Joshua Demers ’17
Deputy State Public Defender, Office of the Colorado State Public Defender
Read my story
As the son of an Air Force Colonel, it’s no surprise that Joshua Demers likes to know what the rules are.
As an undergraduate, he majored in criminal justice, but wasn’t sure law school was a fit. Then, he found out about the co-op program and was hooked by the idea of combining work and classroom experiences. His co-ops allowed him to work with judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys, where he saw firsthand that though legal rules are supposed to create a just and organized system, often the outcome is the opposite. He decided very quickly that his goal was to be a public defender.
Now, he’s pursuing his passion: righting the rules for society’s most vulnerable defendants. “As a public defender, I often represent people who have been taken advantage of, even when it comes to basic constitutional rights. Life, liberty and justice don’t come easily, but everyone deserves to have someone who will fight for them, regardless of the crime charged,” says Demers.
Massachusetts Sentencing Commission, Boston
On his first co-op, Joshua worked with judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys, conducting legal research for the state commission charged with developing uniform sentencing policies.
- Social Welfare Law
- Pre-Trial Practice
- Private Litigation in the Public Interest
- American Legal Thought
Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, New Orleans
Building on his skills in legal and policy research, Joshua assisted in writing and crafting legislation, and prepared motions, briefs, memoranda and documents for trial, for courts ranging from the Louisiana Juvenile Court to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Criminal Law and JusticeThe concentration in Criminal Law and Justice allows students to thoroughly engage in criminal procedure and substantive criminal law through offerings of specialized courses, clinics and co-op opportunities developed by leading legal practitioners and scholars.
- Student Bar Association
- NUSL Softball Team
- Phi Alpha Delta
- NUSL Mediation Team
Colorado State Public Defender, Montrose
Granted special certification by the Colorado Supreme Court to represent clients, Joshua handled more than 50 cases, working from initial advisement of charges to jury trial.
Prisoners’ Rights and Civil Rights and Restorative Justice
In the Prisoners’ Rights Clinic, Joshua prepared and represented a client serving a life sentence at his parole hearing in front of the Massachusetts Parole Board. He reviewed court documents, wrote a memorandum in support of parole and helped prepare witnesses to testify at the hearing.
In the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic, he investigated racially motivated cases of violence in the mid-1900s. He contacted potential sources, researched family lineage and filed public record requests. Additionally, Joshua prepared a memorandum and presented his findings to the class and a panel.
Wake County Public Defender Office, Raleigh (North Carolina)
On this co-op, Joshua worked hand-in-hand with the head of the felony office. His responsibilities included client communication, writing motions and preparing for trial.