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Finding Justice

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In this essay memoralizing remarks presented on Constitution Day, Professor Laurie Levenson reflects on her transition from federal prosecutor to defense attorney as founder of Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent. She recounts the stories of two clients freed by the work of the Project. She then discusses how this work revealed blind faith in the Constitution is not enough to ensure that only the guilty are convicted. We need to do better. Levenson argues that we need to realize that constitutional rights only protect individuals if both prosecutors and defense lawyers want those rights to work. A prosecutor who sees constitutional rights as a technicality blasphemes the Constitution. A defense lawyer who lazily disregards his or her duty to zealously defend a defendant does the same. The Constitution is an empty promise without the commitment of lawyers and judges charged with upholding defendants’ rights