Clinical Professor of Law and the Clinical Director of the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Sandra specializes in international human rights litigation, access to justice, death penalty defense, and the application of international law in U.S. courts. As indicated in a prior post, she's a noted expert on the applicability of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to criminal cases in national courts – in particular, the courts of the United States, where she's frequently litigated the issue on behalf of prisoners denied their treaty-based right to consular access. In her introductory post below, Sandra discusses a new decision in which the Nevada Supreme Court adhered to a 2004 International Court of Justice ruling with respect to the Convention.
After earning her bachelor's in international relations from Johns Hopkins University and her J.D. from Harvard, where she served as Executive Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Sandra began her career as a staff attorney at the Texas Capital Resource Center, a nonprofit dedicated to defending men and women facing the death penalty. She later practiced as a public defender in Minnesota, as a solo practitioner, and as Director of the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program, funded by the Mexican Foreign Ministry to assist Mexican nationals facing capital punishment in the United States. In 2003 Mexico recognized her work by giving her the highest honor accorded citizens of other countries, the Águila Azteca.
Since joining Northwestern's law faculty in 2006, Sandra has worked with students on, inter alia, the representation of Mexican nationals on death row, the representation of a detainee at Guantánamo, fieldwork designed to alleviate overcrowding in Malawian prisons, documentation of atrocities for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and advocacy surrounding the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
post a while back, Sandra dedicates her post to Joan Fitzpatrick (right), a renowned expert on immigration and refugee law, human rights law, and international law. At the time of her sudden death in 2003, at age 52, she was the Jeffrey & Susan Brotman Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. Prior to that, she'd also taught at Arkansas and Virginia, and been a government lawyer in Washington, D.C. Colleagues honored her and another fallen human rights lawyer by publishing an essay collection, Human Rights And Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons And Migrant Workers: Essays In Memory of Joan Fitzpatrick and Arthur Helton (Anne Bayefsky ed., 2005). Sandra writes:
'I dedicate the post to Joan because she was deeply engaged in the struggle to end the death penalty, torture, and other human rights violations. For her it was more than an academic exercise.'Heartfelt welcome!