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Drizin Named Legal Director of Center on Wrongful Convictions

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March 1, 2005

Steven Drizin, a leading authority on police interrogations, coerced confessions and the juvenile death penalty, has been named legal director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions , part of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at the School of Law.

Drizin, clinical professor of law and assistant director of the Bluhm clinic, succeeds Professor Lawrence C. Marshall.

The center's staff unanimously nominated Drizin to replace Marshall, according to Rob Warden, who co-founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions with Marshall in 1999 and serves as its executive director. Marshall, who last month was named director of clinical programs at Stanford Law School, also enthusiastically endorsed Drizin.

"Steve Drizin is an extraordinary lawyer, scholar and human being," said Marshall, who will serve on the advisory board of the Center on Wrongful Convictions. "It gives me great confidence to know that the future of the center is in his able hands, together with the continued leadership of Rob Warden and the outstanding lawyers and staff who have made the center what it is."

Drizin’s national leadership on police interrogations and false confessions led to collaboration with attorneys at the Center on Wrongful Conviction on related cases and on legal reform initiatives. In his efforts to get the juvenile death penalty abolished in the United States, he has been working with a number of organizations, including the American Bar Association, the Juvenile Law Center and Amnesty International.

“Steve Drizin’s leadership is sure to further enhance the groundbreaking policy initiatives and justice reform efforts of the great team that we have in place at the Center on Wrongful Convictions,” said David E. Van Zandt, dean.

Thomas P. Sullivan, chairman of the advisory board of the center, a partner at Jenner & Block, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and chairman of the Illinois Capital Reform Study Committee, said, ““Steve brings unwavering dedication to the center's goals, years of experience and strong leadership qualities.”

Drizin’s leadership also will further the Center on Wrongful Convictions’ increasing focus on a national reform agenda, according to Warden.

Drizin has taught in the Bluhm Legal Clinic since 1991 and in 1993 joined its Children and Family Justice Center as a supervising attorney.

In that role, he became widely recognized for his efforts to secure greater protections for children including mandatory videotaping of police interrogations, parental presence and the right to counsel for youth. He represented children in delinquency and criminal cases in trial and appellate courts, school disciplinary proceedings, parole and clemency hearings, and political asylum proceedings.

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