About the Innocence Project Clinic

In 2008, the University of Baltimore School of Law and the Maryland Office of the Public Defender collaborated on the creation of an Innocence Project Clinic. The clinic seeks to identify individuals who have been convicted in Maryland state courts of crimes they did not commit and to provide them with assistance in the investigation of their claims. In appropriate cases, representation will be provided in post-trial litigation efforts to secure exonerations. The clinic is run by an experienced criminal defense attorney with expertise in DNA and other forms of scientific evidence who has secured the exoneration of numerous individuals in the course of her career.

Desk in a lawyer's office
Erica J. Suter, post-conviction and appellate criminal defense attorney


Director of the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law

Assistant Public Defender, Maryland Office of the Public Defender

Erica J. Suter is Director of the Innocence Project Clinic. The Innocence Project is a unique and collaborative position with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender and University of Baltimore School of Law. Within Baltimore Law, Erica has the rank of Professor of the Practice and runs the Innocence Project Clinic teaching and supervising student attorneys who handle cases and advocate for reform within UB’s clinical law program. With respect to OPD, Erica provides Agency-wide support and strategic vision to innocence litigation.

Erica works with OPD’s attorneys and staff both on individual cases as well as on broad reform goals. In collaboration with the Forensics Division, Erica serves as a resource and provides trainings to OPD attorneys and staff on relevant social science research (including coercive interrogation tactics, unreliable eyewitness identification practices), incorporating scientific research (including DNA testing) into legal arguments, and strategic ways to address newly discovered evidence. Professor Suter collaborates extensively with the Post Conviction Defenders Division.

Erica joins OPD and Baltimore Law from private practice where she has been widely recognized as an accomplished appellate and post conviction criminal defense attorney. In addition to her private practice, Erica also has experience working with students enrolled in the Making an Exoneree class at Georgetown University and also as an Adjunct Professor at UDC’s David A. Clarke School of Law.


Prior to her current role, Erica was a Post-Conviction and Appellate Criminal Defense Attorney practicing throughout Maryland and DC. She blogs on the subject and has been quoted in People.com, Rollingstone.com, Fox45, WBAL, and ABC News Australia.

In the decade that Erica operated her law firm, she obtained relief for ten of her clients who were serving life sentences. She has also obtained significant relief for clients who were serving a term of years.  Erica previously practiced law at Maryland law firm, Bennett & Bair, LLC, where she focused exclusively on criminal defense, specifically, collateral review and appeals.

Prior to joining Bennett & Bair, LLC, Erica worked for Williams & Connolly, LLP.  She has been selected to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40, as a Super Lawyer Rising Star (Washington, DC and Maryland), for membership in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and as a Maryland Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Erica serves as President Elect of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association (MCDAA) and is a Council Member of the Criminal Law and Practice Section of the Maryland State Bar Association. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of D.C. and co-chaired its Judicial Nominations Committee.

Erica earned her JD from Georgetown University, her MA from the University of Chicago, and her BA from Bates College (with honors). She is admitted in Maryland, DC, Illinois (inactive), and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Previous Teaching and Publications:

  • Erica taught legal research and writing as an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law.
  • Unger v. State, Court of Appeals Decision Vacates Defendant’s 1976 Conviction and Life Sentence” MCDAA Quarterly, Winter 2012-2013.
  • “Accountability for Terrorism” Accountability for Atrocities (International and Comparative Criminal Law Series), published in 2003.

Recognitions & Awards

Super Lawyers Rising Star award
10.0 Avvo Rating for Erica J. Suter
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Super Lawyer 2020-2021

Super Lawyer Rising Star 2014-2016
Ms. Suter selected as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyers in the State of Maryland. Super Lawyer Rising Star Ms. Suter selected as a 2014 Super Lawyer Rising Star in Maryland and Washington, DC. No more than 2.5% of attorneys in a State may be selected.

Best Lawyers Under 40 List
Ms. Suter named to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40 list. This year’s list was limited to just 21 lawyers from throughout the country in all fields of practice.

2016 Maryland Pro Bono Service Herbert S. Garten Special Project Award


Erica J. Suter and her cases have been featured in several news and media outlets.

Click on an article to read more.