Site Navigation Page Content

Faculty Profiles

Mark Rabildownload image icon

Mark Rabil

Director of Innocence and Justice Clinic
Associate Professor of Law

Email: rabilsm@wfu.edu

Innocence and Justice Clinic Director Mark Rabil is an assistant capital defender in Forsyth County whose zealous advocacy led to the release and exoneration of Darryl Hunt after 19 years of incarceration. Rabil had been practicing law for four years when he was court-appointed to assist a senior partner in his law firm in representing Hunt, a 19-year-old black man charged with raping, and stabbing to death Deborah Sykes, a young, white, newspaper reporter. He would continue to represent Hunt for the next 20 years, through trials, hearings, investigations, appeals, and clemency and pardon proceedings. In the summer of 1993, post-conviction hearings regarding witness intimidation and discovery violations led to neither DNA tests proving that neither Hunt nor another suspect, Sammy Mitchell, were involved in the rape of Sykes.  In December, 2003, Rabil’s further efforts forced more DNA testing that led to the arrest of the true killer, and the release of Hunt.  Since 2003, Rabil has been an assistant capital defender in North Carolina and represents individuals who are charged with first-degree murder and face the death penalty. Rabil has served the Wake Forest University School of Law as a supervising attorney for the Litigation Clinic since 1983 and as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy since 2003. In 2004, the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers awarded Rabil the Thurgood Marshall Award for his work representing Darryl Hunt. The story of the case is told in Ricki Stern and Annie Sunberg's award-winning documentary, “The Trials of Darryl Hunt.”