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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Intern Spotlight: Victoria Pugh

June 11, 2014

Victoria just finished her first year at North Carolina Central University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and double majored in Psychology and Philosophy. During her first year in law school she got involved with the Environmental Law Society(ELS) and participated in organizing a symposium on Hydraulic Fracturing. She also was the editor for the Environmental Law Reporter. In addition to being a member of ELS, she also went to the Robert M. Cover law retreat in New Hampshire to meet law students from all over who were interested in public service. A strong interest in public service brought her to NCVLI to gain experience in different areas of law including Environmental Law and Immigration Law. Victoria told us a little about her experience as an intern at NCVLI.

What did you know about victims’ rights before working at NCVLI?

Almost nothing, but I wanted to get an internship in a type of law that I knew very little about. 

What have you learned while working at NCVLI?

I have learned so much more than I could have imagined about victims’ rights. I learned a lot about how different states treat victims’ rights, immigration law and how privileged information can be protected in criminal proceedings. 

What did you do while working at NCVLI?

My work involved a lot of research for legal questions that came in as well as fifty state surveys of different victims’ rights issues. 

How has working at NCVLI impacted you?

Working at NCVLI broadened my perspective of looking at criminal cases. I have always considered the larger perspective of “what impact will the decision of this case make on public policy?” However, I never really considered what the impact of the decision will have on victims’ rights  until I worked for NCVLI.

What did you like most about working at NCVLI?

I most enjoyed getting hands on experience with victim intakes. We weren’t always able to help those who called, but when we were it felt I was making a difference in someone’s life.

Was there anything you didn’t like?

It was difficult sometimes to read cases where victims’ rights were thrown out the window. For example, in Virginia there is no psychologist client privilege in criminal matters. On its face, this court decision appears to show that victims’ mental health records are an open book to the court.