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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 teacher, one of the leading scholars of his generation on the issue of police interrogation, and a nationally recognized attorney and authority on the wrongful conviction of the innocent.

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 country, and to date secured the release of 16 individuals on grounds of innocence. Prominent cases include those of Clarence Elkins (exonerated in 2005 by DNA and released from life sentence for murder and double rape), Chris Bennett (released in 2006 through DNA evidence from imprisonment for aggravated vehicular homicide), Robert McClendon (exonerated by DNA and released in 2008 after serving 18 years for a rape), and Raymond Towler (exonerated by DNA and released in 2010 after serving 29 years for a rape).

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 Board of Directors of the Innocence Network, the organization representing Innocence Projects in the United States and around the world. As a board member, he chairs the Awards Committee and serves on the International and Amicus committees. Active 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 around the world.

Professor Godsey is also a regular commentator on issues relating to criminal law and wrongful conviction in both the local and national press. He has appeared nationally on Larry King Live, Dateline NBC, CNN, ESPN, BBC, Forensic Files, Court TV, the Oxygen Network, NPR and A&E's American Justice, 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. 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.

In addition to his responsibilities at UC Law, Professor Godsey also represents indigent criminal defendants before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit as a member of the CJA panel, and occasionally defends criminal defendants in high-profile cases outside of the OIP, such as the Warren County murder case of Ryan Widmer.


Articles, Essays & Book Reviews

Select Presentations

  • 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
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure I
  • Evidence
  • Ohio Innocence Project
  • Research Seminar: Wrongful Convictions