In the wake of the now-debunked rape case against three lacrosse players, Duke University will establish a center devoted to justice and training lawyers to fight wrongful convictions, president Richard Brodhead said this week.
Duke will invest $1.25 million over the next five years for the project at the law school, which will also expand its Wrongful Convictions Clinic and Innocence Project. The clinic and the Innocence Project investigate claims of innocence by the state’s convicted felons and raise awareness of problems in the criminal justice system.
“The lacrosse case attracted a lot of publicity, but is not the only case in which innocent people have suffered harm through the state’s legal system,” says James Coleman, a Duke law professor who led a university committee that examined the team’s behavior in the weeks following the 2006 accusations.
Coleman and Associate Dean Theresa Newman, both of whom teach at the clinic and serve as faculty advisers to the law school’s student-led Innocence Project, are expected to be involved in the development of the new center.
– Associated Press
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