Student Defender Provides Legal Insight in University Judicial Process
Sept. 10, 2008
Students with legal questions stemming from their university experience have someone to take up their causes. Third year law student Nick Peterson has been named the new student defender for the Associated Students of the University of Idaho.
Peterson, a native of Pocatello, Idaho, will help students with their defenses in the university judicial process.
“My position as the student defender will give me experience and make me a better and more effective advocate,” said Peterson. “I’m currently prosecuting misdemeanors in Lewiston and it gives me an opposite look to what I will be doing as the student defender.”
Although his main role is the student defender in the university judicial process, Peterson also can assist ASUI with informational legal research related to policies at the state and university levels. In previous years, the student defender has been asked to weigh in on issues related to student fees and health insurance programs, among others.
"The student defender has been around for more than 10 years on campus," said Steven Janowiak, director of Student Activities. "If a student faces university judicial action, they have access to Peterson. However, it is the student’s choice whether or not to access the student defender for help."
Clients or potential clients will be held in the strictest of confidence, Peterson said. Barring extenuating circumstances such as immediate danger to someone or serious perjury, client confidentiality will be maintained. That is part of being an attorney and it applies in this position for ASUI, he said.
"I applied for the position because I think everyone deserves zealous representation and their day in court," Peterson said. He believes that he can advocate for a student that happens to get into trouble without casting judgment because "I was a ‘dumb kid’ once, too."
Peterson will graduate in May 2009. With his student defender experience, coupled with the hours required of pro bono work, Peterson hopes to pursue some sort of public interest position or work for the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps.
He can be reached during his regular office hours on Tuesdays 11-3 p.m. and Thursdays 11-2 p.m. If those hours are unavailable or for more information contact Peterson at 885-4746 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.