Stetson students working with Innocence Project
Several Stetson University College of Law students are now volunteering with attorneys in collaboration with the Innocence Project of Florida.
“Stetson’s Innocence Project is our attempt to address one of the greatest harms caused by injustice —the harm that is experienced when an individual is not only wrongfully accused, but wrongfully convicted and incarcerated. When innocent individuals are convicted, not only does that one individual suffer, his or her family suffers. The community suffers. In fact, the entire criminal justice system suffers,” said Professor Judith A.M. Scully, who along with Professor Roberta Flowers is helping coordinate the program at Stetson with the Innocence Project of Florida in Tallahassee.
The Innocence Project of Florida has received more than 3,000 requests for assistance since opening its doors in 2003 and has succeeded in seven of the 10 DNA exonerations in the state.
“We’re working with Stetson to expand the reach of our services,” said Seth Miller, director of Florida’s Innocence Project and former attorney with the American Bar Association Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project. “DNA cases are only about 10% of the cases. Through collaboration, we hope to expand our reach to the other 90% of people out there with viable claims of innocence.”
“Through the Innocence Project, our students will be provided with the opportunity to learn that they are capable of not only making a positive impact on the lives of other human beings, but also taking leadership in assuring that justice is the primary goal ofour criminal legal system,” Professor Scully said. “By helping to identify and free the wrongfully convicted, we become a part of the shining light that says our criminal justice system is not perfect but we can — and will — do better.”
There are more than 70 Innocence Projects around the world. The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. More than 240 people have been exonerated by DNA testing in the United States, including 17 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 12 years in prison before exoneration and release.
To learn more about the Innocence Project of Florida, visit http://www.floridainnocence.org/
Post date: Oct. 9, 2009
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