Elizabeth Kaigh, St. Mary’s University School of Law first year student, has been awarded a $4,000 internship grant from The Marianist Social Justice Collaborative’s Anti-Death Penalty Committee to work with the Texas Defender Service this summer. The grant was funded by the Marianist Sharing Fund.

The mission of the Texas Defender Service is to be a non-profit organization devoted to establishing a fair and just criminal justice system available to all Texans. During the summer of 2008, Kaigh will work on anti-death penalty issues including post conviction cases by providing research, interviewing witnesses, collecting affidavits and assisting in the preparation of documents for a hearing.

Prior to attending St. Mary’s, Kaigh earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and worked for the Girls Empowerment Network and Students Against Cruelty to Animals.

Kaigh says the injustices behind the current system of capital punishment, both legally and morally, have inspired her to work to fight against it. She sees the internship with the Texas Defender Service as a way to learn to use her legal education to combat this injustice and to maintain the Marianist position against the death penalty.

“The Marianist Social Justice Collaborative is an influential organization that expresses a very important belief that all life should be treated with dignity and sanctity,” Kaigh said. “I personally believe that this is a message which should be emphasized in the discourse regarding the death penalty. It is important to know that there is a moral justification for ending the death penalty in addition to all of the factors that are being considered in its discussion today.”

Sister Grace Walle, F.M.I., chairs the Anti-Death Penalty Committee of the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative and applied for the grant from the Marianist Sharing Fund.

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