Faculty Detail

Michael Benza
Senior Instructor in Law

B.A. 1986 (Case Western Reserve), M.A. 1988 (Pepperdine), J.D. 1992 (Case Western Reserve)
Phone: 216/368-0284
View CV (PDF)
Professor Benza received his Bachelor of Arts (1986) and law degree (1992) from Case Western Reserve University. He also received a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology (1988) from Pepperdine University. He was the 1992 Biskind Fellow from CWRU School of Law and spent a year working for the Legal Resources Centre, a civil and human rights law firm in South Africa. Upon returning to the States, he spent four years in the Capital Defense Unit at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. He was assistant counsel at the Cleveland Bar Association working with the Certified Grievance Committee as well as other committees. Professor Benza teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I, Death Penalty Issues, the Death Penalty Lab, Federal Prisoner Rights, International Perspectives on the Death Penalty, as well as coaching the International Criminal Court moot court team and he previously coached the Mock Trial team. The Student Bar Association selected Professor Benza as the Professor of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In 2009 Professor Benza was elected as an alumni member to the Society of Benchers.

Professor Benza continues to represent death row inmates in state courts and federal habeas proceedings. He has litigated capital cases in state trial courts, state appellate and post-conviction courts, and federal courts including arguing Smith v. Spisak, 130 S.Ct. 676 (2010), before the Supreme Court of the United States.

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