Forensic Defense Clinic

Forensic methods enable the criminal legal system’s core functions of investigation, prosecution, conviction, and punishment and the disproportionate surveillance and monitoring of communities of color. Thus, Black, Latine, and other marginalized communities that are already overrepresented in the criminal legal system are especially impacted by forensic methods. Although forensic evidence is an increasingly common feature in criminal cases, many forensic methods have never been scientifically validated and some forensic evidence is highly unreliable. Even reliable methods are often used for unreliable purposes. Despite its prominent role in criminal prosecutions, forensic “science” is rarely studied in law schools. This is the nation’s first law school clinic devoted to supporting the defense of indigent clients that focuses specifically on forensic evidence issues.

In this clinic, students will assist in the representation of indigent accused or convicted persons through a specific focus on issues related to forensic evidence, including traditional forensic methods, novel technologies, and surveillance tools. Consistent with the mission of the Gibson-Banks Center, students enrolled in the clinic will examine and interrogate the contribution of forensic methods to intersectional inequality and injustice in the criminal legal and related systems.