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Justin Brooks (born 1965) is an American criminal defense attorney, known internationally for his work in exonerating wrongfully-convicted people and training judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. He is a co-founder and currently serves as director of the California Innocence Project (CIP), which has freed a number of high-profile innocent clients, including former NFL football player Brian Banks,. The CIP is a founding member of the Innocence Network, an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to wrongfully convicted people. Brooks is frequently interviewed on broadcast media and in print media about his cases and other legal issues.
Brooks is also known for his activism. In April 2013, he walked 712 miles, from San Diego to Sacramento, on behalf of twelve of his clients: the so-called "California 12." For decades he has worked on law reform in Latin America and has founded Innocence organizations throughout the region. He is the director of Red Inocente; a network of projects freeing innocent Latin American prisoners.
Among his many honors, Brooks in 2012 won the first annual Roberto Alvarez Award by the American Constitution Society and was voted one of San Diego's Top Attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript in 2015. He is a two-time California Lawyer Magazine's "Lawyer of the Year" award winner (2010,2012). He currently serves as a tenured professor of law at California Western School of Law (CWSL) in San Diego.
- 1 Early life, education and early legal career
- 2 Beginning of interest in the wrongly convicted
- 3 California Innocence Project
- 4 Teaching career
- 5 Awards and recognition
- 6 Academic publications
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Early life, education and early legal career
Brooks was born in New York City in 1965. He resided for most of youth on the east coast of the United States, but attended high school in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1986, he received a bachelor's degree in business law from Temple University. He obtained his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law in 1990. In 1992, he earned an LL.M in Trial Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center.
Brooks has practiced as a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C., California, Illinois and Michigan, taking court-appointed cases in D.C. for three years and pro bono cases for death row inmates in Michigan and Illinois for six years.
Beginning of interest in the wrongly convicted
In the mid-1990's, Brooks read about the case of a 21-year-old Chicago women, Marilyn Mulero, who had been sentenced to death without a trial, based on a plea bargain. The situation made no sense to Brooks: virtually always, a defendant plea bargains for a lesser sentence, yet Mulero had received the harshest possible sentence.
Brooks went to the crime scene to investigate and discovered that the only eyewitness to the crime could not possibly have witnessed it from her vantage point. Brooks also discovered that this witness was the girlfriend of one of the victims... a fact never revealed by the police.
Five of Brooks' students volunteered to help him with the case. They got a jury to reverse the death sentence, though the guilty plea against Mulero still stood. As of late 2015, she was still in jail, though not on death row. In November 2015, Brooks submitted a petition to the United Nations' Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions asking them to declare her incarceration a human rights violation. he continues to petition the Governor of Illinois for clemency.
California Innocence Project
Brooks said that "one night, after visiting Mulero, I was sitting in my car on a freezing Chicago evening and I decided this [exonerating innocent people] is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I quit my job. California has the largest prison system in the world, so I thought this would be a great place to start. The California Western School of Law had a small criminal defense institute that had a little bit of budget for what I wanted to do. They hired me on as director and I turned it into the California Innocence Project."
Brooks co-founded the CIP in 1999. He realized the benefits of getting law students involved in the work and giving them "a live clinical training, the same way doctors learn in hospitals." When The Los Angeles Times published an editorial praising the founding of the project, Brooks was inundated by innumerable boxes of material from potential clients, as well as by people visiting its office on behalf of incarcerated friends and family members.
Brooks claims that it's much harder to reverse a verdict after conviction than to obtain acquittal for a defendant at the original trial, and that the most "draining" aspect of his job is "saying no to people all the time," when the evidence to exonerate is not strong.
The CIP website claims that the organization "has trained more than 200 students who have gone on to become highly successful criminal defense attorneys, criminal prosecutors, Assistant Attorneys General, and civil attorneys." At the end of 2016, CIP had freed 25 clients.
