Guion Johnstone: Why I chose UofL Law

Guion Johnstone

Transylvania University
B.A. Psychology and Spanish Language & Literature

"As a dual degree student in Law and Social Work I am pursuing a career in social justice. I spent this summer working with the Federal Defender’s Capital Habeas Unit in Philadelphia. The Capital Habeas Unit represents death-sentenced prisoners in postconviction proceedings in jurisdictions throughout the country.

True to my belief, my death row clients had heart-wrenching histories including being raped daily as a child, drug addiction by the age of six, paranoidschizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury. Moreover, all of these difficulties were compounded by other factors such as poverty, racism, or a lack of education.

During my internship I was able to advocate for new trials when poverty and racism may have interfered with a client’s right to competent representation and a fair trial. I was involved in advocating for death sentences to be reduced to life sentences when factors such as childhood abuse and mental illness should have been considered during sentencing. I am proud and honored to have worked for an organization that promotes treating everyone with the dignity and respect that all human beings deserve."