April 04, 2008

Federal appellate judge to visit law school

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Julio M. Fuentes, a justice on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit — and a Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumnus — will visit the SIU School of Law next week.

Fuentes is participating as the law school's William L. Beatty Jurist-in-Residence, an endowed program that began in 2005. Fuentes will visit with students in several classes, share his experiences, and meet informally with faculty and senior staff during his visit, April 9-11.

The program is one of three the law school created from proceeds received in 2004 from the settlement of a multi-million dollar national class action consumer protection lawsuit.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to meet with Judge Fuentes during his stay. To arrange interviews or for more information, contact Alicia Ruiz, the law school's director of communications and outreach at 618/536-7711.

Fuentes earned a bachelor's degree from SIUC in 1971. A U.S. Army veteran, Fuentes earned a law degree at The State University of New York's University at Buffalo Law School in 1975. He also earned master's degrees from Rutgers University and New York University.

"I am excited to welcome Judge Fuentes back to campus. I know that he is a proud Saluki, and I am certain that he will enjoy his visit," Dean Peter C. Alexander said. "I look forward to having him share his many experiences with our students. The Beatty Jurist-in-Residence program provides us with an opportunity to bring real life lessons into the classroom from the federal bench. Our students will, no doubt, benefit greatly from their interaction with Judge Fuentes."

Appointed a municipal judge in Newark, N.J., in 1978, Fuentes became a judge on the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1987. President Clinton nominated Fuentes to the federal appeals bench in 1999. The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination in March 2000. Fuentes is the first Hispanic American to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which hears cases from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Fuentes is the fourth Beatty Jurist-In-Residence.

Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy, U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit Judge Harris L. Hartz, and Howard H. Dana, Jr., an associate justice of the Maine Supreme Court, are the three previous Beatty Jurist-in-Residence judges.

In 2004, the law school received $425,000 in unclaimed funds from a 2001 settlement reached in the Southern District of Illinois in a case involving MCI and rates for direct-dialed long distance telephone calls. MCI did not admit liability in the settlement, which totaled $88 million, with $10 million returning to MCI.

In class action lawsuits, courts distribute unclaimed funds in a manner consistent with the basis for the lawsuit.