2012 Downstate Illinois Innocence Project Honors Scott Turow | School of Law | SIU

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Downstate Illinois Innocence Project Honors Scott Turow

April 09, 2012

News Release courtesy of Downstate Illinois Innocence Project

A distinguished group of lawyers and community leaders are hosting the annual Defenders of the Innocent Awards Reception held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Springfield on April 9, 2012 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. 

This year’s awardees include SCOTT TUROW for his contributions to innocence as a lawyer through his tireless work towards the abolition of the flawed death penalty system in Illinois and his writing which educates the general public to these issues and enhances understanding of our legal system. 

Also honored will be the UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF LAW and the assistance of Professors Steve Beckett and Andy Leipold and their students and SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW and the assistance of Professors Bill Schroeder and Chris Behan and their students. The Defenders of the Innocent Awards Reception host committee is actively seeking to increase event sponsorships and attendance.  For more information, please email Sheila Stocks-Smith at sss176@comcast.net
The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project (DIIP), based at the University of Illinois Springfield works to exonerate individuals who are actually innocent of serious crimes for which they have been convicted.  In existence since 2001, the Project has three exonerations in central/southern IL. 

In spring, 2010 two students, one of whom had had graduated from UIS and worked with the Project, initiated discussions with SIU School of Law professors to get involved in innocence work. This began a successful collaboration that continues to grow. A second collaboration involves the University of Illinois College of Law. 

This spring 13 SIU law school students are working on cases under the supervision of DIIP Legal Director, John Hanlon, and two other lawyers based at UIS. SIU Professors, Bill Schroeder and Chris Behan, are helping to supervise the students at the college. Some of the work culminated in three of the students organizing a presentation in January before the IL Prisoner Review Board on behalf of an individual who was clearly innocent, but died in prison in 1996. 

The student clinical experiences have received uniform praise from them and others who have observed their work.  While the collaboration has been supported to this point through two federal grants, the Project depends on private contributions to do its work.  For further information, please see our website at: innocence.uis.edu.