California Western School Of Law building background
Justin Brooks

Justin P. Brooks

Professor of Law Director
California Innocence Project Director
Latin American Institute of Law and Justice

(619) 525-1485
California Innocence Project


Professor Justin Brooks is the Director and Co-Founder of the California Innocence Project. Prior to coming to California, he practiced as a criminal defense attorney in Washington D.C., Michigan, and Illinois. Over the course of his career, he has served as counsel on many high profile criminal cases and has been recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California. In 2010 and 2012, California Lawyer Magazine recognized him with the “Lawyer of the Year” award.

Professor Brooks began his teaching career in 1990 as a Fellow at Georgetown Law Center, later becoming the Associate Director of Georgetown’s Corrections Clinic. In 1993, he began teaching at Western Michigan University, where he taught criminal law, criminal procedure, death penalty law, and law and literature. He directed the moot court program, coached the law school’s first National Championship moot court team, and supervised a death penalty clinical program.

In 1999, Professor Brooks moved to California and co-founded the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law. Under his direction, the project has exonerated dozens of innocent people, trained hundreds of law students, and changed multiple laws in California related to wrongful convictions.

Since 1999, Professor Brooks has also worked extensively in Latin America. He is the Founder and Director of California Western’s Latin American Institute for Law and Justice, an organization devoted to training law students and lawyers in Latin America and improving justice systems. He is also the Founder and Director of Red Inocente, an organization devoted to starting and supporting innocence organizations throughout Latin America.

Professor Brooks has published extensively on criminal justice issues and is the author of the only legal casebook devoted to the topic of wrongful convictions. Academy Award nominated actor Greg Kinnear portrays Professor Brooks in the movie Brian Banks.

  • LLM, Georgetown University [advocacy]
  • JD, American University
  • BBA, Temple University [business law]
  • California Innocence Project I & II
  • Wrongful Convictions Seminar


  • Justin Brooks, Wrongful Convictions: Cases and Materials (3rd edition Vandeplas 2018)

Law Review Articles

  • Wrongfully Convicted in California: Are there Connections Between Exonerations, Prosecutorial and Police Procedures, and Justice Reforms? (with Zack Brooks) 45 Hofstra Law Review 373 (Winter 2016).
  • If Hindsight Is 20/20, Our Justice System Shouldn’t Be Blind to New Evidence of Innocence: A Survey of Post-Conviction New Evidence Statutes and a Proposed Model (with Simpson & Kaneb) 79 Albany Law Review (Fall 2016).
  • Innocence Work in the Americas, University of Milan Law Review (2015).
  • Redinocente: The Challenge of Bringing Innocence Work to Latin America, 80 U. Cin. L. Rev. (2012).
  • Find the Cost of Freedom: The Struggle to Compensate the Innocent for Wrongful Incarceration and the Strange Legal Odyssey of Timothy Atkins, (with Simpson) 49 San Diego Law Review 3 (2012).
  • Blood Sugar Sex Magic: A Review of Post-Conviction DNA Testing Statutes and Legislative Recommendations, (with Simpson) Drake Law Review (Fall 2011).
  • The Hurricane Meets the Paper Chase: Innocence Projects New Emerging Role in Clinical Legal Education, (with Stiglitz and Shulman) 38 California Western Law Review 413 (Spring 2002).
  • Will Boys Just be “Boyz N the Hood?” African-American Directors Portray a Crumbling Justice System in Urban America, 22 Oklahoma City University Law Review 1 (Spring 1997). Lead article. Reprinted in Screening Justice-The Cinema of the Law: Significant Films of Law, Order and Social Justice, edited by Strickland, Foster, and Banks, Hein and Co (2006).
  • How Can We Sleep While the Beds Are Burning? The Tumultuous Prison Culture of Attica Flourishes in American Prisons Twenty-Five Years Later, 45 Syracuse Law Review 159 (Fall 1996). Reprinted in Prisoners and the Law by Ira Robbins.
  • The Dire Wolf Collects his Due While the Boys Sit by the Fire: Michigan Cannot Afford to Buy into the Death Penalty, (with Erickson) 13 Thomas M. Cooley Law Review 877 (Fall 1996).
  • It's a Family Affair - The Incarceration of the American Family: Confronting Legal and Social Issues, (with Bahna) 28 University of San Francisco Law Review 271 (Spring 1994). Lead article.
  • Exile on Main Street...Inmate Transfers From Puerto Rico to the Continental United States Violate Due Process, 27 Interamericana Law Review 1 (Spring 1993).
  • Addressing Recidivism: Legal Education in Correctional Settings, 44 Rutgers Law Review 699 (Spring 1992). Reprinted in South Africa in the University of Bophutatswana Law Review (Fall 1992).
  • Brooks, Justin and Brooks, Zachary (2016) "Wrongfully Convicted in California: Are There Connections Between Exonerations, Prosecutorial and Police Procedures, and Justice Reforms,"Hofstra Law Review: Vol. 45 : Iss. 2 , Article 4.
  • Justin Brooks & Alexander Simpson, "Find the Cost of Freedom: The State of Wrongful Conviction Compensation Statutes Across the Country and the Strange Legal Odyssey of Timothy Atkins", 49 San Diego L. Rev. 627 (2012).
  • Justin Brooks & Alexander Simpson, "Blood Sugar Sex Magik: A Review of Postconviction DNA Testing Statutes and Legislative Recommendations", 59 Drake L. Rev. 799 (2011).