The University of Arizona Innocence Project (formerly the Wrongful Conviction Clinic) is dedicated to freeing people who are in prison for crimes they did not commit, training law students, and reforming the justice system to prevent future wrongful convictions.
In Arizona, many criminal defendants are not entitled to appointed counsel beyond an initial, timely postconviction proceeding. However, for many innocent defendants, evidence to establish their claims of innocence does not come to light until long after that time, due to factors such as the inadequacy of prior counsel, changes in science or new evidence being discovered many years after conviction. The University of Arizona Innocence Project steps into that void.
"Whether it was visiting a client in prison, interviewing witnesses, conducting research, or attending the Innocence Network Conference, all of the time I spent working on our cases was valuable. I'm thankful I get to carry all of these experiences with me throughout my career."
- Joshua Messick ('18)
Vanessa Buch is the director of the University of Arizona Innocence Project and an associate clinical professor. Prior to establishing the clinic in 2013, she practiced at New York civil rights firm Neufeld, Scheck & Brustin, and was a staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights where she represented clients on death row in Alabama and Georgia in state post-conviction and federal habeas appeals.