Working with Capital Area Private Defender Service on the myPadilla project

Gabrielle Akin

This semester I have interned with Capital Area Private Defenders Service. It is a nonprofit organization that serves as a resource for assigned counsel for indigent clients. In addition to providing resources and information CAPDS also serves as a form of oversight for assigned counsel allowing clients an avenue to report to if they are unsatisfied with the legal representation they are receiving. This is important to me because I value the right to due process and competent representation for all individuals and I am very glad for the experience and opportunity to be involved with this organization in any capacity. I was originally assigned to a project a project in which I would help associated attorneys assess the experts used for testimony in their cases and provide reviews for other lawyers who may need an expert in the same field. Although, I have primarily been working on the myPadilla project which is a statewide online resource which provides information on how taking plea deals pertaining to different crimes can affect one’s immigration status and path to citizenship. Immigration law is complicated and subject to change. Most people are not experts on the matter and do not know of an immediate and accessible resource to gather information pertaining to their specific case. MyPadilla is a website where attorneys can save their clients information and any case details and be connected with experts to ensure their client is aware of how any actions taken might impact their immigrant status. I spend my time reaching out to county bar associates to make more people aware of the resource and hopefully help more people receive sound council in their criminal cases. I am very interested in learning more about our legal system, and the hands on experience with people who work as criminal defense attorneys has proven to be very informative. I actually got this internship by reaching out to the organizations director, Bradley Hargis, directly. My Abuelita is an activist within our community and had become his acquaintance, she urged me to reach out to him for any available opportunities and luckily I was able to get in despite the fact that a lot of in person activity at CAPDS has slowed down due to the pandemic. However, I have been able to do everything remotely. I recommend checking out the capds website (http://www.capds.org/) if you are interested in experience working in criminal defense and public service, personally I am unsure of any deadlines as my arrangement was slightly more informal.

Image source: (http://www.findglocal.com/US/Austin/1506976656212604/Capital-Area-Private-Defender-Service)


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