DESCRIPTION OF CCJI: The Cold Case Justice Initiative was established in 2007 at the Syracuse University College of Law in response to requests from families who have never received an accounting or any form of legal justice for the killing of their loved ones. Since that time CCJI has become a leader in the advocacy for many such families and has discovered over 300 suspicious killings, including police killings that are not on any FBI list of unsolved civil rights homicides from that era. CCJI has also been one of the few groups to insist on the full implementation of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 and to argue for its extension and its breadth of coverage. Students have worked in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., on behalf of the families. Students have discovered voluminous FBI files related to CCJI investigations that were located in the National Archives. The students have abstracted and indexed the material and participate in analyzing the information in furtherance of the investigations. The summer 2015 internship is an opportunity to further this work and gain valuable skills.

POSITION DESCRIPTION: The Cold Case Justice Initiative is currently searching for full-time CCJI Law Interns for the Summer of 2015 from May 29 – August 7, 2015. Approximately eight legal interns will be hired. Most of the interns (probably six) will be located in Atlanta, Georgia where CCJI has identified over 100 suspicious unsolved civil rights era racist killings from the period between 1946 and 1969. The other two interns will be located in Syracuse, NY and/or Washington, DC. Professors Paula C. Johnson and Janis L. McDonald co-direct CCJI. They are law professors and attorneys, and will supervise the students’ work.

The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007, H.R. 923 (110th Cong. 2007-2009) requires thorough investigations of racial violence during this era by the Department of Justice and the FBI. However, no one has ever done a full accounting of all those who were killed during this period but CCJI continues to search. CCJI has provided DOJ/FBI with 196 names not previously on their list and we continue to add more as other families come forward and our students research documents to identify circumstances that warrant further investigation.

Responsibilities will include document research in courthouses, archives, museums, state and local libraries as well as warehouses and other units where old government documents have been deposited. Further work will be conducted to identify more victims by community outreach and organization of meetings with religious leaders, civil rights activists, and family members. Work will also be assigned in support of ongoing case investigations and advocacy for families who have already sought our assistance. An orientation will be conducted May 29th – June 1 and is a requirement for the position. Weekend work will be required on occasion to attend relevant events and meet with community members in furtherance of the project.

Students who may be placed in D.C. will conduct similar work, which also may emphasize Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing and work on legislative amendments to the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Act of 2007 (which is scheduled to sunset in 2017). Students in Syracuse will conduct the work of the Cold Case Justice Initiative home office and should be a student who has worked with CCJI in the past. Interns placed in D.C. or Syracuse must attend the full orientation from May 29 to June 1.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS: CCJI is looking for applicants who are passionate about these issues and who will be dedicated to assisting in any way possible with research and outreach to interested and affected communities in order to identify victims of racist killings of the civil rights era identified. This is not necessarily a 9-5 job.

The applicants must be in good standing at his or her law school. Previous experience in document research, outreach in diverse communities, civil rights or volunteer community service is helpful but not required. Strong communication skills, analysis, writing ability, sensitivity, and good common sense are essential. The internships are full time positions and therefore other coursework or part time jobs are generally discouraged, unless unusual circumstances are approved.

To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, transcript, names and contact info for two references, by the deadline of Friday, March 20, 2015.

SALARY: $6,000 stipend to cover the period from May 31, 2015 to August 7, 2015. Travel to location and housing are not otherwise covered by CCJI, although housing and most meals will be provided for the orientation May 31-June 1. Some assistance will be available to locate cheap housing if desired.

OTHER: An orientation program will be conducted Friday, May 29 – Monday, June 1, in Atlanta, GA. Participation in the orientation is mandatory as it is an important part of the training. In your cover letter please address your reasons for wanting to pursue summer legal internship experience in a criminal/social justice program. Also please review the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007, 923 H.R. (110th Cong. 2007-2009) and our website to learn more about our work. Please indicate your preference and your reasons for desiring placement in Atlanta, D.C. or Syracuse and whether the other options are acceptable to you.


ATTN: Colleen Denick
Cold Case Justice Initiative
Syracuse University College of Law
950 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-6070
Phone 315-443-9991; Fax 315-443-4141


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