Clemency Clinics: A Blueprint for Justice

“Clemency (mercy), pardon (absolution), commutation (substitution), amnesty (forgetting), and reprieve (suspension) are drawn from the language of compassion. And today, they operate in a scheme of constitutional rights that overarches and subsumes notions of mercy and leniency. Thus, it is the constitutional architecture of clemency that provides the basis of relief for the wrongly convicted as well as the rehabilitated.”1 And yet, there is no right to counsel or institutional representation for the convicted seeking pardons and commutations, generally speaking.2 Pro bono attorneys, independently run projects, and law school clinics have from time to time filed clemency petitions for those unable to afford counsel.3 But in the absence of a right to appointed counsel in all cases, clemency petitioners are left to their devices and can only hope for assistance from the outside world.

Innocence projects4 and law clinics5 are good models for clemency projects because they pursue claims frequently raised in pardons.6 Beyond law schools, there are many incarnations of clinic-type representation for underserved populations. For instance, schools of journalism,7 paralegal and legal assistant programs,8 and private law firms,9 defense providers,10 individual attorneys11 and not-for-profits spearheaded by those directly affected,12 have embraced a mission to address injustice in their particular ways. Moreover, any combination of these models is possible through interdisciplinary programs within schools or among consortia of schools and entities,13 which can further improve the quality and scope of representation.14

The range of disciplines that can bring the talents of their faculty and students to the table is virtually unlimited. Teachers and clinic directors undertaking clemency cases can focus on humanizing the educational experience for their students through this especially challenging form of advocacy. For instance, law schools that require a pro bono service or a writing requirement for graduation can consider the assignment of a clemency case to fulfill it. Third year MD and DO medical students can review the records of applicants for compassionate release or psychiatric evaluation.15 Social work students would be invaluable in addressing issues related to reentry and rehabilitation.16 Criminal Justice and Criminology candidates could examine the patterns and practices of executive pardons to address issues of discrimination and procedural fairness. Journalism students would find these cases a challenge to their investigative skills.17 For political science students this is a rich source of issues for research into the workings of the executive and justice system as they balance political pressures and public opinion in carrying out this constitutional power.18 Paralegal schools would find a ready outlet for students seeking practical experience in preparing these intense and information rich types of cases. Library schools would find a natural outlet for students honing their research and knowledge management skills.19 And students of history could focus their talents on reconstructing the past of petitioners and putting their experiences in context, since criminal cases are in essence little histories.20 Lastly, in the age of social media, students in computer science and web-design as well as film school could exercise their story telling and communication talents through the creation of multimedia, clemency petition sites or even an online clemency channel.21 The roles for students of justice from any discipline can span the gamut of learning, knowledge and skills.

A pardon petition is essentially a personal narrative that can address any or all of a wide variety of issues: 1. Fairness of the trial and appeal; 2. Proportionality of the sentence; 3. Validity of the penal law or criminal procedure law (on policy grounds); 4. Mitigation; 5. Innocence; 6. Medical Need; 7. Rehabilitation; 8. Audit the work of legislatures, courts and parole boards; 9. Prison conditions; 10. Retroactive application of changes in sentencing laws; 11. Immigration (Deportation); and 12. Status (e.g., domestic violence victims).

Moreover, a clemency application takes into account the original offense and the life of the applicant since then. Whether the core of the claim is innocence, rehabilitation, fairness or forgiveness, the narrative must focus on the petitioner’s life story up to the present day.22 Thus, its breadth suggests a Brandeis brief encompassing legal and non-legal arguments.23 This type of presentation involves marshalling significant resources, talents and tools to do a proper job. And an institution or entity devoted to this area of practice might be in the best position to cultivate them.

The services that can be performed by a clemency clinic include direct representation and assistance in preparing and filing pardon and commutation petitions.24 They can also provide education for applicants, their families and supporters, as well as attorneys and the agencies responsible for reviewing applications.25 Another facet of their work would include examining the review process through studies of grants and denials as well as fairness and the transparency of the procedures.26 It also provides an opportunity to address broader criminal justice issues such as proportionality in punishment that might fuel reforms in sentencing and incarceration policies. Indeed, the clinic would constitute a research and support center for clemency work, which can amass a library of resources and data for new petitioners and scholarly analysis. Thus, clemency cases and the issues they raise could be published and reported in law reviews or newsletters that would shed light on the petitioners and the justice system.27 In addition, professors and students could instruct inmates on clemency through writing clinics and onsite trainers.28 Lastly, a clinic has the benefits of institutional leverage, accumulated knowledge, and the ability to speak in a strong voice for an overlooked class of justice seekers.

