TJSL alumna Hallie Tremaine ’10 recently found herself at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba – the place where suspected terrorists and detainees from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are being held, along with some of the alleged planners behind the 9-11 attacks.
“I’m a year and a half out of law school, and this was an extraordinary experience,” Tremaine said. “It was surreal to be in a place like Cuba.”
Tremaine, who is an attorney at the Pentagon for the Washington Headquarters Services, was at Gitmo in early August to participate in a mock trial – but it was very different from the mock trials in which she participated here at TJSL.
This mock trial was a run through for the upcoming military commission trial of several of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks, and four others - all being held at the Guantanamo prison. The authorities want to make sure that things run smoothly when the real trials take place.
There was a lot of role-play involved, and Tremaine’ s role in one mock trial session was to play a juror, and the family member of a 9-11 victim in another.
“I was literally feet from someone accused of participating in this horrible thing,” Tremaine said. “To contribute to actually doing justice in these cases is an eye-opening experience.”
“I was fortunate to be able to spend a week in Guantanamo Bay and engage in this historic event,” she added. “I spent my days in the state-of-the-art courtroom in ‘GITMO,’ and spent several evenings touring the area by boat, and even SCUBA diving.”
Tremaine was back in Washington in time to experience the 5.8. earthquake that struck in southern Virginia on August 23. She was in a high-rise in the city where she also has an office and the entire building was evacuated – along with a lot of other buildings in the D.C. area. And she was there as Hurricane Irene moved through the D.C. area, with its high winds and heavy rains.
“Relocating to Washington, D.C. presented considerable changes from sunny San Diego,” said Tremaine. However the excitement of participating in projects that truly make a difference remind me why I’m here.”