Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Mark Godsey '93: On the Rise in Academia

Mark GodseyAt the Moritz College of Law, Mark served as senior articles editor of the Ohio State Law Journal, and graduated Order of the Coif and summa cum laude. A telephone interview and a discussion about their shared interest in the privacy rights of the homeless landed Mark a clerkship with Chief Judge Monroe G. McKay of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following the clerkship, Mark practiced civil litigation and white collar-criminal defense at Jones Day in Chicago and New York City, where he performed significant pro bono work for the Federal Public Defender's Office. A deepening interest in criminal law led Mark to the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted federal crimes ranging from political corruption to hijacking to organized crime.

As a federal prosecutor, Mark supervised FBI investigations, presented cases to federal grand juries, conducted jury and bench trials, and argued numerous appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. High profile cases Mark handled included the prosecution of two prominent New York politicians for bribery and corruption; an NBA player for theft from teammates; and a case involving a national test-cheating ring that sold answers to graduate schools admissions tests like the LSAT. He received several awards for his performance as an AUSA, including the Director's Award for Superior Performance, presented to him by then-Attorney General Janet Reno.

He then joined the faculty at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, where he taught Criminal Law courses and was a faculty supervisor to the Kentucky Innocence Project. At Chase, Mark was awarded the Lukowsky Award for teaching excellence by the graduating class of 2003.

Next stop was the University of Cincinnati where his reputation as a gifted scholar and outstanding teacher continues. At UC Law, Mark teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Evidence. In addition to his regular responsibilities as a member of the tenure-track faculty, Mark performs substantial pro bono work on the side as the Faculty Director of the Center for Law and Justice's Ohio Innocence Project.

To date, students working with Mark in the Ohio Innocence Project have screened more than 300 cases. Students interview witnesses, meet with inmates in prison, and discuss the case with practicing lawyers and prosecutors. Mark tells students that, "sometimes cases need a second look a few years later, and new technology can often give us information that wasn't available at the time of the trial." If new evidence such as DNA testing does not prove the inmate's innocence, the project closes the case. Mark says, "Either way the DNA tests come out, we've done a public service."

In March 2004, Mark filed a brief in Stark County, written with the assistance of his students, seeking the exoneration and release of an Ohio inmate convicted of homicide for whom DNA evidence and two new witnesses have proven is innocent. The case is expected to be resolved this spring after a full evidentiary hearing, in which Mark will represent the inmate as lead counsel. The case has received statewide and national attention, and it was recently featured on CNN.

The Center for Law and Justice also becomes involved, under Mark's direction, in additional legal activities beyond representing Innocence Project prisoners. Mark and his students have led several legislative initiates, such as persuading the General Assembly of Ohio to ratify the 14th Amendment (which Ohio had never done prior to this year), and passing a new law removing all racial slurs from old Ohio statutes that are still on the books.

Mark and his students have also proposed a new bill that would allow crime victims to use the criminal convictions of their attackers as collateral estoppel in civil cases (Ohio is currently in the minority of states that does not allow for collateral estoppel in this context), and a new air pollution ordinance for the City of Cincinnati. Both of these proposed bills have obtained legislative sponsors and are currently under consideration. These examples are just of a few of the numerous public interest projects that the Center for Law and Justice has undertaken in the past year under Mark's direction. About his work with the Center, Mark says, "We're trying to achieve good results for society and for civil liberties, but we're also trying to teach students how to be activists when they go out into practice. Through this program, they learn that with a little initiative, they, as lawyers, can take an idea and turn that idea into an actual, concrete change in the law for the public good."

UC Dean and Nippert Professor of Law Joseph P. Tomain credits Mark with "expanding and enriching the program considerably." Dean Tomain adds, "The enthusiasm of the students who work with Mark is overwhelming. He provides them with rich and practical experiences and the number who wish to sign up to work with the Center for Law and Justice is extraordinary."

Mark's scholarly publications are as noteworthy for their quality as they are for their timeliness. They include:

The Final Frontier of Constitutional Confession Law — The International Arena: Exploring the Admissibility of Confessions Taken by U.S. Investigators from Non-Americans Abroad, 91 Georgetown L.J. ___ (forthcoming).

Miranda's Final Frontier — The International Arena: A Critical Analysis of U.S. v. Bin Laden, and a Proposal for a New Miranda Exception Abroad, 51 Duke L.J. 1703 (2002).

When Terry Met Miranda: Two Constitutional Doctrines Collide, 63 Fordham L. Rev. 715 (1994).

Educational Inequalities, The Myth of Meritocracy, and the Silencing of Minority Voices: The Need for Diversity of America's Law Reviews, 12 Harv. Blackletter L.J. 59 (1995).

Privacy and the Growing Plight of the Homeless: Reconsidering the Values Underlying the Fourth Amendment, 53 Ohio St.L.J. 869 (1992) (student note).

In 11 short years since graduation, Mark has a judicial clerkship, private practice, public service behind him and a rich academic life in full swing. One can only imagine what comes next – stay tuned.

Friends wishing to contact Mark can reach him at

Excerpted from materials provided and on line from the University of Cincinnati.