Working to exonerate the wrongfully convicted
(Boston Revised 08/30/12) New England Law | Boston: Sarah Hawkins '13 spent her summer as an intern with the New England Innocence Project (NEIP). The CLSR, under director David Siegel, assists NEIP year round as part of the Criminal Justice Project.
Sarah, on her work at NEIP: "As a summer intern at the New England Innocence Project (NEIP), I evaluated cases to determine whether viable avenues to exoneration existed, then composed and presented recommendation memorandums to NEIP staff. I also researched factors influencing eyewitness misidentification and Confrontation Clause jurisprudence for NEIP attorneys; worked with the exoneree assistance coordinator to design an education plan tailored to the goals of a recent exoneree; attended an innocence litigation training surveying pertinent, cutting-edge issues; and attended a State Senate session in support of a NEIP-sponsored bill that would ease access to DNA evidence for men and women seeking post-conviction relief.
"My NEIP experience was absolutely invaluable and I am honored to have been part of such a significant and necessary effort. The criminal justice system is imperfect and run by imperfect people. Justice requires organizations like NEIP to work to free those who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. This work can be frustrating and heartbreaking. Nevertheless, the tenacity and passion with which NEIP attorneys and staff seek justice for the wrongfully convicted is nothing short of astonishing. Though my ultimate goal is to be a public defender, I hope to stay involved with post-conviction innocence work indefinitely."