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.