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Innocence and Justice Clinic Profiled on Fox 8

The Wake Forest Law Innocence and Justice Clinic was profiled on Fox 8′s 5 o’clock news on Tuesday, February 12th. The Clinic evaluates claims of innocence by North Carolina prisoners. It has reviewed close to 500 cases in the five years that it has been around – looking to free those that truly do not belong there. They only accept cases where the students and Professor Mark Rabil, the Director of the Clinic, believe that the person is actually innocent. Professor Rabil said, “We’re not a ‘not guilty’ clinic, we are an innocence clinic.”

One of the men that the Clinic has decided to help, Norman Satterfield, is profiled in the piece. Two students, 3L Ashley Brompton and 2L Dawnelle Grace, are working diligently on the case, and each Clinic student contributes their thoughts and impressions on it.

In Mr. Satterfield’s case, there are issues of race, eyewitness identification, the possibility of DNA evidence, and the possibility that evidence was not turned over (which the Clinic has discovered was in fact the case). The issues in the case are similar to the issues present in the case of Darryl Hunt, who was exonerated in 2004 due in part to the hard work and never-ending dedication of his attorney, Mark Rabil. Those involved with the Clinic have a belief that Satterfield has a very strong case. The possibility of DNA evidence is especially exciting. Professor Rabil explained the importance of DNA in his interview- “DNA is the most significant development in the history of American criminal law,” he stated.

In his interview, Mr. Satterfield expressed his feelings on his future. “I know I didn’t do it,” he said. “I’m gonna keep praying, and asking God almighty, in my prayers every night, to open these doors and gates and let me walk out a free man.”

See the entire interview at: Focus Helping the Innocent 

NC Innocence Commission in the News

North Carolina’s one of a kind Innocence Inquiry Commission is profiled The Atlantic this month. In “Guilty, Then Proven Innocent,” the creation of the Commission, it’s work, and it’s successes are profiled. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission is the first full-time state agency dedicated to investigating post-conviction claims of actual innocence. It’s creation was motivated by the injustice suffered by Darryl Hunt and the hard work of his attorney, Mark Rabil, who is now a Professor at Wake Forest Law and Director of the Innocence and Justice Clinic. The story of Joseph Sledge, the man most recently exonerated by the Commission, is also told. Sledge was sentenced to life in prison in 1978 for the murder of a woman and her daughter. He was exonerated due to new found DNA evidence and the recanting of a “jailhouse snitch” that testified at his trial. Read the full article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/guilty-then-proven-innocent/385313/.

Professor Simmons to Speak on Police Misconduct at Duke University!

The Director of the Wake Forest Law Criminal Justice Program, Professor Kami Chavis Simmons, is scheduled to speak at Duke University School of Law’s “Teach-In: Policing, Civil Rights, and Race” on Saturday, February 14th. The event aims to foster a dialogue regarding issues of police practice, police misconduct, civil rights and race. If you would like to attend and receive lunch, RSVP at: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bOYFe065RcILja5.

Eric Holder keynote discussing mass incarceration

On September 23, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered the keynote address at the Brennan Center’s Shifting Law Enforcement Goals to ​Reduce Mass Incarceration conference at NYU School of Law. Brennan Center Board member, James E. Johnson, former Undersecretary for the Treasury of Enforcement, gave the introduction.

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