Exonerating the Innocent: Pre-Trial Innocence Procedures

Exonerating the Innocent: Pre-Trial Innocence Procedures – Speakers


Steven Banks

  • Steven Banks is Attorney in Chief of The Legal Aid Society. Banks has devoted his career to public interest by representing New York City’s indigent and homeless populations. In 2009, Banks testified at public hearings on wrongful convictions before the New York State Bar Association Task Force on Wrongful Convictions and in 2010 was selected by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals to join the state’s Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal services in New York to ensure people in civil court have access to attorneys.


Tim Bakken

  • Tim Bakken is a professor in the Department of Law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has served as a prosecutor in the homicide bureau of the King’s County District Attorney’s Office and practiced at law firms in New York, where he focused on commercial and federal litigation. Professor Bakken has taught at several universities, and his subject areas include constitutional law and criminal law.


John H. Blume

  • John H. Blume is a Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and the Director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project. Professor Blume has an active criminal litigation pro bono practice, and has argued eight cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has been co-counsel or amicus curiae counsel in numerous other Supreme Court cases. He is also co-author of the Federal Habeas Corpus Update, the co-editor of Death Penalty Stories, and author of numerous law review articles in the areas of capital punishment, criminal procedure, evidence, and habeas corpus.


Paul Cassell

  • Paul Cassell is the Ronald N. Boyce Presidential Professor of Criminal Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. Professor Cassell has published articles in leading academic journals on criminal justice issues, including issues involving innocence. He teaches criminal procedure and crime victims’ rights and also represents crime victims and crime victims’ organizations on a pro bono basis in cases around the country, including before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Eugene Cerruti

  • Eugene Cerruti is a Professor of Law at New York Law School where he teaches and writes in the fields of criminal law, evidence, comparative law, and trial advocacy. During his career, he has served both as a public defender with The Legal Aid Society in New York and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Eastern District of New York Office.


Keith A. Findley

  • Keith A. Findley is a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Frank J. Remington Center, where he is co-director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. He is also president of the Innocence Network, an affiliation of 61 innocence projects in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Throughout his career, Professor Findley served as an appellate and trial level Assistant State Public Defender in Madison, Wisconsin.


Leon Friedman

  • Leon Friedman is the Joseph Kushner Distinguished Professor of Civil Liberties Law at Hofstra University School of Law. Professor Friedman lectures regularly to federal judges and at continuing legal education gatherings on subjects such as civil rights, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and the First Amendment. He has represented clients in important First Amendment cases dealing with the “Son of Sam” law and he represented Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, for whom he obtained a writ of habeas corpus, freeing him from 19 years of imprisonment.


Lissa Griffin

  • Lissa Griffin is a Professor of Law at Pace University Law School where she teaches criminal procedure, lawyering skills, and professional responsibility. She has written extensively on comparative criminal procedure and litigating wrongful convictions, and has authored two treatises, Federal Criminal Appeals and Mutli-Defendant Criminal Cases. Before teaching, Professor Griffin practiced civil and criminal litigation in New York City.


Samuel Gross

  • Samuel Gross is a Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, where he teaches evidence, criminal procedure, and courses on the use of the social sciences in law. He has litigated test cases on jury selection in capital trials, the role of racial discrimination in the use of the death penalty, and the constitutionality of executing defendants in the face of a substantial known risk of factual innocence. Professor Gross has published works on eyewitness identification, evidence law, pre-trial settlement and the selection of cases for trial, racial profiling, and the death penalty and the use of expert witnesses. For the past several years, he has focused on false convictions and exonerations.


James S. Liebman

  • James S. Liebman is the Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and former Vice Dean of Columbia Law School. Professor Liebman has written many articles, papers, and speeches on the death penalty, habeas corpus, and public education reform. He is also the recipient of the Law & Society Association Article Prize, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Champion of Justice Award, a Soros Senior Justice Fellowship, and New York City’s Overall Excellence in Technology Award.


