News 02.07.11

Seton Hall Law School Launches Innocence Initiative

Last week, Seton Hall Law School launched the Last Resort Exoneration Project, a New Jersey legal clinic dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions.

Innocence Project clients

Byron Halsey

and

David Shephard

joined Innocence Project Co-founder Barry Scheck at the organization’s launch last Thursday.

The project will focus on cases where a defendant is seeking to prove his or her innocence through evidence other than DNA tests, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

“What we are trying to do is often more difficult,” says Lesley Risinger, the Seton Hall project’s director. “We will be trying to prove the innocence of convicted defendants in cases where DNA is not at issue.”

“We will be looking only for those cases where we are convinced a defendant is factually innocent,” says Lesley Risinger. “The person was not involved in the crime.”

The project doesn’t plan to take on many cases and will not be taking on murder cases where the person convicted took part in the crime but wasn’t the actual killer or murder cases where the person convicted is a gang member who proclaims his or her innocence but won’t reveal the real killer’s identity because he or she is also a gang member.   

Law students will be involved in the project in a limited role, but the crux of the work will fall on the shoulders of experienced investigators and criminal defense attorneys.


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