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California Innocence Project
March 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
The Causes of Wrongful Conviction
Guest speaker: Justin Brooks, Director and Co-Founder of the California Innocence Project
Hundreds of innocent people have been released from prison in the United States over the past two decades. By examining the cases, we have learned that common causes of wrongful conviction are false confessions, bad identifications, police and prosecutor misconduct, informant testimony, and poor defense work. Professor Justin Brooks, who has worked in the trenches exonerating clients as the Director of the California Innocence Project, will talk about some of his project’s exonerations and the causes that led to the tragic result of an innocent person serving time in prison for a crime he/she did not commit.
The California Innocence Project (CIP) is a law school clinical program dedicated to releasing wrongfully convicted inmates and providing an outstanding educational experience to the students enrolled in the clinic.
Founded in 1999, CIP reviews more than 2,000 claims of innocence from California inmates each year. Students who participate in the year-long clinic work alongside CIP staff attorneys on cases where there is strong evidence of factual innocence. Together, they have secured the release of many innocent people who otherwise may have spent the rest of their lives in prison.
Clinic students assist in investigation and litigation by locating and re-interviewing witnesses, examining new evidence, filing motions, securing experts, and providing support to attorneys during evidentiary hearings and trials. CIP has trained more than 200 students who have gone on to become highly successful criminal defense attorneys, criminal prosecutors, Assistant Attorneys General, and civil attorneys; all of whom, after their experience in CIP, believe in a fair and honest justice system and realize there is always room for improvement in the law.