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Julie Jonas


  • Education
  • J.D., University of Minnesota Law School
    B.A., University of Minnesota

  • Expertise
  • Criminal Law and Procedure, Habeas Corpus, Wrongful Convictions

Julie Jonas joined the St. Thomas Law faculty in 2022. Her scholarship focuses on wrongful convictions, specifically the fallibility of juries and the use of experts in cases involving contested forensic science.

She previously worked as the Legal Director for the Great North Innocence Project at the University of Minnesota Law School. In that position, she successfully worked to secure the release of seven innocent men from prison who were incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. While teaching and furthering her scholarship, she continues to represent two of her long-term clients on a pro bono basis on behalf of the Great North Innocence Project.

Jonas also works on policy issues. Her work was instrumental in Minnesota's passage of the 2014 Imprisonment and Exoneration Remedies Act awarding compensation to innocent Minnesota exonerees. Under that law, she secured compensation for her innocent clients. In 2020, she worked to secure passage of a law that requires law enforcement throughout Minnesota to use best practices in conducting eyewitness identifications in order to increase reliability of identifications of actual perpetrators and decrease wrongful convictions. In 2021, she worked to secure passage of a law to track and regulate how jailhouse informants are used in criminal cases.

Jonas has been a law professor at Minnesota law schools for many years. Her focus has been the prevention of wrongful convictions and working with clinical students to screen and investigate cases of potential innocence. Jonas completed her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Minnesota. Immediately after law school, she practiced with the Ramsey County Public Defender's Office in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jonas is currently on the Boards of the Conviction Review Unit at the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General and also the Minnesota Trauma Recovery Institute. She recently served on the task force that developed the Golden Valley PEACE Commission for police accountability and community engagement. She was also a founding board member for the Criminal Justice Institute at Hamline University.

Jonas is a regular presenter in the media and at Continuing Legal Education courses for lawyers and judges, as well as speaking to numerous community groups on a variety of topics. In 2022, she received the Ronald I. Meshbesher Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Jonas received the St. Thomas School of Law Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2024.


Unequal Funding Compounds Tragedy: Failures in Defending Against Shaken Baby Syndrome Charges, 96 Temp. L. Rev. 135, (2024)

The Trouble with Eyewitness Testimony: Toward a model jury instructions on witness accounts, Co-author with Javon Bindman and David Herr, Bench and Bar of Minnesota (1/8/2020)

True Independence For Medical Examiners Equals Due Process For Criminal Defendants And More Efficiencies In The Criminal Justice System, 37 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. (2011)