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University of Nebraska College of Law Wrongful Conviction Review: Collaborating to Identify, Correct, and Prevent Wrongful Convictions in Nebraska

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $600,000)

The University of Nebraska College of Law (UNL) seeks to establish a statewide Innocence Clinic at UNL to review claims of innocence from incarcerated individuals in Nebraska. The primary goals of the Innocence Clinic are to raise awareness of the epidemic of wrongful convictions in Nebraska and exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted. This review of cases, which will be conducted with College of Law students, will help to establish the primary causes of wrongful convictions in Nebraska and identify the most effective methodologies to prevent wrongful convictions in the state. Furthermore, the Innocence Clinic will contribute to training the next generation of Nebraska lawyers who will learn about the causes of wrongful convictions and experience case identification and litigation of actual innocence claims. This training promises to help reduce the risk of future wrongful convictions in Nebraska and elsewhere.

As Nebraska’s land-grant university with a tri-part mission of research, teaching, and extension, UNL is committed to the people of Nebraska, and UNL’s College of Law’s mission to advance justice, solve problems, and serve with integrity make it an ideal setting for this project. As one of only two law schools in Nebraska, UNL is educating many of the state’s future prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, and judges. With the support this grant will offer in establishing an Innocence Clinic, UNL will screen cases from an existing waitlist of 41 incarcerated individuals, investigate and litigate wrongful convictions, train the legal community in Nebraska to identify those at risk of wrongful convictions, and collect data that will inform the need for policy reform within the state.

Date Created: September 28, 2023