The Miami Innocence Workshop Clinical Program at Miami Law has been accepted into the National Innocence Project Network, making the law school the only university in South Florida to be nationally recognized by the not-for-profit organization dedicated to freeing innocent people who remain incarcerated. The Workshop is one of the law school's newest hands-on clinics where students have the opportunity for live-client representation of prisoners claiming innocence.
"This reflects the progress and achievements that the project has made in only one semester," said Sarah A. Mourer, assistant professor of clinical legal education and supervisor of the Miami Innocence Workshop. Mourer said the application process involved interviews and evaluation of her supervision and procedures. Acceptance to the National Network requires maintaining the highest of standards of client representation along with strict adherence to Professor Mourer's procedures and criteria.
"I look forward to exonerating innocent individuals and combating injustice," said Mourer.
This is another victory for the law school, which was recently in the headlines when two Miami Law students involved in the Capital Defense Project, which Mourer also oversees, assisted a defense team in avoiding a death sentence for a Miami resident. The students conducted extensive research to assist in submitting QEEG (quantitative electroencephalography) a three-dimensional brain image used to identify traumatic brain injury as part of the defense; it was the first time QEEG has ever been used in a death penalty case.
Students interested in either clinic should attend the informational session on Monday, Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m. in room E265. Mourer said students wishing to participate in the Miami Innocence Workshop should also join the Wrongful Convictions Project, which is open to all students. That project aims to prevent wrongful convictions by focusing on public education and developing initiatives that raise public awareness of the prevalence, causes and social costs of wrongful convictions.
"Students have the power to make real change, free the innocent and save lives," said Mourer.