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Headshot of Justin McCarroll

Justin McCarroll

  • Hosted by Georgia Resource Center
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Atlanta, Georgia
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Justin (he/him/his) will provide direct legal representation, outreach, and policy advocacy for individuals sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) in Georgia.

Over the last 20 years, the number of individuals sentenced to life without parole in Georgia has more than quintupled. Georgia also has one of the most extreme racial disparities in LWOP sentencing, with Black prisoners making up 75% of Georgia’s LWOP population. Once sentenced, a person is given just one appeal. Beyond that, the defendant—who is usually indigent—must somehow secure resources or represent themselves for any post-conviction proceedings. This means that indigent people in non-capital cases have no one to represent them, even in cases of grave injustice. Justin’s project will serve as a vital first step to providing meaningful representation for people facing life without parole, which has been described as a “silent execution.”

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Justin will represent people sentenced to life without parole in their habeas proceedings by implementing litigation and advocacy tactics from the Georgia Resource Center’s capital casework. He will develop resources and conduct trainings to establish a team of student volunteers who will assist in identifying cases with strong claims of post-conviction relief. Additionally, he will seek to form a broad-based coalition between incarcerated people, lawyers, community advocates, and other stakeholders to support the litigation challenges and advocate to end Georgia’s mandatory application of LWOP for second-time offenders of certain felonies.

Media

Greenberg Traurig Sponsors Record 201st Equal Justice Works Fellow

I have worked with incredible people who were granted parole and are making the world a better place today, yet most of them would have received a mandatory sentence of life without parole in Georgia. This injustice is just one example of why LWOP sentences, which label people as irredeemable, are inherently degrading and cruel.

Justin McCarrol /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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