The CIP has exonerated a number of high-profile clients, some of whom had spent decades in prison. A few examples of such cases are:
Banks was a promising high school football player, on track for a probable career in the NFL, when he had a consensual sexual encounter on the school grounds with a young woman, who then falsely accused him of rape. Arrested, Banks was faced with the decision of either fighting the charges, knowing that, if he lost, he would spend decades in prison, or agreeing to a plea bargain. He chose the latter course, even though this would cripple his football career, subject him to a lengthy probation period and result in lifetime registration as a sex offender. His accuser's mother then used his guilty plea to sue the school for its allegedly lax security, and received a $1.5 million judgment. Banks served a little over five years of a seven-year sentence. However, the young woman later recanted on camera her testimony and admitted that she had fabricated the rape accusation. After a review by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office prompted by the CIP, the Los Angeles Superior Court reversed Banks' conviction in May 2012. As Brooks told an interviewer after Banks' release: "Brian took a plea deal because he was looking at 40 years in prison if he didn't and his lawyer told him, hey, it's 'he said, she said.' If you want to roll the dice and go to trial, you may never walk out of prison. And this is a 17-year-old kid who's got to make that decision."
In July, 1987, Atkins was convicted of one count of murder and two counts of robbery. The police were led to Atkins when a woman named Denise Powell, a prostitute, told police that Atkins had confessed to her to being an accomplice in the killing of a man who had been shot in the chest during an attempted carjacking. Brooks said, "The jury sees this young black kid... this woman says, 'yeah, I think that's the guy,' and he goes away for twenty-three years." Powell later testified that she had fabricated the story of Atkins's confession. She recanted her testimony, saying that she had lied to police about the confession and had been afraid the lie would be revealed if she changed her story. In his decision, the judge stated that Powell's recantation, together with the "unreliable and changing [eye-witness] identification" led him to believe that "no reasonable judge or jury would have convicted Atkins." Wendy Koen, then a second-year law student at the CIP, worked tirelessly to track Powell down and get a signed declaration.
Shortly after midnight on August 11, 1993, in a desert area of San Bernardino, Pamela Richards was found by her husband, William "Bill" Richards, strangled and beaten to death, her skull crushed, outside the motor home they shared. Bill Richards had to call 911 three times before the arrival of the local police, who failed to secure the crime scene. As a result, before detectives began investigating the murder in the morning, dogs had invaded and contaminated the scene. The police and detectives also failed to conduct routine time-of-death testing to determine whether or not Pamela might have been killed while Bill was still at work. Because the police had no other suspects, they charged Richards with the crime, despite his having no injuries suggesting he had struggled with his wife and despite the lack of a confession. After three trials (the first two had resulted in hung juries), Richards was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. The CIP, taking up Richards' case, established at a 2009 hearing that there were DNA traces from the crime scene that belonged to neither Pamela nor Bill. They also produced two bite mark experts who had testified against Richards at his original trials, who now claimed that current science exonerated Richards. The judge reversed his conviction. However, the district attorney appealed the judge's decision to the California Court of Appeal, which reversed it, and in 2013 the California Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal's judgment. Two years later, the CIP successfully introduced legislation that allowed experts to recant their testimony in California trials. In May, 2016, the California Supreme Court reversed Richards' conviction. In the following month, Richards walked free after 23 years behind bars.
Matthew and Grace Huang
In 2012, a couple from Los Angeles, Matthew and Grace Huang, moved to Doha, in Qatar, where Matthew, an engineer, was working on a long-term project. The Huangs had three adopted African-born black children. On January 15, 2013, one of these children, the Huangs' eight-year-old daughter, Gloria, died suddenly. Officials arrested Matthew and Grace the following day and subsequently charged them with murdering Gloria, on the theory that the couple must have had some nefarious purpose (perhaps organ harvesting) for adopting Gloria in the first place, as she was black and therefore could not (they argued) really have been wanted by the Huangs. Ultimately, although the prosecution presented no substantial case (medical evidence showed that Gloria had not died of starvation – indeed, the autopsy failed to establish cause of death – and no other evidence of abuse surfaced), the couple were convicted on a lesser charge of child endangerment and sentenced to three years in prison, though the prosecution still wanted to charge them with the more serious offense of child trafficking. Representatives of the Huangs created a YouTube video to plead their case, in which Brooks is filmed saying, "In my 25 years of practicing criminal law, I have never seen as outrageous a prosecution theory as there is in this case" and "this case completely lacks any type of due process." In November, 2014, the Huangs' convictions were reversed by the Qatari Appeals Court and they were found innocent; they returned to Los Angeles on December 3. CIP represented the Huangs along with the David House Agency, an organization devoted to freeing innocent Americans from overseas incarceration.
