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May 7th, 2009
02:27 PM ET

Help free the innocent

Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on
In Session.”

Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld.

Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld.

Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Last night was a big night for the Innocence Project. The once fledgling organization founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld in 1992 has used DNA analysis to secure helf free 237 people. In the process they have systematically identified the causes of, and remedies for wrongful conviction. More than that, they have started a movement across the country, with innocence projects cropping up nationwide.

Last night was a celebration of all they have accomplished, with celebrities like John Grisham and Brook Shields coming out for the cause. Even more meaningful, twelve men and women told their horrific stories of wrongful conviction and bittersweet tales of fighting for, and ultimately winning their freedom.

There were more than 600 people in the room, all supporting the mission. But it’s not enough.

If you do the numbers, there are probably thousands more innocent people in prison; and fighting to win the release of an innocent person is the noblest thing a lawyer can do. If Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld retire tomorrow, they’ve done more good work than most lawyers do in a lifetime. But the heroism of two men is not enough.

For one thing, fighting wrongful conviction costs money. DNA testing costs between $2,000 and $15,000 per case. And that’s just the beginning. We need to spread the truth about wrongful convictions and the fight for exoneration. Most people don’t believe it matters for them. But it does. It could.

You don’t have to be a lawyer to make a difference. Visit the Innocence Project online to find out how you can help free the innocent. Click here to view site.

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Filed under: In Session • Jami Floyd
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Teresa, OH

    I dont mean to be a downer, but for the 237 that were freed due to the diligent work of the Innocence Project, I wonder how many claimed they were innocent and then the project proved they were really guilty?

    I didnt realize the DNA testing was that expensive, but I can see if I were the innocent party wrongfully convicted, the price would be money well spent.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  2. simon

    thats a nice smoke screen,a day after we learn thaat smaal towns police wher scamming inocent people with the da involve,how many inocent people have they sent to jail???
    trying to cure the simptoms will not help,a great reform is needed in the policing sistem,involving reduction of power for most individual officers,and the sistem in witch they are messured,witch is just like the one the bankers wher rewarded witch got us into this deep mess,and just like the one that incouraged torure just to get some folse confessions...

    May 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  3. simon

    fee the inocent????start with that small town in texas...you dont need dna to proove that thows people wher inocent....curing the sistem of policing is the real isue,and making it more freindlly to the masses and have less power for individual officers.....dont try and get a conviction try to get justice....just like the bankers who made mistakes and drove us into trubbel becouse of a corupt rewarding sistem...
    and trying to get information by torture its all part of the same problem////aming the wrong way

    May 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm |