Attorney, DNA expert, and co-founder of The Innocence Project Barry Scheck is known for years of landmark litigation that set the standards for using DNA evidence in courts throughout the country. He has spearheaded a nationwide movement to re-examine the fairness and efficacy of our criminal justice system.
The Innocence Project started in 1992, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system to prevent injustice. Scheck and the organization have used DNA evidence to exonerate almost 300 wrongfully imprisoned people, many of whom were on death row or had been incarcerated for decades. Scheck and and his work with The Innocence Project were the basis for the TV drama The Divide.
In Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted, Scheck exposed the mishandled evidence and coercive interrogations that plague the legal process. Publisher’s Weekly called the book “an alarming wake-up call.”
In October 2010 Scheck and The Innocence Project were featured in the feature film Conviction. The film retold the true story of a Betty Anne Waters (played by Hilary Swank) and her quest to free her innocent brother from prison. After putting herself through college and law school, Waters joined with the Innocence Project to seek the DNA testing that would free her brother. Peter Gallagher played the role of Scheck.
A DNA expert with the O.J. Simpson defense team, Scheck has represented notable clients including Hedda Nussbaum, Louise Woodward and Abner Louima. More recently, Scheck served as counsel to wrongly accused Duke University lacrosse player Reade Seligmann in a civil lawsuit filed against the city of Durham, North Carolina. He has covered the Oklahoma City bombing and other trials for NBC News.
A Commissioner for the New York State Forensic Science Review Board and Professor at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, Scheck is considered to be on the of 100 most influential lawyers in America. His honors include the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Robert C. Heeney Award for recognition of outstanding contributions, and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers—Thurgood Marshall Award.
- Scheck on Fighting Wrongful Conviction (2012)
- Barry Scheck talks to Big Think about why some jurisdictions are more likely to wrongfully convict
- Barry Scheck talks to Big Think about overturning wrongful convictions
- Barry Scheck on The Colbert Report (2006)
- Conviction: Official trailer (2010)
- Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted