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NAJP MISSION STATEMENT (April 17, 2006)

The Northern Arizona Justice Project (NAJP) was created in 2002 to investigate claims of actual innocence. The project's director Robert Schehr can be reached at 928.523.9979, or by email at Robert.Schehr@nau.edu.

Rationale for the Project

If the wrong person is put in prison, then the actual perpetrator of harm is still walking the streets free to commit addtional crimes. As a matter of principle, and in the name of justice, those who constitue the Northern Arizona Justice Project are committed to seeing all wrongfully convicted people set free.

The Northern Arizona Justice Project provides an unparalleled opportunity for theory and praxis to meet in a real-life experience. Students can apply their theoretical, conceptual, end empirical knowledge of due process and the justice system to real cases. A 2001 report issued by Columbia University Law professor, James Liebman, indicated that Arizona is among the worst states in the country when it comes to making mistakes in death penalty cases (A Broken System: Error Rates in Capital Cases, 1973-1995). An urgent need exists for students and concerned community members to become involved in cases where innocent people have been unjustly incarcerated.

Who May Participate?

Participation in the NAJP is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Interested students should arrange to meet with the Project Director to discuss their participation. Ideally, students interested in working on innocence cases should enroll in the following courses: CJ 270 Criminal Law, CJ 275 Criminal Procedure, CJ 390 Criminal Investigation, and CJ 495 Wrongful Conviction.

What Kind of Cases Will the NAJP Investigate?

The NAJP will only investigate cases where actual innocence has been alleged, and where the crime occurred in the state of Arizona. The NAJP is open to taking cases where DNA evidence is present and may prove exculpatory, as well as cases where no DNA exists. The NAJP will also review non-death penalty, and death penalty cases.