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WVU College of Law Prof. Valena Beety

Valena Elizabeth Beety

Valena Beety

Professor of Law
Director of the West Virginia Innocence Project

Awards and Achievements

  • Member, N.D.W.V. Federal Drug Court Team
  • Member, West Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
  • Member, Executive Board of the Innocence Network
  • 2015-2016 West Virginia University College of Law Faculty Significant Scholarship Award


  • B.A., University of Chicago, 2002
  • J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 2006


Valena Elizabeth Beety is a Professor of Law and Director of the West Virginia Innocence Project at the West Virginia University College of Law. Beety’s scholarship and teaching interests include criminal procedure, causes of wrongful conviction, prisons and policing. Her experience as a federal prosecutor and litigating innocence cases in Mississippi and West Virginia shape her interest in criminal justice, from investigation through incarceration.

A 2006 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Beety clerked for Chief Judge James G. Carr of the Northern District of Ohio, and the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She served as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia before joining the Mississippi Innocence Project as a senior staff attorney. While teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, Beety received the 2012 BLSA Faculty Member of the Year Award.

At WVU, Beety created and was the inaugural director of the ground-breaking LL.M. in Forensic Justice, launched in Fall 2015. She also created the Franklin D. Cleckley Fellowship, a joint collaboration between the University of Chicago Law School and the WVU College of Law to sponsor a recent law school graduate to work at the West Virginia Innocence Project. Beety serves nationally as a board member of the Innocence Network, and in West Virginia on the Governor’s Indigent Defense Commission. She represented WVU as a Big XII Faculty Fellow at the University of Texas School of Law in Fall 2013.


  • Developing a Cross-Clinical Re-Entry Project , Clinical Legal Education Association Newsletter (Winter 2016-2017) (co-authored with Jennifer D. Oliva)
  • Changing the Culture of Disclosure and Forensics, ___WASH. & LEE L. REV. ONLINE ___(forthcoming 2017).
  • Voices on Innocence, 68 FLA. L. REV. ___ (forthcoming 2017) (co-authors Lucian Dervan, Richard Leo, Meghan Ryan, Gregory Gilchrist, William Berry).
  • Introduction to the West Virginia Law Review Flawed Forensics and Innocence Symposium, 119 W. VA. L. REV. 101 (2016).
  • Cops in Lab Coats, Forensics in the Courtroom, 13 OHIO ST. J. OF CRIM. L. 543 (2016).
  • Justice Antonin Scalia’s Rebuke of Innocence , Oxford Human Rights Hub (March 8, 2016)
  • Contemporary Perspectives on Wrongful Conviction: An Introduction to the 2015 Innocence Network Conference, Orlando, Florida, 3 TEX. A&M L. REV.179 (2015) (symposium) (co-authors Aliza Kaplan and Robert Schehr).
  • Identifying the Culprit in Wrongful Convictions, 82 TENN. L. REV. 975 (2015).
  • Judicial Dismissal in the Interest of Justice, 80 MISSOURI L. REV 629 (2015).
  • Emergence from Civil Death: The Evolution of Expungement in West Virginia , 117 W. VA. L. REV. ONLINE 63 (2015) (co-authors Judge Michael Aloi and Evan Johns).
  • Protecting West Virginia’s Innocent , THE WEST VIRGINIA LAWYER (Dec. 2013) (co-author Ifeoma Ike).
  • The Case of Trayvon Martin and the Need for Eyewitness Identification Reform , 90 DENVER U. L. REV. 331 (2013).
  • Criminal Justice and Corpulence: Weight Bias in the Courtroom , 11 SEATTLE J. OF SOC. JUST. 523 (2013).
  • Risk and Execution: The Local Impact of Capital Cases on Mississippi Counties , 82 MISS. L. J. 133 (2013).
  • Ethics and Economics: The Death Penalty in Mississippi, 81 MISS. L. J. 1437 (2012).
  • Mississippi Initiative 26: Personhood and the Criminalization of Intentional and Unintentional Acts by Pregnant Women , 81 MISS. L. J. SUPRA 55 (2011), .
  • Reframing Asylum Standards for Mutilated Women , 11 J. GENDER RACE &JUST. 239 (2008).

Teaching Experience

  • Associate Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law, 2012 – Present
  • Visiting Scholar, Colorado Law School, Spring 2015
  • Big XII Faculty Fellow, University of Texas School of Law, October 2013
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Mississippi School of Law, 2010 – 2012

Professional Experience

  • Senior Staff Attorney, Mississippi Innocence Project, 2009-2012
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, 2008-2009
  • Law Clerk, Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2007-2008
  • Law Clerk, Honorable Chief Judge James G. Carr, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, 2006-2007
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