Innocence Project

Wrongful convictions happen.

Working to rectify those injustices and prevent further wrongful convictions helps assure the integrity of our criminal justice system. If you chose the field of law to be a voice for the innocent, here is your opportunity to explore this rewarding field of legal work and gain valuable experience in the process.

Texas A&M School of Law students, in collaboration with The Innocence Project of Texas, can earn course credit by investigating the cases of defendants who claim actual innocence, even after all appeals have failed. The Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX) is an organization dedicated to the mission of securing the release of people who are wrongly convicted in the state of Texas and educating the public about the causes and effects of wrongful convictions.

Currently, there are more than 150,000 people in the Texas prison system. Even assuming a modest rate of 1 percent wrongful convictions, approximately 1,500 people are currently behind bars who don’t belong there. As a law student, you will help investigate claims of actual innocence from Texas inmates. Although details vary from case to case, you will generally work on factual investigations about the original trials. Then, the cases will be evaluated for any post-conviction litigation. Additionally, if a case goes to litigation, you might assist with post-conviction litigation.

Course Information

Working to rectify injustices and prevent further wrongful convictions helps the integrity of our criminal justice system. Students enrolled in the Innocence Project will investigate the cases of defendants who claim actual innocence, even after all appeals have failed. The Innocence Project is operated by the Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX), an organization dedication to the mission of securing the release of people who are wrongly convicted in the state of Texas and educating the public about the causes and effects of wrongful convictions. Although details vary from case to case, you will generally work on factual investigations about the original trials. Then, the cases will be evaluated for any post-conviction litigation. If a case goes to litigation, you might assist with post-conviction litigation. Students in this clinic can accomplish most of their clinic work virtually, however, class and meetings with the clinic supervisor will occur in the Clinical Program space.

Pre-requisites/Co-requisites:
• Professional Responsibility -- completed, or concurrently enrolled. Students who have not completed Professional Responsibility will be automatically enrolled in a section when admitted to a clinic.

Recommended Courses:
None

Eligibility to Enroll:
• Completed first year of law school
• Must be in good academic standing
• No Honor Code violations

Credit Hours/Experiential Hours:
​Two (​2) hours credit.
Counts towards oral skills requirement.

Terms available:
Fall and Spring

Evaluation:
Pass/Fail

Dropping Clinics:
Given the unique nature of clinics and the ethical obligations that arise for our attorneys when they expose students to actual client cases, students will not be allowed to drop a clinic after the first week of classes.

Faculty:
Adjunct Professor Michael Ware

Considerations

Since clinics operate differently than doctrinal, writing, and other simulation courses, students must keep in mind the following before enrolling:

  • All clinical courses meet in the Clinical Program Office located in the Star-Telegram Building at 307 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas. It is a 0.6 mile walk from the Law School building to the clinical space.

  • All 3 and 4 unit clinic courses require that students spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week at the clinical space.

  • Per our Academic Standards, students are expected to submit logs of their time to their supervising attorneys to receive credit. Your instructor will provide you with direction of how to keep track of your time.

  • In order to provide all of our students with a clinical opportunity, you cannot enroll in more than one clinic in any one semester.

  • You may not enroll in an externship and a clinic in the same semester unless authorized by the Associate Dean for Experiential Education.

  • If you plan to be employed by a law firm, government agency, or other unit engaged in providing legal services during the semester, you must disclose the employer’s information so the clinical program can determine if there are any conflicts that prevent the student from enrolling in the clinic.

  • Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Unless a special accommodation is necessary, free student parking is not available in the clinic space. The cost to valet in the Star-Telegram Building is $10. There is additional parking in the area that ranges from $6 to $10. Street metered parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Student Application

Student applications for the Innocence Project are available online:

As part of the application submission, ​students will be required to upload their current resume as a pdf. Students are encouraged to apply to clinics by the deadline listed on the course schedule. Students who apply by that deadline will be notified of their application status before the end of the semester. Applications received after that time will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Conflicts:
Clinics operate as law firms. Conflicts may arise if students enroll in a clinic and also work in a law firm or government agency in the first semester. If you plan to intern, extern, or otherwise, work during the semester you are in clinic, you will need to discuss with Dean Herrera. On the application you will be asked to indicate if you plan to intern, extern, or work elsewhere during the semester(s) you are applying for.