May 7, 2009
Posted: 05:03 PM ET
NEW YORK – 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 the release of 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.
Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld
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.
-Jami Floyd, In Session anchor
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