Brandon Buskey ’02 Joins ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project

posted 2012.09.27

Brandon Buskey ‘02, a former assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of the New York State Attorney General, believes his experience as a Park Scholar at NC State contributed to both his professional and personal success.

During his tenure with the attorney general’s office, Buskey developed office litigation for civil rights cases and addressed issues of discrimination in the areas of employment, education, and police misconduct. He was also a member of an inter-agency task force on human trafficking.

“My position allowed me to rely upon the considerable authority of state government to fight for the civil rights of the state’s most vulnerable members,” says Buskey. “I most enjoyed the opportunity to creatively address pressing problems of discrimination, such as police misconduct or employment discrimination, in ways unavailable to private litigants.”

Brandon Buskey addresses his fellow New York University School of Law graduates at commencement. Buskey was nominated by his classmates for this honor.
Brandon Buskey addresses his fellow New York University School of Law graduates at commencement. Buskey was nominated by his classmates for this honor.

Before working in New York, Buskey was a staff attorney with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama. At EJI, he represented indigent defendants on death row in Alabama and juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment without parole throughout the nation.

Prior to EJI, Buskey worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Janet Hall, U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut—researching, drafting, and making decisions in active litigation, while assisting Hall with trial management.

While a student at NC State, Buskey was a Caldwell Fellow and an active member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Order of 30 and 3. During his junior year, he was named a Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation for his record of leadership and commitment to make a difference through serving the public.

“The Park Scholarship was critical in allowing me to identify academic and personal mentors that helped guide me through the college experience,” Buskey says. “I also could not have imagined being at all successful in pursuing national scholarships like the Truman without the help of the program and prior Park Scholars who had been through the same process.”

After earning a degree in psychology, Buskey decided to attend the New York University School of Law because of its unique commitment to public interest law and criminal justice. He was awarded the Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship for his own commitment to public service, academic merit, and leadership. He was also awarded the AnBryce Scholarship, which is given to students who are the first in their families to attend graduate school. He went on to receive his JD with honors.

“I felt that my major fit perfectly with my desire to pursue criminal justice work since psychology involves the study of human behavior, and the law is a set of rules crafted to control human behavior,” Buskey says.

As a law student, Buskey volunteered with the Juvenile and Criminal Defense Clinic and the Brennan Center Public Policy Advocacy Clinic. During his summer breaks, Buskey worked as a legal intern and special assistant at The Defender Association in Seattle; legal intern for the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans; and as a legal assistant in the Charlotte firm of Ferguson, Stein, Chambers, Gresham and Sumter.

Buskey has presented his legal research at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual convention and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Capital Defenders annual conference. He has also published papers in the Harvard Law and Policy Review and the New York University Review of Law and Social Change.

Recently, Buskey accepted a position with the Criminal Law Reform Project(CLRP) of the American Civil Liberties Union. The CLRP is focused on ending mass incarceration and reforming the country’s drug laws. His work involves impact litigation and advocacy to address issues underlying mass incarceration, such as prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate indigent defense systems, and racial disparities in criminal justice practices.

“I’m extremely excited about this new position,” says Buskey. “Through all of my experiences I’ve come to realize that my passion is criminal justice reform, and CLRP offers a wonderful opportunity for me to do exactly that with a wonderful group of colleagues.”

Despite his busy schedule, Buskey continues to support the Park Scholarships program by connecting Park Scholars with employment opportunities in the legal field and advising them on national scholarship options.