During my 2L, I was involved with setting up a pilot program between the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) and the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic to help ensure youth have access to courts. Three of the clinic students and I were jointly responsible for creating and compiling resources to make it easier for youth at OYA to exercise their rights. For example, we created “how-to manuals” for those seeking direct appeals, post-conviction relief, and state/federal habeas. We named our group the “Youth Legal Team.”
My duties included performing “know your rights” presentations with youth in custody, meeting individually with youth to discuss options such as direct appeals and collateral relief, facilitating contact between youth and their attorneys, and assisting unrepresented youth in making pro se filings with the court. I also proposed additions and changes to OYA’s law library to ensure constitutional compliance, including layout, format, and materials.
This work has meant the world to me and was a space for students like myself to develop necessary lawyering skills while making a real impact on youth in Oregon affected by the criminal justice system.
My research for the clinic cultivated a curiosity in post-conviction relief and other collateral remedies. This knowledge helped me secure a summer (summer ’19) externship with a post-conviction appellate firm. I have an interest in civil rights, and working with Oregon’s underprivileged population. Post-conviction work is a valuable check on our criminal justice system and affects the population that I am interested in working with. So, I hope to continue doing similar work in the future.