NUI Galway Innocence Clinic

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Wrongful Convictions happen in every jurisdiction.

Witnesses make mistakes. Suspects might falsely confess. Forensic scientists could overstate the evidence. Police can arrest the wrong person. Snitches can lie.

There are many reasons people are wrongfully convicted. NUI Galway offers students a chance to learn how to investigate these cases and prove that it happens.

In September 2018, under the auspices of the US State Department Fulbright Exchange Programme and with the support of NUI Galway law, journalism and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, US Fulbright scholar and journalist Anne Driscoll headed up a fledgling innocence clinic, a cooperative, cross-discipline initiative of law, journalism, and human rights students who got hands-on experience investigating wrongful conviction cases.

The NUI Galway Innocence Clinic

The NUI Galway Innocence Clinic is a fledgling innocence organization dedicated to teaching law, journalism, human rights and other students about the issue of wrongful convictions, how they happen and the journalism techniques available to investigate them with the practical experience of applying that gained knowledge to investigations of presumed wrongful conviction cases. This unique cross-discipline experiential learning opportunity is intended to have high social impact.

Anne Driscoll says of her experience,

“When I applied for the US Fulbright scholarship that brought me to NUI Galway, I did so because I believed that law, journalism and human rights students in the west of Ireland deserved the opportunity to get involved with this very real and compelling human rights issue in an effort that would result in high social impact. And as I have gotten to know these NUI Galway students, it is clear that the NUI Galway students have the energy, enthusiasm, compassion and skills to contribute in valuable ways to the investigation of wrongful conviction cases. I have been very much heartened by their interest, engagement and commitment to this cause.”

As envisioned, the NUI Galway Innocence Clinic provides a beneficial and much needed service to society – that being investigating cases in which it is believed a miscarriage of justice has occurred.

“I would very much like to see the NUI Galway Innocence Clinic continue as I think it provides a unique opportunity for students to learn, use and improve practical skills in an interdisciplinary environment. Additionally, I think this clinic cultivates a socially responsible ethos and an awareness of human rights issues. And thirdly, this model also offers students valuable career and professional experience in preparation for future employment.”

Anne Driscoll