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Justin P. Brooks

Executive Director, Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy
Professor of Law
Director, LLM in Trial Advocacy
Project Director, California Innocence Project

LLM, Georgetown University [advocacy]
JD, American University
BBA, Temple University [business law]
350 Cedar Street
(619) 525-1485
California Innocence Project I & II, Comparative & International Criminal Procedure, LLM - Federal Criminal Practice, LLM - Federal Sentencing, Criminal Procedure and Criminal Law, Wrongful Convictions Seminar

Professor Justin Brooks is the director of California Innocence Project, the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, and California Western's LLM in Trial Advocacy specializing in Federal Criminal Law. Prior to coming to California, Professor Brooks practiced as a criminal defense attorney in Washington DC, Michigan, and Illinois. Over the course of his career he has served as counsel on several high-profile criminal cases and has been successful in exonerating wrongfully convicted clients. He has been recognized several times by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California. In 2010, California Lawyer magazine awarded him the prestigious "Lawyer of the Year" award.

Professor Brooks began his teaching career as a Fellow at Georgetown Law Center in 1990. He continued to teach at Georgetown after his fellowship ended and served as Associate Director of Georgetown’s Corrections Clinic. In 1993, he began teaching at Thomas M. Cooley Law School 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 founded the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law with Emeritus Professor Jan Stiglitz. The project is an in-house law school clinic that investigates and litigates cases of factual innocence while training law students to be ethical, justice-driven advocates. The project has been successful in exonerating many wrongfully convicted clients and has been recognized with several awards, as well as local, national, and international media attention.

Professor Brooks has been involved in training lawyers throughout his career. As Director of the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, he has run an annual trial skills academy for new lawyers for more than a decade.  As director of the LLM in Trial Advocacy, he oversees a program dedicated to training lawyers for practice in federal court. He has also been very involved in training Latin American lawyers. Brooks founded the only trial skills academy in the country conducted in Spanish and he travels throughout Latin America training attorneys, judges, and law enforcement agents on trial skills and criminal forensics.

Professor Brooks has published extensively in the areas of criminal law, clinical education, and habeas litigation. He is the author of the only legal casebook devoted to the topic of wrongful convictions.


  • Justin Brooks, Wrongful Convictions: Cases and Materials (Vandeplas 2011)

Law Review Articles

  • 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).