Clemency can also sensitize policy makers and the public to the humanity and dignity of the applicants.29 The public nature of the process allows a large audience to alchemize the plight and experiences of those seeking mercy and justice. This form of relief permits an individualization of cases through a new prism. Indeed, the executives’ grants of pardons and commutations can legitimize the justice system and provide important checks on judicial and legislative decisions.30

This article is a collection of select resources on clemency and other established post-conviction projects. It also includes general resources that might be useful in starting up a clemency clinic31 or project in a law school, bar association, law firm, university, college or any entity interested in undertaking a role in this type of work.32


Clemency Law Practicum (University of New Mexico School of Law)
“Course Description: Executive Clemency in the United States Executive clemency is a power of the executive at the federal and state level to issue pardons and commute sentences. The seminar will study the operation of this power, with emphasis on the federal level and New Mexico. In addition to classroom study, seminar members will undertake to assist clients in seeking New Mexico pardons, possibly some federal pardons, and may also undertake some commutation cases. Professor Rapaport is currently enrolling New Mexico pardon clients for this project and exploring possible commutation cases.33 The number and type of clients assisted will depend in part on student enrollment and the appetite of the students. The seminar will be a hybrid classroom and practical class. The seminar will study the law expounding the nature and limits of executive clemency power; the history of executive clemency in the United States; clemency regulations and practice at the federal level and in New Mexico; the components of clemency cases; the incarceration crisis in the United States; the collateral (post release) consequences of conviction, including those for immigrants; the jurisprudence of forgiveness, Topics include capital clemency; clemency for battered women; the war on drugs; clemency for immigrants. Students will represent clients seeking clemency. The seminar will include guest presentations by experts and practitioners.”

Clemency Project (University of Akron School of Law)
“The Clemency Project assists low-income clients with their efforts to obtain a pardon of their convictions from the Governor of Ohio. Low-income clients who have multiple convictions are unable to get their criminal records sealed through the judicial process of expungement. Their convictions prevent them from obtaining employment or finding housing. The Clemency Project is staffed by volunteer law students. The law students interview the clients and assist the clients with completing their clemency applications and the accompanying letter to the Governor.”

Clemency Project (Howard University School of Law)
“Working with representatives from other law schools, students assist in formulating a strategy for clemency for ‘sixties’ era political prisoners in the U.S. Two of the prisoners were granted clemency by President Clinton at the end of December.”

Clemency Video Project (University of Pennsylvania Law School)
“The Clemency Video Project consists of the following components: 1. A National Archive of Clemency Videos Made on Behalf of Capital Defendants and Defendants Facing LWOP – Counsel wishing to see any of the listed videos will be (a) informed of where a copy of the video can be obtained, (b) sent a DVD of the video without charge, or (c) directed to the address where we have made a copy of the video available online. 2. An Outline of the Elements of Clemency Videos in Capital Cases. 3. Clemency/Commutation Videos for Formerly or Presently Convicted and Incarcerated Persons Made by Penn Law Students. 4. Informational Videos on the Pennsylvania Pardon Process Made by Penn Law Students. 5. Q & A on the Pennsylvania Pardon Process“.

Ex.-Md. Governor Erhlich Plans Law School Clinic, Training Program for Felons Seeking Pardons, Wash. Post, Mar. 5, 2012
“For years, lawyers, faith-based groups and students have helped file petitions for inmates seeking to cut short lengthy prison sentences. But there have been no comparable resources for felons who sought pardons after serving their time. That may soon change. In response to stories published in December by ProPublica and The Washington Post, former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R) plans to launch the nation’s first law school clinic and training program devoted to pardons.” See also Law School Clinic for Pardons Planned, Pro Publica, Mar. 5, 2012

Federal Commutation Clinic (University of St. Thomas)
“The Federal Commutation Clinic is a small and extremely focused class which offers our students an opportunity to do substantive legal work, interact with clients, and develop narratives under the close supervision of faculty. It will also serve a real need among federal inmates for some guidance and assistance in evaluating and preparing commutation petitions. The Clinic is a two-credit class for a total of four students, held in the fall semester only. Prof. Osler will teach the class and supervise student work.”

Illinois Clemency Project
“The Illinois Clemency Project is dedicated to securing clemency for battered women imprisoned for injuring or killing their abusive spouses. Margaret Byrne, the Project’s Director, founded the group in the early 1990’s. Since its conception, attorneys, law professors, law students and other sympathetic parties have fought to achieve clemency for dozens of battered women in the Illinois prison system.”

Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project
“Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project works to free women prisoners who were convicted of murder but who acted in self-defense against abusers and did not receive due process or fair trials; and to conduct public education and advocacy for justice, human rights and humane alternatives to incarceration for women.”

New York Immigration Pardon Project (
“The Immigration Pardon Project (IPP) is a joint effort among the private bar and public interest law communities, led by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, to assist immigrants in securing pardons for prior criminal convictions that may bar them from citizenship or other immigration relief. Qualifying residents are selected by community-based organizations (CBOs), screened for eligibility by a criminal-immigration law expert, and then paired with a participating law firm pro bono volunteer. The law firm prepares the client’s case to present before Governor Paterson’s Special Immigration Board of Pardons (SIBP), which has the authority to vacate old or minor convictions, making it possible for the client to achieve naturalization and/or avoid deportation.”

Pardons Project (Connecticut Pro Bono Portal)
“Paralegals volunteer for two projects. 1. Outreach – go to Department of Labor to give information about the Pardon Project and hand out materials. 2. Paralegal volunteers come to Statewide Legal Services and prepare the pardon application for clients using information that clients have provided. What are the outcome goals of this assistance? We hope that people with old convictions will be granted a pardon and have their records erased.”

Pardons Project (Delaware Center for Justice)
“The Pardons Project, a restorative justice project of Delaware Pacem in Terris in collaboration with the Delaware Center for Justice, works to eradicate civil barriers to reintegration of ex-prisoners into society by empowering and preparing them to represent themselves before the Board of Pardons. Most of the people who come to the Pardons Project have already begun the process of rehabilitating themselves through counseling, further education, and service to the community. The objectives of the Pardons Project are to advocate for people who have completed their sentences, to prevent their recidivism, to encourage their political participation, and to do outreach about the project to neighborhood community groups. Those who have received their pardons through the project often return to the group to recruit and mentor others seeking their pardons. Receiving a pardon through the efforts of the Pardons Project enables former prisoners to obtain their personal goals of getting better jobs, exercising the right to vote, having access to public housing, obtaining professional education, and participating in volunteer work.” See Pardon Center Youtube Channel.

Public Interest Law Group (Northwestern University School of Law)
“Students volunteered to prepare clemency petitions under the supervision of Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic.”


Community-Based Paralegals: A Practitioner’s Guide (Open Society Foundations 2010)
“This guide is intended to aid those who develop and/or direct community-based paralegal programs. Its broader objective is to provide practical support to grass roots organizations, human rights and justice activists, donors, and policymakers in designing and implementing community-based paralegal and legal empowerment initiatives. In response to a growing interest in the subject, the Justice Initiative decided to produce a practical publication based on its own experiences in Sierra Leone and similar models in other places, including South Africa, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Mongolia. The aim of this guide is not, however, to set forth a unique or exclusive path to success for community-based paralegal programs. The advice offered here should be adapted to varying circumstances rather than automatically, mechanically adopted regardless of the country, community, or issues involved. The Justice Initiative hopes that everyone who uses this guide will find it practical and useful in their efforts to make access to justice a reality for impoverished people.”

Hurricane Meets the Paper Chase: Innocence Projects New Emerging Role in Clinical Legal Education, 38 Cal. W. L. Rev. 413 (2002)
“This article will explore and explain the evolving role of innocence projects in the context of legal education. It will review the various models that have been developed and the major components that allow an innocence project to serve the needs of clients, while providing an excellent educational environment. The article is written from the perspective of the people who work in the California Innocence Project. As a result, that project is discussed at length in various sections. We have, however, made an effort to discuss the structure of other law school projects in various sections of the article.”

Innocence Network
“The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions.” See How to Help: Simple Things Anyone Can Do To Help Exonerate Innocent People and Prevent Wrongful Convictions.

National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP)
“Like their communities and patient populations, all medical-legal partnership programs are unique. Some MLPs are based in academic teaching hospitals, others in Federally-Qualified Health Centers. Some MLPs rely on pro bono attorneys from local law firms, others on local legal aid agencies and law school attorneys. MLPs vary widely in size and scope. Despite the variety of programs, MLPs in the MLP Network share the common goal of improving the health and well-being of low-income, medically vulnerable patients. To achieve this goal, and to transform the delivery of health and legal services, all MLPs engage in direct legal assistance, changing health and legal institutions and practices, and policy change.” See Start a Partnership; MLP Network.

