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To free the wrongly prosecuted through the use of DNA testing. To advance practices that minimize the chances that others suffer the same fate. To educate.

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Presentation on theme: "To free the wrongly prosecuted through the use of DNA testing. To advance practices that minimize the chances that others suffer the same fate. To educate."— Presentation transcript:

1 To free the wrongly prosecuted through the use of DNA testing. To advance practices that minimize the chances that others suffer the same fate. To educate the public that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events. To help the exonerated rebuild their lives.

2 2 We have arguably the greatest judicial system in the world, but it is not perfect. Wrongful convictions undermine confidence in the system. DNA evidence has proven 202 Americans innocent of crimes for which they were convicted. Simply put: if you don’t do the crime, you shouldn’t do the time.

3 3 Collectively these four Georgians spent more than 79 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

4 4 Arrested in 1985 for two attacks and tried for rape even though similar assaults continued after his arrest. His defense attorney tried unsuccessfully to prove another man was behind all the attacks. Williams was convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison. DNA evidence proved Williams innocent in 2007 – nearly 22 years after his arrest. The same evidence led police to the same man the defense attorney had pointed them to more than two decades before. Pete Williams Georgia’s Newest Exoneree Exoneration Hearing: 2/13/07 Georgia DOC Photo

5 5 GIP is one of the few Projects nationwide that has a full-fledged Life After Exoneration program. GIP partners with Atlanta’s top law firms to help exonerees rebuild their lives. Previous exonerees serve as mentors. Released in January 2007, Williams has already had several job offers as a result of the media coverage about his case. Pete Williams: Rebuilding His Life Meeting with Prior Exonerees Pete celebrated his 45 th birthday at his partnering firm, McKenna, Long & Aldridge.

6 6 Arrested at age 21 in 1981 for rape, robbery and kidnapping. After initially lying to police, Clark led them to the real perpetrator, but police refused to investigate. Convicted and sentenced to a life term. DNA evidence proved Clark innocent in 2005 – 24 years after his arrest. The same evidence proved the real perpetrator’s identity and also solved two unsolved rapes from the 1990s. GIP has helped Clark rebuild his life through its Life After Exoneration program, assisting him in job placement and life skills. Through GIP’s efforts, the state awarded Clark $1.2 million in compensation for his wrongful incarceration. Robert Clark Exonerated December 8, 2005 Late 1970s – Age 18 December 7, 2005

7 7 Arrested for rape, robbery, kidnapping in 1986. Convicted based on mistaken eyewitness identification. Sentenced to Life plus 20 plus 20. 17 years later, two slides from the sexual assault kit were found by a GIP intern. DNA test results came back on August 24, 2004. One week later, Mr. Harrison walked out of the courtroom a free man. Eighteen days after his release, Mr. Harrison married his long-time love, Yvonne Zellars. Clarence Harrison: His Story 1986 Line-Up Photo2004

8 8 Wedding: 18 days after his release, Clarence married his long-time love, Yvonne. GIP put the word out about the impending nuptials. Dozens of small businesses and individuals joined together to make this dream a reality. Medical: Clarence has received medical and dental evaluations and treatment due to the generosity of local doctors. Life Skills: Clarence took driving lessons and now has his first driver’s license. He voted for the first time. He is in demand as a public speaker in the Atlanta area and at law schools throughout the South. He is working and attends Emory University part-time. Compensation: in 2005, the Georgia Legislature awarded Harrison $1 million in compensation for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Life After Exoneration Wedding Day Ready to Vote Public Speaking

9 9 Cases must pass an extensive screening process. Fewer than 1% of the requests progress to the case brief stage.

10 10 Systemic Change GIP spearheads and supports public policy that works to remedy past wrongful convictions and help prevent those in the future. Public Awareness GIP educates the public on the problem of wrongful convictions and enlists support in addressing it. Education GIP works with lawyers and law students to educate in DNA evidence and post-conviction issues. GIP members review cases.

11 11 Intern Program Our intern program provides the opportunity for future Georgia lawyers to learn about the issues surrounding wrongful conviction. 8-10 law students and exceptional undergraduate students serve as interns each semester. GIP takes interns from law schools nationwide. Interns receive academic credit for their work. GIP works with law firms on joint programs with summer law associates. Tasks: –Reviewing and investigating cases under staff supervision –Making recommendations on cases –Preparing cases for litigation –Assisting clients after exoneration

12 12 Lean Operation The Georgia Innocence Project operates out donated office space. Just two full-time staff members coordinate the work of many interns and volunteers. Fixed expenses are covered largely by grants and material donations. Case-related Expenses Even with pro bono legal assistance, costs add up. Donations go towards ongoing costs such as: DNA tests ($4,000 - $15,000) Legal correspondence (up to $500/month) Case investigation ($500-$5,000) Course curriculum books ($100) Life After Exoneration (up to $1000/month)

13 13 Grants We receive funding from many prestigious local, state and national foundations and associations. Grants are continually being solicited. In-Kind GIP receives in-kind donations for the organization and its clients. Events In addition to enhancing public awareness, GIP events raise money to help us operate. Pro Bono Work Much of the casework is performed by lawyers volunteering their time.

14 14 Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments Expertise Volunteer time to review and research cases, develop amicus briefs, provide legal opinions, and offer organizational legal assistance. Volunteer time and serve as liaison to other resources to help keep GIP up, running, and growing. Participate in GIP’s summer associate program, Legal Field Day, and other public awareness/fundraising events. Resource Support Tax deductible donations are used for general and case-related expenses. In-kind donations for operational needs are also tax deductible. Adopt an Exoneree Provide civil legal services and serve as liaison between GIP and professional service providers through the Life After Exoneration program.

15 15 The Georgia Innocence Project 752½ North Highland Avenue Atlanta, Georgia 30306 404.872.8236 404.872.8240 fax More information is available at our website, Aimee R. Maxwell Executive Director Lisa George Communications Director

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