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BC Law to Mark Wrongful Conviction Day

Innocence program seizes opportunity to advocate for needs of exonerees.

Photo/Reba Saldanha Rapport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School November 8, 2017 Long-Delayed Justice, a Rappaport Center and Innocence Program event featuring Exoneree Fred Clay, Lisa M. Kavanaugh, Director, CPCS Innocence Program; Donna Jalbert Patalano ('01), Chief, Professional Integrity and Ethics/Training, Suffolk County District Attorney's Office; and Senator Pat Jehlen (MA), Senator Pat Jehlen, Massachusetts State Senate, Moderator: Professor Charlotte Whitmore, BC Innocence Program. 

BC Law Innocence Clinic students will continue their tradition of advocacy work when they present posters and research Oct. 2 on behalf of the wrongfully incarcerated. BC Law visiting professor and retired justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Geraldine Hines will be the featured speaker, and together with four exonerees, will lead in marking Wrongful Conviction Day at Boston’s John Adams Courthouse.

BC Law Innocence Program (BCIP) Director Sharon Beckman said the presentations by students Kayleigh McGlynn ’19, Ashley Nicolella ’20, and Emily Smith ’20 are focused on the needs of exonerees when they are released from prison, including housing, jobs and job training, and financial support. They will also be doing a live feed during the event featuring attendees’ answers to the question, “Ask yourself: If you were wrongly incarcerated for more than a decade, what would you have missed?”

Several Massachusetts exonerees will be in attendance. Others will be there virtually. Fred Clay (above, at BC Law in 2017), for instance, will be seen on tape and in podcasts.

BCIP is co-sponsoring the event with the New England Innocence Project and the CPCS (Committee for Public Counsel Services) Innocence Program.

In a related appearance on September 26, Beckman spoke to WGBH about Massachusetts wrongful compensation reform and the need for better immediate re-entry support for the wrongly convicted. The station is presenting a five-part series on Clay’s experience.