March 6, 2017

Cardozo is proud to congratulate The Innocence Project on 25 years fighting on the front lines in the battle for justice

The Innocence Project was conceived and founded in 1992 at Cardozo School of Law. Cardozo embraced a pioneering and radical idea that transformed the criminal justice system. 

Generations of Cardozo students, like Rachel Pecker '13, have helped win the freedom of wrongfully convicted prisoners under the talented leadership of Professor Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld.

“It was incredibly heavy to be on phone calls listening to someone who has been in prison for a long time and hearing their pain,” said Pecker. Pecker, who graduated from Cardozo in 2013, worked on the case of Michael Morton and was with Morton when he was exonerated after serving 25 years for a crime he did not commit. “Working on his case and seeing what it took to get him out… those are the things I am most proud of and I will keep with me forever,”  she said.

Over 350 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing—prisoners who served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release.

Cardozo clinical students work with prisoners, crime labs, prosecutors and defense lawyers, and review case histories, including transcripts, medical reports and appellate briefs. They litigate in trial and appellate courts across the country on complex procedural and constitutional issues that arise when getting access to evidence, testing and proving innocence. This innovative, year-long clinic has either represented or provided critical assistance for these prisoners exonerated through DNA evidence, several of whom were on death row.

"What makes the Innocence Project effective Is that it taps into something on a very spiritual level,” says Cardozo clinical professor of law Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project. “ It is this whole  struggle that our clients and their families engage in, which is to overcome injustice.

Read about this Cardozo clinic’s amazing 25 years on the frontline of justice in Time Magazine.