Innocence Program

In the Boston College Innocence Program, students study the problem of erroneous convictions and work to remedy and prevent these injustices. Clinic students and faculty represent individuals wrongly convicted in Massachusetts for crimes they did not commit and collaborate with public, private, and nonprofit partners in litigation and public policy reforms. 

Our Clinic focuses on cases involving complex factual investigation as well as work with scientific and forensic experts. We co-counsel with the Committee for Public Counsel Services Innocence program and with other attorneys and we also accept cases even where no other counsel is appointed and even if no DNA evidence is available to prove factual innocence.

As part of the Innocence Program, students:

  • Evaluate cases of individuals who maintain they did not commit the crimes for which they were convicted and punished
  • Represent individuals seeking relief from wrongful conviction or access to scientific testing of physical evidence to prove their innocence
  • Plan and conduct factual investigations, including witness interviews
  • Work with scientific experts, forensic witnesses, and crime labs
  • Draft motions, supporting affidavits, and memoranda in support of motions for forensic testing and post-conviction relief
  • Prepare for and participate in judicial proceedings
  • Write amicus briefs on issues relating to wrongful convictions
  • Engage with faculty and graduate students from Psychology and Social Work on breaking edge on multidisciplinary research to inform public policy

The BC Innocence Program's experiential placements are enriched by two classroom components:

  • A weekly experiential seminar devoted to skills training and ethical and professional discernment
  • The Wrongful Convictions Seminar, in which students study the problem of erroneous convictions from academic and multidisciplinary perspectives and write and present their own research papers

The BCIP also provides undergraduate internships and public education and attorney training programs highlighting the latest in the field.

The BC Innocence Clinic was by far the most gratifying educational and professional opportunity I have ever had.
Catherine Mendola '15