Innocence Project Northwest Clinic
About the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic
Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW), the only resource of its kind in Washington state, works to free innocent prisoners, remedy causes of wrongful conviction and offer law students an outstanding education. The efforts of IPNW attorneys, clinic students and volunteers have exonerated 14 men and women who collectively served over 100 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Clinic students at Innocence Project Northwest gain an understanding of why the criminal justice system makes errors and learn about ways the system can be reformed to decrease the number of wrongful convictions.
In just the past two years IPNW fielded nearly 1,000 requests for help. Currently, there are 49 cases under active investigation or being litigated in Washington state and federal courts and over 100 eligible cases awaiting further review.
Clinic students have the opportunity to work on these cases. They conduct fact investigation – including client and witness interviewing, detailed review of police reports and trial transcripts – and work with expert witnesses in various areas of forensic science. Students have co-authored petitions for post-conviction DNA testing, motions for new trials and appellate briefs. Students have worked with their supervising attorneys to negotiate agreed orders for DNA testing and reversals of conviction.
Students have presented oral argument in state trial and appellate courts and in the federal court of appeals in the following cases:
- In re Domingo, interpreting the meaning of “significant change in the law”.
- Barker v. Fleming, involving the impact of withheld exculpatory evidence.
- Easter v. Fleming, claiming counsel provided ineffective assistance.
- State v. Riofta, interpreting the state’s post-conviction DNA statute.
- State v. Holbrook, requesting post-conviction DNA testing.
- State v. Slattum, interpreting the state’s post-conviction DNA statute.
- State v. Gomez, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.
- State v. Allen, requesting post-conviction DNA testing.
- State v. Jacobsen, requesting post-conviction DNA testing.
Students presentations at Innocence Network conferences
- "Optimizing Your Innocence Clinic" at the Innocence Network Conference (April 9, 2016, San Antonio, TX). UW Law student Duffy Romnor co-presented.
- "Challenging Medical Findings in Child Sexual Assault Cases" at the Innocence Network Conference (May 2, 2015, Orlando, FL). UW Law student Sonja Gerrard co-presented.