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Law students fight USA death row

Law Students going to Death Row

Law students at the University of Warwick will soon be flying to the United States to help defend prisoners on Death Row.

Ten students will be working for two months in State-based Death Penalty Defence Offices in Kansas, Virginia, Texas and California.  They will be managing cases, interviewing witnesses and carrying out legal research.

Dr Andrew Williams who runs the scheme at Warwick University School of Law said: “This is experience of law in action and the students enter positions of immense responsibility where they are treated as important members of the team – they’re certainly not just making the tea and doing the filing.

“Often the hardest part for students is establishing relationships with clients who have committed the most terrible crimes.  They must get used to the fact they are working with murderers and still engage with the process of defending their clients against being put to death.”

Faye Lawson, 20, is travelling to California.  She said: “The death penalty doesn’t work as a deterrent.  In fact, the USA has some of the highest re-offending rates in the World.”

The students admit to being a little nervous, but they say it will be a great thing to add to their experiences of law in practice.

Elsa Joao–Manuel, 23, is going to Kansas.  She said: “We’ll be helping to gather witness statements and mitigating evidence, we’ll also be making social visits to those on death row.  I have visited prisons here in the UK, but this experience will be very different.”

The scheme has been running for three years.  Tyson Daniel, an Attorney in Virginia said: “The Warwick interns have been extremely valuable to us here in Virginia, and have helped ensure that justice has been present in our cases.”


For further information contact:               

Peter Dunn, Press & Media Relations Manager
University of Warwick,                                                            
Tel: 024 76 523708 or mobile 07767 655860