Friday, February 19, 2021

I attended the Amicus Death Penalty training the year I studied the GDL and knew I wanted to do a placement in the US. I went for an interview in February 2020 and was thrilled when I heard that I would be able to organise a placement through Amicus for that year. Of course, due to COVID-19 this did not end up going to plan. I was keen to still be able to do something and got in touch with Amicus to see if there was any casework I could do remotely. In September I started a remote internship with The Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana (CPCPL).

I met the whole team over zoom. It was clear they had a great dynamic in the office as they brought a lot of energy to the meeting. For the length of the internship I had three meetings each week: a team meeting, a whole office meeting and a one-to-one meeting with one of the attorneys. During the internship I was assigned to a team working on one particular case. This formed the bulk of my work, but I also was given some general admin tasks. The work mainly entailed different research projects, mitigation and drafting arguments as I could get on with these tasks myself and send via email once completed.

Despite being remote, the work varied and included projects such as research on the implications of physical evidence and research on testifying witnesses and seated jurors. I also had to become familiar with US Federal Law and Louisiana State law. One of my favourite tasks was drafting a legal argument on behalf of The Juror Project. This looked into the extent to which District Attorneys can claim a work product exemption in response to a public records act request for jury selection training materials. The training materials may explain the methods by which peremptory strikes are made by district attorneys and raise potential future appeals.

Throughout my internship the team was so welcoming and made me feel fully integrated into the office. As everyone was working from home, it did not make a difference that I was in the UK. Despite all the challenges of COVID it was clear they are passionate about their work and continued to provide the best they could for their clients. I will always be grateful for such a wonderful opportunity to work with the CPCPL team and can only hope I will get to join them in person in the future.