Innocence Program

In the Boston College Innocence Program, students study erroneous convictions and work to remedy or prevent such injustices. We offer one of the most diverse ranges of innocence experiential opportunities in the country, including our in-house Innocence Clinic and externships and collaborations with public, private, and nonprofit organizations representing innocent prisoners in post-conviction litigation and reforming public policy.

Our Clinic focuses on cases where DNA and forensic evidence is not enough to prove innocence, giving students the opportunity to engage in complex factual investigation as well as work with forensic experts. The BC Innocence clinic collaborates with the Committee for Public Counsel Services Innocence Program, and CPCS and BCIP act as co-counsel in all aspects of the investigation and litigation of the clinic's cases.

As part of the Innocence Program, students:

  • Evaluate cases of prisoners who maintain their innocence
  • Represent prisoners seeking relief from wrongful conviction or access to scientific testing of physical evidence to prove their innocence
  • Plan and conduct investigations, including client and witness interviews
  • Draft motions, supporting affidavits, and memoranda
  • Prepare for and participate in judicial proceedings
  • Write amicus briefs on issues relating to wrongful convictions
  • Participate in multidisciplinary public policy research
  • Collaborate with CPCS and private firm attorneys
  • Learn from and work alongside professional investigators
  • Work with forensic experts and crime labs
  • Interact with court personnel, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers

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