Seeking High-Profile Litigation Experience, Clinic Student Finds Herself in the News

Alexa Horner
Alexa Horner ‘18

Alexa Horner ‘18 enrolled in law school with plans to work in high-profile litigation. Little did she know that by the end of her second year, she’d be assigned to a case drawing national headlines.

As a member of the Loyola Project for the Innocent (LPI), Horner was part of a team of Loyola students and attorneys who successfully petitioned for the release of Andrew Leander Wilson, who spent 32 years in jail on a wrongful conviction. Wilson was freed after a March 2017 hearing in which a judge found that his constitutional rights had been violated. The hearing came as a result of more than two years of legal work by Horner and her colleagues, who conducted interviews and drafted court filings to prove that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence.

““Having the extraordinary opportunity to be a part of Mr. Wilson’s release was a life- changing experience I will never forget,” says Horner, who discussed her experience with media outlets such as KABC-TV. “Working on the legal matters of the case, getting to meet with Mr. Wilson in prison, attending all of his hearings and being there to witness him walk free all confirmed my passion that pursuing a law degree will allow me to make a difference.”

Horner was already comfortable in the courtroom thanks to an externship in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Major Crimes Division and a judicial clerkship with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

“Campus life at Loyola has been incredible, and much more rewarding than I could have ever expected,” says Horner, “I really appreciate all of the opportunities I've had to get involved with other students and faculty, and the hands-on learning opportunities that are part of our classroom studies.”

Outside of her significant courtroom and client experience, Horner has been active in several other campus organizations. She was a representative to the Day Student Bar Association and wrote onto the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review, where she is now executive editor.

“I was attracted to Loyola because of its outstanding entertainment and criminal law programs,” explains Horner, whose law-review position affords her the opportunity to fuse both interests. Her note drawing on both subjects, “International Public Opinion with High-Profile Cases: An Analysis and Solution for the Amanda Knox, Natalee Holloway and Ryan Lochte Cases,” is set to be published in an upcoming issue.

Having explored a wide swath of legal subjects, Horner’s work freeing a wrongfully convicted client was transformative. “My LPI experience has inspired me to continue my work in criminal law after I graduate.”

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