The COVID-19 virus and the resulting shelter-in-place orders may have limited our physical mobility, but the needs of Santa Clara Law’s clinic clients have not stopped, and neither have the clinical students. Throughout Santa Clara Law’s clinics, students continue to support their clients and to work on their behalf, going the extra mile for their clients during these difficult times. Here is a brief description of our continuing work.
While we have been sheltering-in-place, NCIP attorneys, staff, students and volunteers have been doing our best to carry on our work from our homes. In the last two weeks we have:
- drafted four clemency/commutation petitions to go to Gov. Newsom in an effort to get our clients released while our challenges to their convictions are on hold;
- filed a claim for compensation with the California Victim’s Compensation Board for our client Ricky Davis;
- begun drafting a petition to aid our recently exonerated client Jeremy Puckett obtain compensation for his wrongful conviction;
- begun drafting a response brief to the state’s appeal from the superior court’s reversal of our client Bob Fenenbock’s murder conviction;
- hosted a Zoom party for our recently released client Jeremy Puckett;
- helped to secure a client’s release on parole while we continue to pursue his full exoneration;
- coordinated for DNA testing on evidence with a district attorney’s office and a lab;
- pursued our legislative agenda with Zoom meetings and conference calls;
- continued our work searching for, identifying and reviewing shaken baby syndrome cases for investigation as to the validity of the conviction;
- re-reviewed more than 1,000 cases previously reviewed under an old, narrower standard of reversal and identified 28 that we might now challenge under the current more expansive standard.
In addition, students have been presenting case rounds on their cases to the class. This list of accomplishments would at any time be a testament to the dedication and skill of the NCIP students, attorneys, staff, and volunteers. During COVID-19, it is all the more remarkable.
We must also thank our clients for their adaptability and collaboration in this new, technologically-centered environment. Santa Clara Law is beyond proud of the way our students and our clients have risen to the COVID-19 challenge and continue to provide and receive services that are all the more essential in these extraordinary times.