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Exoneree Derrick Williams addresses Stetson Law students on March 19


On March 19, the Innocence Initiative Reform and Education Division at Stetson hosted Derrick Williams, a man who was falsely convicted and sentenced to serve a life sentence in the state of Florida. He spent 18 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit.

Derrick Williams talked with Stetson Law students about being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life behind bars.

Derrick Williams talked with Stetson Law students about being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life behind bars.

Exonerated in 2011 with the help of the Innocence Project of Florida, Williams talked with Stetson Law students on Tuesday night about the importance of seeking justice. Williams explained that the Attorney General of Florida took an interest in his case.

Williams’ wrongful conviction in 1993 was the result of eyewitness misidentification and government misconduct. His talk was entitled, “A Tainted Lineup: The Exoneration Story of Derrick Williams.”

“Have you ever been accused of doing something, you know you didn’t do it, and you beg people to believe you, but they tell you, you did it?” Williams asked the law students gathered to listen to his talk.

His story stressed the importance of solid, ethical legal advocacy.

The Innocence Initiative at Stetson was co-founded in 2009 to coordinate efforts with the Innocence Project of Florida. The Innocence Initiative Reform and Education Division at Stetson advocates for reform and hosts educational programs for students, case workers, and the community on wrongful conviction issues. Judith Scully, the Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, directs the Innocence Initiative at Stetson and co-directs Stetson’s new Social Justice Advocacy concentration program.