Horace Roberts, a supervisor at a diagnostic lab, was convicted, after three trials, of second-degree murder in the 1998 strangulation death of Terry Cheek, a co-worker with whom the married Roberts had been having an affair. The victim herself had been married to Googie Harris, Sr., who knew about the affair, had filed a restraining order against Cheek and had demanded custody of their daughters. The evidence that had swayed the jury at the third trial was the presence, about a mile from the murder scene, of Roberts’ truck (which Cheek had frequently borrowed), the fact that he had initially lied about the affair with Cheek to police and, above all, the presence near the body of a watch that Roberts had mistakenly identified as his. (Roberts’ watch was later found at his home.) Harris, the victim’s husband, testified against Roberts at each of his three trials and later opposed Robert’s release from prison at his parole hearings.
Brooks claimed that Roberts had been “set up” by Cheek's husband. “It’s the oldest story there is in the murder business. Husband kills wife who is cheating on him. The twist, in this case, is that the husband set up the lover to go to prison for the rest of his life.” Roberts also had an alibi: on the day of the murder, he had placed multiple calls to Cheek from a pay phone near his home. The CIP decided that the evidence that convicted Roberts was circumstantial and decided to take on the case.
In 2016, a request by the CIP for new DNA testing, more sophisticated than what was done in 1998, was granted. DNA from the victim’s left-hand fingernails and clothes matched to Harris’ nephew, Joaquin Leal, who had served prison time on a molestation case against the child of a woman with whom Harris was then having a relationship. Meanwhile, the CIP lobbied the legislature, in line with other states, to reduce the legal evidentiary standard, which would make the original 2014 DNA evidence to the judge sufficient to exonerate Roberts. The legislature passed this reform in September 2016. All this evidence was brought to the attention of Riverside District Attorney Mike Hestrin’s Conviction Review Committee. Because of the DNA match, Leal and Harris then became the focus of a new probe. On October 2, 2018, the office agreed to reverse Roberts’ conviction. Ten days later, all charges against Roberts were dismissed, and on October 15, the D.A.’s office agreed to a Finding of Factual Innocence in Roberts’ case. On the same day, it filed charges in the murder of Terry Cheek against Harris and Leal.
“It’s a classic murder case,” Brooks said, “where you’ve got a husband, you’ve got a lover and you’ve got a dead wife. Obviously, the two suspects in this case were the husband and Roberts.” Under the law, wrongfully convicted inmates such as Roberts are entitled to receive $140 for each day incarcerated, which would add up to over $1 million for his nearly 20 years in prison.
Through the CIP, Brooks frequently serves as an advocate for clemency for the wrongfully convicted, and for legislation that would make it more difficult to convict innocent people or make it easier to overturn wrongful convictions. In April 2013, Brooks identified twelve clients of his with strong claims to exoneration: the "California 12." Accompanied by two attorneys, Alissa Bjerkhoel and Mike Semanchik, Brooks walked 712 miles from San Diego to Sacramento. His purpose was to deliver clemency petitions for the California 12 to Gov. Jerry Brown, and to raise consciousness of the plight of the wrongfully convicted. In November 2014, Michael Hanline was released, the first of the California 12 to be freed. He had served 36 years in prison: the longest-ever incarceration, in California, of a person whose conviction was ultimately overturned. As of the end of 2016, 4 of the 12 have been released (Mike Hanline, Kim Long, Alan Gimenez and Bill Richards).
The CIP frequently sponsors legislation that favors the wrongfully convicted. In September, 2016, a new California law (SB 1134), co-sponsored by the CIP, passed, which would make it easier for wrongfully convicted persons to prove their innocence. Brooks said, after the legislation passed, "For many years California has been the most difficult place in the United States to bring a new evidence claim on behalf of innocent clients. Finally, we have a standard where the courts can reverse a conviction based on new evidence that would have led to an acquittal had it been introduced at trial." In the same month, another law (SB 1389), also co-sponsored by CIP, was signed into law by Governor Brown. The law was designed to reduce the number of false confessions by requiring police in California to record murder interrogations. Said Brooks: "Recording interrogations makes a clear record of what was said and also allows a fact finder to judge context, stress and sincerity. It helps in getting to the truth, which is in everyone's interest."