Putting Theory into Practice: A Battered Women’s Clemency Clinic, 8 Clinical L. Rev. 171 (2001)(abstract only)
“This article describes a clinical course in which law students petitioned Colorado’s governor for clemency on behalf of three women who had been convicted of homicide in the deaths of their batterers. It also describes the broader clemency project that evolved out of that course, in which volunteer attorneys submitted five additional clemency cases. Intended primarily for use by individuals who are considering starting a battered women’s clemency project or similar undertaking, the article canvasses the pedagogical, political, media relations, and strategic questions that arose during this particular project. Thus, it recounts how decisions were made as to what clients to represent, what arguments to use on their behalf, and how to structure the course. It also describes inadequacies in Colorado’s (fairly typical) clemency rules as they affect battered women, and presents rule reform proposals aimed at addressing those shortcomings. Finally, the article explores the authors’ experience in grappling with some of the thornier dilemmas faced by advocates of women who defend themselves against abuse – such as how to counteract media demonizing of their clients; how to articulate clemency arguments for women who had submitted evidence of battering at trial or who were convicted as co-defendants; how to deal with clients who may not be telling the truth; and how to respond to prosecutorial use of domestic violence as evidence of a motive for murder.”

So You Want to Start an Innocence Project (Truth in Justice)
“Innocence projects can be organized as non-profit corporations dependent upon tax deductible donations or as programs within larger, sponsoring organizations. Centurion Ministries, founded in Princeton, New Jersey in 1983 by Rev. Jim McCloskey, is an example of a non-profit corporation funded by donations. The Cardozo Innocence Project at Yeshiva University in New York City, the Remington Center Innocence Project at the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, Wisconsin, and the Northwestern Innocence Project at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington are examples of programs within law schools that are sponsoring organizations. In practical terms, innocence programs sponsored by law schools are more likely to be successful because a wider range of appropriate resources is available. For that reason, our focus here will be on establishing an innocence project sponsored by an accredited law school.”

Start a Veterans Clinic (Widener Law School)
“The Veterans Law Clinic often receives inquiries from other law schools about starting veterans law clinics. In response, we’ve assembled a ‘clinic in a box’ filled with documents to help other law schools hit the ground running as they establish their own veterans clinical programs. We’ve also answered some commonly asked questions regarding clinic operations, funding, and coursework.”


Clinic Student Argues for Clemency (Gonzaga University School of Law)
“In December, 2007, clinic student Sarah Hovland presented a Petition for Clemency to the Washington State Board of Pardons and Clemency. . . . Ms. Hovland filed a petition supported by declarations and legal argument documenting why Mr. Johnson was a good candidate for clemency. The Board scheduled a hearing in Olympia. Ms. Hovland appeared at the hearing together with approximately 20 of the client’s relatives and friends. She presented an organized, detailed, and persuasive argument designed to distinguish the case from the hundreds of other clemency petitions routinely filed by prison inmates.”

Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center (Albany Law School)
“In 1996, the Clinic won clemency for Charline Brundidge, the first time in New York that an incarcerated battered woman who killed her abuser was granted clemency. During this decade, The AIDS Law Project became one of the first law clinic programs to serve clients with AIDS or HIV. The decade culminated with the Clinic receiving the New York Bar Association’s Pro Bono award and recognition in National Jurist magazine.” Lynch, Mary A., Clinical Professor of Law: “In 1997, while serving as director of the School’s Domestic Violence Law Project, Prof. Lynch and seven Albany Law School students won clemency for an incarcerated battered woman. This marked the first time in New York that an incarcerated battered woman who killed her abuser was granted clemency.”

Freedom Restored: Professor and Students Help Transformed Man Win Clemency (Seattle University School of Law)
“[Prof. Paul] Holland, who is now the associate dean for academic affairs, was directing the law school’s Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic and teaching in the Youth Advocacy Clinic when he agreed to take the [Al-Kareem Shadeed] case. It has been one of his most rewarding and gave his students a remarkable opportunity.”

Innocence Project Clinic Seeks to Help Exonerate ‘Culpeper Three’ of 1996 Murder (University of Virginia School of Law )
“The University of Virginia School of Law’s Innocence Project Clinic is preparing to ask Gov. Bob McDonnell to grant clemency to a Culpeper man they believe was wrongfully convicted of second-degree murder in 2001. . . . For the Innocence Project Clinic, the next step is to petition the governor to grant clemency for Weakley. Four law students — Rebecca Cohn, Jennifer Becker, Vanessa Nickerson and Rhuju Vasavada — are working this semester to prepare a petition for clemency and a documentary film about Weakley that will be submitted to the governor.”

