The Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) has been selected to receive a Seventh Circuit Bar Association Pro Bono and Public Service Award for its work on the exoneration case of CWC client Nicole Harris. The Center will be honored at the association’s annual dinner on May 12.
Clinical professors and students from both the CWC and the Children and Family Justice Center spent nearly eight years winning the freedom of Harris, a mother wrongfully convicted of strangling her four-year-old son. Harris maintained that she gave a false confession after being physically and psychologically coerced during more than 27 hours of police interrogation.
Steven Drizin (JD ’86), former legal director of the CWC and assistant dean of the Bluhm Legal Clinic, along with Alison Flaum, legal director of the Children and Family Justice Center, partnered with a team of attorneys from Jenner & Block [lead by partner Robert Stauffer] to represent Harris in both state and federal court. Ultimately the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned Harris’s conviction.
Each year, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association’s Pro Bono and Public Service Awards celebrates legal professionals’ commitment to community service and public interest law. The annual award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding work involving federal court litigation.