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Mark A. Godsey

Daniel P. and Judith L. Carmichael Professor of Law and Director, Lois and Richard Rosenthal Institute for Justice/Ohio Innocence Project


BS, Northwestern University
JD, The Ohio State University

Areas of Interest

  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Evidence

Professor Godsey is an award-winning classroom teacher, one of the top scholars of his generation on the issue of police interrogation, and one of the leading attorneys and activists globally in the Innocence Movement.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities at UC Law, Professor Godsey co-founded and directs the Ohio Innocence Project. The OIP is recognized as one of the most active and successful Innocence Projects in the world, and to date secured the release of 24 individuals on grounds of innocence who together served more than 450 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Professor Godsey and the OIP have also proposed several significant legislative reforms in Ohio, and worked tirelessly to get them passed into law. In 2010, for example, Governor Strickland signed Senate Bill 77, a law proposed and championed by the OIP that has been called "one of the most important pieces of criminal justice legislation in this state in a century," and a law that makes Ohio a "national model" on reforms to reduce and prevent the wrongful conviction of the innocent.

Since 2008, Professor Godsey has served on the Executive Board of the Innocence Network, the organization representing Innocence Projects in the United States and around the world, and serves as co-chair of the International Committee. He has been a leading figure in spreading awareness of wrongful convictions around the world, and with assisting lawyers and scholars in other countries to establish mechanisms for fighting wrongful convictions. Professor Godsey has widely lectured and consulted on the subject in Asia, Africa and Europe, and helped establish the European Innocence Network. The Center for the Global Study of Wrongful Conviction that Godsey directs, a sub-component of the OIP, sponsors an international innocence conference in a different country each year, having thus far sponsored conferences in China, Italy, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

Professor Godsey is also a regular commentator on issues relating to criminal law and wrongful conviction in both the local and national press, and has appeared nationally on Larry King Live, Dateline NBC, CNN, ESPN, BBC, Forensic Files, and NPR among others. He is frequently quoted in papers and magazines across the country, including The New York Times, Newsweek, People and the Wall Street Journal. In 2017, Time Magazine highlighted Professor Godsey as a leading figure in the movement, profiling his career and many of his cases over the years. He is also the editor of the Wrongful Convictions Blog and frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

Professor Godsey graduated from the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, where he served as an articles editor of the Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif, summa cum laude and 2nd in his class. Professor Godsey then clerked for Chief Judge Monroe G. McKay of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Salt Lake City, Utah. He then practiced civil litigation and white collar-criminal defense at Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue in Chicago and New York City, where he performed significant pro bono work for the Federal Public Defenders.

Next, Professor Godsey joined the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted federal crimes ranging from political corruption to hijacking to organized crime. As a federal prosecutor, Professor Godsey supervised FBI investigations, presented cases to federal grand juries, conducted jury and bench trials, and argued numerous appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He received several awards for his performance as an AUSA, including the Director's Award for Superior Performance, presented to him by then Attorney General Janet Reno.

Professor Godsey has published numerous law review articles in some of the most respected law journals in the country, and is currently working on a book slated for publication in the fall of 2017 titled Blind Injustice: A Former Prosecutor Exposes the Psychology and Politics of Wrongful Convictions.

Professor Godsey recently presented a Ted talk which examined the justice system. View it here.


Articles, Essays & Book Reviews

Select Presentations

  • Innocence As an International Civil Rights Movement, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, June 2015
  • Human Flaws and Wrongful Convictions Across International Boards, University of Milan, Italy, June 2014
  • Innocence and Wrongful Convictions in the U.S. and China, Sichuan University School of Law, Chengdu, China, October 2013
  • The International Expansion of the Innocence Movement, Nehru Memorial Museum, New Delhi, India
  • Wrongful Convictions and the Adversarial Process, Constitutional Tribunal of Poland, Warsaw, Poland, May 2012
  • Wrongful Convictions in the International Arena:  Remnin University, Beijing, China, October 2011
  • The Expansion of the Innocence Movement Internationally, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa, July 2010
    • Recognized by the Ohio Council for the Social Studies, the state’s largest professional organization devoted to advancing social studies education, for its inaugural “Humanitarian Award,” September 2017.
    • 2015 Rose Elizabeth Bird Commitment to Justice Award, Death Penalty Focus
    • 2015 Cincinnati Human Relations Commission Champion for Connecting Cultures and Communities Award
    • 2007 TIAA-CREF Award for Distinguished Public Service
    • 2004 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching
    • 2004 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award
    • 2004 Parker/McFarland Award for Excellence
    • 2004 Superstar of Criminal Law Award
    • 2003 Lukowsky Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure I
  • CSI the Myth
  • Evidence
  • Ohio Innocence Project
  • Research Seminar: Wrongful Convictions
  • The Wire (based on HBO show)