Senator Levin Helps Clinic Students Seeking Clemency for Client (University of Michigan Law School)
“On February 18, [2008] two Michigan 3Ls interviewed Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) for a DVD that they will use to supplement their petition for clemency for Thomas Cress. Cress, who is borderline-mentally disabled, has served twenty-two years of a life sentence without parole for the rape and murder of a Battle Creek teenager. Cress has steadfastly maintained his innocence and passed a lie detector test. For many years, students from the Michigan Clinical Law Program have been trying to free him. Having exhausted all of his legal options, the students are appealing to Governor Granholm for clemency.”


Clemency for Battered Women in Michigan: A Manual for Attorneys, Law Students and Social Workers (2008)
“This manual was written to serve both as an educational tool and as a practical resource to aid in the compiling of successful clemency petitions. We hope it will inspire you to work for the release of battered women, many of whom have spent half their lives as the victims of violent relationships and the other half in prison.”

Clemency: Justice to the Nth Degree, N.Y.L.J., Apr. 20, 2012, at 4
“Clemency is the highest chevron in the ranks of justice. Traditionally, its hallmarks have been leniency and forgiveness. But it is more than noblesse oblige, it is a constitutional prescription for the inequities of a fallible due process. As Justice William Rehnquist observed in Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 415 (1993), clemency is the ‘fail safe’ in our criminal justice system.’ Indeed, the central facets of this safeguard, fairness and forgiveness, are at the heart of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s current investigation into the clemency advisory process and its administration.”

Clemency Law, LLRX, May 29, 2007
“This article surveys select online resources for seeking clemency as well as guides and research materials on the administration of this important form of relief.”

Clemency and Pardons (Douglas A. Berman, Prof. of Law, Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University)
This section of Prof. Berman’s blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, covers news and developments about federal and state activities concerning clemency, pardons, commutations and policy matters. See also Doug Berman’s Sentencing Law Resources: Clemency.

Gubernatorial Clemency Powers: Justice or Mercy?, ABA Crim. Just., 2009
This article discusses current thinking about the philosophies underlying clemency practices, its constitutional foundations and how it should be analyzed. There is also an extensive table outlining clemency laws and procedures in all jurisdictions.

How to Grant Clemency in Unforgiving Times, 31 Cap. U. Law. Rev. 219 (2003)
“In this essay, I [Prof. Daniel T. Kobil] will address two issues on which I parted company with my colleagues participating in the symposium, and consider a third issue that has arisen in the cases concerning the role of the courts in overseeing fairness of the clemency process. First, I will argue that giving greater attention to retributive justifications offers the best avenue for expanding the use of clemency in deserving cases. Second, I will revisit my contention advanced elsewhere that decisions about clemency for retributive reasons should be made by an expert administrative body that is insulated from political pressures, rather than by politically-sensitive public officials. Finally, I will consider an issue that was not addressed in the symposium, but which has come up frequently in recent cases, namely, whether the ‘minimal procedures’ standard set forth in Woodard v. Ohio Adult Parole Authority adequately safeguards the integrity of the clemency process.”

Osborne Case: Amicus Brief from People Who Received Clemency Through Post-Conviction DNA Testing (Innocence Project)
“This brief was filed by people who were exonerated when they were granted clemency based on DNA testing post-conviction. The brief notes that if they had been convicted in Alaska, ‘they could still be in prison today’ and discusses the constitutional rights at stake when the innocent seek clemency. Prisoners who can demonstrate their innocence beyond dispute have a uniquely legitimate expectation that they actually will receive clemency. Not only have numerous individuals throughout history received pardons on innocence grounds, many have received clemency on the basis of DNA evidence. Amici are among these individuals. Their brief argues that denying a prisoner access to biological material that could decisively demonstrate his innocence deprives him of his liberty interest in obtaining clemency without due process of law. The brief outlines the clemency process and the significance of DNA testing in many clemency proceedings. It argues that Alaska’s refusal to grant DNA testing in this case ‘flouts any possible sense of fair play’ and is ‘perverse.’ (Jeffrey L. Fisher at Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic is counsel of record on the brief; the law firms of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and Howe & Russell also worked on the brief.)”

Pardon Power (P.S. Ruckman, Jr., Prof. of Political Science, Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL)
“This blog is dedicated to following the very latest news regarding presidential pardons and the pardon power (or clemency powers) as exercised in each state.”

Relief from the Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction: A State-By-State Resource Guide (Sentencing Project 2008)
“A collection of individual state documents that can be downloaded; includes state law regarding loss of rights due to a felony conviction, process of restoration, pardon/expungement information, and contact information of corresponding agencies. (documents updated as developments warrant)This comprehensive survey describes for each United States jurisdiction the laws and practices relating to restoration of rights and obtaining relief from the collateral disabilities and penalties that accompany a criminal conviction. It is the first-of-its-kind, and it illustrates the extraordinary variety and complexity of state and federal laws that impose a continuing burden on convicted persons long after the court-imposed sentence has been fully discharged. It is an important resource for policymakers interested in offender reentry and reintegration, for practitioners at all levels of the criminal justice system, and for people with a criminal record who are seeking to put their past behind them.”

