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On Demand Audio

Litigating Unjust Conviction Cases in New York Part I

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on January 12, 2015

Taught by
$ 59 Constitutional, Litigation, and Public Interest In Stock

Course Information

Time 53 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Unjust, or wrongful, convictions – that is, when people are convicted of crimes for which they are in fact innocent – are some of the most frequent headline stories to come out of America's criminal justice system.  Recently, several highly publicized cases of wrongful imprisonment have captivated our attention: David Ranta, Roger Logan, Jonathan Fleming, Derrick Hamilton, and Antonio Yarbrough, to name just a few.  Each of these men were released from prison this year after it was determined that they had been wrongfully imprisoned.  At the time of release, almost all had been incarcerated for at least 20 years. 


The New York State Court of Claims Act § 8-b, also known as The Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act of 1984, allows wrongfully convicted defendants who have served all or part of their sentence to seek compensation from the State if certain requirements have been met. 


In this course, Ameer Benno, a New York City-based civil rights attorney, introduces viewers to the litigation of unjust conviction cases in New York.  This course provides an overview of the legal landscape of these claims, with emphasis on the numerous procedural and substantive pitfalls facing lawyers who litigate these challenging cases. 


Learning Objectives:

I.       Understand the narrow “eligible grounds” for bringing an unjust conviction lawsuit and the barriers that can preclude people who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned from recovering damages

II.      Become acquainted with the elements of an unjust conviction claim and how the courts have interpreted those elements

III.     Comprehend the unique and strictly enforced pleading requirements of these claims

IV.     Gain insight on Court of Claims practice, the most frequently encountered discovery issues, and how to address them

V.      Examine the interplay between unjust conviction claims and other civil rights claims, such as Section 1983




Ameer Benno

Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP

An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Ameer Benno litigates civil rights and personal injury matters for Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP. Ameer takes great pride in seeking justice for those who have been injured by the wrongdoing of others. His personal injury cases include premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, product liability, and construction accident cases. In his civil rights practice, Mr. Benno champions the rights of individuals who have been subjected to governmental abuses of authority. These cases range from police misconduct matters to prisoner rights cases, from unjust conviction claims to employment discrimination matters.

Ameer began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney at the esteemed Manhattan District Attorney's Office, where he served for several years in both the trial division and the appeals bureau. Upon leaving government service, Mr. Benno worked at premier civil litigation law firms where he focused on representing plaintiffs in personal injury and civil rights matters in both state and federal courts.

Mr. Benno is admitted to the New York and Connecticut state bars, and is admitted to practice in the federal courts of the Southern, Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of New York, as well as to the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits. He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

From 2006 through 2012, Mr. Benno was an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where he taught Appellate Advocacy and Legal Reasoning and Writing. Mr. Benno regularly lectures for bar associations and continuing legal education providers on topics having to do with trial practice, civil rights litigation, Constitutional law, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Benno has been named to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 and has been named a New York Metro Super Lawyer every year since 2012 in the area of civil rights law. Mr. Benno has also been selected for membership in the National Association of Distinguished Counsel as one of the “Nation’s Top Attorneys.” These are invitation-only organizations composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state who meet stringent qualifications. Mr. Benno is rated 10.0, the highest rating given, by the online lawyer rating service

Ameer serves on the Civil Rights Committee, Federal Courts Committee, and Appellate Law Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association. He is a member of the National Police Accountability Project, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (where he chairs the Civil Right Committee), and the Brooklyn Bar Association. He sits on the board of directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and is vice president of the Nassau Lawyers’ Association of Long Island.

In addition to his membership in professional organizations, Mr. Benno is a civic leader. He is the president of the Merrick-Bellmore Jewish Community Council, the board of directors of the Merrick Jewish Centre, and as a member of the Nassau County Police Commissioner's Community Council for the 19th Legislative District.  He is a member of the Nassau County Police Reserves, the Bellmore Kiwanis, the Bellmore Lions Club, and the Bellmore Historical Society.  He proudly serves as a First Lieutenant in the New York Guard. 

Ameer is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Cornell Law School. He lives in Bellmore, NY with his wife, Gayle, and three daughters.


arthur a.

Concise and comprehensive; well presented

Opal B.

Very interesting and well-presented course.

Ronald N.

Excellent speaker with knowledge of the area.

Dennis S.

Very clear presentation

Derrick J.


Stephen R.

Very informative!

Henry S. S.

Very helpful, very interesting, and very informative.

steven r.

excellent job

Robin B.

very clear and well presented

Sandra K.

While this is not my area of expertise, I was pleased to learn something about this important practice.

Barbara C.

Love lawline. Period.

David H.

lecture and materials seem thorough

Tracie R.

Very clear and interesting presentation of a topic that I'm not very familiar with. Great pace (not too fast/not too slow) and knowledgeable presenter. I enjoyed this presentation!

Anne B.

Very clear presentation

Albert P P.


richard l.

Very thorough.

Alan H.

excellent, thorough presentation.

jane M.

Well organized and presented !

Robert H.

Good organized presentation

Matthew R.

In depth and nice pace. Very interesting.

Patrick G.

Best course I've taken this period. Teacher was brilliant.

Robert H.


William D.

This is the third presentation I have watched from him and it was the best of the three.

Stanley G.

Very succinct and direct svn for a non-criminal law practitioner. Very good job

Susan M. B.

Very interesting topic. Engaging speaker.

James A.

limited subject explained well

Kirl F.


Lori L.

This was one of the best CLE courses I have taken. Attorney Benno presented the materials very well and I loved how he went through each element of unjust/wromgful conviction. Very informative!

Michael P. B.

Excellent presentation, on point.

Jeffrey B.

Excellent speaker. Excellent materials. Thank you.

Rommel M.


Evan K.

Not my area. but very interesting niche of NY statute and practice. Good job. Thanks!

Artemis C.

He was a good speaker, held my attention. Easy to understand. Interesting subject matter.

Otto M.

Great overview

Jane S.

I really enjoyed this program. Mr. Benno was a great presenter--he clearly walked through the complicated provisions.

James M.

Informative and clear.

Agnes M.

Presentation was very informative, thorough and overall excellent!

Jessica A.

Fantastic presentation. I really enjoyed this lecture and learned a lot. Great choice for a CLE course and the lecturer is very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to.

Valerie d.

I learned a great deal due to the engaging and interesting demeanor of Mr. Benno.


Very informative.

Peter C.

Very effective speaker.

Kimberly R.

Great course

Brett C.

Best lawline speaker seen so far.

Gwaina W.

This was a great course! I think it could have been a full day seminar to go over case law and to get some more in depth knowledge but the course still piqued my interest in the subject/topic.

Vincent O.

Speaker did a great job presenting the material.

Gareth D.


Michael B.

Very good presenter.

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