Students in this yearlong clinic investigate three potential wrongful convictions of incarcerated individuals in Virginia.
One of the three cases will have forensic evidence (usually DNA) that could potentially be tested, and two will be non-DNA cases. Each case will be assigned a team of four students who will be directed and assisted by the clinic supervisor and an investigator.
Although the clinic will have a classroom component, there will be a heavy focus on extracurricular work — interviewing potential clients and witnesses, general investigation, reviewing case files, collecting records, searching court files and more. Interested students should anticipate that the clinic will require a minimum of 15 hours per week, and that these hours may require weekends and evenings.
Students should also be aware that they will likely be visiting inmates at correctional centers and conducting investigations in a variety of socioeconomic settings, accompanied by the clinic supervisor, the investigator or another student.
Clinic Gets Death Sentence, Conviction Overturned
A federal judge recently threw out the conviction and death sentence of Northern Virginia man Justin Wolfe, thanks to the efforts of the Law School's Innocence Project Clinic and partnering organizations.
The clinic worked closely with Wolfe’s pro bono attorneys at the Washington, D.C., law firm King & Spalding and the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center to develop evidence that the prosecutors in Wolfe’s trial had suppressed evidence that would have exonerated Wolfe. With yesterday’s ruling, U.S. Judge Raymond A. Jackson agreed that the prosecutors’ conduct resulted in an unfair trial.
"We're elated and gratified," said Deirdre Enright, director of investigation for the Innocence Project Clinic. "It's rare to get relief in death penalty cases and rarer still to lay it at the feet of prosecutors." More