The Michigan Innocence Clinic
At the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, clinic students investigate and litigate cases on behalf of prisoners who have new evidence that may establish that they are actually innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted. Unlike many other innocence clinics, which specialize in DNA exonerations, the Michigan Innocence Clinic focuses on innocence cases where there is no biological evidence to be tested.
Under the supervision of its founder, Professor David Moran, Innocence Clinic students work on all aspects of the cases, including investigating new evidence, preparing state post-conviction motions, conducting hearings and arguing motions in conjunction with these motions, and filing appeals to the state and federal courts. The Michigan Innocence Clinic has already exonerated seven of its clients since its inception in 2009.
Victor Caminata’s Story
On January 22, 2014, the Michigan Innocence Project announced that Victor Caminata, who was charged with arson and had served 5 years and 2 weeks of wrongful imprisonment prior to his release on July 2, 2013, would have his conviction vacated by the Michigan Attorney General. It was determined that expert witnesses no longer stood by the arson determination that had sent Mr. Caminata to prison to serve 9 to 40 years.
Mr. Caminata was convicted after the house he shared with his then-girlfriend and their children burned in 2008. The initial investigation concluded that the fire originated in the chimney, which was connected to a wood stove. The police received an anonymous tip, and investigators reexamined the wreckage and found supposed signs of arson and made to look like a chimney fire. The investigators failed to examine the interior of the chimney, which is the most basic step a fire investigator is required to take before determining whether or not a fire involved a chimney.
Mr. Caminata’s exoneration came almost two years after the Innocence Clinic filed a motion for relief from judgment for Mr. Caminata based on the conclusion of its experts that the state’s experts committed fundamental errors and that the initial finding of an accidental criminal fire had burned the house was correct.
When dealing with the criminal law you need the protection of a Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney to make sure you are completely protected.
We can help
If you, or a loved one, is being charged with a criminal offense, or there is a possibility that you have been wrongfully convicted it is important that you contact an attorney that has the experience and knowledge in all areas of the criminal law to protect your rights both before and after conviction.
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience practicing nothing but criminal law. When faced with the serious issue of possible imprisonment, you should not trust your future to an attorney who practices in multiple areas of the law. Those types of attorneys cannot be experts in any particular area of the law when they are spread so thin. If you have any questions or need help please contact LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Information Form and we will contact you.
Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
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