The Missouri Project is a large research project into the disproportionate application of the death penalty which we hypothesise may call into question the constitutional legitimacy of the regime. The research is intended to form a comprehensive manual which may subsequently be relied upon in strategic litigation. The project is funded by the FCO.

The general background information for the research project is as follows: In the wake of the landmark case of Furman v Georgia in 1972, the constitutional legitimacy of capital punishment came under intense scrutiny. In response to this, a myriad of states enacted statutes to ensure adherence to the US Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Missouri was one of these states. Its new legal regime limited death penalty cases to a "narrow category of the most serious cases" and demanded the introduction of a proportionality review system. This latter change laid the foundations for this research project's analysis. Missouri's Supreme Court has a rich source of well-documented empirical data pertaining to specific details of capital punishment cases. The project provides the opportunity to further build upon seminal research critically examining the issue of proportionality in death penalty cases.

Volunteers will be based at Saint Louis University Law School and generally live in an apartment within walking distance from the university.

Essential requirements

  • Minimum commitment of three months
  • Law undergraduate/graduate or equivalent professional experience (non-law undergraduates are welcome to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis)
  • Attendance at Amicus Training (held twice annually in central London)
  • Membership of Amicus
  • Valid driving licence
  • Laptop
  • Experience - paid or voluntary - in human rights or charity work

How to apply

Please follow the US General Volunteer Placement application process, indicating a preference for The Missouri Office Project in your application.