West Virginia University College of Law students David Estep and Ashley Joseph recently attended the national Innocence Network Conference in Charlotte, NC.
The conference gave the two 3L students the opportunity to meet exonerees and share strategies and gain advice from attorneys practicing in the field.
Estep and Joseph have been working in the West Virginia Innocence Project (WVIP) law clinic this year. They were joined at the conference by law professor and WVIP director Valena Beety and Kristen McKeon, WVIP legal fellow. The trip was funded by a generous donation to the law clinic.
“We worked on cases all year, so it was amazing to actually meet men and women who have been exonerated and are now free,” said Joseph. “That’s what we’re working toward.”
“This was a true learning experience for me and has taught me many things that will be useful later in my career,” said Estep, “from being able to meet and listen to exonerees who have spent a majority of their lives behind bars, to speaking with some of the foremost attorneys litigating innocence cases in the country today.”
A familiar face at the conference was Bill Brooks, the police chief for Norwood, Mass. Earlier this year, Brooks led state-wide training in West Virginia on eyewitness identification. The WVIP was heavily involved in the successful effort this spring to reform eyewitness identification in the state. Brooks received the National Champion of Justice Award at the Innocence Network Conference.__
About the WVIP
The West Virginia Innocence Project is a legal clinic at WVU College of Law. It seeks to exonerate men and women who have been wrongfully convicted in West Virginia. To learn more about th WVIPand to find out how to support it, visit www.wvinnocenceproject.law.wvu.edu.
About the Innocence Network
The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions: www.innocencenetwork.org.