By Juan Hernandez
My name is Juan Hernandez and I am a rising 2L. I am originally from Jalisco, Mexico, but I spent most of my life in Asheville, N.C. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I majored in history and Spanish. After undergrad I completed two years as a high school teacher in the city of St. Louis through Teach for America. I chose SLU LAW because of its emphasis on serving the community, the focus on advancing students' practical skills, and because of the faculty’s passion for teaching.
This summer, I have been interning with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois where SLU LAW grad Stephen Wigginton ('88) is the appointed U.S. Attorney. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is tasked with representing the United States in civil and criminal proceedings. I am assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force within the criminal division. I have seen the life of a criminal prosecution from indictments to the final appeals. I was able to write an indictment that received a true bill from the Grand Jury that was then used in the criminal prosecution of a defendant, and I wrote reply briefs to prisoners who were filing their final appeal, a § 2255 petition.
This summer has sharpened my research skills and helped me determine that I will have a career as a litigator. I have had the opportunity to observe court on a weekly basis and it is very invigorating.
Beyond the research and writing, this summer has been an adventure. The office has provided numerous opportunities for learning about the entire criminal system. The other interns and I have visited the Federal Correctional Institute in Greenville, Ill., seen a presentation by the Illinois State Police canine team, received a bankruptcy and fraud training from the IRS, visited the St. Louis City Medical Examiner’s Office and visited the FBI field office in Springfield, Ill., for a day long training. It has been a very eye opening and fun summer.