Among the referenda submitted to California's voters in 2016, the CIP and Brooks opposed Proposition 66, a law designed to speed up capital executions, and supported Proposition 62, which would end the death penalty in the state.
Brooks' first full-time teaching post was at Georgetown University Law Center where he taught corrections law and was appointed Assistant Director of Georgetown's Corrections Clinic. In that position, he co-founded, with Professor Richard Roe, Georgetown's Family Literacy Project — a program devoted to teaching inmates how to teach their children how to read, and then providing family literacy activities in which the children could go to the prison and be taught by their parents.
Brooks' second full-time teaching job was at Thomas Cooley Law School where he taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Corrections Law, and Death Penalty Law. He also directed a death penalty clinical program and the national moot court programs.
In addition to his position with the CIP at California Western School of Law, Brooks currently teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, federal criminal law, trial advocacy, and comparative criminal procedure.
Brooks also serves in the following positions:
- executive director of The Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, a program devoted to criminal defense attorney training;
- co-director of ACCESO Capacitacion, a program devoted to oral skills training for Latin American lawyers;
- co founder and director of the law school's LL.M. Trial Advocacy Specializing in Federal Criminal Law;
- co-founder and co-director of Redinocente, an organization devoted to creating and supporting innocence programs throughout Latin America.
Brooks has been a visiting professor at Universidad Nacional de La Plata in La Plata, Argentina, in Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, Universidad Interamericana, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, New England School of Law's Summer Law Program in Galway, Ireland, and South Texas College of Law's Summer Law Programs in Malta and the Czech Republic. He has taught multiple times in California Western School of Law's Chile Summer Program.
Awards and recognition
- Humanitarian Award, Casa Cornelia (2016)
- Consumer Advocate of the Year, Consumer Attorney of San Diego (2016)
- San Diego Innovators, San Diego Magazine (2016)
- Bernard Witkin Award (2016)
- San Diego Top Attorneys, San Diego Daily Transcript (2015)
- Defender of the Innocent, Illinois Innocence Project (2014)
- Pro Bono Award, Superlawyers (2014)
- Footsoldier Award, Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles (2013)
- American Constitution Society Robert Alvarez Award (2012)
- Paul Bell Memorial Award (2011)
- California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (Criminal), California Lawyer (2010), (2012)
- 50 People to Watch in 2010, San Diego Magazine
- Top 100 Lawyers in California, Los Angeles Daily Transcript (2007, 2008, and 2009)
- Post Conviction Lawyer of the Year, San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association (2006)
- San Diego's Top Attorneys, San Diego Union Tribune (2006, 2007)
- Innocence Work in the Americas, University of Milan Law Review (2015)
- Wrongful Convictions; Cases and Materials Second Edition (Vandeplas Publishing: Spring 2014)
- Redinocente: The Challenge of Bring Innocence Work to Latin America, 80 University of Cincinnati Law Review (2012)
- Wrongful Convictions: Cases and Materials, Vandeplas Publishing LLC (1st ed. 2011) 
- 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)
- ¡Inocente! The Challenge of Bringing Innocence Work to Latin America, The University of Cincinnati Law Review (Fall 2011).
- Ayudando a Liberar a los Inocentes en Chile y en toda América Latina, Revista 93, Santiago, Chile (Summer 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).
- The Politics of Prisons, 77 Michigan Bar Journal 154 (February 1998).
- 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).
- Justice For Sale: Is a Death Row Inmate Entitled to Discovery After the Judge Who Presided at Trial is Convicted of Taking Bribes to Fix Cases, 7 Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases 433 (April 1997).
- Should Sexually Violent Predator Laws Allowing Long-Term Commitment Be Treated as Civil or Criminal? 1 West's Legal News (Dec. 10, 1996).
- Don't Model Our Correctional System, 106 Prison Service Journal 40 (July 1996).
