493.01 Wrongful Convictions Clinic

The Wrongful Convictions Clinic pursues plausible claims of legal and factual innocence made by incarcerated people in North Carolina convicted of serious felonies. 

Students in the clinic study the causes of wrongful convictions, including mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions, faulty forensic evidence, “jailhouse snitches,” and race. Student-attorneys work under the supervision of faculty to develop, manage, and litigate cases by carrying out a wide range of legal activities, including communicating with our clients, locating and interviewing witnesses about facts, gathering documents and records, drafting a range of legal documents and memos, working with experts, and helping to prepare for evidentiary hearings and oral arguments in state and federal courts. Most clinic cases do not involve DNA.

Many former students describe their time in the clinic, working to exonerate individuals incarcerated for crimes they didn't commit, as their most rewarding experience during law school.

For the fall semester of the 2020-2021 academic year, we expect that the seminar component of the Clinic will be taught in an online-only format. As necessary and appropriate, however, other Clinic meetings will be in person, including work and supervision meetings with faculty.  That said, students who either elect not to return to Durham or who are not able to participate in the Clinic on an in person basis will still be able to participate fully in the Clinic on a remote basis.

Special Notes: 
Enrollment Prerequisite

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

Fall 2020

Course NumberCourse CreditsEvaluation MethodInstructorMeeting Day/TimesRoom
Practical exercises
In-class exercise
Live-client representation and case management
Class participation
James E. Coleman, Jr., Jamie T. Lau
4:00 PM-5:50 PM
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.493.01.F20
Email list: LAW.493.01.F20@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Areas of Practice