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"It's pretty amazing," said Earl Horner, 31, a student in the class. "I get to set innocent people free from prison. That's pretty powerful."
Santa Clara University Law Students Help Exonerate the Wrongly Convicted
June 26, 2013 — The Northern California Innocence Project at the Santa Clara University School of Law reaches beyond the classroom to set the wrongly convicted free. Since 2001, the program has been instrumental in the exoneration of 16 men and one woman.

The project receives up to 1,000 requests for help a year, and students in the course assist lawyers by conducting interviews, visiting prisons and reviewing case documents. They learn about jailhouses and do much of the grunt work to support law firms in convincing prosecutors and judges to overturn verdicts.

"It's pretty amazing," said Earl Horner, 31, a student in the class. "I get to set innocent people free from prison. That's pretty powerful. A lot of law school is very opaque, learning about wills and trusts. Setting people free, that is something else."

The Innocence Project at Santa Clara University is part of an international "Innocence Network," which includes more than 50 other groups doing similar work. Linda Starr, legal director for the project at Santa Clara, said that there are no hard statistics, but the Northern California project is considered among the more successful in the network.

"There’s a lot of people in prison who are innocent and there’s nothing you can do," said student Fred Washington, 28, who is studying to be a district attorney. "Everyone doesn’t get out. You’re not going to change the system overnight. But if you keep chipping away it will happen at some point." [NBC Bay Area]





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