The Honorable Theodore T. Jones

  • Theodore T. Jones is Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals and is the co-chair of New York’s Justice Task Force, a permanent task force created to examine wrongful convictions and ways to minimize them. He is also chairman of the Diversity Committee of the Court of Appeals. Judge Jones was elected to the New York State Supreme Court in 1989, where he served as both a criminal and civil term judge. He began his career as a criminal defense attorney with the Legal Aid Society before entering private practice.


Peter Neufeld

  • Peter Neufeld is Co-founder and Co-director of the Innocence Project at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. The Project currently represents hundreds of inmates seeking post-conviction relief through DNA testing. In its eighteen years of existence, The Innocence Project has been responsible in whole or in part for exonerating more than half of the 256 men and women who have been exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing. Neufeld has taught and litigated extensively in both hard and behavioral forensic sciences.


D. Michael Risinger

  • Michael Risinger is the John J. Gibbons Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law. He is a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Sections on Civil Procedure and Evidence, a life member of the American Law Institute, and for 25 years was a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Evidence, which was responsible for the current version of the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. He is the author of two chapters in Faigman, Kaye, Saks and Cheng’s, Modern Scientific Evidence, Handwriting Identification and A Proposed Taxonomy of Expertise. He is also the author of articles on a diverse range of subjects, including many articles addressing issues of expert evidence.


Lesley C. Risinger

  • Lesley Chenoweth Risinger was recently named the director of the Last Resort Exoneration Project at Seton Hall University School of Law. She began her work in the cause of the convicted innocent in the 1990’s when she assisted her mother, Priscilla Read Chenoweth, in the complete exoneration of Kevin Luis Rojas, who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1991. As a result of that work, Mrs. Risinger received the Rutgers Law School Lawyer’s Guild award for pro bono service to criminal justice and decided to attend law school, later graduating magna cum laude from Seton Hall in 2003. From 2006 to 2009, Mrs. Risinger organized and led the team that obtained the exoneration of Fernando Bermudez who served 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.


Paul Robinson

  • Paul Robinson is the Colin S. Diver Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a former federal prosecutor and counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures. During his career, he has authored many books, including the standard lawyer’s reference on criminal law defenses, two Oxford University Press monographs on criminal law theory, a highly regarded criminal law treatise, and an innovative case studies course book. He also writes for general audiences, including popular books such as Would You Convict? Seventeen Cases that Challenged the Law (NYU 1999) and Law without Justice: Why Criminal Law Doesn’t Give People What They Deserve (Oxford 2005). Robinson recently completed two criminal code reform projects in the United States and the first modern Islamic penal code under the auspices of the U.N. Development Program.


COL. Maritza Ryan, U.S. Army

  • Maritza Ryan is a Professor and Head of the Department of Law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she has taught constitutional and military law, advanced constitutional law, and jurisprudence and legal theory. During her career as an Army JAG, she has served as Prosecutor, Defense Counsel, and Chief of Military Justice. Col. Ryan has published and presented in the areas of law and leadership, the law of armed conflict, and military justice.


Lewis M. Steel ‘63

  • Lewis M. Steel is Of Counsel at Outten & Golden, LLP, an employee rights firm in New York City. During his career, he has represented indigent defendants in homicide cases as assigned counsel and participated as a lead attorney in a series of highly publicized race-related murder trials and appeals, including the Rubin Hurricane Carter/John Artis case. He was a staff attorney for the NAACPin the 1960’s. In 1991, Steel was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his civil rights achievements by New York Law School, where he received his J.D.


Mike Ware

  • Mike Ware is the Special Fields Bureau Chief and head of the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. He was also an adjunct professor at Texas Wesleyan Law School, where he served as the supervising attorney for the Wesleyan Innocence Project. Ware specializes is board certified in the practice of criminal law.


Theodore M. Shaw

  • Theodore M. Shaw is a professor of Professional Practice in Law at Columbia Law School. He is a prominent authority on civil rights issues and served as the director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 2004–2008. Professor Shaw litigated civil rights cases at the trial and appellate levels and before the U.S. Supreme Court.