State and Federal Guide to Clemency and Commutation of Sentence (Criminal Justice Policy Foundation)
“This website is the first comprehensive, nationwide database providing information on clemency and commutation of sentence. It gives state prisoners (and their attorneys, families and friends) the basic information they need to apply to the Governor or other proper authority of the state where a prisoner is housed to get an early release from prison through a commutation of sentence. It provides samples of the actual forms required by the states where they are available.” See also Clemency Policy.

1 Ken Strutin, Clemency: Justice to the Nth Degree, N.Y.L.J., April 20, 2012, at 4.

2 However, there are exceptional cases where the necessity for the appointment of counsel is recognized. See, e.g., Harbison v. Bell, 129 S. Ct. 1481 (2009)(“Harbison’s case underscores why it is ‘entirely plausible that Congress did not want condemned men and women to be abandoned by their counsel at the last moment and left to navigate the sometimes labyrinthine clemency process from their jail cells.’ Hain v. Mullin, 436 F.3d 1168 (C.A.10 2006) (en banc). In authorizing federally funded counsel to represent their state clients in clemency proceedings, Congress ensured that no prisoner would be put to death without meaningful access to the ‘fail-safe’ of our justice system. Herrera, 506 U.S., at 415, 113 S.Ct. 853.”).

3 And mandatory pro bono policies, such as New York’s recently promulgated requirement for newly admitted attorneys, might further contribute to the pool of counsel to handle such claims. See New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Law Day 2012 Speech (“So today, on Law Day, 2012, we turn over a new page in the bar admission process in New York — by requiring each and every applicant for admission to contribute 50 hours of participation in law-related and uncompensated pro bono service before they can practice in New York State. With this step, as it should be, New York will become the first state in the nation to require pro bono service for admission to the bar.”); Anne Barnard, Top Judge Makes Free Legal Work Mandatory for Joining State Bar, N.Y. Times, May 1, 2012 (“Supporters of the plan acknowledge that it will require more training and supervision for law students and recent graduates, who can file legal papers and appear in court if they are supervised. But they said they hoped it would dovetail with an increasing focus in many law schools on clinics that provide practical experience.”); Chief Judge Names Advisory Committee on Pro Bono Bar Admission Requirements, NYS UCS Press Release, May 22, 2012.

4 Some of these projects are embedded in laws schools, but the law school curriculum has yet to include wrongful conviction courses as a staple of legal education. See Nancy Petro, Law Schools: Add Wrongful Conviction to Core Curriculum, Wrongful Convictions Blog, Apr. 19, 2012 (“When I have asked law professors and deans of law schools if their curriculum includes wrongful conviction, the answer has been no. Some have said that wrongful conviction is sometimes included in legal ethics discussions, which is extremely important…perhaps the most critical issue of all.”).

5 See, e.g., Clinic Student Argues for Clemency (Gonzaga U. Sch. of L. Clinic News). Anna Magazinnik, Senator Levin Helps Clinic Students Seeking Clemency for Client, Res Gestae, Mar. 18, 2008. See generally Law School Clinics Serving Prisoners (AALL 2004).

6 In view of the latest estimates of wrongfully convicted in prison and the limitations on post-conviction review, clemency applications will likely increase. See generally Mark Godsey, New Study Predicts Wrongful Conviction Rate in U.S. at 5,000 to 10,000 Per Year, Wrongful Convictions Blog, Apr. 19, 2012; Marvin Zalman, Qualitatively Estimating the Incidence of Wrongful Conviction, 48 Crim. L. Bull. 221 (2012). See generally National Registry of Exonerations (University of the Michigan Law School & Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law).

7 See, e.g., Innocence Institute of Point Park University (“Students are encouraged to become involved with Point Park’s Innocence Institute, which investigates claims of wrongful convictions, raises awareness of the frailties associated with the criminal justice system, acts as a recourse to those working to reverse injustice, and provides educational training in investigating reporting to college students and professionals. The Innocence Institute is one of the more than 30 innocence projects in the nation, but one of the few journalism-only projects in the United States. Students can volunteer and take courses connected with the institute as they become juniors and seniors.).

8 See, e.g., Roy W. Falby II, A Win-Win Situation: Pro Bono Paralegal Clinics in the 21-First Century?, Nat’l Paralegal Rptr., May 22, 2003. See generally NFPA Pro Bono – Paralegals Making a Difference.

