The International Law Faculty
Senior Instructor in Law
Visiting Associate Professor; BA 1986 (Case Western Reserve University), MA 1988 (Pepperdine), JD 1992 (Case Western Reserve University)
Michael Benza was the 1992 Biskind Fellow from the School of Law and spent a year working for the Legal Resources Centre, a civil and human rights law firm in South Africa. He then spent four years in the Capital Defense Unit at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. Later, he was assistant counsel at the Cleveland Bar Association working with the Prof. Certified Grievance Committee, as well as other committees. Prof. Benza teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I, Prisoner Rights and Litigation, Death Penalty Issues, and the Death Penalty Lab, and has coached the Mock Trial team. The Student Bar Association selected him Professor of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2009, he was elected as an alumni member to the Society of Benchers. Prof. 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 before the U.S. Supreme Court. He teaches a course on International Law and the Death Penalty.