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WV Innocence Project Client Granted Parole

WVU Law - Joseph Lavigne and family

MORGANTON, WEST VIRGINIA - Joseph Lavigne, a client of the West Virginia Innocence Project at the West Virginia University College of Law, has been granted parole. He was released from Huttonsville Correctional Center on November 15 after serving 20 years in prison.

In 1997, Lavigne was convicted of one count each of sexual abuse in the first degree, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, and incest. The victim was his five-year old daughter. For 20 years, she and her mother have maintained Lavigne's innocence.

No physical DNA evidence was submitted at Lavigne's trial but witnesses testified that his daughter said she was assaulted by her father. Lavigne argued that his daughter said she was assaulted by a man who looked like her father.

In 2011, then Putnam County Circuit Judge O.C. Spaulding reversed Lavigne’s conviction and ruled that he could be released from prison pending a new trial. The evidence included an affidavit from his daughter stating that her father had not assaulted her. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia overturned that decision, re-instating Lavigne’s sentence and returning him to prison.

The West Virginia Innocence Project accepted Lavigne’s case in 2013 and filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Southern District of West Virginia. The decision on the habeas is stayed, which allows for ongoing DNA testing. The national Innocence Project joined the case to co-represent Lavigne earlier this year.  

"We believe Joe's conviction of this crime against his daughter was a miscarriage of justice," said Valena Beety , director of the West Virginia Innocence Project. "Thorough and modern DNA testing can prove his innocence and overturn his conviction."

Landmen association raises $22,000 for veterans law clinic

WVU Law - MLBC logo

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — A local chapter of the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) recently donated $22,000 to the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic at West Virginia University.

The Michael Late Benedum Chapter of the AAPL raised the funds at its third annual Charity Clay Shoot, Dinner and Auction. The event received support from 27 oil and gas companies and service providers as well as numerous other firms and individuals.

BrickStreet endows $100,000 scholarship at WVU Law

WVU Law - attorney Thomas Flaherty

A scholarship at WVU Law, endowed by The BrickStreet Foundation and honoring Charleston attorney Thomas V. Flaherty, was announced October 27 at the University’s  Board of Governors meeting. 

The $100,000 gift was announced by W. Marston Becker, a member of both the BrickStreet and WVU boards. Flaherty, also a member of both boards, is immediate past chair of the BrickStreet board and immediate past president of the WVU board. 

Global law firm CEO and WV native speaking at WVU on November 6

WVU Law - Dentons logo

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — West Virginia native Elliott Portnoy, the global chief executive officer of the world’s largest law firm, Dentons, will speak at the West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center at 4 p.m. on November 6.

Portnoy will reflect on how his Mountain State roots and WVU connections have contributed to his professional success and continue to help him lead a $2 billion business. The title of his speech is “Go Big and Go Home!”

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