Adrian Anderson, Loyola Project for the Innocent
Adrian began working with LPI as a summer intern in 2019, continued as a clinical student in 2020, and now works as an RA and Student Supervisor at LPI. Adrian’s empathetic and friendly approach to her clients re-humanizes and reinforces for LPI’s clients that a great injustice has been done to them, and that people exist who will fight for their release and support them after re-entry. For one client in particular, Adrian devised thorough investigation plans, identified pro bono experts, drafted winning motions, and always remembered the client on holidays and his birthday. Adrian and this client share a special bond over Lakers basketball and look forward to attending a game together upon his release.
Dominique Anderson, Juvenile Justice Clinic
Dominique is a returning JJC student, participating in the clinic during her 2L and 3L years. Dominique has represented a number of young people in the juvenile delinquency system, bringing empathy, perseverance and dedication to her role. Dominique’s unique ability to apply her skills to different clients has separated her from her peers and make her deserving of this award. She has participated in detention hearings, negotiation hearings, dispositional hearings, all the while conducting investigation, working with experts, and guiding her clients through the juvenile justice system. Dominique will take her talents to the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office next year.
Danny Barragan, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic
At LIJC, Danny is known as the soft-spoken clinical student with the heart of gold. Danny, as a DACA recipient, knows first-hand the obstacles faced by undocumented immigrants and uses this personal understanding to better serve as their advocate. Over the last two years, Danny has represented three clients in removal proceedings before the Los Angeles Immigration Court. As a first-year clinical student, Danny and his partner represented a young woman from Uganda seeking asylum on the basis of political persecution. Throughout the course of representation, Danny impressed us with his caring nature, which greatly comforted the client in sharing her story in court. That same year, Danny represented a survivor of labor trafficking and successfully argued the termination of removal proceedings. He was the only student to complete a full merits hearing during the pandemic. During the hearing, Danny won the case for his 19 year old client who sought legal permanent residency as a Special Immigrant Juvenile. Danny’s preparation and knowledge of the case impressed the judge and flustered opposing counsel to the point that he refused to continue with cross-examination.
Ryan Day, Juvenile Justice Clinic
Ryan has been an active, committed and passionate student in both the JJC and the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic (JIFS). Ryan was a JJC student during his 2L year, and elected to stay on to represent one client during his 3L year while also participating in the JIFS Clinic. Ryan currently represents a young person on probation who was facing transfer to adult court. For over a year, Ryan worked with experts, gathered and organized records, and engaged in extensive mitigation and negation efforts with the District Attorney, securing his client’s ability to remain in juvenile court. In the JIFS Clinic, Ryan successfully represented a woman who had been convicted of homicide as a juvenile. Her family welcomed her home after nearly 25 years, in January 2021. Ryan also worked on a complex juvenile transfer case for a client sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Ryan will continue his work in criminal justice upon graduation, joining the Colorado Public Defender’s Office.
Adriana Gonzalez, Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic
Adriana has demonstrated a wide-ranging mastery of juvenile criminal defense and reform. Starting as a student in the JIFS Clinic, she represented a client in his first parole hearing on very short notice, successfully advocating for his suitability for release. The client was freed in March 2020. Adriana also represented client on parole and worked on a complex, ongoing wrongful conviction case. In her third year, Adriana joined the Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC), where she obtained remarkable outcomes for both of the two young clients she represented. For one who was in competency proceedings, she mastered California’s complicated youth competency laws and successfully convinced the court that her client was both incompetent and unable to attain competency, resulting in a complete dismissal of the petition against him. She also represented a young person whose family became homeless due to COVID-19 financial complications, and was able to get restitution charges against him dismissed.
Rebecca Harris, Federal Public Defender Death Penalty Clinic
The nominee for the Death Penalty Appeals Clinic is Rebecca Harris who, while on a capital habeas team with a complicated legal issue, did the lion’s share of the legal research and then drafted a cohesive, coherent memo that the lawyers were able to use to develop a new habeas claim. In addition to her incredible engagement with legal issues, Rebecca was an exemplary colleague as well, taking extensive notes during meetings and circulating them to the other student to make sure they stayed on the same page with their assignment. In fact, unbeknownst to us until partway through the semester, Rebecca was assisting another student on a project that she was not even assigned to, using her experience with Bluebook to teach her colleague how to properly cite-check a cert petition and locate relevant statutes when her colleague’s legal research led to some dead ends.
