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NCIP E-news: Summer 2014
NCIP-Sponsored Bill to Help Prevent Wrongful Convictions Heads to Governor Brown
NCIP-sponsored Senate Bill 1058, which would help exonerate innocent Californians who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes, is headed to Governor Jerry Brown's desk. Authored by Senator Mark Leno, the legislation would allow a judge to overturn a wrongful conviction if technological or forensic scientific advances have subsequently discredited false expert testimony that served as the primary basis for an incarcerated person's conviction. Read more...
Save the Date: NCIP's Oktoberfest on October 11th!
Come join the fun at NCIP’s Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 11th, 5:30–8:30 p.m., at Gordon Biersch Brewery in San Jose. Celebrate exonerating the innocent with NCIP exonerees, staff, and supporters from around the Bay while enjoying all-you-can-eat Oktoberfest fare and all-you-can-drink beer. Your ticket also includes a brewery tour. Awesome innocence gear will be available for sale!
NCIP Eyewitness Identification Symposium Sparks Reform
On May 21, nearly 200 people attended NCIP's Eyewitness Identification Best Practices Symposium, sponsored by a Flom Incubator Grant from the Skadden Fellowship Foundation. Hosted by NCIP and the International Institute of Criminal Justice Leadership at the University of San Francisco, the symposium was attended primarily by prosecutors and law enforcement, with the remainder composed of criminal defense attorneys, civil rights attorneys and forensic scientists.
During the day-long symposium, experts in the field discussed best practices for eyewitness identification procedures and how their use has helped to secure more reliable identifications. As a result of the symposium, some jurisdictions report instituting changes to their field admonishment language and moving closer to making double-blind identifications the standard protocol. Read more...
LinkedIn Employees Volunteer to Help Free the Innocent
On July 22, NCIP and Santa Clara Law's Center for Social Justice and Public Service hosted six employees from LinkedIn, who volunteered as part of LinkedIn for Good Foundation's inDay.
Each year, NCIP receives about 900 requests for assistance from California prisoners. The LinkedIn volunteers worked alongside NCIP clinical faculty, attorneys, and law student interns to screen prisoner letters for potential innocence claims. They also learned about wrongful conviction from former Santa Clara County Prosecutor and current NCIP Volunteer Attorney Karyn Sinunu-Towery, whose reinvestigation of Rick Walker's murder conviction led to his exoneration.
"We are thrilled to partner with LinkedIn to provide meaningful pro bono opportunities for LinkedIn employees," said NCIP Executive Director David Onek. "The participants provided valuable services that will help NCIP free more innocent prisoners, and NCIP in turn provided participants with an enriching, educational and enjoyable day." Read more...
Happy Freedom Anniversary, George Souliotes
On Independence Day eve 2014, we celebrated the one-year freedom anniversary of George Souliotes! He walked out of prison on July 3, 2013, after 16 years of wrongful incarceration. Congratulations George!
Exoneree Maurice Caldwell Speaks to NCIP Students and Volunteers
NCIP exoneree Maurice Caldwell recently shared his story with NCIP students, interns, and volunteers about his wrongful conviction and his life in and after prison. Caldwell expressed his immense gratitude for NCIP, his desire to advocate on behalf of the wrongfully convicted, and his current efforts to spread awareness about the injustices in the criminal justice system that ultimately lead to wrongful convictions.
Exonerations around the nation
Texas: Systematic DNA testing exonerates--without requesting testing
Michael Phillips was convicted of rape, did his time, and then resigned himself to a lifetime of sex offender registration. But on July 25, he became the 34th exoneration through systematic DNA testing by the Dallas County District Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit--and the first DNA exoneration case through systematic testing by a prosecutor's office in which the convicted individual had not requested the testing.
Washington D.C.: New DNA evidence discredits flawed FBI evidence
In 1982, Kevin Martin was convicted after an FBI forensic unit linked him to a hair found at a murder crime scene. Martin spent 26 years behind bars until a Superior Court judge exonerated him on July 21, citing new DNA evidence that discredited the original forensic finding that connected Martin to the crime. Martin is the fifth case where federal prosecutors have acknowledged errors by an FBI forensic unit that led to a wrongful conviction.
Northern California Innocence Project
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