Peter Neufeld, Innocence Project Founder, to Receive Honorary Degree at LIU Post Commencement May 4
Pioneer of DNA evidence and champion of legal reform; has represented O.J. Simpson, Abner Louima
Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University
Brookville, N.Y. – Over the past two decades, 289 wrongly convicted inmates – 17 of them facing execution – have been exonerated by new evidence brought to light by The Innocence Project, a pro bono legal clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law co-founded by attorney Peter J. Neufeld.
A pioneer of DNA evidence and champion of legal reform who has represented high-profile clients including O.J. Simpson and Abner Louima, Neufeld will receive an honorary doctorate from LIU Post at the 54th Commencement exercises on Friday, May 4.
Neufeld is a founding partner at Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP, a Manhattan law firm specializing in representing victims of civil rights violations. He and Barry Scheck founded the Innocence Project in 1992 to apply the then-emerging science of DNA testing to overturn wrongful convictions.
Today, through a network of clinics nationwide, The Innocence Project represents hundreds of inmates.
Neufeld's work has helped shape the course of U.S. case law and has raised awareness of problems in the justice system. He helped launch an influential study by the National Academy of Sciences that resulted in important state and federal legislation on the use of DNA evidence.
With Scheck and their late partner, Johnnie Cochran, Neufeld served on the O.J. Simpson defense team. More recently, he represented Abner Louima and Earl Washington in their cases involving civil rights violations by the police.
Neufeld is co-author, with Scheck and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Jim Dwyer, of "Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted."
Neufeld's honors include the University of Virginia School of Law's Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law; the American Lawyer of the Year Award; selection by the National Law Journal as one of the Top 100 Influential Lawyers in America and Runner Up for Lawyer of the Year; and listings in numerous editions of "Who's Who in American Law and "Who's Who in America."
He serves on the New York State Commission on Forensic Science and on the board of trustees of Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Neufeld holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, a J.D. from New York University and an L.L.D. from Gonzaga University. He lives with his wife, Adele Bernard, in New York and has two children, Shane and Lena.
Commencement 2012 will celebrate the achievements of 974 baccalaureate students, 1,183 master's degree candidates, 24 doctoral candidates, and 145 students who have competed advanced certificates. The main ceremony on the Great Lawn, which begins at 11:30 a.m., is expected to draw more than 9,000 graduates, family members, guests and faculty. For more information, visit www.liu.edu/post/commencement.
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