Summer Intern in the Bergen County Public Defender's Office
As a 3L at Seton Hall University School of Law, Javier J. Diaz ’14 is no stranger to the public interest field. While attending the University of Memphis, Diaz created a community outreach program that provided troubled teens with life skills and GED testing preparation. He later received his Masters Degree in Criminal Justice on which his thesis focused on an application of social theories and how criminal justice agencies support racial inequalities of stereotypes and what negative effects they have on local communities.
Being raised in the projects of Miami, Diaz personally witnessed some of the inadequacies within the criminal justice system, leading him to his legal career path here at Seton Hall Law. “Education is the grand equalizer of America. I felt that the best way to change the inadequacies of our system was to obtain a solid education by studying law and ultimately ridding the criminal justice system of its flaws through law and legislation,” says Diaz.
Under the supervision of Jaclyn Medina, Esq., Diaz spent his 2012 summer as a very active intern at the Public Defenders Office for Bergen County in Hackensack, New Jersey. Diaz describes this summer experience as, “the most significant legal experience that I have received thus far, thanks to the hands-on practical experience that I received as a 2L entering my third year. I came to law school to advocate for the voiceless and people within the community and I got to do exactly that!”
Over his ten-week internship program, Diaz not only sharpened his legal writing skills by producing legal briefs and memorandas for the court, he also sharpened his litigation skills. He fearlessly argued and advocated for his clients in the courtroom. Adding to his impressive background, Diaz now has experience arguing Wade motions, 6th Amendment motions to dismiss, and violations of the Interstate and Agreement on Detainers. Additionally, Diaz conducted in-jail interviews, negotiated plea agreements, represented clients in arraignment and bail proceedings, and successfully argued against continued institutional detention at a juvenile proceeding.
“If you want to make a change you have to go get it done yourself and you have to work in the community to do that. You have to see what’s going on in the trenches and not just work from a pillar…you need to get your hands dirty. I was given this opportunity at the Public Defenders Office and it served as continued inspiration to my goal. To sum it all up, we must ensure Justitia’s eyes are not uncovered, her balanced is without defect, and her sword is sharp.”