SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 17, 2015 – Human rights attorney Hadar Harris has been appointed executive director of the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) at Santa Clara University School of Law.

New NCIP Executive Director Hadar Harris Photo: Tom Salisbury

New NCIP Executive Director Hadar Harris
Photo: Tom Salisbury

A California native, Harris comes to NCIP with a long history of addressing criminal justice reform issues through the broad lens of civil and political rights and racial justice issues. She joins NCIP after serving 13 years as executive director of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law (AU) in Washington, D.C.

Harris has a proven record as an institution builder, collaborative leader, and strategic thinker. During her tenure at AU, she raised over $5 million in new funding for the Center, and created numerous new programmatic initiatives focused on an array of issues including a groundbreaking program on human rights in the United States, a project on human rights of persons with disabilities. and the Anti-Torture Initiative. Under her leadership, the Center annually held more than 50 events and managed more than 20 ongoing collaborative projects with partners around the world.

“We are delighted to welcome Hadar Harris to the Santa Clara Law community,” said the school’s dean, Lisa Kloppenberg. “We look forward to benefiting from her deep background in human rights and advocacy as she leads one of Santa Clara Law’s outstanding and effective clinical-education programs.”

“I am very excited to join Santa Clara Law and lead NCIP into its next era of impact and effectiveness. Having worked on issues of justice and reform both in the US and around the world, I know that there is nothing more important than exonerating the innocent and promoting fair and just criminal justice policies,” said Harris. “Joining NCIP is a natural next step for me, enabling me to work with a talented team of professionals, mentor law students, and reach out to the broader community to advocate for justice for all.”

Prior to her work at AU, Harris was executive director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a bipartisan legislative service organization of the US House of Representatives, under the leadership of the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA).  She also worked previously as director of program and resource development for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel. As a human rights attorney, Harris has worked with governments and non-governmental organizations in more than 25 countries including India, Morocco, Botswana, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Lao PDR, Armenia, Swaziland, and Kosovo.

Harris holds a BA in political science from Brown University and a J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.


About the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University School of Law

The Northern California Innocence Project’s (NCIP) mission is to create a fair, effective, and compassionate criminal justice system and to protect the rights of the innocent. NCIP challenges wrongful convictions on every front by exonerating the innocent, educating future lawyers and reforming criminal justice policy. Since its inception in 2001, NCIP has attained justice for 18 innocent people who had collectively spent more than 230 years in prison. For more information, please visit


Media Contacts

Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121

Audrey Redmond | NCIP | | 408-551-1849