SIU Law Students enrolled in Innocence Project Externship help man get acquitted
February 22, 2018
In the Fall of 2014, eight SIU School of Law Students, William Barton, Tania Linares Garcia, Joshua Nygren, Jeremy Schnepper, John Schroeder, Ram Sidi, Justin Simpson and Raisha Snider were enrolled in Law 675, Illinois Innocence Project taught by Erica Nichols-Cook.
Illinois Innocence Project reviews hundreds of requests for assistance every year for cases of actual innocence. Evidence is reviewed for eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, ineffective counsel, unreliable forensic evidence, and misconduct by prosecutors and police. If a case is taken, the services are provided for free.
Student externs review case files, including transcripts, police reports, and evidence. They research and investigate the facts and legal theories supporting actual innocence. They prepare motions for DNA or other forensic testing under 725 ILCS 5/116-3, and/or petitions for post-conviction relief under 725 ILCS 5/122-1. Externs with their 711 student practice license may be able to assist with court proceedings. Externs are encouraged to attend prison visits to meet with clients and witnesses. Externs must be able to work independently and take initiative.
One of the law students externs cases involved a Naperville, Illinois man, William Amor who was accused of murder and aggravated arson in the death his mother-in-law Marianne Miceli. He was sentenced in 1995 to 45 years in prison.
Through the externs hard work with the Illinois Innocence Project, Mr. Amor was able to receive a 7-day bench trial. After spending 22 years in prison for the death of his mother-in-law, he was found not guilty in a retrial on February 21, 2018.
“This is the end of a nightmare for me,” Amor said in a statement released by the Illinois Innocence Project, which represented him.
“I have fought to clear my name for the last 22 years and I am so grateful that I was able to have my day in court for the truth to be heard,” Amor said. “I am looking forward to starting the next phase of my life as a free man, no longer labeled as a murderer, for the first time in a long time.”
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To learn more about Illinois Innocence Project externship click here