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Capital Punishment Clinic

The Capital Punishment Clinic provides representation and consultation services in death penalty cases. Our clients are prison inmates, usually from the American South, who are challenging their convictions and sentences in the state and federal courts.
Clinic Format and Student Experience

Clinic Cases

The clinic provides or assists with the representation of people under sentence of death. Past and current clients include individuals from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. While each client is unique, many of the clinic’s cases have involved issues of race, ethnicity, intellectual disability, and other severe mental impairments.

two men sitting on a porch

Edward Lee Elmore, a client the clinic worked to free from prison, and John Blume on Elmore’s porch.

Our work has touched all stages of the criminal process, from trials and appeals, to state post-conviction and federal habeas corpus proceedings, to certiorari and merits-stage review in the Supreme Court of the United States. With the exception of oral argument, students have participated in all aspects of that representation.

Cases are selected for the clinic based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the presence of issues on which we may offer particular expertise or competence; opportunities to combine academic interests with the advancement of client goals; and opportunities to add value to existing legal teams while offering pedagogically rich experiences to student participants.

Clinic Faculty
John Blume
Samuel F. Leibowitz Professor of Trial Techniques and Director, Cornell Death Penalty Project
Phone:
(607) 255-1030
Type:
Permanent
Address:
Cornell Law School
159 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
Sheri Johnson
James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law
Phone:
(607) 255-6478
Type:
Permanent
Address:
Cornell Law School
245 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
Keir Weyble
Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Death Penalty Litigation
Phone:
(607) 255-3805
Type:
Permanent
Address:
Cornell Law School
158 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
Susan Knight
Adjunct Professor of Law
Type:
Adjunct and Associated - Clinical
Address:
Cornell Law School
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

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