Cardozo School of Law Clinics Help Create Large-Scale Reform in Immigration and Criminal Law
NEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Two recent Cardozo Law news items highlight the role of clinical legal education in training lawyers, while at the same time promoting meaningful reforms.
A groundbreaking study titled “Accessing Justice: The Availability and Adequacy of Counsel in Immigration Proceedings” by Cardozo’s Immigration Justice Clinic found that 33 percent of immigrants in deportation cases received “inadequate” legal assistance. Published in the Cardozo Law Review, the study was chaired by Immigration Justice Clinic director Professor Peter Markowitz, and grew from a colloquium at Cardozo examining the status of representation for immigrants. An editorial about the Cardozo immigration study in the New York Times on December 25, 2011, said the report “reveals a severe shortage of competent legal assistance for tens of thousands facing deportation.”
In addition, the Innocence Project, Cardozo’s most widely-known clinic, recently helped exonerate Texas man Michael Morton, while simultaneously casting a much-needed light on prosecutorial misconduct. Morton was exonerated by DNA evidence in December 2011 after serving almost 25 years in prison for being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife. The Innocence Project filed a report asking the Texas courts to convene a Court of Inquiry, to investigate whether the original prosecutor committed wrongdoing by refusing to turn over to the trial court as ordered evidence pointing to Morton’s innocence. The report also calls for reforms to prevent prosecutorial misconduct.
A New York Times editorial on December 28, 2011, cited the work of the Innocence Project, saying the report on the case “calls into question the disproportionate discretion and power of persecutors in the U.S. criminal justice system.”
Following up this report, a conference on prosecutorial misconduct, sponsored by the Innocence Project and Cardozo School of Law, will take place February 6, 2012, at 6 p.m. in Cardozo’s Jacob Burns Moot Court Room.
SOURCE Cardozo School of Law