Prisoners' Rights Project
In 2018 NIU Law initiated the Prisoners' Rights Project in partnership with the P. Michael Mahoney Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Over the course of two semesters, third-year students represent prisoners in federal court who have alleged that their constitutional rights have been violated. Each case is chosen with the expectation that it will culminate in a federal jury trial where the students will be lead counsel.
Students, typically working in pairs, handle all aspects of the matters, including meeting with their client in prison, keeping their client updated on the status of his/her case including answering all questions, presenting their client for deposition, identifying witnesses, deposing defendants and identified fact witnesses, retaining experts, preparing and presenting experts for deposition, preparing the pretrial brief and conducting the jury trial in Federal Court.
Students are required to possess a 711 license and will be guided through the process by an adjunct instructor who is an experienced practitioner in the field. A two-semester commitment is required. Students will receive four hours of course credit each semester.
For more information see the Prisoners' Rights Project Description and Requirements.