9 See generally Pro Bono Institute (“The Pro Bono Institute is mandated to explore and identify new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. We do so by supporting, enhancing, and transforming the pro bono efforts of major law firms, in-house corporate legal departments, and public interest organizations in the U.S. and around the world.”); Pro Bono Volunteer Opportunities (ABA).

10 See, e.g., Justice First Collateral Relief Project (“The mission of Justice First is to ensure that wrongful convictions are detected and investigated as early in the appellate process as possible. . . . Teams of attorneys, law student interns, and legal fellows work together to ensure that no possible avenue of investigation goes unpursued. This approach has been remarkably successful, resulting in numerous reversals.”).

11 See, e.g., Exoneration Initiative (“Founder & Director Glenn A. Garber has been a criminal defense attorney in New York City for over 20 years. . . . In 2002, Mr. Garber was introduced to innocence work. Working with the Innocence Project, he won exoneration for Hector Gonzalez who had been wrongfully convicted of murder in 1996 (read the article).”); Stephanie Francis Ward, Dream Realized: Law Grad Sets Up Free Legal Clinics in Chicago Public Schools, ABA J Law News Now, May 1, 2012 (“Three years after launching his first school-based clinic, [attorney and teacher Dennis] Kass now oversees legal clinics at nine Chicago public schools to serve students and their families.”).

12 See, e.g., Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice (“The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation For Justice came into being for the purpose of furthering Jeff’s commitment to the prevention and eradication of wrongful convictions, as the result of his own brutal treatment at age 16 by rogue police, prosecutors, and other law enforcement personnel. . . . Jeff walked out of prison, a free man with a self imposed mission going forward to do everything in his power to prevent what happened to him from happening to others. He decided he would work to prevent wrongful convictions, and for the exoneration of those who had already suffered his fate, collaboratively with government and private agencies.”)

13 See, e.g., The Innocence Network (“The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions.”).

14 See Ken Strutin, Allied Learning Experiences: Multidisciplinary Internship Collaborations, AALS Sect. on Teaching Methods Newsletter, Winter 2011-2012, at 21. See generally How to Help: Simple Things Anyone Can Do To Help Exonerate Innocent People and Prevent Wrongful Convictions (Innocence Network).

15 See, e.g., Pauline M. Chen, Reinventing the Third-Year Medical Student, N.Y. Times, Apr. 19, 2012 (“Since 2004, the Harvard Medical School-Cambridge Integrated Clerkship has assigned every third-year medical student to a ‘panel’ of up to 100 patients to care for over the course of the year. Students see their patients in the clinics of the Cambridge Health Alliance health system where the program is based, but also follow and assist with any outside consultations, admissions to the hospital, operations and even home visits. During the year, students are also required to shadow several assigned preceptors, senior physicians from the major specialties, in their clinics every week.”); Sarah Randag, Mass. Bar Task Force: Legal Education Could Take a Page from Medical Education’s Book, ABA J Law News Now, May 21, 2012.

16 See, e.g., Robin I. Mordfin, Social Work and the Clinic, Rec. Online (U. Chicago L. Sch.), Spr. 2008 (“The Mandel Legal Aid Clinic is noted for two things: the practical education it offers to the students who work there and the legal services it provides to the underserved. Thus, it is unsurprising that a social worker and a group of students from the School of Social Service Administration are essential elements of the clinic.”).

17 See, e.g., Michelle Besaw, Recent Graduate Makes National News Covering Gov. Barbour Pardons (State University of New York at Plattsburgh Student Profile).

18 See, e.g., P.S. Ruckman, Jr., Professor of Political Science at Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL, an expert on clemency practice and history, and author of the Pardon Power Blog.

19 See generally Law Libraries Serving Prisoners (AALL); Standing Committee on Library Service to Institution Residents (AALL).

20 See, e.g., Vivien M. L. Miller, Crime, Sexual Violence, and Clemency: Florida’s Pardon Board and Penal System in the Progressive Era (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000)(“From the foreword: ‘Vivien Miller’s highly original study of crime, punishment, and clemency in late 19th- and early 20th-century Florida unravels the complex intersection of class, race, gender, and power in that state’s criminal justice system as the new century dawned. . . . [It] opens an insightful window to the tensions and anxieties of a state caught in the throes of social change and their impact on traditional racial and gendered hierarchies. . . . Readers will find this book the most thorough analysis of the inner workings of the clemency process in a southern state. Balanced and judicious.'”).

