Associate Professor Maneka Sinha named 2023-2024 Bellow Scholar

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Associate Professor Maneka Sinha, director of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Criminal Defense Clinic, has been named a 2023-2024 Bellow Scholar by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).  

The highly competitive Bellow Scholars Program recognizes and supports the research projects of clinical law professors that reflect the ideals of Professor Gary Bellow, a pioneering founder of modern clinical legal education.  

Every two years, the Bellow Scholars Committee seeks innovative project proposals from clinical legal educators designed to improve the quality of justice in communities, enhance the delivery of legal services, and promote economic and social justice.  

Sinha’s project, Reliability and Automated Suspicion, will explore whether courts meaningfully address the reliability of policing technologies in Fourth Amendment reasonable suspicion and probable cause determinations through an analysis of hundreds of state and federal opinions. 

“I’m tremendously honored to have been selected as a 2023-2024 Bellow Scholar,” said Sinha. “It is particularly meaningful to be selected for an honor named for Gary Bellow, who was a lifelong advocate for access to justice and an innovator in clinical legal education, and who started his career as a public defender right where I started mine, at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (then called the Legal Aid Agency). I am looking forward to learning from the other scholars in my cohort, whose work is important and inspiring, and from the brilliant Bellow Scholars who came before me.” 

Sinha and the four other scholars in this year’s cohort will make their first presentations at the AALS Clinical Conference in San Francisco at the end of April. 

Sinha joined the University of Maryland Carey School of Law in 2019 to re-launch the Criminal Defense Clinic. She has extensive experience in criminal litigation and is recognized for her expertise in forensic science. Sinha’s research interests explore the intersection of forensic science evidence and outcomes in criminal cases. 

She is the author of “Junk Science at Sentencing” in the George Washington Law Review, “Radically Reimagining Forensic Evidence” in the Alabama Law Review, and The Dangers of Automated Gunshot Detection” in the Journal of Law & Innovation. 

Prior to joining the law school, Sinha spent 10 years at the renowned Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia where she served as senior advisor to the agency’s director on forensic science issues and represented indigent clients charged with the most serious crimes in the District of Columbia, including complex homicides and sexual assaults. She also served as head of the agency’s nationally recognized Forensic Practice Group, training and supervising lawyers involved in forensic science litigation locally and nationwide, while also personally litigating highly complex and novel forensic science issues. 

Sinha holds a JD from New York University School of Law and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She was named the 2021 Public Sector Trailblazer of the year by the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C.