Frances Watson

Robert H. McKinney School of Law IUPUI

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Areas of Expertise

Criminal defense, law and forensic science, public defense, wrongful conviction.

Expert Bio

Professor Fran Watson's years in legal practice included work as a deputy state public defender at the trial and appellate levels and representation of the police department and elected officials as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Indianapolis/Marion County. She also is a founding member of the board of the IUPUI Forensic Science Initiative and an elected member of the American Academy of Forensic Science. After teaching in Criminal Defense Clinic at the law school, Watson left academia to serve as the first chief public defender of the Marion County Public Defender's Agency.

After returning to the law school in 1995, she continued to direct the Criminal Defense Clinic and developed the Wrongful Conviction Clinic, which is a founding member of the Innocence Network. The Wrongful Conviction Clinic provides live client representation in state and federal proceedings to Indiana inmates claiming actual innocence and wrongful conviction.

Over the past two decades, Watson's teaching has included the Criminal Defense Clinic, criminal law, criminal procedure, and professional responsibility. Presently, in addition to the Wrongful Conviction Clinic, she routinely teaches lawyering practice, law and forensic science, and the trial competition team.

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Additional Information

Professor Watson Sees Another Wrongful Conviction Clinic Client’s Conviction Vacated:

Professor Watson, Wrongful Conviction Clinic, Present Evidence in Cleveland Bynum Case:

Professor Watson Discusses New Wrongful Conviction Law:

Professor Watson Discusses Compensation for Wrongfully Convicted in 'Governing Magazine:

“48 Hours” Episode featuring Professor Watson, Wrongful Conviction Clinic, to Air Feb. 4:

IU McKinney Wrongful Conviction Clinic Wins Release for Delaware County Man:

IU McKinney Wrongful Conviction Clinic Client Darryl Pinkins Wins Release from Prison:

Updated on: April 17, 2020