Peter Neufeld (born July 17, 1950) is an American lawyer, cofounder, with Barry Scheck, of the Innocence Project, and a founding partner in the civil rights law firm Neufeld Scheck & Brustin. Starting from his earliest years as an attorney representing clients at New York's Legal Aid Society, and teaching trial advocacy at Fordham School of Law from 1988–1991, he has focused on civil rights and the intersection of science and criminal justice.
1 Early life and education 2 Early cases defended and litigated 3 Cases defended and litigated in private practice 4 Formation of the Innocence Project 5 Teaching and speaking 6 Selected publications 7 References
Early life and education
Neufeld was born in
Brooklyn, New York
Vicente "Panama" Alba, 1978 (People v. Vicente Alba), who was a leader of the Puerto Rican civil rights group The Young Lords. William Hicks, 1979 (People v. William Hicks), in a case involving ballistics evidence. James Gray, 1981 (James Derrick Gray v. Tekben), in a case involving judicial first impressions on the limits of the defense of diminished capacity and the rights of a person who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity to procure a de novo jury trial on whether he is a current danger to himself or others. Marvin Davis, 1985 (People v. Marvin Davis), in a case involving the court's exclusion of novel serological evidence proffered by the prosecution.
Cases defended and litigated in private practice
After leaving the Legal Aid Society, one of Neufeld's first cases was
his defense, in 1988, of Damian Pizarro, a battered woman who killed
her abuser in self-defense. This case was the first successful use
of battered woman syndrome to secure an acquittal in New York County.
The case was filmed and released as a documentary on British
television where it helped leverage the creation of safe houses for
women victimized by domestic violence.
In 1989, in People v. Castro,
Peter Neufeld and
Abner Louima (The City of New York v. Abner Louima, 1997), a Haitian immigrant who had been tortured by members of the New York Police Department. The successful civil suit brought compensation to Mr. Louima and institutional reforms within the NYPD and the Police Benevolent Association. The family of Thomas Pizzuto (Pizzuto vs. Nassau County, 1999), who was beaten to death by Nassau County jail guards. The civil suit along with the federal prosecution of the guards resulted in changes in the department's procedures. Earl Washington Jr., an intellectually impaired man wrongly convicted for rape and murder in 1983, had been sentenced to death, coming within 9 days of being executed. In 2006, Neufeld's firm won the lawsuit against the estate of a Virginia State Police investigator who fabricated the confession in the underlying case. The civil suit precipitated a state audit of hundreds of criminal cases in Virginia and also lead to changes in Virginia law concerning the handling of post conviction claims of innocence. In 2015, Peter Neufeld and his team won a civil suit for client Donald Gates, an innocent man framed by Washington D.C. homicide detectives. This case, along with several other exonerations secured by the Public Defender Service of D.C. brought into focus the systemic misapplication of forensic science by the F.B.I.
