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Amy Kimpel

Amy Kimpel

Executive Director of the California Western Innocence and Justice Project
Associate Professor of Law

(619) 525-1697


Professor Kimpel is an Associate Professor of Law and the Executive Director of the Innocence and Justice Clinic at California Western School of Law. Prior to her current appointment, she was the Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at the University of Alabama School of Law where she supervised students working on trial, expungement, and post-conviction cases. Earlier in her career, Professor Kimpel worked at the Judicial Council of California in its Criminal Justice Services Office, and as a public defender for both the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. and the Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender in San Jose. At the Judicial Council, she spearheaded implementation of AB 1810, a mental health diversion bill. As a public defender, Professor Kimpel tried twenty-five cases in federal and state court and argued before the Ninth Circuit twice. She also was lead counsel in United States v. Minero-Rojas, a case where her advocacy resulted in significant improvements to address systemic delays in presentment in the Southern District of California.

She earned her J.D., magna cum laude, from New York University School of Law where she was a Hays Fellow and Vanderbilt Medal recipient. She also holds a B.A. in English, magna cum laude, from Columbia University and a M.A. in Education from Teachers College, where she was part of the first cohort of Columbia Urban Educator fellows. Professor Kimpel’s scholarship focuses on criminal law and the intersection of criminal and immigration law. Her work has been published in Florida Law Review, The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, NYU Review of Law & Social Change, and Georgia State University Law Review.

  • New York University School of Law, J.D. (Hays Fellow; Vanderbilt Medal; Order of the Coif; NYU Review of Law & Social Change)
  • MA, Teachers College, Columbia University (Columbia Urban Educator)
  • BA, Columbia College, Columbia University (English major, magna cum laude)
  • Crimmigration
  • Innocence & Justice Clinic

Violent Images in Legal Education, in How to Account for Trauma and Emotions in Legal Teaching (Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd.) (2024).  

Alienating Criminal Procedure, 37 Geo. Immigr. L. J. 237 (2023). 

Paying for a Clean Record, 112 J. Crim. L & Criminology 439 (2022). 

Pretrial Release for Non-U.S. Citizen Clients: One Front of the War for Racial Justice, The Champion 16 (Jul. 2021) (with James M. Chavez). 

Violent Videos: Criminal Defense in a Digital Age, 37 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 305 (2021).

  • ·Selected as a “Must Read” article by the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Getting Scholarship into Courts Project.

Coordinating Community Re-entry Services for “Deportable Alien” Defendants: A Moral and Financial Imperative, 70 Fla. L. Rev. 1019 (2018).


Amy Kimpel, Op-ed: Legislators Should Vote Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill to Ban Classroom Discussion of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, (Mar. 31, 2024) (link).

Ralph Chapoco, The Fee Trap: Court Costs and Fines Put Burden on Those Least Able to Pay, Ala. Reflector (Sept. 14, 2023) (link) (quoted).

Fred Clasen-Kelly, Frail People Are Left to Die in Prison as Judges Fail to Act on a Law to Free Them, NPR (Feb. 21, 2023) (link) (quoted).

Kayode Crown, Advocates Push for Automated Criminal Record Expungement in Mississippi, Miss. Free Press (Dec. 15, 2022) (link) (quoting published work).

Sudiksha Kochi, Fact Check: False claim that a 12-year-old who gets an abortion in Alabama is jailed for life, USA Today (Oct. 24, 2022) (link) (quoted).

Connor Sheets, ‘I Need that Money’: Alabama Siphoning Inmates’ Stimulus Funds to Pay Fines, Fees, Restitution, Al.Com (Jun. 5, 2021) (link) (quoted).

Mark Berman, Former Prosecutors, Judges Join Push for New Trial in Alabama Death Row Case, Wash. Post (Mar. 10, 2021) (link) (quoted).

Safiya Charles, Many Americans Have Criminal Records, So Why Does Alabama Make It So Hard to Clear Your Name? Montgomery Advertiser (Nov. 12, 2020) (link) (quoted).

Connor Sheets, Alabama prison system’s COVID-19 Plan Anticipates Widespread Infection, Deaths, National Guard Intervention, (Apr. 5, 2020) (link) (quoted