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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.

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

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.

Student Applications Dates for Clinic:

Spring 2020: 
Applications: September 28th - October 28th, 2019
Offers extended to students: November 6, 2019
Student acceptances due: November 8, 2019

Fall 2020: 
Applications: January TBA - March TBA
Offers extended to students: March TBA
Student acceptances due: March TBA

**IMPORTANT!* - Pursuant to the Statement of Student Policies, Clinics – Students who have applied for a clinic and have been accepted may decline upon offer without consequence. However, once a student has accepted a clinic offered, any student who drops the clinic without prior approval by the dean’s designee 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 for referral to our clinic or another clinic that can assist you.

Our people

Katherine Puzauskas

Katherine Puzauskas
Supervising Legal Clinic Attorney

Robert Dormady

Robert Dormady
Clinical Attorney