Formation of the Innocence Project
Peter Neufeld and
^ Innocence Project website, http://www.innocenceproject.org/about-innocence-project/staff/barry-c-scheck-peter-j-neufeld ^ Neufeld Scheck & Brustin website, http://www.nsbcivilrights.com/lawyers/peter-neufeld/ ^ Observer, “The Age of Innoncence: Neufeld’s DNA Crusade Rolls On,” Burleigh, Nina, 3/8/04; http://observer.com/2004/03/the-age-of-innoncence-neufelds-dna-crusade-rolls-on/ ^ Frontline show # 1508, February 25, 1997, “What Jennifer Saw”, Interview with Peter Neufeld; https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dna/interviews/neufeld.html ^ “Invalid Forensic Science Testimony,” Garrett, Brandon L., Neufeld, Peter J., Virginia Law Review, March 2009, http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/1-2.pdf ^ “When Science Takes the Witness Stand,” Neufeld, Peter J., Colman, Neville, Scientific American, May 1990, https://www.mcdb.ucla.edu/Research/Goldberg/HC70A_W12/pdf/WhenSciTakesWitnessStand.pdf ^ Observer, “The Age of Innoncence: Neufeld’s DNA Crusade Rolls On,” Burleigh, Nina, 3/8/04; http://observer.com/2004/03/the-age-of-innoncence-neufelds-dna-crusade-rolls-on/ ^ Gawker, “Happy Birthday,…..Peter Neufeld;” http://gawker.com/tag/peter-neufeld ^ Celebrating Ada Deer’s 80th: A Benefit for the Encampment for Citizenship, “Just a few of the many distinguished alumni of the Encampment are… Peter Neufeld…;” http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2030769 ^ Neufeld Scheck & Brustin website, http://www.nsbcivilrights.com/lawyers/peter-neufeld/ ^ Promega Company website, “The Wisconsin Innocence Project,” Kenefick, Kari B., “ … Peter Neufeld has ties to the University of Wisconsin as a graduate, class of 1972;” http://www.promega.com/~/media/Files/Resources/Profiles%20In%20DNA/401/The%20Wisconsin%20Innocence%20Project.ashx ^ Neufeld Scheck & Brustin website, http://www.nsbcivilrights.com/lawyers/peter-neufeld/ ^ New York University School of Law website, “Experts discuss wrongful convictions at 2014 Law Alumni Association Conference,” “Peter Neufeld, ’75;” http://www.law.nyu.edu/news/experts-wrongful-convictions-laa-alumni-lecture ^ “Woman Acquitted in Slaying Of a Man Who Abused Her,” Kingson, Jennifer A., The New York Times, April 9, 1988, https://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/09/nyregion/woman-acquitted-in-slaying-of-a-man-who-abused-her.html ^ ”U.S. Panel Seeking Restriction on USe of DNA in Courts,” Kolata, Gina, The New York Times, April 14, 1992. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/04/14/us/us-panel-seeking-restriction-on-use-of-dna-in-courts.html?pagewanted=all ^ “On the Defensive,” English, T.J., New York Magazine, January 2, 1995, https://books.google.com/books?id=QOMCAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=William+M.+Kunstler+and+Peter+Neufeld&source=bl&ots=tA9v7Qf4O0&sig=EoEdPkT1SY2XEbfgRsmcPfDOsyI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlwZbs0bvKAhVCHT4KHdVKAcsQ6AEIQzAH#v=onepage&q&f=false ^ “Suit Is Settled In Inmate Death, Lawyers Say,” Gootman, Elissa, The New York Times, April 1, 2003 https://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/01/nyregion/suit-is-settled-in-inmate-death-lawyers-say.html?ref=topics ^ “District to pay $16.65 million to wrongly imprisoned man, attorneys say,” Hsu, Spencer S., The Washington Post, November 15, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/district-to-pay-1665-million-to-wrongly-imprisoned-man-attorneys-say/2015/11/19/2f62fd58-8ecf-11e5-baf4-bdf37355da0c_story.html ^ “The science (and lack thereof) behind the FBI’s retreat on hair analysis,” Timmer, John, ARS Technica website, https://arstechnica.com/science/2015/04/the-science-and-lack-thereof-behind-the-fbis-retreat-on-hair-analysis/ ^ “The Cases: DNA Exoneree Profiles,” The Innocence Project website, http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/front-page#c10=published&b_start=0&c4=Exonerated+by+DNA ^ Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School’s Innocence Project clinic website, http://www.cardozo.yu.edu/innocenceproject ^ "Peter J. Neufeld". The Innocence Project. Archived from the original on 2013-09-05. ^ “U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce Name Experts to First-ever National Commission on Forensic Science,” U.S. Department of Justice website, January 10, 2014 http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-departments-justice-and-commerce-name-experts-first-ever-national-commission-forensic ^ Montefiore Hospital website, Board of Trustees, http://www.montefiore.org/about-board-of-trustees