Innocence Project Clinic
Through direct service to incarcerated inmates who have been convicted for serious crimes and who claim actual innocence, students in the CUA Innocence Project clinic develop essential lawyering skills such as oral and written communication, investigation, counseling, negotiating, professional judgement, and creative problem solving. students evaluate case histories — including review of trial transcripts, appellate briefs, medical reports, laboratory reports and other documents — and fully reinvestigate the events that lead to the arrest and conviction of the inmate. students also may inter- view prisoners, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and expert and lay witnesses during their investigations. If the investigation reveals a viable claim of innocence, the matter is referred to an outside coop- erating attorney who will undertake representation of the inmate to prosecute the claim of innocence. Whenever possible, students from the CUA Innocence Project clinic will be assigned to work with the cooperating attorney in prosecution of the inmate’s claim.
In addition to working on claims of actual innocence on behalf of inmates, students in the clinic participate in a weekly seminar that examines the lawyering skills and processes necessary for investigating a claim of innocence; state and federal post-conviction procedures (e.g., motions for new trial based on new evidence, state collateral attack, federal habeas corpus, and clemency); the nature and uses of DNA and other scientific evidence; and problems in the criminal justice system that may contribute to convicting the innocent, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, police misconduct, witness misidentification, false confessions, and tainted evidence. the students also may participate in research and writing projects on issues to reform the criminal justice system to reduce the frequency of wrongful convictions and to address the problems faced by exonerated inmates upon their release from prison and reintegration into free society.
Students earn 6 credits in this year-long clinic, 3 credits each semester the written work in the clinic satisfies the requirements for the upper-level writing requirement Portfolio credit. All credits are graded. Mr. Ogilvy.