From Charlottesville to Bridgeport, With a Stop at a Federal Prison in Petersburg
Before courses were forced online because of the pandemic, Guerrier said she was lucky to take an in-person course her during second year of Law School with Underhill, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies from UVA in 1978.
“He teaches a course [on federal sentencing] in the fall,” she said. “I could just tell from the class that he was absolutely someone that I would love to have the opportunity to work for.”
So, what was the big appeal? Well, for one thing, Guerrier said “he’s brilliant.” The second thing that really stood out to her was the unique field trip he planned for the course, and the reason behind it.
Each year, Underhill takes his students to a federal prison; Guerrier’s group visited the Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg. Underhill’s reasoning for the trip is that people studying to be prosecutors or defenders must understand where convicts are being sent. And as a judge, he told Guerrier and her classmates, it’s essential that he, too, can appreciate the federal jail system as he decides the fate of people in his courtroom.