Kendra, MO

Posted on Oct 3, 2018

This past summer I worked as a legal intern for the Amicus-St. Louis Short Internship which involved assisting the local legal team in providing pro bono legal representation for cases involving capital punishment and unconstitutional sentencing.

I was intrigued with this opportunity when it was first presented by an Amicus representative at the QMUL campus. I looked at criminal law as being one of the most extreme applications of law, particularly regarding capital punishment, and saw it as an interesting experience to add to my CV. Reflecting back on this short internship, there are many things I experienced, both positive and negative, which I hadn’t expected, or was aware of, going into it.

The first surprise was the focus of the work that we were involved with there. I was one of three summer interns in the office assigned to contribute to an ongoing empirical...

Laura, LA

Posted on Oct 2, 2018

I spent the summer in New Orleans, Louisiana working in capital post-conviction and I can genuinely say it was the best summer I have ever had. I have always been passionate about human rights law and the abolition of the death penalty but spending three months working in the area really reinforced to me how important the work capital defense lawyers do. For my part, I was able to assist primarily on a couple of cases. For one client, I examined a lot of expert evidence and helped in the mitigation investigation, identifying important witnesses to interview and collating evidence to support a claim of intellectual disability. For another, I was able to review a large quantity of CCTV evidence, analyse expert testimony and collate a large number of records to go towards the life history of the client.

The most rewarding and humbling part of my placement was meeting...

Liz, AZ

Posted on Sep 26, 2018

From mid-May to mid-August this summer, I completed an Amicus internship in Tucson, Arizona.

I was placed with a firm which represents clients at both the trial and post conviction stages of a capital case. Throughout my internship I undertook a wide variety of tasks, some slightly monotonous, such as filing and scanning, and others extremely interesting such as attending meetings, undertaking legal research and some drafting of court documents. Although at time monotonous, even the filing and scanning provided the opportunity to read letters from the clients and a wide variety of court documents. The majority of my internship was spent reviewing and digesting records, often amounting to thousands of pages. These were predominantly medical, prison and police records and trial transcripts. This gave me the opportunity to...

Tariq, LA

Posted on Sep 25, 2018

Over the course of three months, I worked under several attorneys on various assignments ranging from drafting post-conviction petitions to Federal Habeas corpus claims, filed to the State District Court and Supreme Court respectively. After attending an investigator-orientated training day which focused on crime scene investigation, forensic analysis for the defense and systematic criminal fact investigation in post-conviction capital cases, I was afforded the opportunity to modernise and update the office’s Forensic Database which is used in criminal defense fact investigations. Outside of these projects I made regular visits to Angola (LA State Penitentiary) to interview prisoners on death row for social and investigative purposes. The Amicus Internship in Louisiana was a breath-taking and eye-opening experience, to say the least. Every day at the office was unique and it was...

Will, LA

Posted on Sep 25, 2018

At the end of March 2018, I travelled to New Orleans to undertake a three-month internship. I was fortunate enough to receive the Matrix bursary, which proved incredibly valuable in allowing me to make the most my stay in the Big Easy.

At the office, I helped three clients with their post-conviction appeals. My involvement included compiling evidence to support our clients’ claims, namely that there had been prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, and/or an improperly constituted jury; I assisted with drafting court documents, attended court for part of a two-week evidentiary hearing, and met with clients on death row, either to update them on their case, or as a social visit.

My time in New Orleans impressed on me how human our justice system is; all the cases I encountered suffered from serious...

Rhodri, MO

Posted on Sep 25, 2018

I am a law graduate from Wales who is about to begin the Bar Professional Training Course. For six weeks, during July and August 2018, I was fortunate enough to intern at a US office in St Louis, Missouri.

Whilst interning, my primary role was to assist the organization to build upon the seminal research collected to critically examine the issue of proportionality mainly in capital cases from as far back as 1990 in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court. The purpose was to highlight any information that signified any form of discrimination against the relevant defendant. Whilst the research was a lengthy process that required sustained concentration, reading these cases was an interesting task as each one encapsulated unique aspects and characteristics of different crimes.

The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court was very accessible. It is a two-minute walk from the entrance to St...

Georgia, AZ

Posted on Sep 25, 2018

Exhilarating, thrilling, invigorating. Perhaps three words you would attribute to visiting a theme park. For me, this is how I would describe my Amicus ALJ internship. I was lucky enough to spend just over 3 months Stateside working on death row cases alongside some of the most motivating, inspiring and hardworking lawyers I have ever met.

An Amicus internship was always a huge reason I wanted to complete my Integrated Masters in Law degree (alongside completing the BPTC and, one day, becoming a barrister). After attending a lecture about Amicus with the brilliant Mark George QC at my university, I could not sleep at night knowing that people were being deprived of their lives after being deprived of due process and I was doing nothing to help stop it. If you think the England and Wales criminal justice system is broken - and it only takes reading The Secret Barrister:...

Yasmin, MO

Posted on Sep 20, 2018

My internship was with an affiliate non-profit organisation of Amicus' in St Louis, Missouri. The internship itself was focused on a research study that has an aim of proving that the use of the death penalty is arbitrary in the state of Missouri. This mainly encompassed working in the Civil Courts, where you would extract the information you thought was relevant to the study, from the selected case files and upload it to the main hard-drive.

The cases themselves were crimes of first degree or second degree murder, at times they were challenging to read as it involved understanding the processes of the US judicial system. It was also a challenge reading the facts of the cases themselves as they could involve a lot of violence and racism - racism was apparent in the judicial process and it was a point that was incredibly frustrating for me. However, this was quite a learning...

Laura, TX

Posted on Sep 3, 2018

Laura takes some time to talk about her experiences in Texas with us and reflect on what the Amicus internship meant to her.

Winnie, LA

Posted on Sep 3, 2018

Louisiana State Penitentiary
Winnie takes some time to discuss her time in Louisiana and what being an Amicus Matrix Bursary recipient meant for her.

Jaspreet, MD

Posted on Aug 28, 2018

Jaspreet reflects on his time in Maryland.

Julie, PA

Posted on Mar 13, 2018

Julie takes the time to reflect on her extraordinary experiences in Philadelphia.

Vicky, MD

Posted on Nov 10, 2017

Vicky takes away from her internship that "[m]itigation humanises the client in a criminal justice system which aims to vilify defendants. This process is lengthy and time consuming."

Rose, AZ

Posted on Oct 11, 2017

Rose discusses the inspiring people behind "No Noose: Musicians United Against the Death Penalty", a CD produced to fundraise for capital defence work

Alice, MD

Posted on Sep 6, 2017

Alice's month in Maryland whets her appetite for a future three-month internship.

Shannan, MO

Posted on Aug 22, 2017

Shannan reflects on her experience in Missouri so far: "This was my first evidence of how things are different in this city."

Abbey, UK

Posted on Aug 14, 2017

"I loved my experience so much and was so affected by the shocking experiences and facts surrounding the death penalty that I am about to set off to the US as an Amicus intern in Texas."

Francesca, MO

Posted on Aug 10, 2017

After detailing her top tips for Missouri, Francesca has left us salivating with her description of Gooey Butter Cake...

Bill, TX

Posted on Aug 10, 2017

Prospective Texas stallion Bill says "not only has the internship helped me in terms of character progression but also given me solid experience for a career at the Bar."

Lucie, LA

Posted on Aug 9, 2017

Lucie is feeling galvanised after her time in New Orleans.