Skip to main content
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - Beus Center for Law and Society Snell & Wilmer Plaza

Post-Conviction Clinic

The Post-Conviction Clinic investigates claims of wrongful conviction and manifest injustice from prisoners convicted of crimes in Arizona. Post-conviction work is a specialized practice area that delves into both fundamental and nuanced aspects of criminal law and criminal procedure – one that is becoming increasingly vital as over 400 prisoners nationwide have been exonerated either in full or in part by DNA testing, and over 1,500 people have been exonerated by other means. Arizona is home to more than 40,000 prisoners and more than 5,000 on community supervision. Arizona incarcerates more people per capita than any other state in the west and ranks sixth in the country. The clinic works in conjunction with the Arizona Justice Project and here are some of the case profiles.

What students do:

  • Students participate in the post-conviction investigation and litigation of criminal cases.
  • Students produce written work focused on reviewing and analyzing the history of the conviction and the potential reasons for any wrongful conviction, including the role DNA or other newly discovered evidence could play in exonerating the inmate.
  • Students interview witnesses and clients, locate biological evidence, and evaluate whether a given case should be submitted for DNA testing.
  • Students draft requests for post-conviction DNA testing, petitions for post-conviction relief, and petitions for clemency and parole.
  • Students may represent clients in court or before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency.
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Course information

The Post-Conviction Clinic is a one semester course.

  • Credits: six credits (four client component pass/fail and two graded seminar)
  • Pre- or Co-Requisite(s): Evidence, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law & Professional Responsibility
  • Must be Rule 39 certified after acceptance to clinic.

Time commitment

Students are expected to spend a minimum of 270 hours in the Clinic during the one semester.

  • Fall or Spring Semester – 20 hours per week

Included in those hours is a mandatory seminar class of a minimum of five hours per week.

β€œThe Post-Conviction Clinic is a perfect storm. Students aid clients in navigating the treacherous post-conviction process. Students acquire practical skills in writing briefs, conducting client and witness interviews, and giving oral presentations. Students get to work with clinical-professors whose passion for their cases is contagious and fun to be around. The confluence of these aspects of the clinic make for an incredible experience.”

Andrew Fox
Class of 2017

Student Applications Dates for Clinic:

Spring 2022:
Applications: September 24 - October 24, 2021
Offers extended to students: October 29, 2021
Student acceptances due: November 1, 2021 by 5 pm

Fall 2022: Application period: January 17 - February 20, 2022 Offers extended to students: February 25, 2022 Student acceptances due: February 28, 2022 by 9:00 a.m.

**IMPORTANT!* - Externships and Clinics – Students who have applied for an externship or clinic and been accepted may decline upon offer without consequence. However, once a student has accepted an externship or clinic, any student who drops the externship or clinic without prior approval by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will be subject to the 12-month ban.

Students may apply via Atlas during the application period listed above.

The Post Conviction Clinic does not accept outside referrals or direct inquiries for services. If you believe you have a valid post conviction claim, please contact the Arizona Justice Project at 602-496-0286 or info@azjusticeproject.org for referral to our clinic or another clinic that can assist you.

Our People

Randal McDonald

Randal McDonald
Supervising Legal Clinic Attorney

Joey Dormady

Joey Dormady
Clinical Attorney

Katherine Puzauskas

Katherine Puzauskas
Consultant