LPI at the Innocence Network Conference

Dwight Gail Andy Jane Janet
(From left) Dwight Jones, Gail Moore, Andrew Wilson, Jane Dorotik and Janet Dixon.

This April, LPI attorneys, students, and clients headed to Phoenix, Arizona for the Innocence Network Conference.  The annual conference had been canceled for the past two years due to the Covid pandemic, so this one was extra special.  Originally a quiet meeting of a dozen habeas lawyers in a Chicago living room, the conference, and the movement it supports, have grown over the last 25 years into a worldwide phenomenon.  This year’s conference was attended by over 800 innocence organization workers representing over 70 innocence organizations, and roughly 200 people who have been freed from wrongful convictions after collectively suffering 6,030 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

The Innocence Conference offers workshops and breakout sessions for innocence lawyers hoping to learn from each other, as well as workshops for exonerees about how to deal with their new lives, how to tell their stories and how to build back relationships with their often-tattered families.  But more importantly it offers a sense of community for those who have suffered wrongful convictions and who, even after their release, continue to feel a sense of isolation and separation from the rest of society, including friends and family who have not experienced their unique and terrible fate.

LPI was fortunate to be able to bring four wrongfully convicted clients: Andrew Wilson (32 years in prison, freed in 2017), Jane Dorotik (20 years in prison, freed in 2020), Janet Dixon (40 years in prison, freed in 2020) and Dwight Jones (20 years in prison, freed in 2021).  Mr. Jones experienced a true family reunion at the conference when he ran into his first cousin Clifton Jones, who was also wrongfully convicted (in 2006) and finally freed from prison in 2021, months before Dwight was released.  Because of their wrongful convictions, it was the first time the Joneses had seen each other since 1994.

LPI was able to attend the Innocence Network Conference through the generosity of the American Bar Endowment, The Reissa Foundation and the Amgen Foundation.

Loyola's Project for the Innocent (LPI) hosted an Innocence Day panel of exonorees that was featured on KNBC-TV.

Innocence Day

Loyola's Project for the Innocent (LPI) hosted an Innocence Day panel of exonorees that was featured on KNBC-TV. The event was co-hosted by Death Penalty Focus. Exonorees (pictured above) Kash Register, Obie Anthony, Gloria Killiam and Nick Yarris – who collectively spent more than 80 years in prison for crimes they did not commit – discussed their incredible journeys to freedom. Adjunct Professor Joe Trigilio, a deputy federal public defender, moderated the panel discussion. 

“These men have compelling stories that should be heard by everyone,” said Visiting Professor Lara Bazelon, director of the LPI. “By learning about past injustices, we can prevent future ones." 

Pico Union Community Center Outreach Event

In the spirit of Loyola Law School's commitment to social justice, Loyola's Project for the Innocent hosted an event at the Pico Union Community Center on August 25 to help community members who have friends or family members in custody.  Students honed their interviewing skills, attendees got legal advice and support, and the Project continued its mission of helping those most in need.  It was a great success!