Champion of Justice

WMU-Cooley Innocence Project Director Marla Mitchell-Cichon with (l-r) staff intern Joseph Daly, SADO DNA project attorney Amanda Tringl, staff attorney Ayda Rezaian-Nojani, staff attorney Eric Schroeder, and former staff attorney Jennifer Gallardo.

Photo courtesy of WMU?Cooley Law School

Cooley Law professor is honored with State Bar award

WMU-Cooley Law School professor and WMU-Cooley Innocence Project director Marla Mitchell-Cichon was presented with a Champion of Justice Award during the State Bar of Michigan’s Annual meeting in Grand Rapids.

At the Lansing campus, Mitchell-Cichon has been a clinical professor and supervisor for the Sixty Plus Elderlaw and Estate Planning clinics, co-director of the Access to Justice clinic, and is director of Cooley’s innocence project established  in 2001.

Since then, student interns have screened thousands of cases. New evidence brought to light by their work has resulted in the exoneration of Kenneth Wyniemko, Nathaniel Hatchett and Donya Davis. Mitchell-Cichon has successfully litigated cases before the state’s appellate and Supreme Court, setting precedent for the interpretation of Michigan’s post-conviction DNA testing law. 

She has played an integral role in eliminating the sunset provision of the law and making it permanent. Mitchell-Cichon is currently educating lawmakers on a proposed law that will provide compensation to wrongfully convicted Michigan citizens. “I am so fortunate to work with talented and dedicated colleagues, staff and students.” said Mitchell-Cichon. “Words cannot express my gratitude to them, and I accept this honor on behalf of all those who have dedicated countless hours working to free the innocent.”

Mitchell-Cichon joined the WMU-Cooley faculty in 1995. She has dedicated her career to public service and teaching students the importance of client-centered lawyering.  Her publications are in the areas of criminal law, elder law, ethics and clinical teaching.

 “Marla is a dedicated legal educator who goes beyond the classroom to offer her students the opportunity to gain both a practical hands on education and a passion for the law as a means to fighting injustices,” said Associate Dean Michael McDaniel. “In addition to educating the next generation of attorneys, she is an outstanding advocate for serving those in need of legal services. “


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