Jay Sagar has practiced law in Arizona for over 15 years. He completed a dual degree program with the UA's James E. Rogers College of Law and CLAS, and obtained his M.A. in 2004 and his J.D. in 2005. He worked as an Assistant Public Defender at the Pima County Public Defender's Office from 2005 to 2008, and has served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Arizona ever since. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Practice at the College of Law, where he teaches a course on Federal Border Crimes and supervises students in the Criminal Defense Clinic (Federal Track).
"The dual degree JD/MA Latin American Studies program gave me the opportunity to take classes in both the College of Law and the Center for Latin American Studies, and I truly enjoyed my experience overall, especially getting to know all of the great professors and fellow students I met through the Center. I was able to study Portuguese with a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, worked as a Teaching Assistant in courses dealing with Latin American history and politics, and traveled to Chile as part of an international journalism course. There were so many opportunities to connect with others with varying interests in the region. Learning about the history, economic issues, and political landscape in Latin America became useful for my present work as a public defender in federal court. For certain cases involving clients from Mexico and Central America, it is important to provide as much background information as possible about the country conditions in order to advocate effectively on the client's behalf. This comes up in cases involving criminal immigration and drug trafficking charges, and especially when duress is raised as a defense. The interdisciplinary nature of Latin American Studies is critical for seeing the big picture, and I'm grateful for the academic experience I had in the program."