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Last weekend, I attended the annual conference of the Innocence Network. My clinic at Pace – the Post-Conviction Project – is a member of the Network, which has grown to include 62 independent nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and public defender offices dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people and reforming the criminal justice system to avoid future injustice. Most, but not all, of the affiliated projects are associated with law schools. Some conduct litigation on behalf of their clients; others investigate and refer cases to pro bono counsel. In 2012 Network organizations exonerated 26 wrongly convicted individuals. Members also vacated clients’ convictions, reduced sentences, gained release on parole, and won compensation for the wrongly convicted and later exonerated. The Network is an invaluable source of information and technical support for independent projects.
Attendees at the conference included exonerees and their families some of whom worked with THE MOTH to learn how to effectively tell a personal story to a live audience. For staff and project directors, the conference presented information on the latest developments in DNA testing, the science of arson investigation, victim perspectives, ethics, case management systems and many other topics. To learn more about the work of the Network click here: www.innocencenetwork.org