Santa Clara University

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Santa Clara University

SCU Stories
Starr photo

Linda Starr

Legal Director, Northern California Innocence Project
At a glance:

Linda Starr, co-founder of the Northern California Innocence Project, works with students to exonerate innocent prisoners.

Supervising Attorney Linda Starr and her team at the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) recently secured the release of Obie Anthony, a man who spent the last 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The case took around four years?fast for a post-conviction challenge?and involved the work of at least 10 law students over the years. Professor Starr co-founded the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University School of Law and teaches classes within NCIP.

In the clinical classes, Professor Starr often holds discussions with the students regarding post-conviction work and issues that arise while working on cases. Students learn to analyze cases and to investigate for evidence of innocence. For instance, the Anthony case demonstrated flaws in the criminal justice system that led to Anthony being convicted of participating in a homicide. Students who participated in the case got to do complex and complicated legal research and writing; the students also travelled all over the state interviewing a variety of witnesses.

Professor Starr also works with students to review the causes of wrongful conviction. Rather than simply understanding the doctrines, the clinical program talks about how as a lawyer one can deal with these causes of wrongful conviction. The clinical program emphasizes problem solving, rather than simply learning about past cases from a text.