OUR STUDENTS

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BOBBY

My name is Bobby I am honored to be a part of the CIP. I recently transitioned to the legal field after 9 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. Upon graduation I hope to be a prosecutor for the federal government. In the meantime I hope to be exposed to the criminal defense side of our justice system. As a potential future prosecutor, I believe it is vitally important for the balance of our criminal justice system for different entities to be able to understand each other’s perspectives. I have gained valuable life experiences through the Corps in places like Afghanistan, Japan, etc. Now I look forward to gaining experience in public defense that will season me to be a prosecutor.

Bobby - CIP Student 13

JAMAL

Born and raised in the Mountain West, the great outdoors of the Rockies taught me there is nothing more important than living a life of free will and sovereignty. To truly come to know one’s self, one must be placed in very uncomfortable situations, far and away from the comforts of home, streets, and stores. This ‘call of the wild’ showed me what I was truly capable of: to find food when I had none, to sleep without a bed, and find my way back home without a GPS. The most exhilarating aspect of nature is the encounter with the unknown, and having the autonomy to navigate one’s self through the unknown. For these reasons, among others, I chose to move to San Diego, CA and work with the California Innocence Project, to hopefully one day help an innocent individual return to navigating the channels of life, truly free and unburdened from a crime they never committed.

LESLEY

I grew up in St. Louis, Mo. I studied political science at the University of Missouri- St. Louis where I became interested in law. As part of my education I took an internship with the prosecuting attorney’s office for the City of St. Louis and volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in the family court system. My experience led me to a job with a criminal defense firm where I first learned about the Innocence Project. I applied to California Western School of Law because of their affiliation with the Project. I am grateful to join the men and women who have been wrongfully convicted in their uphill battle to freedom.
Lesley - CIP Student 12

DANIEL

After having a life changing epiphany in 2011, I realized I wanted to be an Attorney. From the moment I made my decision, I knew I wanted to use the power of the law to help others. Naturally, when I learned about the California Innocence Project, I knew I wanted to be involved. I immediately applied to California Western School of Law and elected to attend CWSL based on the hope of being selected for the California Innocence Project program.

When I was selected for the project it was a dream come true! Along with the rest of the C.I.P. staff, I am determined to make a tangible impact on the lives of C.I.P. clients and will work tirelessly to help exonerate victims of wrongful convictions. C.I.P. is a non-profit organization and we need your help to continue our work. Please help donate and/or volunteer to help us reach our important goal!

ALEX

I was raised in Phoenix, Arizona and just moved to San Diego in August 2013 to begin my law school career. I studied Psychology and Spanish at Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in each area. After graduation I worked for four years with an expert witness on memory issues and investigative interviewing, where we were primarily hired by criminal defense attorneys. It was working there that led me to realize that I wanted to go to law school and be a criminal attorney. Having worked on several other innocence project cases through this job, I wanted to go to a law school that was involved with the Innocence Project, and decided on the California Innocence Project held at California Western School of Law. After my first semester of law school I began volunteering at the California Innocence Project and I’m so honored to be a clinic student this year and excited to continue the work we do for our clients. Most of all, I’m excited to help our clients get their lives back after being wrongfully incarcerated for years.

MICHELLE

I received my bachelors degrees in Chicana and Chicano Studies and Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles. I am currently studying law at the California Western School of Law. I am a native Spanish speaker, born and raised in National City, South Bay San Diego. I take pride in my community and am committed to investing in its development. My passion for public interest law and human rights stems from my family’s and my community’s struggles within the legal system. I am devoted to the California Innocence Project because it’s mission compliments my personal interests and my career goals. I am grateful to all who will assist me in providing justice to the factually innocent and wrongfully imprisoned.

