Facebook icon Twitter icon

George Souliotes’ Conviction Overturned; Now Facing Retrial

In January 1997, a rental property owned by Souliotes burned down and three people died. Souliotes was charged then convicted of arson and triple murder in the tragedy and, now 72 years old, has served 16 years of three life without possibility of parole sentences.  On April 12, 2013, a California federal district court judge found Souliotes had received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial, reversed his conviction and ordered him freed unless the state began to retry him within 90 days. That ruling came a year after NCIP and pro bono attorneys from the law firm of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP persuaded the judge of Souliotes’ actual innocence, successfully demonstrating that his conviction was based on faulty fire science and that no reasonable juror today would convict him.  Although the attorney general conceded the purported scientific evidence used to convict Souliotes is false, the district attorney has opted to re-try him. Souliotes waits in jail for yet another trial, set to begin in July.

2013 Pro Bono Award Recipient Nominated to Serve on the U.S. District Court

Linda Starr (right) presents Shearman & Sterling with the Pro Bono Award. Accepting the award are Jim Donato and Jiyoun Chung.

Last Thursday the White House announced that President Obama nominated Shearman & Sterling LLP Partner Jim Donato (center), NCIP’s 2013 Pro Bono Award recipient and former advisory board member, to serve on the United States District Court. Congratulations Jim!

NCIP Attorney Testifies at State Capitol

NCIP Attorney Paige Kaneb recently testified before the California Senate Public Safety Committee in support of two bills. Senate Bill 618, sponsored by Senator Mark Leno, would streamline and expedite the process of securing compensation for exonerees. Senate Bill 569 would mandate the recording of all juvenile interrogations. Both bills were passed by the Senate on to the Assembly.

NBC Bay Area News Highlights NCIP Law Students’ Work

NBC Bay Area News recently ran a story about the successful work of NCIP’s law students, who have helped win the freedom of 16 people since 2001.

“It’s pretty amazing. I get to set innocent people free from prison. Let me tell you, that’s pretty powerful,” Earl Horner, a law student in NCIP’s clinical program told reporters.

NBC Bay Area News interviewed NCIP’s most recent exonerees, Ronald Ross and Johnny Williams. They expressed their gratitude toward NCIP and other pro bono law firms that assisted in their release from prison. Watch the news segment here.

NCIP Spring Newsletter Online

NCIP’s Spring 2013 newsletter is out! Learn more about Ronald Ross' and Johnny Williams' cases, fire science, and more. If you haven’t seen it, read it here.