This week we look at the power of networking as seen through the eyes of the students in our Wrongful Conviction Clinic. Students and staff of the clinic share their story after attending the annual Innocence Network Conference.

Our students work in the context of -- and help to shape -- initiatives at all political and geographic scales.  These larger networks are nurtured in national and regional conferences, workshops and competitions. 

Gifts from alumni and other supporters of the College of Law -- like the UA student travel fund generously supported by alumna Melody Robidoux ('83) -- are often critical ingredients of expanded student experiences, enabling travel to competitions, conferences, and other networking and professional development opportunities beyond the classroom. (Support our students.)
Until the footnotes,


Clinic Students Leverage Their Learning at National Conference
The Wrongful Conviction Clinic team attends the Innocence Network's annual conference. Standing (l-r) are Ana Islas, Olympia Torres, Joshua Messick, Kristen McKeon, Professor Jason Kreag; 
front row, Professor Vanessa Buch.

The College of Law's Wrongful Conviction Clinic, directed by Professor Vanessa Buch since its inception in 2014, accepts cases involving post-conviction claims of innocence by Arizona prisoners.
Law students in the clinic work closely with clinic faculty and fellows to review and investigate claims of actual innocence and, where appropriate, pursue legal avenues for exoneration or release. 

Students take part in all aspects of the casework, including building relationships with clients, reviewing trial records, interviewing witnesses, consulting experts, and conducting legal research. Students also explore the causes of wrongful conviction and the role wrongful convictions have played in criminal justice reform.

To date, the clinic has reviewed over 100 cases. The clinic has been the recipient of two federal grant awards, implementing projects through the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The clinic also benefits from a close relationship with the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Pima County Attorney's Office, headed by Professor of Practice Rick Unklesbay.

On March 23 and 24, Ana Islas (2L), Joshua Messick (3L), and Olympia Torres (2L), all students in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic, had the opportunity to attend the Innocence Network's annual conference in Memphis, Tennessee. 

The network is an affiliation of over 70 innocence organizations, including law school clinics, from around the country, and now the world. Over 800 people attended this year's gathering in Memphis. 

The UA contingent in Memphis also included Professor Buch, Assistant Director Kristen McKeon, and Professor Jason Kreag.

Ana Islas, Olympia Torres, Darryl Howard, Jason Kreag, Joshua Messick, and Kristen McKeon (l-r). Mr. Howard, a former client of Professor Kreag, was exonerated in North Carolina in 2016.

Organized around the theme of race and wrongful convictions, breakout sessions featured moving presentations by recently exonerated men and women from across the country, as well as programs on law and policy by attorneys, journalists, and forensic scientists.
A highlight was the keynote address, "A History of Race in America," by ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffrey Robinson, who interspersed his deep historical analysis with the personal perspective of a Memphis native growing up during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Another particularly memorable event was the introduction of exonerees during Friday evening's reception and dinner.

Olympia found that to be one of the most inspiring parts of the conference. She said that hearing from the exonerees "made me finally realize what I want to do with my law degree."

Olympia Torres, Ana Islas, Joshua Messick, 
exoneree Leslie Vass (Maryland), and exoneree Thembekile Molaudzi (South Africa) (l-r).

Conference attendees gather outside the Lorraine Motel.

The two-day conference culminated in a march from the Peabody Hotel to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, which this month commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. 

Reflecting on her experience, Ana said the Innocence Network conference was: 

"hands down, one of the best experiences I have had in law school and a great reminder of why I came to law school in the first place."
Our law students returned to Tucson with a renewed energy for their work in the classroom and the clinic. Said Josh: 

"Every story told by an exoneree and every panel discussion left me inspired and motivated about the work I am doing at the Wrongful Conviction Clinic."

Photos provided by Vanessa Buch.

Around the College

In Memoriam      
Philip Robbins, of Phoenix, passed away on March 20, 2018. He was a 1956 graduate of the College of Law, a current Board of Visitors member, and a longtime champion of the College of Law. Originally from Tucson, Phil also earned his BA at the University of Arizona.
After clerking for a U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles, Phil's first job as a trial lawyer was in San Diego, California, as an Assistant District Attorney. He and his family returned to Arizona in 1958, and in 1973, he founded, with several colleagues, the firm of Robbins, Green, O'Grady and Abbuhl. Phil later served as Special Counsel to Jennings, Strouss and Salmon and as Special Counsel to Sandweg and Ager, P.C., from 2008 until his retirement in 2017.
Phil is remembered as a mentor to many young professionals; as a leader in the profession of law, in the business community in Phoenix, and in many cross-border US-Mexico organizations; and as a great friend to the College of Law.


Angela J. Davis to Deliver 10th Annual Soll Lecture, April 18 

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Angela J. Davis will deliver the 10th Annual Darrow K. Soll Memorial Criminal Law & Justice Lecture.
There is no cost to attend this event, and it is open to the public.
When: Wednesday, April 18, 2018, noon
Where: James E. Rogers College of Law, 1201 E. Speedway Blvd., Room 164

The annual Soll Lecture is made possible through the generosity of alumna Jennifer Woods ('99).
About Angela J. Davis

Angela J. Davis is a professor of law at the American University Washington College of Law where she teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal defense. Professor Davis has been a visiting professor at George Washington University Law School and Georgetown University Law Center. She has served on the adjunct faculty at George Washington, Georgetown, and Harvard Law Schools. Professor Davis is the author of Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor (Oxford University Press, 2007). She was awarded a Soros Senior Justice Fellowship in 2004 and served on the Board of Trustees of the Sentencing Project and the Southern Center for Human Rights. Professor Davis is a graduate of Howard University and Harvard Law School. (Read full bio here.)

Just Six Days 'til Gutter Bowl, April 10

Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 6-9 p.m.

Scottsdale Bowlmor, 7300 E. Thomas Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Now in its 11th year, the Gutter Bowl beckons your team to the Scottsdale Bowlmor, where we will take over the entire alley on Tuesday, April 10, to battle for the coveted trophy -- the lowest score of the night. Don't worry, there are awards for high achievers as well!
All proceeds from the Hirsch Bowl will go to the Steven A. Hirsch Scholarship Fund
Sign up to bowl
Sign up as a team or come as an individual bowler and we will connect with you with a team.
As always, teams and bowlers compete for the highest team score, highest individual score, and the coveted Gutter Bowl award (lowest team score).
Individual bowler: $60
Team of six: $500
Attendee (not bowling): $30
If you have questions or need help signing up your team, contact Chris Gast, cgast@email.arizona.edu or 520-626-2400.
To make your mark on this legendary event as a sponsor or participant, or to give directly to the Steven A. Hirsch Scholarship Fund, please contact Chris Gast at cgast@email.arizona.edu or 520-626-2400.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Gutter Sponsor

Turkey Sponsor
Quarles & Brady

Spare Sponsors
Gammage & Burnham
Jones Skelton Hochuli
Littler Mendelson
Sherman Howard
Snell & Wilmer
State Bar of Arizona

Arizona Law in the News
The Wall Street Journal, op-ed by professor Robert Glennon 

The Hill, op-ed by professor Christopher Robertson

We have a community suffused with passion, principles, character, energy, and ideas -- as demonstrated by the students in our Wrongful Conviction Clinic and by the lifelong attention Phil Robbins gave to his clients and the College of Law.
That same wealth of commitment, knowledge, and values come together in the belief that law and lawyers can bring justice and light to people in need. These principles and the actions they produce are visible every day in our halls, and wherever our students, faculty, staff, and alumni roam.




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