Mother/Author/Activist - Anita Wills
In 2001, Kerry Baxter Sr., a 31-year-old African American man, was at the Martinique Bar in East Oakland when approached by Jahmani Jones, 21, and several other young men. After several minutes of arguing, Jones pulled out a gun and shot at Baxter, missing. Baxter pulled out a gun and shot Jones left foot and both men ran in opposite directions. Baxter was told that someone had been shot and was dead. Still afraid of Jones and the other young men, he left the neighborhood. The jury stayed out four days weighing the evidence and were sent back by Judge Horner when they appeared deadlocked. They found Baxter guilty on all counts. He is now an inmate in a California state prison and has no possibility of parole for 33 years.
Sentence Commuted By President Obama - Billy Ray Wheelock
President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of two Texans, one was Billy Ray Wheelock of Belton, Texas serving life terms for possession of crack cocaine on December 19, 2013. Offense: Conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine; possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school; possession with intent to distribute crack. Sentence: June 9, 1993 to Life imprisonment, 10 years' supervised release, $3,000 fine. Commutation Grant: Prison sentence being served out at Florence Prison Camp in Florence, Colorado is commuted to expire on April 17, 2014.
Attorney - Paul Prestia
Mr. Prestia has successfully handled and tried a wide array of criminal cases. As a litigator, Mr. Prestia has settled hundreds of cases versus the City of New York and the New York City Police Department. He received his Juris Doctorate from St. John’s University School of Law and began his legal career as prosecutor in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Prestia is a member of the following professional organizations: New York County Lawyers Association- Civil Rights & Liberties Committee, NY Criminal Bar Association, and St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association & Columbian Lawyers Association.
Executive Director of Witness to Innocence - David A. Love
David A. Love is the Executive Director of Witness to Innocence, a Philadelphia-based, national nonprofit organization of exonerated former death row prisoners and their families. Witness to Innocence empowers the exonerated to become effective advocates for the abolition of the death penalty, and advocates for compensation and services for the exonerated. Previously, David served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus working with legislators in the General Assembly in Harrisburg. He also served as law clerk to two federal judges - the Honorable James T. Giles of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis of the Southern District of New York.
Actor - Mike Farrell
Mike Farrell, worked a number of jobs - including a stint as private investigator - while pursuing a career as an actor, beginning with small parts in films like "The Graduate". Mike is best known for playing Captain B.J. Hunnicutt in the ever popular series M*A*S*H. Long before M*A*S*H, Mike Farrell was involved in issues that were of concern to him. This involvement stems from his belief that being a responsible citizen means being willing to see conditions improve for the ultimate benefit of all. Clearly his status as a recognized celebrity from his years with the well-loved show allow now for a larger audience, but it is as citizen rather than actor that he feels the need to be involved. The issues are largely those involving human rights and the death penalty.
Exoneree - Robert Dewey
In 1994, 19-year-old Jacie Taylor was murdered. Robert Dewey was identified as a suspect based on the changing stories of other meth users and on his suspicious and furtive behavior. Blood on the Texaco shirt he often wore at the time was identified as possibly being Taylor's based on early DNA tests. Dewey candidly admits that the blood on the shirt was his - a result of shooting up drugs. After much more sophisticated blood testing, it also showed DNA samples in Taylor's apartment that belonged to another man, Douglas Thames, who also lived near Taylor. Thames was currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for his conviction in the 1989 rape and murder of another woman in Fort Collins. Thames was arrested in August 1995 by Fort Collins Police Department and was convicted at trial and sentenced in June 1996. Dewey was exonerated in April 2012.
Journalist - Bill Moushey
Bill Moushey worked for 36 years as a broadcast and newspaper journalist documenting a wide range of abuses in the criminal justice system and elsewhere. In 1998, Moushey’s Win at all Costs, a 10-part series about prosecutorial misconduct, won local, national, and regional awards. From 2001 to 2012, Moushey directed the Innocence Institute of Point Park University, an investigative reporting organization for which students researched and wrote about allegations of wrongful convictions.
