Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

I joined NCIP just weeks after Larry Pohlschneider was exonerated. I met Larry soon afterward. After 15 years trapped in prison for a crime he did not commit, Larry needed to restart his life, but the world had changed completely from when he went in.  He had to re-meet his children (from whom he had been prevented contact), he needed to learn the new world of tablets and smart phones, and most of all, he needed to figure out how to get a job and make some money, right away.  Lake County exoneree Luther Jones was released in February directly from the prison hospital to the care of his son – with no instructions as to what was wrong with him or how to care for him.  The next morning, Luther was unconscious when his son came to wake him.  Since February, Luther has been in and out of the hospital, with his son as his primary caretaker.

When exonerees are released from prison, there are no plans for transition nor resources immediately available to set them up and help them reacclimate to life outside of prison.  The one thing that most exonerees wait for is their compensation from the State – a symbolic financial award which, while never giving people back all that they lost in prison, provides a nest egg for them to start to rebuild their lives – to get health care, pay rent, buy a car, study for degrees or get vocational training.  As you will read in this newsletter, however, the process to get compensation for an exoneree is complicated and (surprisingly) subject to the discretion of an administrative board, adding another layer of stress and uncertainty for people who have already suffered so greatly.

Weeks ago, through an expedited process which NCIP helped to push forward, SB 1186 was signed by Governor Brown, authorizing compensation for Larry and Luther as well as Obie Anthony. These men, collectively, had spent more than 55 years in prison, wrongfully incarcerated. Theirs is a good result - but more than half of the claims of compensation filed by exonerees are denied. 

NCIP’s summer newsletter is filled with perspectives on exoneree compensation, NCIP’s fight for reform on this and other issues, stories from people personally affected, as well as updates on some of our pending legal cases, more on the hair analysis review, new outreach efforts to promote effective Conviction Review Units in California, and more.  It was a very busy spring.  Thank you for your continued support as we continue working for a more fair, effective and compassionate criminal justice system.


State Compensation Approved for Three Exonerees and Other Legislative News
State compensation was approved for NCIP exonerees Larry Pohlschneider and Obie Anthony and for Lake County exoneree Luther Jones. NCIP worked closely with legislative and the governor's staff to fastrack Senate Bill 1186, which included their compensation. Read more about this and about the progress on other NCIP-supported bills. More>>


In the Know: California's Exoneree Compensation System
The harms to exonerees from wrongful conviction and incarceration are impossible to quantify: years spent in prison, loss of family, death of relatives, lost educational and career opportunities, and loss of health are just a few. Many of these harms can never be repaired, but state compensation is a vital step in acknowledging and remedying the wrong the state committed and gives exonerees support for rebuilding their lives after their release from prison. More>>




NCIP Collaborates with CDAA to Discuss Conviction Review Units 
In an unprecedented collaboration among California-based innocence organizations and the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), NCIP presented at a training forum for California prosecutors on June 27, 2016. More>>


NCIP Spearheads Statewide Coalition to Review Microscopic Hair Analysis Cases; Habeas Petition Filed in Client's Case   
NCIP continues to prioritize its review of California hair microscopy cases and is organizing a statewide coalition made up of California innocence organizations and pro bono law firm partners to undertake the task. Read more about this and about a client for whom NCIP recently filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus.  More>>


New Public Defender Credits His NCIP Training
After graduating from Santa Clara Law in December 2015 and passing the February 2016 bar exam, NCIP alumnus Jon Hart J.D. '15 is now embarking on a career as a public defender. He says the lessons he learned at NCIP will make him a significantly better attorney. More>>


Featured Stories


NCIP Launches New Website
NCIP is proud to announce its newly revamped website, which provides visitors a more effective way to learn about NCIP’s work and navigate the site. The new site features a clean, more visual design; improved functionality on mobile devices; and much more. More>>


Perpsectives: Ko'Fawn Jones, Son of Exoneree Luther Jones, Tells His Story 
Luther Jones was wrongfully convicted in Lake County, CA, and spent 20 years in prison before he was exonerated and released in February 2016, gravely ill from health issues he developed while in prison. His son, Ko’Fawn, describes this emotional experience from his perspective. More>>


NCIP Leads Transformative Second Restorative Justice Retreat
For three days in June, 19 people who were impacted by wrongful conviction gathered for NCIP’s second restorative justice retreat to engage in a respectful dialogue about their experiences. More>>


NCIP Attorney and Exoneree Teach Students about Wrongful Conviction
On three different evenings this summer, NCIP exoneree Maurice Caldwell and Legal Director Linda Starr met with groups of 250 bright, committed and talented high school students from around the country who participated in the Envision Intensive Law and Trial Program at Stanford University.  More>>


NCIP In the Headlines


• Exoneree and NCIP advisory board member Rick Walker was interviewed for Exonerated NorCal Man Now on Death Bed Waiting for Check from California on ABC7.

• NCIP exoneree Larry Pohlschneider and Legal Director Linda Starr were featured in A Tale of Two Exonerees: Their Struggles to be Paid for Years Spent in Prison in the Sacramento Bee. 


• NCIP exoneree and advisory board member Franky Carrillo's settlement with Los Angeles County was covered by the Long Beach Press Telegram, and included quotes from NCIP Supervising Attorney Paige Kaneb and Legal Director Linda Starr.

• Franky Carrillo was also featured in the El Universal story, 20 Lost Years. Sentenced for False Crime.