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Warwick Law student featured in University of Pennsylvania Law Journal
During a placement last summer (2016) in California for the Death Penalty Internship Programme, third year Warwick Law undergraduate, Natasha Darlington, penned an article analysing the consequences of a real Ohio case whereby a federal judge ruled the current State-prescribed procedure of lethal injection as unconstitutional.
The article, titled 'Federal Judge rejects Ohio’s Lethal Injection Procedure: An Ongoing Constitutional Question', was consequently published by the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Law Journal.
In her analysis of this case, Natasha discusses the implications on methods of execution as well as addressing the general debate surrounding the constitutionality of the death penalty in the United States.
Through the Death Penalty Internship Programme, facilitated by Warwick Law’s Centre for Human Rights in Practice, Natasha had the opportunity to volunteer with the National Mitigation Co-ordinator for the Federal Death Penalty Resource Centre (based in the Public Defender Office) in Oakland, California.
Alongside the internship, Natasha also undertook a URSS project (Undergraduate Research Support Scheme) which examined the death penalty as an unconstitutional means of punishment in federal cases, with particular emphasis on the criminal justice system of the State of California.
It was through these opportunities that she was signposted to the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal.
“Having written the essay for my URSS project, my supervisor encouraged me to consider transforming it into an article for publication in a law journal.
“After considering various options, I referred my work to the Pennsylvania Law Journal and they offered me a position as a contributing writer,” explained Natasha.
“It is an honour to be able to write for the Pennsylvania Undergraduate Law Journal, whilst at the same time being able to pursue those legal issues that interest me on an international stage.
“I also feel that doing these kinds of extra-curricular activities are imperative to fully engaging in the practical elements of the law.”
“Natasha’s achievement is quite exceptional and definitely merits celebration. Very few undergraduate students publish in foreign law journals,” added Dr Alice Panepinto, Research Fellow at Warwick Law School, and Natasha’s URSS project supervisor.
“I am delighted to see how Natasha’s original project has evolved into further extracurricular research published in an article. It demonstrates how our students have the ability and commitment to make the most of opportunities to explore specific interests within the law.”
Open to all Warwick undergraduate and postgraduate students, the Death Penalty Programme is a unique opportunity for ‘hands-on’ exposure to human rights work and the US legal system.
Students have the chance to become involved in the remote assistance of US attorneys and charities working on capital defence, and a handful of them are competitively selected to volunteer with capital defence lawyers in the USA each summer.
“I came across the programme before I applied to the University of Warwick and it was one of the main opportunities that drew me to accept my place here,” Natasha explained.
“I was initially interested in the death penalty after having read a case on capital punishment in the State of Georgia, but following my internship in California last summer, my interest in this area, and the US criminal justice system, has only been heightened.”
Reflecting on her time at Warwick so far, Natasha concluded: “I enjoy International Criminal Law and Human Rights the most since they most closely match my personal interests.
“However I also enjoy learning about other legal systems and am pleased I was able to study French Law for a year in Paris alongside my English Law degree.
”Post degree, I hope to continue studying or work in an international organisation.”