Briefly Mentioned: Law School reinforces fight for justice with new program director

Louis Trigg

The School of Law continued its fight against wrongful convictions when it announced Laura E. O’Sullivan as the legal director of the Midwestern Innocence Project (MIP) and clinical associate professor of law.

MIP conducts pro bono and investigative legal services for people who may have been wrongfully convicted. As legal director, O’Sullivan will lead a team of litigants and investigators residing at Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP to investigate cases seeking exoneration for innocent persons in the region, primarily in Missouri and Kansas. She will also direct law and journalism students to examine cases of possible innocence.

As a clinical associate professor, she leads a Wrongful Convictions course this fall and the Innocence Clinic that uses resources to survey the causes of wrongful convictions and possible reforms that may alleviate unethical behavior of criminal litigants.

This isn’t the first time O’Sullivan has been linked to UMKC, however, as she previously served as a mentor to interns from the law school.

Possessing more than 20 years of legal experience, O’Sullivan has a foreseeable interest in upholding due process of law. She spent more than 14 years as a public defender, including time as an assistant public defender in the Missouri State Public Defender System’s Kansas City Trial Office. Most recently, she was training director for the Missouri State Public Defender System in St. Louis, where she received a JD degree from St. Louis University.

Earlier this year, released inmate Ted White made news when he was awarded a $15.5 million settlement as a result of his unjust conviction in Lee’s Summit. He was convicted in 1999 before it was revealed that his estranged wife and the case’s investigating detective were having a relationship.

For more information about the Midwestern Innocence Project, visit

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