Beety, an associate professor of law, won the award for her article “Judicial Dismissal in the Interest of Justice,” published last year in the Missouri Law Review (Volume 80, Issue 3). In the article, Beety examined the capacity of judges to grant clemency, or dismiss cases, in the interest of justice.
According to Beety, most of the country’s 1.6 million inmates are serving sentences for non-violent offenses. She argues that by making judges more accountable, they can dismiss some cases based on overzealous prosecutions, race-based patrolling, and the overuse of “three strikes” laws.
Beety looked at factors such as community impact, prosecutorial misconduct, safety and welfare of the community, and a conviction’s effect on public confidence in the criminal justice system. She proposed reform of the criminal justice system and practical assistance for individual cases and lives.
“This article illustrates the high level of research and scholarship our professors produce on significant issues,” said Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “Valena raises important questions related to fairness, efficiency, and effectiveness in the criminal justice system, and she provides courts an option to begin addressing the need for reform.”
The College of Law’s Significant Scholarship Award is given annually to a faculty member whose written work addresses an important public issue while demonstrating an ability to conduct thorough research that is conveyed through clear and concise writing.
The award’s committee recognized Beety for her “novel theoretical paradigm through which to consider a significant problem” and for providing a practical solution.
Beety joined the faculty of the College of Law in 2012. She teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure, causes of wrongful conviction, prisons, and policing. She also serves as deputy director of the WVUClinical Law Program and chair of the West Virginia Innocence Project. Beety earned her J.D. and B.A. from the University of Chicago.