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Why the Innocence Program Is So Effective

Article provides comprehensive look at how a BC Law clinic became an exoneration powerhouse.

Photograph by Joshua Dalsimer

The Boston College Innocence Program continues to draw attention and praise for its track record freeing the wrongly convicted. In its latest edition, Boston College Magazine traces the program’s history.

“Today, at any given time, the BCIP is representing about a dozen inmates in innocence cases,” writes Steve Fennessy in “Freedom Fighters” in the Winter 2021 issue. “Sometimes the program acts as a client’s only counsel, and sometimes it acts as co-counsel with court-appointed attorneys or with the two other Massachusetts-based Innocence Network organizations, the New England Innocence Project and the Committee for Public Counsel Service (CPCS) Innocence Program. In just the past two years, the BCIP has secured the release of four clients from wrongful imprisonment.”

Launched in 2006 by BC Law Professor Sharon Beckman and enhanced a few years later by the hiring of Supervising Attorney Charlotte Whitmore, the program has engaged students and other similar organizations in extensive research and advocacy efforts to both free and support innocents caught up in a flawed justice system.

Read previous articles in BC Law Magazine, here, here, and here.

Photo, from left, Supervising Attorney Charlotte Whitmore, Professor Sharon Beckman, exoneree Omar Martinez, Clinical Professor Claire Donohue, and Lauren Rossman ’19.