Help those who may have been wrongfully convicted.
While our criminal justice system strives for accuracy, when it comes to the determinations of guilt or innocence, it is not perfect, and it will never be perfect. Humans are fallible and the system makes mistakes that are inherent in all of humankind’s work. In the past decade, DNA evidence has been used to exonerate numerous wrongfully convicted individuals and has served to highlight many other unreliable aspects of our justice system, including issues involving junk science, the unreliability of eyewitness identifications, improperly suggestive identification methods, and coercive interrogation techniques. The Wrongful Convictions Practicum offers students a rewarding and fulfilling opportunity to help individuals who claim an unjust result after either a trial or guilty plea, and who need assistance from the legal community in investigating and developing their claims for presentation in the courts.
Students in the Practicum will engage in activities that include the following:
- Screening prisoners’ applications and reviewing attorneys’ files, pleadings, transcripts, and judicial decisions in the case.
- Identifying and researching potential areas of investigation including forensic testing and witness investigation that may result in the discovery of exculpatory information or exonerative evidence.
- Exploring issues including jury contamination, Fourth Amendment violations, mental health, and constitutional limits on sentencing.
- Conducting legal research and analyzing the legal requirements for obtaining a new trial, and learning about the mechanics and strategies associated with motions for post-conviction relief in the state and federal courts.
This is designed as a one-semester Practicum offering two graded credits. Students can expect to meet in a weekly seminar and conduct fieldwork into wrongful convictions cases.
Wrongful Convictions Practicum: LAW JD 902
THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Wrongful Convictions Practicum. Students have the opportunity to enroll for one semester or as a full year course (two semesters in same academic year). Students work on the cases of prisoners who claim an unjust result after either trial or plea. Practicum students assist with screening new applications from prisoners seeking relief, and aid the instructor in representing one to two incarcerated clients. Students review attorneys' files, pleadings, transcripts of trials and other court proceedings, and judicial decisions with the goal of identifying potential areas of investigation and legal research that may lead to a motion for a new trial or other post-conviction relief for an incarcerated client. Students will also meet with these clients and potentially with witnesses. In addition to this case field work, students meet in weekly seminars with the instructor. NOTE: The Wrongful Convictions Practicum counts toward the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement.FALL 2023: LAW JD 902 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 5th 2023
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Faculty & Additional Information
Questions regarding the Practicum can be directed to Ira Gant at firstname.lastname@example.org.