- Policing the Judiciary: When Can a Judge be Convicted of Interfering with a Federal Criminal Investigation?, 6 Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases 287 (1995)
- Keeping the Jailhouse Lawyer Out of Jail, 9 Criminal Justice Magazine 18 (Summer 1994).
- 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 Bophuthatswana Law Review (Fall 1992).
- "California Innocence Project: Our Staff: Meet the Team". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/about-the-project/meet-the-staff. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project: Brian Banks". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/read-their-stories/brian-banks. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- "Brian Banks accuser recants rape claim". YouTube.com: CNN. 25 May 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mtOnNqma1I. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- "The Innocence Network: Innocence Network Member Organizations". The Innocence Network. http://innocencenetwork.org/members. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project Director Justin Brooks discusses Brian Banks' case". YouTube.com: California Western School of Law. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcFW4YeOSZA. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- "California high school football star cleared of rape 10 years later". NBCNews.com. 25 May 2012. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/25/11877259-california-high-school-football-star-cleared-of-rape-10-years-later?lite. Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
- "Matt and Grace Huang- Americans Institutionally Kidnapped in the Middle East". YouTube.com: The David House Agency. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5IC7H0vCtA#t=16. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- Hernandez, David (29 June 2016). "Exonerated man thanks San Diego lawyers, students". The San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-exonerated-man-thanks-innocence-project-2016jun29-htmlstory.html. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- Godsey, Mark (9 Dec 2013). "All They Want for Christmas Is Their Freedom: Will Governor Brown Grant Clemency to the California 12?". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-godsey/all-they-want-for-christmas_b_4401816.html. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- "San Diego Lawyer Chapter: Third Annual Reception". The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. 22 Feb 2012. http://www.acslaw.org/events/2012-02-22/san-diego-lawyer-chapter-third-annual-reception. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- "San Diego County Top Attorneys". San Diego Daily Transcript. http://www.sddt.com/Microsite/topattorney15/finalist.cfm?f=2983j98j&_t=Justin+Brooks#.WCj-BYWcEqR. Retrieved 13 Nov 2016.
- "Justin P. Brooks". Faculty & Staff Directory. California Western School of Law. https://www.cwsl.edu/faculty-staff-and-campus-directories/faculty-and-staff-directory/j/justin-p-brooks. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- "Justin Brooks on defending the wrongly convicted, and Cressida Campbell's woodblock art [radio interview"]. Conversations with Richard Fidler. 5 Feb 2009. http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2009/02/05/2483560.htm. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project: Marilyn Mulero". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/read-their-stories/marilyn-mulero. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- "The Marilyn Mulero Case: A Human Rights Violation". YouTube: Justin Brooks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvT_CPiOQTU. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- Maureen Cavanaugh, Gina Diamante, Hoa Quach, Neiko Will. "San Diego Attorney Seeks U.N.'s Help To Free Convicted Killer". kpbs.org. http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/oct/14/other-options-exhausted-san-diego-attorney-asks-he. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- Braun, Siobhan (19 Aug 2015). "When you're guilty til [sic proved innocent"]. San Diego Reader. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/aug/19/cover-guilty-til-proved-innocent/?page=2. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project: About CIP". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/about-the-project. Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
- "Transcripts: CNN Saturday Morning News - Man Exonerated of Rape after 10 Years". CNN. 26 May 2012. http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1205/26/smn.05.html. Retrieved 19 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project - Timothy Atkins". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/read-their-stories/timothy-atkins. Retrieved 19 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project - William Richards". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/read-their-stories/william-richards. Retrieved 20 Nov 2016.
- Hernandez, David (29 June 2016). "Exonerated man thanks San Diego lawyers, students". The San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-exonerated-man-thanks-innocence-project-2016jun29-htmlstory.html. Retrieved 20 Nov 2016.
- Saunders, Doug (28 June 2016). "Judge dismisses charges against Bill Richards in wife’s 1993 death in Hesperia". The San Bernardino County Sun. http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20160628/judge-dismisses-charges-against-bill-richards-in-wifes-1993-death-in-hesperia. Retrieved 20 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project - Grace & Matthew Huang". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/read-their-stories/grace-matthew-huang. Retrieved 20 Nov 2016.
