisoner in Cuba before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and a Honduran child who was abused and abandoned by his family and is now seeking to stay legally in the U.S.
In 2007, she became the Director of the International Graduate Law Programs at the University of Miami School of Law. Her leadership has marked a transformative period for the programs. The number of applications to the programs doubled, as well as the size of the student body and the staff, alumni involvement increased, an International Law Lecture Series was established, an Externship program for the International Students was developed, the Visiting Assistant Professor Program was implemented, a new specialization in International Arbitration was started, and the programs and the office were renamed.
Since 2004 she has been an active member of Amnesty International having reached the post of Vice Chair of Amnesty International USA in 2010. She was the first Latina to serve in that capacity and currently the only Latina on the Board of Directors. She was re-elected to that post in 2011. In addition to serving as Vice Chair, she is the Liaison to the Americas as well as part of the Executive Director Search Committee.
Interviewed on WLRN/NPR News, Terra Noticias (in Spanish) and Miami Times regarding the high profile case of Troy Davis and the imposition of the death penalty. September 2011.
Interviewed in Spanish on Terra Noticias regarding the imposition of the death penalty in the high profile case of Casey Anthony. June 2011.
Interviewed in Spanish on GEN-TV regarding the constitutional challenges to the Arizona immigration law and the federal healthcare reform law. Also weighed in the discussions arising from the threats by a Florida pastor to burn the Koran to mark the September 11 anniversary, and in the issue of whether the new full-body scans instituted by the Transportation Security Administration violate constitutional rights. August through November 2010.
Interviewed in Spanish on GEN-TV regarding the legality of holding detainees in Guantanamo Bay. May 8, 2008.
Interviewed in Spanish regarding the case Texas v. Medellin currently before the Supreme Court. Addressed the right to consular representation pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the violation of that right by the U.S. as it relates to foreign nationals currently on death row. Aquí y Ahora, Univision. October 18, 2007.
Participated in TV show Ultima Palabra on GenTV regarding the death penalty. The one hour show discussed the death penalty and its implications. Highlighted the problems with the application of the death penalty including its ineffectiveness as a deterrent, the risk of executing innocents and current world trend towards abolitionism. September 4, 2007.
Quoted in the Miami Herald. "Dad's lessons, wisdom help shape our lives," column by Ana Menendez. June 17, 2007.
Interviewed by news program on Channel 7 regarding the fifth anniversary of Guantanamo Bay and its detainees. January 2007.
Quoted in the Miami Herald regarding the use of torture. "A harrowing tale, and a plea for the future," column by Ana Menendez. February 25, 2006.
Interviewed by Neida Sandoval host of TV show Despierta America, Univision, about the Supreme Court's decision on Roper v. Simmons, ruling by five votes to four that the use of the death penalty against people under the age of 18 at the time of the offence contravenes the US Constitutional ban on "cruel and unusual punishments." The decision, delivered on March 1, 2005, meant that the lives of over 70 child offenders on U.S. death rows would be spared and no others would be sentenced to death. March 2, 2005.