The Life After Innocence Newsletter presents a variety of stories, including spotlights on Life After Innocence clients and students, pressing issues that wrongfully convicted men and women face on release, upcoming events and summaries of past events, Life After Innocence public policy initiatives, and other relevant and newsworthy stories and happenings.
Laura Caldwell and Life After Innocence featured in Crains Chicago Business
For trial attorney turned author turned lawyer for the underserved Laura Caldwell, fact and fiction increasingly are intertwined. Read more here.
LAI’s 5th Anniversary Luncheon a Success
On February 21st, Life After Innocence hosted a luncheon featuring Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project. Barry spoke on “Innocence: Then and Now” and he told attendees about his early days of the innocence movement. He also called after-care one of the most difficult parts of the exoneration process. Read more here.
Life After Innocence needs your help
Thank you, to all of the innocence professionals, exonerees, volunteers, and interested parties who have offered their support for these five amazing years! We hope to continue in partnership with you and provide legal and social services to exonerees for many more years to come. Currently there are no grants that support after-innocence programs so we rely on donations. Any donation large or small is welcome and so very much appreciated. To donate, click here and be sure to select “Direct Your Gift” and choose The Life After Innocence Fund, or send a check to Loyola University Chicago School of Law (memo: Life After Innocence) at 25 East Pearson, Chicago, IL 60614.
Exonerees and Students Attend Innocence Conference
Each year, Life After Innocence takes exonerees and students to the Innocence Network Conference. This conference brings together programs from all over the country (and the world) that work with the wrongfully convicted. It is an opportunity for students and directors to learn more about how to run a successful program, and also an opportunity for exonerees to meet and get to know other people who have shared similar experiences. This year’s conference was held in Portland, Oregon on April 11-12. Read more here.
Innocence Conference Diary
The Innocence Conference is not only an incredible experience for exonerees, but a deeply meaningful experience for new LAI students. Shamoyita DasGupta is in her third semester with LAI and provides her take on the Conference. Read more here.
LAI Supports Bill to Widen Availability of Post-Conviction DNA Testing
Although DNA has become an immutable and unquestionable searcher of truth in the criminal justice field, Illinois currently prohibits post-conviction DNA testing in cases of guilty pleas. Thus, one can be innocent of the crime for which he or she pled guilty, but may be barred from post-conviction testing. The Innocence Project and Illinois Senator Kwame Raoul have proposed Senate Bill 2995 to remedy this situation. The bill allows individuals to pursue post-conviction DNA testing even if he or she did plead guilty to the crime. Read more here.
LAI Proposes Legislation to Streamline Certificate of Innocence Process
This year, LAI suggested legislation that would streamline the process for exonerees to prove their innocence and claim state compensation. The legislation, House Bill 4080 (HB 4080), focused on the contribution clause - the fourth requirement to acquiring a Certificate of Innocence. Read more here.
LAI Works to Increase State Compensation for Exonerees
LAI made another legislative proposal to increase the amount of state compensation for exonerees because Illinois provides a woefully inadequate amount. House Bill 5306 was sponsored by Representative Cassidy and proposed that exonerees should be compensated $50,000 per year that they were wrongfully incarcerated. However, the Illinois General Assembly raised valid concerns about the tenuous position of the state budget. Thus, the General Assembly decided to pass on the bill this year and seek reform later. As such, LAI will propose the bill again during the next legislative session and continue championing the cause of exonerees.
- Rock For Innocence: Rocked to Success at First Annual Fundraiser
- Life After Innocence needs your help
- Lawyers Rock Legends: An evening of fun, food, and charity
- Solitary confinement has mental, physical consequences
- Exoneree, Life After Innocence client begins law school at Loyola
- Caldwell helps exonerees pick up the pieces after prison
- Spotlight on Julie Rea Harper
- PBS covers wrongful convictions in their Frontline documentary: Burden of Innocence.
- Chicago Tonight reports on Rock for Innocence here.
- Learn about LAI’s newest client James Kluppelberg.
- Watch the 60 Minutes piece on Chicago and false confessions here.
- Check out Exoneree on TED Talks here.