Wrongly Convicted - James Fleishman
In May of 2006, James was hired by Primary Global Research. On December 16th, 2010, FBI agents stormed his house and put him in handcuffs. The Feds charged him with helping investors get inside information by setting up calls with “dirty” consultants and threatened to put him away for up to twenty years, unless he pled guilty. He was completely innocent of these charges and knew there was no direct evidence to support them, so he took his case to trial where circumstantial evidence and lies by co-operating witnesses were used to convict him at the height of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. James was sentenced to 30 months in prison. In September 2011, James was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He served out 14 months of his 30 months sentence.
Exoneree - Alan Newton
Alan Newton, now 49, was freed in July 2006 after serving nearly 22 years in prison for a rape, robbery and assault conviction. Newton had asked for DNA testing in 1994, but it wasn't until 2005 that the city was able to locate a rape kit of biological samples taken from the victim. The genetic tests proved that he was not the perpetrator. According to The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and that pursued Newton's case and helped win his release, officials at the Property Clerk's Office claimed they could not find the rape kit over the course of 11 years and presumed it had been destroyed. In November 2005, the kit was found after a search of evidence barrels at a Queens’ warehouse.
Author/Journalist - Maurice Possley
Maurice Possley is a 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who has written about, investigated, and consulted on issues involving criminal justice in the United States and abroad for more than 30 years. He worked 25 of those years at the Chicago Tribune as a criminal justice reporter and now works for the National Registry of Exonerations. In August 2008, Maurice left the Tribune and began pursuing his investigative work into prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful convictions, and other criminal justice issues in the private sector as a writer and consultant.
Senior Counsel at ACLU Center for Justice - Kara Dansky
Kara Dansky is Senior Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Center for Justice which advocates for a transformation of the U.S. criminal justice system and an end to mass incarceration. At the ACLU, Kara advises the Center for Justice Director on matters of overall strategy and policy, oversees the implementation of Center programs, conducts advocacy and analysis, and writes papers, reports, and other program materials. Previously, Kara was the founding Executive Director and Lecturer in Law of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center which serves as Stanford's vehicle for promoting and coordinating the study of criminal law and the criminal justice system.
Professor/Director - Leonard Greenhalgh
Leonard Greenhalgh is professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where he has taught since 1978. He is also Director, Programs for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses, as well as Director, Native American Business Programs. He teaches an MBA elective course in Managing Strategic Business Relationships. His research interests include changing workforce demographics, supply chain management, negotiation, top management team effectiveness, and managing strategic alliances. He is the author of Minority Business Success: Refocusing on the American Dream, Stanford University Press, 2011; and Managing Strategic Relationships: The Key to Business Success, The Free Press, 2001.
CEO of Taylor Made E-Marketing - Patrice Barber
Patrice Barber is CEO of Taylor Made Emarketing, an international inbound marketing firm. With over 18 years experience in building and selling multiple startup operations, she learned first -hand what to delegate, what to automate, and how technology simplifies business. Her experience in team development in both domestic and international markets makes her an indispensable leader. Patrice believes strongly in giving back to the community and is an active mentor and contributor to several local and global entrepreneur programs for youth and adults. She is a sought after national speaker, guest lecturer at Denver University’s MBA program, and an award winning business automation consultant.
Exoneree - Johnnie Lindsey
On August 25, 1981, a 27-year-old white woman was riding her bike near White Rock Lake in east Dallas, Texas when she was accosted by a shirtless African-American man. Her assailant said he had a knife and pulled her off the bicycle, threatened and raped her. The victim described the attacker to police as an African-American man in his 20s. A rape kit was collected from her at the hospital, including swabs from her body. Johnnie Lindsey was charged with aggravated rape and tried in 1983. Lindsey was convicted of aggravated sexual assault, sentenced to life in prison and fined $10,000. The 1983 conviction was overturned on appeal because Lindsey had been indicted under a statute that was not yet in effect at the time of the rape. In 1985, he was re-indicted for aggravated rape, retried, and again convicted and sentenced to life with a fine of $5,000. DNA tests were completed in September 2008 and it excluded Lindsey as the source of the male DNA profile in the rape kit.
