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Lindsay Horstman remembers one inmate she met on death row this summer in Mississippi. Horstman, 25, had just flown in to the state’s capital city, Jackson, two weeks earlier for an internship program through the University of San Francisco School of Law. She recalls the two-hour drive in her rented Pontiac Grand Am down a road marked by big Mac trucks with Confederate flags on their grates. She finally pulled in to the Mississippi State Penitentiary behind Jack Williams, one of her supervising attorneys, and the two made their way to death row to meet their client. “When he walked in in shackles, despite all I’d read, it just made me sad,” she says. “They’re just human beings.” Going into her third year at the USF law school, Horstman spent the bulk of her summer working at the office of capital post-conviction counsel in Jackson, Miss., with second-year law students Daniel Walworth and Iraida Lopez. Third-year student Kevin Canty as well as second-years Michael Stanton and Meghan Cunningham interned with the Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana in New Orleans. Throughout the sticky southern summer, the six students helped severely understaffed offices gather evidence and prepare case materials in an effort to help the states’ inmates avoid the death penalty. The program marked the first time USF law school has sent students out of California to help out with post-conviction death penalty work; USF is only the second law school in the country to create such a partnership. Steven Shatz, a law professor at USF and co-author of the textbook “Cases and Materials on the Death Penalty,” organized the program. “I’d become frustrated just writing about it and wanted to do something,” he says. “And many of us at the law school feel students crave something worthwhile to do.” As part of their work in the South, the students interviewed family members of the convicts, as well as past jurors who often just wanted to put the case behind them. After all her legwork, Horstman returned to the state penitentiary to meet with the death row inmate she’d met earlier. This time, on the last day of the program, she went alone. “I just felt I should let him know what I’d done on his case,” she says.

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