Northern California Innocence Project A

Faculty

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Linda Starr

Legal Director, Northern California Innocence Project and Associate Clinical Professor

Northern California Innocence Project A

Certificate(s): Public Interest and Social Justice Law (List A)

Course Description:

The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) is a law school clinical program providing a unique educational opportunity for law students to investigate possible wrongful convictions and represent imprisoned clients with viable claims of actual innocence. Supervised by experienced legal and forensic staff, NCIP law students evaluate innocence claims by reviewing case histories, appellate briefs, transcripts, medical records, and other documents. Students participate directly in the investigative process by interviewing prisoners, witnesses, crime lab personnel, law enforcement, defense attorneys and prosecutors to help prove claims of innocence. Beyond investigating their cases and interviewing witnesses, NCIP students draft legal documents such as motions, declarations, briefs, legal memoranda and letters to attorneys, clients and others. Students also attend and participate in court proceedings. NCIP students must attend an intensive two day training session known as “NCIP Boot Camp” and attend classes twice weekly which focus on post-conviction law and issues relevant to wrongful conviction. Class topics include federal and state habeas corpus procedures, post-conviction DNA testing laws, investigation techniques, witness interview strategies, and the science of DNA testing. For every 50 hours of participation in the program including casework and class attendance, a student earns one unit. The first 3 units of academic credit earned at NCIP are graded. Any earned units above 3 are graded credit/no credit.

Class Notes:

Professional Skills Course

Graded. NCIP is a year-long program (Fall and Spring semesters), available to 2L and 3L students.  Students enroll for at least three units of academic credit per semester.  For each unit of credit, a student is responsible for 50 hours of participation, including casework and class attendance and participation.  To enroll in NCIP for a grade, you should enroll under 505A.  If you would like to enroll for credit/no credit, enroll under course number 505B. If you would like to enroll for more than three units of class per semester, you must enroll in those additional units under 505B for credit/no credit.  Students must obtain a permission number from NCIP to register for this course (contact Linda Starr,Lstarr@scu.edu). Requirements: ALL NCIP students must attend the first week of class, beginning Tuesday, August 19th at 4:10 PM as well as our training session “NCIP Boot Camp” on Friday, August 23rd starting at 8:30 AM. NCIP required texts must be purchased before the first day of class through the University bookstore. Readings and other important announcements will be posted online. Class will meet at the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP), 900 Lafayette St. (corner of Lafayette and Homestead, first floor). Work and classes at the Innocence Project provide insight into our criminal justice system and the causes of wrongful conviction. You will receive professional skills training including case management, organization, and development as well as interviewing and counseling skills. You will have the opportunity to develop your legal writing ability through edited work on legal pleadings, professional communications and legal memoranda. These important skills transfer to professional work in law firms and government agencies, as well as criminal law practice.