Exoneree - Christopher Scott
On the night of April 6, 1997, Alfonzo Aguilar and his wife, Celia Escobedo, spent the night at a relative’s duplex in Dallas, Texas. Escobedo was awakened by a noise and was confronted by a man pointing a gun. Another man demanded money from Aguilar while the first man sexually assaulted Escobedo. During the assault, her attacker was startled and shot and killed Aguilar. In October 1997, Scott and Simmons were tried separately. Defense attorneys attempted to introduce evidence that two other men committed the crime and that one of them, Alonzo Hardy, had admitted to participating in it. The trial judge refused to allow the defense to present the evidence. Scott and Simmons was convicted, after the jury deliberated just six minutes. Both men were sentenced to life in prison. In 2005, a group of students at the University of Texas at Arlington Innocence Network took on the case and began re-investigating. On March 3, 2010, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals declared both men innocent.
Jury Member - Lou Bryan
Lou Bryan was on the jury that convicted Michael Morton of the murder of his wife, Christine. Prosecutors failed to share critical information such as police reports of suspicious activity near the Morton home in the weeks prior to Christine Morton’s murder. The jurors were never told that neighbors had noticed a man in a green van parking near the Morton home and walking into the field behind it. Most hauntingly, they failed to share the eyewitness account of Michael and Christine Morton’s 3-year old son, Eric, who said that his daddy wasn’t home when his mommy was killed and that it was a “monster” who killed Mommy. DNA proved that another man killed Christine Morton. That man’s DNA was linked to a second murder, another woman, also bludgeoned to death in her bed. She was killed two years after Christine Morton’s death, while Michael Morton sat in prison.
Lou stated “No one should be called to jury duty and be left with a lifetime of regret and guilt.” Lou collected newspaper clippings of this case for the entire 25 years Michael was in prison.
Attorney/Founder - Lori St. John
Born the daughter of an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut and being raised in an environment of accountability, legality, and justice, Lori began studying at the New England School of Law and continued at and graduated from the Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. She published Commonwealth of Virginia v. O’Dell: Truth and Justice or Confuse the Courts, the DNA Controversy. While a student at the Rutgers School of Law she founded and directed the Innocence Project for Justice. She furthered her practice in Colorado for 4-5 years, where she litigated criminal cases in the adult felony court while also engaging in post-conviction appellate work for the Alternate Defense Counsel for the State of Colorado.
Exoneree - Fernando Bermudez
Fernando Bermudez's life story is a tale of injustice and inspiration. He was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 18 years in prison, sustained by his belief that the truth would prevail. Bermudez was 22 years old when he was convicted in 1991 of murdering a teen outside of a nightclub in New York City. The most damning evidence against him: His photo was misidentified by five teenage witnesses. The youngsters who put him behind bars later recanted their testimony, however, saying that prosecutors and police had pressured them into pinning Bermudez as the killer. There was no evidence to prove such allegations.
Analyst/Attorney - Gregory Hurley
Gregory Hurley joined the National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, VA in September 2007. He functions in the role of a Knowledge and Information Services Analyst aiding constituents. Gregory received a B.A. in Russian Studies from the University of Connecticut in 1991 and in 1996 he was awarded a J.D. from Widener University in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is a member of both the Connecticut and West Virginia Bars and has practiced law for 10 years in the area of criminal defense.
Ret. Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal/Advocate - Matthew Fogg
Matthew Fogg is a retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, who has received the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney, and Federal Bar Association’s highest law enforcement awards for tracking down over 300 of America’s most-wanted and dangerous fugitives charged with prison escape, murder, rape, child molestation, robbery, illegal narcotics trafficking, and other heinous crimes in the U.S. and abroad. He also advocates for the civil rights of citizens who are in fear of police misconduct and brutality.
