A recent development in a case being handled by the University Law School’s Innocence Clinic has left some from the legal team with raised eyebrows.

In an action that Innocence Clinic co-director Bridget McCormack calls an “unusual move,” prosecutors have put the Innocence Clinic’s law students on the witness list for a retrial scheduled in April.

The Innocence Clinic helped Dwayne Provience — convicted of the murder of Detroit resident Rene Hunter in 2001 — get out of jail last November citing withheld evidence. But, since Provience has been let out of jail, the legal team has faced many new developments.

Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Stevens filed a witness list on March 5 that includes six students who have enrolled or interned at the Innocence Clinic, a law student who watched some witness interviews and a journalist from California who had viewed clinic sessions last year.

In an interview yesterday, Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said she was unable to comment on the case at this time.

McCormack said in an interview that a Michigan court rule states that law students working in innocence clinics may represent and advise clients and therefore have the same rights as non-student attorneys do, including not being called as witnesses.

“It’s as if the prosecution put me on the list,” McCormack said.

In an e-mail interview, Innocence Clinic co-director David Moran said he thinks students should be treated as attorneys for the entirety of a case.

“It is improper, except under extreme circumstances, to call the lawyers for the other side as witnesses in your case,” Moran wrote. “Under Michigan’s student practice rule, law students working in a legal clinic are student attorneys and are entitled to be treated like lawyers.”

Moran is asking Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Tim Kenny to take the student attorneys and the journalist off the witness list. Kenny has asked Moran for a written argument by March 25. A hearing is also scheduled for March 29 to discuss removing the student attorneys from the witness list and to discuss the progress of discovery motions the clinic has filed.

According to an article by the Metro Times, Stevens argued in a March 15 hearing that because the students have made statements to newspapers, made a YouTube video about the case and interviewed witnesses, he should be allowed to call them as witnesses.

The statements and interviews have occurred over the more than one year that the student attorneys have been working on the case.

During the last few weeks, there have also been other developments in the case.

In a hearing on Jan. 27, Judge Kenny ruled that a key witness — Larry Wiley — could not testify in the retrial scheduled for April 5 without incriminating himself for lying under oath. Wiley said he had lied due to pressure from the police during the first trial, where he testified that he had seen Provience shoot Hunter while Provience and his brother drove by a Detroit street corner in a beige two-door Buick .

If Wiley doesn’t testify in the retrial, his testimony from 2001 cannot be used as evidence.

A police report also surfaced in December that states seven other eyewitnesses claimed that Hunter’s shooter was driving a vehicle that looked different from the beige Buick that Wiley had described in his original testimony.

Five witnesses said in the report that the vehicle was a Chevy and three of those five thought it was a Caprice Classic four-door sedan. The other two witnesses were unsure of the model, but said the vehicle was gray.

Second-year Law School student Brett DeGroff, an Innocence Clinic student attorney, said the recent developments — like the newly discovered witness testimonies and that Wiley’s testimony from the first trial will probably not be used — are important for keeping Provience from going back to jail.

In December, the Innocence Clinic also obtained documentation from the prosecution filed on April 26, 2002. The documents list the cars owned by Antrimone Mosley, one of the Mosley brothers linked to Hunter’s murder and two other murders unrelated to Provience’s case, according to police officer progress notes. Among the cars listed is a gray 1985 four-door Chevy Caprice Classic.

Along with this newly-obtained evidence, Detroit Police Officer William Ashford told prosecutors that evidence points to the Mosley family and not Provience. Ashford’s investigation linked the murders of Detroit residents Courtney Irving and Maurice Sutherland to Hunter’s homicide and linked all three of the murders to the Mosley family.

The Innocence Clinic student attorneys have argued that the Mosleys killed Hunter because the Mosleys suspected Hunter had stolen their trailer full of marijuana. The students have also claimed the Mosleys murdered Irving a month later because Irving knew that the Mosleys shot Hunter. Sutherland was then murdered a few months later, allegedly when the Mosleys also suspected him of stealing the trailer.

The Innocence Clinic filed discovery motions for the homicide files of Irving and Sutherland but have yet to receive the files from the prosecution.

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