The Last Resort Exoneration Project

The Last Resort Exoneration Project at Seton Hall Law

Project Directors

Lesley C. Risinger ‘03 is the Director of the Last Resort Exoneration Project at Seton Hall Law. From 2006 to 2009 she organized and led the team that obtained the exoneration of Fernando Bermudez, who spent 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Mr. Bermudez was declared innocent by New York Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo on November 12, 2009. Ms. Risinger previously assisted her mother, Priscilla Read Chenoweth, a New Jersey attorney, in obtaining the exoneration of Luis Kevin Rojas, who was convicted in 1991 and served 4 ½ years for a murder he did not commit. Mr. Rojas was later found to be actually innocent, and awarded compensation, by the New York Court of Claims.

D. Michael Risinger, John J. Gibbons Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law, is Associate Director. He is a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Civil Procedure, past chair of the AALS Section on Evidence, a life member of the American Law Institute, and was, for 25 years, a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Evidence, which was responsible for the current version of the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. He is author of works on a diverse range of subjects, including many articles on expert evidence issues and on the problem of the convicted innocent. He also served as co-counsel in the Fernando Bermudez case.