Freeing the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions worldwide
The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions, and supporting the exonerated after they are freed.
69 organizations from around the world working to exonerate unjustly convicted men and women, including independent nonprofits as well as organizations affiliated with law schools or other educational institutions, units of public defender offices, and pro bono sections of law firms.
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Recent news articles and media mentions from around the Innocence Network
A convict in one of Hawaii’s most notorious murders is proclaiming his innocence in a new court filing. The Hawaii Innocence Project filed a motion this week to take another look at the Dana Ireland murder case. It was a crime that sent shockwaves through the state.
On Christmas Eve 1991, the 23-year-old was riding her bicycle to her sister’s house along a secluded road in Puna. That night, she was found hit by a vehicle, brutally raped, and left to die on the side of the road. Now, more than 25 years later, a man convicted of her murder wants to be released, and has a team of some of Hawaii’s most prominent defense attorneys supporting him. Read more.
The Georgia Innocence Project has filed a request for a new trial for a Rome man convicted of murder, alleging the state withheld evidence and a juror acted inappropriately. The group filed the petition this week in Walker County on behalf of Joey Watkins, who was convicted in Floyd County of the murder of Isaac Dawkins in 2001.
The habeas corpus petition was filed with the warden of Walker State Prison because that’s where Watkins is serving his sentence. The Watkins case has been subject of the Undisclosed audio podcast series. In Undisclosed, attorneys Rabia Chaudry and Susan Simpson along with college professor Colin Miller attempt to find new witnesses and evidence to help people they believe have been wrongly convicted. Read more.
A Vancouver man who served 8 1/2 years in prison before his case was sent back for retrial was released from custody Thursday after pleading guilty to less severe charges. Lester Juan Griffin Jr. was originally serving a 24-year prison term for first-degree burglary and first-degree assault in a 2008 shooting. However, the Washington Court of Appeals in September found that his rights to a fair trial were potentially violated and vacated his convictions.
His case returned to Clark County Superior Court, where he pleaded guilty Thursday to residential burglary and third-degree assault, as part of a plea agreement, and was granted credit for time served. “I deserve to be home right now,” Griffin, 34, said during the hearing. “The time I did was more than enough.” Read more.
William Virgil walked away from the Campbell County Courthouse a free man. “It’s like what I told you all from the very beginning,” a tearful Virgil said of his innocence. It was a dramatic but oddly quiet scene at the courthouse a block away from where someone beat and stabbed Retha Welch 30 years ago.
Dressed in a gray suit, blue tie and felt fedora, Virgil hugged his attorneys and people with the Kentucky Innocence Project that helped set him free on Friday. Almost three decades before in October 1988, Virgil proclaimed his innocence while he was escorted from the courthouse. He began serving a 70-year sentence for rape and murder of Welch, a 54-year-old psychiatric nurse from Newport. Read more.
It is a packed hall at the College of Western Idaho in Nampa, where I am speaking about DNA exonerations. My hosts did an excellent job advertising, and the room is filled with extra chairs — people siting in the aisles and standing in the back.
As the executive director of the Idaho Innocence Project, I was invited by a criminal justice professor to speak about innocent people in prison. On the way to the lecture, I called Charles Fain, who spent 19 years on Idaho’s death row. He was just getting off work at the box company. He sounded tired but said he would see what he could do. Fain is an innocent man who spent two decades waiting to be executed for the kidnapping, rape and killing of a 9-year-old girl in Nampa. Read more.
A retired district court judge has overturned a man’s conviction for a 2002 rape at the juvenile detention center in Missoula. In an order issued Tuesday, District Judge Ed McLean wrote that testimony given during a December hearing undermined his confidence in the conviction against Cody Marble, who was 17 when he was charged with raping a 13-year-old boy.
“I have been waiting for this moment for many, many years,” Marble, 32, said in a statement released by the Montana Innocence Project. “I am grateful for the support and dedicated work of the Montana Innocence Project, and all of the lawyers and volunteers who worked on my case.” Read more.