21 See, e.g., Clemency Video Project: Outline of the Elements of Clemency Videos (Penn Prog. On Documentaries & the Law); Selected Films By Carol Jacobsen (Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project).

22 See generally Pepper v. United States, 131 S.Ct. 1229, 1236 (2011)(“We hold that when a defendant’s sentence has been set aside on appeal, a district court at resentencing may consider evidence of the defendant’s postsentencing rehabilitation and that such evidence may, in appropriate cases, support a downward variance from the now-advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines range.”).

23 See The Brandeis Brief (University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law)(“In 1907, Florence Kelley and Josephine Goldmark hired Louis D. Brandeis to represent the state of Oregon in Muller v. Oregon (208 US 412), a case before the US Supreme Court that involved the constitutionality of limiting hours for female laundry workers. To support his argument that overwork was inimical to the workers’ health, Brandeis (with the help of Goldmark, his sister-in-law) compiled a number of statistics from medical and sociological journals and listed citations to the articles in his brief. The brief was significant in that it was the first one submitted to the Supreme Court that relied primarily on extra-legal data to prove its argument. Not only did the brief help Brandeis win the case but it also became a legal landmark in its own right. Briefs that cited non-legal data quickly became commonplace and became known as ‘Brandeis briefs.'”).

24 See generally Directory of Law School Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs (ABA).

25 See, e.g., Prisoners and Families Clinic (Columbia Law School)(“The Prisoners and Families Clinic operates at the intersection of the criminal justice and family court/child welfare systems and engages in both education and advocacy. The clinic informs people in prison about their parental rights and responsibilities and the ways in which they can advocate effectively for themselves. The clinic also provides advocacy to people who have been released from prison, as well as their family members, to help them achieve reunification.”).

26 See, e.g., Bob Ortega, Arizona Death-Row Inmate Sues Brewer, Ariz. Republic, May 10, 2012 (“Attorneys for an inmate facing execution next week filed a petition in Maricopa County Superior Court seeking a stay of execution and asking to have three recent appointments to Arizona’s Board of Executive Clemency declared null and void.”); Dafna Linzer and Jennifer LaFleur, Presidential Pardons Heavily Favor Whites, ProPublica, Dec. 4, 2011.

27 See, e.g., Justice Denied: The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted (“Justice: Denied magazine publicizes cases of wrongful conviction, and exposes how and why they occur. Justice: Denied is produced by volunteer writers, editors and other persons located throughout the United States and other countries.”); Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (“The Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (JPP) is a prisoner written, academically oriented and peer reviewed, non-profit journal, based on the tradition of the penal press. It brings the knowledge produced by prison writers together with academic arguments to enlighten public discourse about the current state of carceral institutions.”); Usha Chilukuri, Prison Law Writing Contest, The Yale L.J., Apr. 23, 2012.

28 See, e.g., The Jailhouse Lawyering Project (State University of New York at Buffalo) (“Jailhouse Lawyering Course Seminar L-707 Fall Semester1999 Professor Teresa A. Miller Course meets on dates & at times TBA The goal of the seminar is to convey a meaningful understanding of the procedural and substantive legal issues unique to incarcerated litigants, and to develop instructional materials for the teaching of legal research and writing to incarcerated litigants. This seminar will culminate in the production of a new, revised manual for the teaching of legal research and writing to prisoners. Along the way, students will study the historic creation, expansion and more recent retrenchment of prisoners’ access to courts. They will also generate academic materials that will be used to teach research and writing to prisoners.”).

29 See, e.g., Martin C. Evans, Students Learn About Veterans and PTSD, Newsday, Apr. 29, 2012.

30 See generally Charles Shanor & Marc Miller, Pardon Us: Systematic Pardons, 13 Fed. Sent’g Rpt. 139, 141-43 (2001).

31 See generally, Jacqueline St. Joan and Nancy Ehrenreich, Putting Theory into Practice: A Battered Women’s Clemency Clinic, 8 Clinical L. Rev. 171, 176-178, 188-192 (2001).

32 The research and activities on this issue are too broad to adequately capture in a single article. It is a topic that deserves the type of in-depth review found in symposia and academic panels. See, e.g., Sentence Commutations and the Executive Pardon Power (University of St. Thomas, Apr. 20, 2012); Pardons: The Power Nobody Wants (The New School, Oct. 26, 2011).

33 “A seminar on executive clemency in 2002 resulted in one of her students succeeding in gaining clemency for a client serving a 25 1/2-year prison term.” Professor Elizabeth Rapaport Profile (University of New Mexico School of Law).

34 See Procedure for Seeking a Pardon to Relieve Deportation Consequences (NY)(Deadline for applications was Oct. 1, 2010).

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