TJ

Hello, my name is TJ. I was born in Sacramento, California and lived there for a very short amount of time before moving to San Diego, California where I have resided ever since. I studied my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Phoenix while on active-duty in the United States Marine Corps where I had the amazing job of being an explosives K-9 handler. One of the leading reasons I attended law school was to help defend those that cannot defend themselves. The California Innocence Project is the epitome of a project serving to do exactly that and is why I am so passionate about this cause. Imagine sitting in an 8×8 prison cell and being ripped away from your friends and family for potentially the rest of your life for a crime you truly did not commit. That is the injustice the California Innocence Project seeks to fix and I could not be more determined and thrilled to contribute to such an amazing program.
TJ - CIP Student 7

LEAH

My name is Leah. I am from Colorado and studied at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. I double majored in Social Work and Political Science, with a minor in Spanish. During my sophomore year, I studied abroad in Valparaiso, Chile. After graduation, I returned to South America for several months. During these trips, I witnessed and learned about some of the injustices that exist in Latin America. These experiences are part of the reason why I was driven to pursue work with the California Innocence Project. My long-term goal as a former Social Worker pursuing a legal career is to work myself out of a job. I hope to one-day rest assured that I contributed to effectively advocating for social justice in a way that has made the world a better, safer, and more accepting place. In pursuit of these goals, I joined the California Innocence Project because I recognize it is an organization that works relentlessly toward justice.

BRIDGET

I am the true definition of a homegrown Hoosier. Born in northern Indiana, I attended the beautiful and amazing Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. My undergraduate degrees were in Anthropology and Spanish. My anthropology degree opened my eyes to different cultures and ways of life. The border crisis and young immigrant children were my inspiration for applying to law school. As a law student, and eventually as an attorney, I want my main focus to be on helping other people build their lives into something they can be proud of. My inspiration for my work in this program is my younger brother. His smile and determination throughout his battle with the legal system has inspired me to help those that get caught up in all the technicalities. I am so inspired and ready to free the wrongfully convicted.

CRISTAL

Having known what it feels like to have a loved one in prison for years, I was very interested in becoming part of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law. I want to help innocent people and innocent families have a second chance to be a “whole” again. Incarceration isn’t just the prisoner’s punishment, it is also a punishment that prisoners’ mom, dad, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, and partners experience. And if that prisoner is wrongfully convicted, then the injustice extends to the entire family. I wouldn’t wish that punishment on anyone. Your sponsorship will help reunite innocent families. Thank you for your time and donations.

JOELLE

I was born in South Korea, raised in California, and spent 6 of my favorite years living in Iowa. During those years, I attended Coe College where I studied political science. Before my last semester of undergrad, I never once considered the possibility that an innocent person could actually go to prison. Then one day, I found myself interviewing an exoneree for my senior research project. Two years later, I began the law school journey to become a public defender. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from the truly talented and dedicated individuals that make up the California Innocence Project. I am excited for the work ahead in continuing to exonerate the wrongfully convicted.

CLINT

I grew up in Bakersfield and bounced around California as a brewmaster’s assistant, bowling alley attendant, bartender, and telemarketer before graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in modern American literature. After working as a District Executive for the Boy Scouts of America in Pueblo, Colorado and in Kern County I decided to pursue a career in law.

My experience with poor legal representation in both criminal and civil matters as a young adult opened my eyes to the injustice that often occurs when someone cannot afford a highly skilled or passionate attorney. I hope that the work I do in CIP will not only help those who have been wrongly convicted, but will open the eyes of others to the fact that our justice system is not perfect.

CHRIS

 

Hi, my name is Christopher. Born in Utah, but raised in North Carolina, I obtained my undergraduate degree in psychology from East Carolina University. Afterwards, I chose to return to the west to attend law school. While southern humidity was enough reason for me to leave the south, the California Innocence project is the major reason I chose to obtain my J.D. at California Western School of Law. Growing up, I was always the kid who was quick to stand up to authority figures whenever they acted unfairly. Today, working for the Innocence Project has given me the amazing opportunity to help change the lives of those who have had their freedoms taken away by an unfair justice system.
Chris - CIP Student 6