Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic
The Post-Conviction Innocence Project (PCIP) provides an opportunity for upper-level students to represent clients in post-conviction matters under the direct supervision of a faculty member. NY Criminal Procedure Law §440.10 allows convicted defendants to move to vacate their convictions based upon newly discovered evidence, which creates a probability that had such evidence been received at trial, the verdict would have been more favorable to the defendant. The PCIP handles a limited number of such cases carefully selected from among the many requests from convicted prisoners asserting their innocence and requesting assistance and the numerous referrals from a variety of outside groups and public defender offices. PCIP students will work in teams to handle the post-conviction cases. Students engage in fact investigations geared toward filing post-conviction motions by tracking down court records and transcripts, locating and conferring with prior counsel, conducting prison interviews of clients, and locating and interviewing witnesses. Students develop legal arguments and draft affidavits and memoranda of law in support of the motions. In addition to the case work, students attend an hour-and-40-minute seminar once weekly. The seminar involves discussions about the cases; instruction on relevant criminal law, procedure, and evidence; as well as examination of policy issues related to wrongful convictions and claims of actual innocence. Students should expect to devote a minimum of 16 hours per week to the clinic, including the fieldwork and the seminar.
This upper-level clinical course is comprised of two co-requisite courses: a seminar and fieldwork experience representing clients in post-conviction matters. This is a single semester course.
Approved for the Experiential Learning Requirement. Enrollment is limited. Registration is binding. Application and interview are required, and the application can be found on the Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning section of the NYLS Portal.
Recommended for the following Professional Pathways: Civil Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminal Defense; Family Law; Government/Public Sector
Prerequisites: Evidence (3Ls and 4LEs)
Co-requisites: Evidence (2Ls and 3LEs)