Second-year student Kristin Traicoff’s paper “Closing Two Doors with One Hand” took top honors in the ABA-sponsored 2006 Greenhalgh Student Writing Competition. The paper focuses on the relationship between plain error review and review for prejudice in habeas proceedings. She argues that courts are improperly denying certain habeas petitions as a result of a misunderstanding of the relationship between these two doctrines. Traicoff wrote the article as part of an independent study project under the supervision of Visiting Acting Clinical Professor Ty Alper.
Currently interning at the Office of the Federal Defender in Oakland, Traicoff plans to pursue a career working on capital cases. Last summer she interned in Louisiana, working on post-conviction petitions for death row inmates. She will become a member of the Death Penalty Clinic in the coming academic year. Traicoff enjoys the complexity and challenges posed by this area of law. She says she is drawn by the human element, “It involves a deep sense of compassion towards one’s clients, and mindfulness of the social and political dynamics that result in some people ending up on death row.”
The annual national Greehnalgh contest is named for the late Georgetown University professor and Fourth Amendment constitutional law scholar, William Greenhalgh. As the winner, Traicoff will receive a $2,000 prize. In addition, her essay will be published in a forthcoming issue of Criminal Justice Magazine.