Sarah Kwon, Youth Justice Education Clinic and
Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project
Sarah enrolled in YJEC for her 2L year, throughout which she was a fierce advocate for her clients. She uncovered evidence that a school district had illegally exited a client from special education, denying him the services he needed for years. Through her perseverance, she corrected this issue and got the client back on track to graduate from high school. In addition, Sarah staunchly advocated on behalf of a young man facing transfer to adult court, to ensure his continued access to K-12 and college education despite the barriers created by Probation. With no template or informing precedent, Sarah filed YJEC’s first ever Ombudsman complaint to investigate Probation’s interference with her client’s access to school, particularly their refusal to escort students to school. She and another YJEC student filed a due process complaint against several school districts including Los Angeles County Office of Education for their failure to provide an appropriate education that addressed his disability-related needs. The complaint experimented with novel issues regarding our client’s illegal change in placement when he was placed in de facto solitary confinement at the HOPE Center for several weeks. Sarah’s research and well-written motions supported a successful extension of the statute of limitations so that our client could bring more claims in administrative court. As a result of Sarah’s staunch advocacy at mediation, our client now has access to compensatory education services and a parenting course.
Sarah was also nominated by the CCCJP, where she is enrolled for the Spring semester of her 3L year. Sarah had prior experience completing Petitions for Dismissal which is a large part of the legal reentry work that CCCJP provides. Sarah was successfully able to assist a client with a complex criminal “rap sheet” who had multiple convictions in several California counties. She is now researching Tennessee law in order to seal an arrest for a client. Sarah hopes to merge her experience in YJEC and CCCJP in order to provide post-conviction relief for cross-over youth who have aged out of the foster care system.
Shannon Leap, Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic
Shannon has shown herself to be a comprehensive advocate, mastering every stage of litigation in juvenile criminal defense. She demonstrated a commitment to this work before she even went to law school, working for the Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing (JIFS) Clinic as an intern, investigating and writing social histories for the Franklin hearing of a teenage girl sentenced to life for homicide. As a law student, Shannon picked up where she left off, representing that girl (now in her 30s) at her parole hearing, and then meeting her at the prison gates when she was released in October 2020. Shannon also took on the challenging appeal of a client sentenced to life in prison. She drafted the briefs and plans to argue the case in the court of appeal. In her third year, Shannon joined the Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC), where she has represented numerous clients, conducting complex investigation and negotiation and litigating issues relating to her client’s ability to access extended foster care benefits. Shannon hopes to continue her work in juvenile criminal defense and policy when she graduates.
Lisethmarie Lopez, The Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution
Lisethmarie Lopez has volunteered over 300 hours to LCCR. During her second year, Lisethmarie became a clinical student in LCCR’s Collaborative Family Law Clinic (C-LAW), working with attorney volunteers from The Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association to provide unbundled mediation representation under the mentorship of several leaders in the Collaborative Law and Mediation Field. There Lisethmarie helped divorcing parties from the initial intake process through to the drafting of their settlement agreements. Next, she transitioned into the Dependency Court Mediation Assistance clinic (DC- MAC), where she mediated custody and visitation plans to help mostly Spanish-speaking parents to reunify their families. When courts closed, she continued virtually assisting parties in the Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic (C-MAC) with landlord-tenant disputes, consumer debt issues and family law matters, returning to DC-MAC in her final semester to continue to help families. She has excelled at overcoming the hurdle of remote and telephonic mediation, assisting clients that are unaccustomed to receiving services online.
Malin McWalters, Loyola Genocide Justice Clinic
Malin spent two semesters in the LGJC, taking the Standard Track and returning for the Advanced Track. Throughout her time in the clinic, Malin demonstrated a high regard for the research needs of our partner organizations, and approached each complex research problem with creativity, enthusiasm, and diligence. Due to the wide variety of research problems she tackled, Malin also became familiar with multiple foreign and international legal systems. Even after she was no longer enrolled in the clinic, Malin continued to gift us with the benefit of her time and energy when she volunteered to help with research in connection with the U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief the Center filed in October 2020.
Osvaldo “Ozzie” Rocha, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic
Ozzie’s classmates would describe him as the life of the clinic, always ready to make his colleagues laugh. He is also a benevolent advocate whose drive to engage in immigrant rights advocacy is motivated by his desire to honor those that came before him, particularly the women in his family. During the last two years in LIJC, Ozzie has assisted numerous clients in securing legal status in the United States. As a first-year clinical student, Ozzie and his partner successfully represented a survivor of domestic violence that sought residency without the assistance of her abusive US citizen spouse. Despite obstacles imposed by power and gender dynamics, Ozzie connected quickly with his client and earned her trust. Ozzie continued with the clinic over the summer and won T-visa status for a survivor of labor trafficking. This win was of particular importance as the government attempted to deny his client relief on the basis that she had previously entered into a romantic relationship with her trafficker. As a result of Ozzie’s zealous advocacy, USCIS granted his client legal status and afforded her the right to reunite with her two children residing in Guatemala.