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Death Penalty Internship Programme

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"Thanks so much for sending an intern last summer. She was a tremendous help. I have now had Warwick students every summer for ten years, and their contribution has been immense" - summer 2015 feedback
"We absolutely loved the interns! They literally hit the ground running. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn't do it without you all" - summer 2015 feedback


About the Programme

The Death Penalty Internship Programme is overseen by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice at Warwick Law School. The programme was launched following the Warwick forum “Is the Death Penalty About to Execute Itself?” organised by Jon Yorke in 2004, and in that summer, our first undergraduate students undertook two month intern placements in capital defence offices in the United States of America in Virginia, Mississippi and Kentucky. The programme is now in its eleventh year.

The Death Penalty Internship Programme is a unique opportunity for “hands-on” exposure of legal work involving the common law system of the United States of America, which also encompasses diverse areas of criminal justice, medical law and human rights. The duration of the internship is approximately two months and the student can expect to work on: United States legal research, manage case files, contribute to the briefs filed in state and federal courts, interview witnesses and jurors in appeals cases and visit prisons, including death row.

These internships are open to all Warwick Undergraduate and Postgraduate students.

You can get a good idea of the programme by reading some of the experiences of the students from previous years.

Application Process

  1. Please send a full Curriculum Vitae and a brief supporting statement (200 words) in one pdf document stating why you wish to undertake an internship to: a.panepinto@warwick.ac.uk
  2. Please ensure your application has been emailed to Dr Panepinto by 5 pm Friday the 13th November 2015 for summer 2016 internships. Please write 'DPP internship 2016' in the subject line.
  3. Applicants will be shortlisted and notified of a time for interview by the end of Term 1.

Please note: due to the high number of applicants, only those who have actively participated in the remote attorney support programe will be considered for this opportunity.

2016 Programme

Office of the Federal Public Defender-Northern District of California

Russell Stetler is National Mitigation Co-ordinator for the Federal Death Penalty Resource Centre and is based in the Public Defender Office in Oakland. Students have previously undertaken research in the area of mitigation, worked on trial transcripts from states across the US and taken part in training seminars, getting the opportunity to meet lawyers from across the US. This office is based in Oakland California which is 10 mins away from San Francisco. You can watch a video interview with Russell here (produced by Lacuna magazine).

Texas Defender Service, Austin, Texas

Interns have previously worked on trial cases, visiting clients, and research for journals and training seminars. This is a large office that works on both pre- trial and post conviction work. The office is in downtown Austin in Texas.

Office of State Public Defender, Captial Defense Division, Jackson, Mississippi

There are two offices in Jackson; one working on pre trial cases the other working on post trial appeal cases. Students have previously undertaken legal research, record finding and client visits. Both offices are in the same building in Jackson but work separately.

The Louisiana Capital Assistance Centre (LCAC), New Orleans (not running 2016)

The Justice Centre is based in New Orleans and was founded by Clive Stafford-Smith. The Centre works on both pre trial and post conviction cases. The office is in the centre of New Orleans with a number of international staff.

Office of Public Defender, Sixth Judicial District of Arkansas, Pulaski and Perry Counties

Based in Little Rock, Arkansas interns in this office have carried out a variety of work including: Legal Research, Trial Preparation, Assisting Attorneys at Court and Client Meetings.

Arizona Capital Representation Project, Tucson

This is the only legal aid organization in Arizona assisting capital defendants at all legal stages (from pretrial through clemency), as well as providing direct legal representation to death row inmates in their state and federal appeals. Interns are generally assigned a combination of legal research and writing projects, record review, supervised investigation, and attending client visits with the Project lawyers. Interns frequently have the opportunity to attend training seminars, local criminal justice talks and events, and observe oral arguments or capital trials.