Advisors/Authors - Jim & Nancy Petro
Jim Petro is a Former Ohio Attorney General that crusades against wrongful conviction. Jim & Nancy are on the Advisory Board for the National Registry of Exonerations. Jim became the first Attorney General in the country to intervene in a case spearheaded by the Innocence Project. The case exonerated Clarence Elkins, a family man with no prior criminal record, who had been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his mother-in-law. Clarence served 6.5 years in prison for murder and rape which he did not commit. Jim and Nancy co-authored “False Justice: Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent,” which raises questions regarding the fairness of our justice system and identifies flaws in how police and prosecutors handle evidence, especially in capital cases.
Pastor - Rose Banks
Pastor Rose Banks is the Mother of IRP6, David Banks, Mother-in-Law of IRP6, Gary Walker and Pastor for 20+ years to the other four members: Kendrick Barnes, Clinton Stewart, Demetrius Harper and David Zirpolo that make up the IRP6. Pastor Banks is the mother of 7 children; 3 of her 7 children have been wrongfully convicted, sentenced, and imprisoned by a corrupt judicial system in Colorado for crimes they didn’t commit, even after her children provided absolute proof of their innocence.
Staffing Expert/Entrepreneur - Andrew Albarelle
Andrew Albarelle has been in the staffing business for 17 years, 14 years with Remy. At Remy he does both contract and perm staffing around the IT sector. For over 14 years Albarelle has been with Remy providing full time placement, consulting services, staff augmentation , and executive search. He specializes in staffing PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, and JDE services. Based in Denver, CO, Remy serves a global market.
Exoneree - William Lopez
A federal judge tossed out the conviction of a Brooklyn man who has spent 23 years in prison for the murder of a local drug dealer. The case against William was, as Judge Gaurafis wrote in his opinion granting a writ of Habeas Corpus, “rotten from day one.” This wrongdoing has ranged from an overzealous and deceitful trial prosecutor; to a series of indolent and ill-prepared defense attorneys; to a bewildering jury verdict. The result is that a likely innocent man has been in prison for over twenty-three years.
Radio Host - Ron Edwards
Ron Edwards is the host of the Edwards Notebook Radio Commentary. He is a well versed journalist with a fiery delivery of information. Ron’s broadcasting history includes news anchoring in major market arenas with WJMO, WCPN, WGAR in Cleveland, and WWJ and WDTK in Detroit. The Edwards Notebook was voted “Best Radio Commentary for 2012” by the listening audience on WDTK. The Edwards Notebook airs on both the Republic Broadcasting Radio Network and republicbroadcasting.org, Mon-Friday at 8, 9, and 10 AM EST.
Attorney - Marc Reiner
Marc is a trial attorney who has experience in a wide range of fields including criminal, family, commercial, real estate, landlord-tenant, health care, and insurance law. Marc Reiner left the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office and established this law firm in 2008. Marc is licensed in Florida by the State and for the Federal Southern District of Florida.
Exoneree - Gloria Killian
In December 1981, two men disguised as telephone repairmen entered the home of an elderly couple in Rosemont, California and shot both occupants, killing one, and stole six suitcases full of silver. An anonymous phone call led to the arrest of one of the perpetrators, Gary Masse. Gloria Killian was initially arrested along with Masse, but charges against her were dropped after a preliminary hearing. Masse testified against Killian at her trial and, based solely on his testimony, a jury convicted Killian of first-degree murder, attempted murder, burglary, robbery, and conspiracy; she was sentenced to 32 years-to-life in prison. The prosecution failed to give the defense letters from Masse seeking a deal in exchange for his testimony that indicated that he may have been lying. Masse later admitted that much of the evidence he gave was false. Killian’s conviction was overturned and she was released in August 2002.