Barry Scheck is known for his landmark litigation setting standards for forensic applications of DNA technology. In 1992 with Peter Neufeld, Barry co-founded the Innocence Project, utilizing DNA evidence as a means to exculpate individuals of crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted. He and Neufeld also coauthored with Jim Dwyer Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted. Since 1988, his and Peter Neufeld's work in this area have shaped the course of case law across the country and led to an influential study by the National Academy of Sciences on forensic DNA testing, as well as important state and federal legislation. As of May 28, 2008, 217 wrongful convictions have been overturned by DNA testing thanks to the Project and other legal organizations.
Barry is a commissioner on New York's Forensic Science Review Board, a body that regulates all of the state's crime and forensic DNA laboratories. He is first vice president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and serves on the board of the National Institute of Justice's Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. Barry is a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he established the first Innocence Project. He is Director of Clinical Education for the Trial Advocacy Program and the Center for the Study of Law and Ethics.
He was a former staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of New York. From 2004–2005 he served as president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 1996 he received the Robert C. Heeney Award, the "NACDL’s most prestigious award... given annually to the one criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association, and the legal profession.”
Barry received his B.S. in 1971 from Yale University and his J.D. and M.C.P. in 1974 from the University of California at Berkeley.