493.01 Wrongful Convictions Clinic

The Wrongful Convictions Clinic is an investigative and litigation clinic.  With the assistance of supervisors, outside counsel, and other professionals, students work in teams to help free innocent inmates in North Carolina by developing their claims of innocence and, when necessary, pursuing relief on their behalf in state and federal court.  Each team of students,  under the supervision of Clinic faculty, undertakes a wide range of work, which can include corresponding and meeting with the client, identifying and interviewing witnesses, developing an investigative and legal strategy for advancing the client’s case, researching and drafting complex complaints and briefs, assisting in court proceedings, and, eventually, assisting the client in transitioning from wrongful imprisonment to freedom.

The seminar component of the Clinic examines the principal factors that contribute to wrongful convictions (e.g., mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions, faulty forensic evidence, incompetent defense counsel, and police and prosecutorial misconduct) and offers training in relevant investigative and litigation skills ( e.g., interviewing, writing, and analysis of various forms  of evidence).

Clinic students must attend an all-clinics’ intensive training day scheduled early in the semester and, over the semester, perform a minimum of 100 hours of client work (in addition to weekly seminar preparation and attendance).

Enrollment Pre-/Co- Requisite Information

Any ethics course (Law 237, Law 238, Law 239, Law 317, or Law 539)

Fall 2019

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Practical exercises
In-class exercise
Live-client representation and case management
Class participation
James E. Coleman, Jr., Jamie T. Lau, Theresa A. Newman
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.493.01.F19
Email list: LAW.493.01.F19@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice