Appeal dropped against Valpo clinic's client

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2008
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The first athlete to win an arbitration against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a client of the Valparaiso University School of Law's Sports Law Clinic, has received another win. The World Anti-Doping Agency has dropped its appeal of last year's decision in favor of a record-breaking sprinter, the university announced April 22.

The ruling in United States Anti-Doping Agency v. LaTasha Jenkins in Jenkin's favor was initially announced Dec. 12, 2007, and the 44-page decision was released Jan. 25, 2008, clearing her of charges that she used the steroid nandrolone after testing positive during a routine drug test in July 2006. That story was reported in Indiana Lawyer Jan. 9-22, 2008, "Team Effort Prevails."

"Having carefully reviewed the scientific data of this case, which includes material not available to us from the initial hearing, WADA has reached the conclusion that the adverse analytical findings cannot lead to a sanction of Jenkins," WADA wrote about dropping the appeal.

Michael Straubel, director of the clinic and an associate professor of law, and four third-year Valparaiso law students, who are members of the clinic, represented Jenkins in the USADA arbitration, which was heard in October 2007.

In the USADA hearings for Jenkins' case, members of the Sports Law Clinic argued that the test results weren't accurate and those who conducted the testing didn't follow proper procedures.

Jenkins, who has competed in the 100- and 200-meter sprint events and won the silver medal at the 2001 World Track Indoor Championships and the bronze medal at the 2001 World Track Championships, said in a statement she intends to resume her career as a sprinter and is ready to move on, hoping that others will recognize that she has been cleared and that her reputation has been restored.

The charges took away nearly two years of her running career and an endorsement deal.

"It was a good day for athletes," Straubel said in a statement. "The panel acknowledged that an allegation of doping is a serious matter which profoundly affects an athlete, and laboratories therefore must ensure the highest scientific reliability of the testing process. We support efforts to stop the use of performance-enhancing drugs and are proud of our work in this case."

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