- Gladstone, Rick (11 May 2014). "A Push to Aid American Couple Held in Child's Death in Qatar". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/12/world/middleeast/a-push-to-aid-couple-held-in-childs-death-in-qatar.html?_r=1. Retrieved 20 Nov 2016.
- "Horace Roberts Exonerated!". https://californiainnocenceproject.org/read-their-stories/horace-roberts/. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- Riggins, Alex (15 October 2018). "Judge declares wrongfully convicted man innocent 20 years after lover's death". San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/sd-me-horace-roberts-20181015-story.html. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- Garcia, Sandra E. (16 October 2018). "DNA Evidence Exonerates a Man of Murder After 20 Years in Prison". The New York Times (The New York Times Co.). https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/us/20-years-exonerated-dna-prison.html. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- Flynn, Meagan (16 October 2018). "An abandoned pickup, a wristwatch and an affair: The makings of a lover’s 1998 wrongful conviction". The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/10/16/an-abandoned-pickup-a-wristwatch-and-an-affair-the-makings-of-a-lovers-1998-wrongful-conviction/. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- Winton, Richard (15 October 2018). "An affair led to his conviction in a co-worker's murder. Now, he is free and the victim's husband has been arrested". The Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-wrongful-conviction-new-arrests-20181015-story.html. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- "Michael Semanchik Speaks to Fox 5 About Horace Roberts Case". California Innocence Project. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdXRPxW8NlI. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- "DA’s Office Announces the Exoneration of a Man Convicted of a 1998 Murder and the Arrests of Two Suspects for the Murder [press release"]. http://rivcoda.org/opencms/system/galleries/download/daReleases/NEWS_RELEASE_--_DAxs_Office_announces_exoneration_of_man_convicted_of_1998_murder_and_the_arrests_of_two_men_in_the_case.pdf. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
- "First of the California 12 Released from Prison after 36 Years". CWSL Campus News. 24 Nov 2014. https://www.cwsl.edu/news/newsroom/campus-news/2014/11/24/first-of-the-california-12-released-from-prison-after-36-years. Retrieved 21 Nov 2016.
- "California Innocence Project: Michael Hanline". California Innocence Project. https://californiainnocenceproject.org/read-their-stories/michael-hanline. Retrieved 21 Nov 2016.
- "New bill makes it easier for the wrongfully convicted to prove their innocence". Lake County News Reports. 28 Sep 2016. http://www.lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48003:new-bill-makes-it-easier-for-the-wrongfully-convicted-to-prove-their-innocence&catid=1:latest&Itemid=197. Retrieved 21 Nov 2016.
- "Governor signs new bill to require recording of murder interrogations". Lake County News Reports. 4 Oct 2016. http://www.lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48061:governor-signs-new-bill-to-require-recording-of-murder-interrogations&catid=1:latest&Itemid=197. Retrieved 21 Nov 2016.
- Brooks, Justin (8 Sep 2016). "Could innocent people be executed if proposition passes?". San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sdut-utbg-innocence-project-prop66-2016sep08-story.html. Retrieved 21 Nov 2016.
- "Chile Summer Program". Consortium for Innovative Legal Education. http://www.cile.edu/chile.html. Retrieved 21 Sep 2012.
- "American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: San Diego Chapter Third Annual Reception". http://www.acslaw.org/San_Diego_Fundraiser_2012.
- "Appellate Defenders Inc: PAUL E. BELL MEMORIAL AWARD". http://www.adi-sandiego.com/award.html.
- "California Western School of Law News". http://www.kintera.org/site/c.5oJHLWPvFdJUG/b.6713437/k.5DA1/California_Innocence_Project_Receives_Award_for_Appellate_Defense.htm.
- "California Lawyer Journal: 2010 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year".
- "San Diego Magazine, 50 People to Watch in 2010". http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/January-2010/50-People-to-Watch-in-2010/.
- "California Western School of Law News". http://www.cwsl.edu/main/default.asp?nav=news.asp&body=news/brooks_top_100_2009.asp.
- Brooks, Justin. Wrongful convictions : cases and materials. Lake Mary, Fla.: Vandeplas. ISBN 160042158X.