From Jena 6 to Law School: Theo Shaw

Theo Shaw

Theo Shaw had already spent a month in the Lasalle Parish Jail when Friends of Justice first arrived in Jena.  Seven months would pass before he returned to the free world.  Last week, I sat down with Theo across the street from the University of Louisiana, Monroe campus.  He had been a bewildered High School kid the last time we had spoken; he is now a confident young man.  Theo politely answered my questions about the Jena 6 experience; but his eyes didn’t sparkle until the conversation shifted to the future.  Theo Shaw is a man on a mission. 

From Jena 6 to Law School

Theo Shaw

The Jena 6 situation could have ruined my life, but it was really an opportunity to build my character. During that journey, I found my calling in life.

After spending four mouths in a 24/7 lock-down cell, I knew that if I wanted any change in my situation, I would have to act on my own behalf.  I befriended another inmate who had a law book. My bond was set at $130,000, so I began to write my own bond reduction motions.  My first couple of attempts failed, but after two months of work I finally got the bond lowered.  That’s when I started thinking about going to law school once I had my freedom. 

This experience showed me how valuable knowledge of the law could be. I began talking to my attorney and a few friends about attending law school.  If I could attend law school, I knew I could be an awesome advocate for other people. 

I am now a political science major and Spanish minor at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. Before transferring to ULM, I had a wonderful experience as Student Government President at Louisiana Delta Community College. As president, I met with many legislators at our state capital in Baton Rouge, LA.  The big highlight was being able to lobby against legislative proposals I thought were bad for Louisiana college students.  This experience strengthened my desire to make it to law school.

After transferring to ULM, I was able to view the law first-hand as an intern with the Innocence Project of New Orleans in the summer of 2010.  This gave me a chance to work with lawyers and investigators on a number of criminals case. The work was hard and long, but I enjoyed every moment of it. I completed memos on cases, and worked on several research projects.  Protecting the rights of others is now my professional goal.  I pray to God about becoming a lawyer every day.  It’s an ambitious goal; but with God on my side, I know I can do it.

God has blessed me with an amazing church family.  There are so many distractions that can pull a college student away from God’s purpose for your life.  The Jena 6 experience happened when I was a high school student, but things are very different now. I now have loving Christian people in my life to support me. My faith is in God, and if I continue to delight myself in his righteousness, he will guide my steps.

Many thanks to everyone who supported us during the Jena 6 experience.  It was a nightmare that turned into a rich blessing. God Bless you all!

Theo Shaw

5 thoughts on “From Jena 6 to Law School: Theo Shaw

  1. Theo my friends and I worked( signed petitions,wrote letters and prayed) for all of you during that terrible time. We are very happy to know you are doing so well. I hope your other friends survived that terrible ordeal as well. Love and PEACE to all of you. Teddi

  2. It is amazing when you find your voice! Thanks so much for following up on members of the Jena 6 situation. Glad to know there will be another able and willing speaker of truths helping in our communities. Peace & Blessings, Theo!

  3. I shall send positive thoughts and prayers Theo’s way. I am confident he will succeed. Each semester I show the Jena 6 video to my students. I am thrilled to be able to give them this update. Peace and blessings.

  4. I would like for Theo Shaw to please get in contact with me asap though my email address and then I will give my phone number. THANK U!

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