Summer 2021 Intern: Reid Burrows

I was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, and from an early age, I was an active child. I played several sports a week, but my main focus was rugby. At the age of eleven, I started to play tennis and right away realized this was a sport I was deeply passionate about. Tennis was the first individual sport I had ever played, and being alone on the court, knowing everything fell on my shoulders gave me a feeling of responsibility and pride that I had not felt playing other sports.

At twelve, my parents forced me to pick only one sport as playing rugby and tennis led to constant overlap with training and games. I made the tough decision to choose tennis, despite playing it for less than a year, because playing an individual sport was a new experience I wanted to continue to pursue. A year later, my coach at the time informed me if I trained hard enough, I could play tennis in America as a college athlete. He himself had played tennis for a university in Texas, and he informed me that coming to America as a college athlete is what tennis players across the world do after graduating high school. I found the idea of coming to America attractive as I could continue my education while playing the sport that I love at a high level.

All through high school I continued to play and train hard, and in my senior year, I was lucky enough to be offered an athletic scholarship to Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. While attending Flagler, I majored in criminology because growing up I loved watching detective shows with my family. I had a great eye for catching the subtle clues that showed who committed the crime; and because of this, my mother thought I should study criminology.

After my freshman year, I unfortunately lacked passion for the subject; I expected to learn how to interrogate and profile people as I had seen on television, but I quickly learned that what is portrayed on shows like C.S.I. and Criminal Minds is not representative of what criminologist actually do. However, during my sophomore year, I quickly discovered my passion for criminal justice after adding law as a minor.

My first class was criminal law, which was taught by a professor who was also a practicing defense attorney. This professor represented clients who had been treated unfairly by the police; whether it was being arrested without probable cause or in situations where the police took advantage of the clients’ lack of knowledge of their rights. This professor had such a strong passion for ensuring everyone was treated fairly, regardless of their background, that I realized I wanted to do the same.

My passion for criminal justice grew during my senior year when I took a class, “Police in Society.” I learned not only how dangerous American prisons are, but also how little help is given to prisoners who re-enter society. What I learned in that class inspired me to write my senior seminar paper on the poor treatment of prisoners and how it relates to the deliberate indifference of prison staff and the Eighth Amendment’s right against cruel and unusual punishment.

After taking a few law classes in college, I realized I wanted to be an attorney. Once becoming a lawyer, my hope is to work at a legal aid clinic and provide legal assistance to those individuals who could not afford it.

In the fall of 2019, I was accepted into The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, in Washington D.C. I just recently finished my first year of law school and was lucky enough to make the dean’s list for the 2020-2021 academic year. Now as an intern for The Wyoming Truth, I would like to put to use my passion for criminal justice and helping people. I have found a particular interest in constitutional law; therefore, through this internship, my goal is to bring light to cases where individual’s rights have not been upheld through the criminal justice process. My hope for this internship is to make a difference in the Jackson area and to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equally. If I am able to achieve this, it will be the most meaningful thing I have done in my life.

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