Albany Law School will be closed today until 4pm due to the weather.
California Innocence Project co-founder Professor Jan Stiglitz will visit Albany Law School on Thursday, November 3, to discuss his role in exonerating a California man who spent over two decades in prison for a murder he did not commit. Professor Stiglitz’s talk, “The Struggle to Free William Richards: Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Justice,” will be held at 4:00 p.m. in the law school’s Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom. The event is open to the public.
Professor Stiglitz, Class of 1975, was recently named Albany Law School’s Fall 2016 Alumnus in Residence. Prior to his remarks on Nov. 3, Professor Stiglitz will meet with Criminal Law Society students at the Career and Professional Development Center. He will also present at the law school’s free continuing legal education (CLE) program on Friday, Nov. 4, which is open to graduates from the classes of 2012-2016.
Professor Stiglitz’s lecture will focus on the case of William Richards, who was arrested after the death of his wife in California in 1993. After two hung juries and a mistrial, Richards was convicted of first-degree murder in 1997 and sentenced to 25 years to life based largely on discredited bite-mark evidence and expert testimony that would later be recanted. The California Supreme Court
reversed his conviction in May 2016 after new evidence showed another person’s DNA on the murder weapon and under the victim’s fingernails, and after the California Innocence Project worked to change a state law to allow experts to recant their testimony.
Richards, whose case was taken on by Professor Stiglitz and the California Innocence Project shortly after its founding in 1999, spent 23 years in prison. He was released in June — with Professor Stiglitz by his side.
Professor Stiglitz is a professor emeritus at California Western School of Law. He began his teaching career at California Western in 1980, after receiving his J.D. from Albany Law School and LL.M. from Harvard Law School.
While on the faculty at California Western, Professor Stiglitz represented numerous individuals who were appealing their criminal convictions. In 1999, Professor Stiglitz, along with Professor Justin Brooks, founded the California Innocence Project to seek the exoneration of those who have been wrongfully convicted and to effect changes in the law and in police practices which will prevent wrongful convictions. In his work as co-director of the Project, Professor Stiglitz appeared in federal and state courts throughout California, including the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court. His work in the Project earned him two California Lawyer of the Year Awards.
Professor Stiglitz has stepped down from his position with the Project and is retiring from California Western. He is now representing some California Innocence Project exonerees in civil litigation seeking compensation for their wrongful convictions.
Albany Law School’s Alumni in Residence program, inaugurated in 1992, was designed to bring the law school’s most distinguished graduates into the classroom to share their expertise with students and to raise awareness about the potential of an Albany Law School degree.
A reception will follow the Nov. 3 lecture. For more information, visit