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Syed, Imran

Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
Michigan Innocence Clinic

3150 South Hall

Imran Syed, '11, is a clinical assistant professor of law. He is the assistant director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and teaches a seminar on forensic science. Professor Syed graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science before going on to Michigan Law. While in law school, Professor Syed worked for two years in the Innocence Clinic as a student attorney and, upon graduation, served as a clinical fellow and staff attorney in the clinic for three years. As part of teaching in the Innocence Clinic, Professor Syed has supervised students investigating and litigating a wide variety of cases, including several of the clinic's forensic science-based cases. Having litigated several arson wrongful convictions that were based on outdated fire science, Professor Syed also has coauthored articles discussing the novel litigation strategies needed to address wrongful convictions based on scientific evidence that is valid when used, but later comes to be repudiated. He also has spoken and written about a variety of topics related to wrongful convictions, such as compensation for exone​rees, the fallacies of eyewitness testimony, and the need for reform in Michigan's system of public defense. In 2014, Professor Syed wrote and produced a documentary film, The Price of Providence, about one of the Innocence Clinic's wrongful conviction cases.

Recent Publications

"Criminal Procedure v. Scientific Progress: The Challenging Path to Post-Conviction Relief in Cases That Arise During Periods of Shifts in Science." Caitlin Plummer, co-author. Vt. L. Rev. 41, no. 2 (2017): 279-346.
Full Text: WWW

"'Shifted Science' Revisited: Percolation Delays and the Persistence of Wrongful Convictions Based on Outdated Science." Caitlin Plummer, co-author. Clev. St. L. Rev. 64, no. 3 (2016): 483-518.​​
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN


Awarded Department of Justice Grant for "Michigan Innocence Clinic Shaken Baby Syndrome Project," September 2016.

Received Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the State Bar of Michigan, June 2016.

Presented "Overcoming and Preventing Wrongful Convictions," Greater Grace Temple, Detroit, May 2016.

Presented "Recognizing and Litigating Shifts in Science," Innocence Network Annual Conference, San Antonio, Texas, April 2016.

Presented "Litigation Strategies for Cases Involving Shifts in Science: Arson and Shaken Baby Syndrome," Forensic Fraud Symposium, West Virginia Law School, March 2016.

Led training on "Litigating Daubert and Other Science Issues on Appeal," State Appellate Defender Office, Detroit, February 2016.

Presented "The Broader Story of Making a Murderer,” University of Michigan Law School, February 2016.

Presented "The Wrongful Conviction of Victor Caminata," Central Michigan University, November 2015.

Presented "Wrongful Convictions and the Michigan Innocence Clinic," Farmington Hills, Michigan, September 2015.

Presented "Arson Case Review: Program Design, Implementation, and Strategies," Innocence Network Annual Conference, Orlando, Florida, May 2015.

Presented "The State of Forensic Science in Criminal Investigations," University of Michigan Law School, October 2014.

Led training on "Arson and Fire Science," Conference of Criminal Division of State Bar of Michigan, June 2014.

Presented keynote address, "Innocence and Michigan's Long Heritage of Opposition to Capital Punishment," Jackson County, Michigan, Law Day, May 2014.

Presented "Innocence and Capital Punishment," Amnesty International panel presentation, University of Michigan-Dearborn, March 2014.

Featured in "Exoneration Mission: Attorney at Innocence Clinic Films Documentary About Case," Detroit Legal News, February 2014.

Presented "The Michigan Innocence Clinic, Wrongful Convictions, and the Legislative Process," University of Michigan School of Education, February 2014.