Judge shares how law, anthropology mix

By Elissa Sáenz


Law and island culture can sometimes be at odds, a judge and law professor told University of the Incarnate Word students who packed AD 365 to hear him Friday, Jan. 27.

Judge Daniel P. Ryan, who presides as chief judge of the Third Judicial Circuit Court in Detroit, was making his third visit to UIW. He is a professor of Law at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla.

Friday, he talked about his assignments to islands in the Pacific to train other judges.

During his talk, Ryan focused on the “worth of work with developing island nations in the Pacific.” He spoke about the relationship of anthropology and law; more specifically about “the story of the relationship between Pacific Island nations and the peoples of the Pacific Rim and the concept of adopting Anglo-American law.”

Even though these islands were once American territories, and its people embrace Anglo-American law, cultural law does not allow Pacific Islanders to wholly adopt them, Ryan said.

No two governments can ever be identical due to status rights and contractual dealings, he said.

“What works in a rural city in the United States will not always work in a rural city in Micronesia,” Ryan said.

Judge Daniel Ryan

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