Paralegal/Program Associate, Innocence Project

Paralegal/Program Associate, Innocence Project

The Paralegal/Program Associate works closely with the Director of Post-Conviction Litigation and the rest of the Legal Team to ensure that legal services are provided in an effective and efficient manner, providing case assistance as well as departmental support in managing and liaising inter-and intra departmental projects.  The Paralegal/Program Associate provides administrative assistance on case management and time-sensitive litigation matters, and organizes and maintains our litigation resources to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of both our own exoneration cases and those of outside counsel who seek our assistance. The Paralegal/Program Associate reports to the Director of Post-Conviction Litigation. He or she also works closely with attorneys and coordinates the work of the other paralegals on department wide-matters. Read...
UVA Innocence Project Clinic Client Messiah Johnson Freed

UVA Innocence Project Clinic Client Messiah Johnson Freed

Innocence at UVA School of Law The Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law has secured a conditional pardon for its client, Messiah Johnson, who the clinic argued was wrongly convicted of armed robbery. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed orders Friday for the release of Johnson and five others in separate cases. In doing so, he noted the sentences were “far outside what should have been adequate to keep Virginia safe.” Johnson had been sentenced to 132 years in prison. “Mr. Johnson has served over 20 years for this crime and yet there are serious questions about his guilt – he has always maintained his innocence and there is credible evidence that he was not guilty at all,” the governor’s office said in its afternoon statement. Read...
Exoneree James Kluppelberg Wins $9.3 Million Settlement for Wrongful Conviction

Exoneree James Kluppelberg Wins $9.3 Million Settlement for Wrongful Conviction

Exoneration Project Chicago officials have agreed to pay $9.3 million to a man wrongfully convicted of setting a 1984 fire that killed a mother and her five children, a crime he confessed to only after he was allegedly beaten by detectives working under disgraced Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge. The proposed settlement in the federal lawsuit brought by James Kluppelberg marks the latest in a string of massive payouts by the city involving cases of alleged police misconduct. It also adds to the ever-mounting costs of the torture scandal involving Burge and his “midnight crew” of detectives, which has stained the city’s reputation and so far cost taxpayers at least $115 million in lawsuit settlements, judgments and other compensation to victims. Read...
Exoneration Project Client Thomas Sierra Exonerated

Exoneration Project Client Thomas Sierra Exonerated

Exoneration Project Thomas Sierra has become used to waiting. The 41-year-old Chicago native spent more than half his life in prison, convicted of a murder he has claimed from the beginning he didn’t commit. His attorneys say he was framed by a retired Chicago Police detective who has since kept quiet about his alleged misconduct in multiple cases. On Tuesday, a couple months after his release, Sierra found himself inside the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse, waiting the better part of two hours for a hearing that was scheduled for 10 a.m. It was getting close to noon. Sporting a close-cropped hairstyle and black shoes, dark grey pants and a grey shirt, Sierra spent most of that time seated in the front row of the gallery. He was hunched over, either with his hands clenched as if in prayer or rubbing his restless legs, chatting with his brother and waiting for his name to be called inside a sixth-floor courtroom. Read...
Innocence Project of Florida Client Dean McKee Freed

Innocence Project of Florida Client Dean McKee Freed

Innocence Project of Florida A man who claims he was wrongly convicted of an alleged racially-motivated murder in 1987 was released from prison Tuesday after spending 30 years behind bars. Nearly 20 family and friends waited to embrace Dean McKee, now 46, as he walked out of the Orient Road Jail after posting bond. “It’s been a long road and I’m so overwhelmed and some wonderful people kept me strong and kept me focused,” said McKee, who made a brief statement before heading home. “When you open your heart some amazing things happen. I’m grateful and I’m blessed.” McKee was 16 years old when he and his then-18-year-old brother Scott were arrested and accused of attacking Isaiah Walker, a homeless black man who was found stabbed to death outside the Tampa Museum of Art. Read...