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DVPH Clinic Student Lexie Paddon '25 Works With Prosecutors to Secure Convictions in High-Profle Case

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The Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic within the Edward P. Swyer Justice Center at Albany Law School gave Lexie Paddon ’25 the opportunity to bring a bit of justice to families and children in the Capital Region. As a clinic student, she worked on a high-profile case alongside the Special Victims Unit, within the Schenectady County Prosecutor’s Office, which handles abuse cases, rape cases, and child pornography cases.

Paddon worked closely with prosecutors on the case against 43-year-old Joshua Hodgson, securing more than a dozen convictions. In January, Hodgson was found guilty of 20 felonies and three misdemeanors for his months-long criminal sexual relationship with a 13-year-old. 

“The offender, Joshua Hodgson, chose a victim who was the child of his best friend, who he was living with at the time. He groomed the child to convince the child that they were in a relationship, that they were in love, that this was normal,” Paddon said. “This was a big case to work on as a second-year law student.”

Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Mark Caruso recently sentenced Hodgson to 100 years to life in prison, and Paddon was there to hear the sentence be read. 

Lexie Paddon

“I jumped in headfirst; my very first day at SVU was jury selection for the Joshua Hodgson trial; I was the go-to-person for [Bureau Chief] John Carson '13 through the whole trial,” Paddon said. “Any time he needed a case law, something drafted, an email sent on the case, I was the person he turned to, and he made me feel respected as a law student. He would ask my opinion as a law student and future lawyer and have legal conversations to teach me how to proceed in these trials. He also taught me how to speak to opposing parties and witnesses.”

“One of the most emotional parts of the trial was victim testimony day,” Paddon said. “It is a victory to get an offender like this off the streets and to bring awareness to these grooming situations that so many people are unaware of. I am proud to be a part of this case, not only to have learned so much from my bureau chief, John Carson '13, but to see this through from start to finish.”

While she initially thought her career would take her in a slightly different direction, this experience has opened her eyes to new possibilities.

“I learned so much from John Carson. I had a great experience, and I hope that every other law student has the opportunity to do the same thing,” Paddon said. “It is a path I am very passionate about. I want to make a difference, and that is something that Carson, the SVU, and the DVPH program helped me do this semester.”

With dreams of helping domestic violence victims in family and civil court, she said she never thought about a career in criminal law. Now, with her experience working with the SVU on the Hodgson case and seeing the impact it made on the victim, their family, and the community, Paddon is considering a new path, one that already sits close to her heart.

“My law school story is a little different. I came into law school during 2020, and during my first year, I was in the middle of leaving a very abusive relationship,” Paddon said. “I had to find a new place to live, I had to find a new vehicle, and I ended up taking a year off from law school. I came back in 2022, and I began my first year again. I always knew that I wanted to bring awareness to domestic violence, to abuse, to child abuse, and things of that nature.”

Now, Paddon is doing just that and then some, even sooner than she thought possible. The Hodgson case was big, she said, and had significant implications that affected real lives.

To make a difference is why many law students, including Lexie Paddon, pursue a career in the legal field. Paddon certainly has made a difference through her experience provided by the Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic in the Edward P. Swyer Justice Center. She also learned to keep an open mind and follow your passions.

“This experience has opened my eyes more than I ever thought it could; I never thought about being an Assistant District Attorney or working in criminal law. I always wanted to do domestic violence work and child abuse work in the family court setting and the civil setting, but I have considered switching paths now because of the work that the SVU does,” Paddon said.