The Innocence Project at UVA Law School Holds Fundraiser
Five people, wrongly imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit, attended a fundraiser for the Innocence Project alongside best-selling author John Grisham and Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Convicts in Virginia who say they're innocent may have a better shot at getting out of jail. The Innocence Project at the University of Virginia Law School held a fundraiser Wednesday featuring some big names.
Best-selling author John Grisham and Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick moderated the panel discussion at UVA Law School with five people who were wrongly imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit.
“I tell people all the time, every wrongful conviction case is worthy of a book,” Grisham said.
The stories of the five people on stage may have sounded farfetched, but they are the truth.
“At age 55, after never having had a parking ticket, I would have been embarrassed. I was accused of murder,” said Beverly Monroe who was wrongly convicted. “It's been a long time and you never get your life back.”
“Holy cow our system really has fatal flaws, persistently doing the wrong thing over and over again and we all have a responsibility to help cure that,” Lithwick said.
The stories of each of the wrongly convicted speakers were different - ranging from Monroe, now 79, who spent 15 years in prison charged with a murder that was actually a suicide to Robert Davis who falsely confessed to a murder he didn’t commit and then was pardoned by Governor Terry McAuliffe last year.
“A lot of people don't have the funds to keep their case going whereas the Innocence Project comes in and does the work and all that stuff, so it's a real good thing,” said Davis.
Beyond raising money for the pro bono services of the Innocent Project, Wednesday's event was also to educate the public.
“How is it possible that people confess to murders they didn't commit? They do. How is it possible that eyewitness identifications are wrong? They are,” Lithwick said.
Lithwick says that's the first step in preventing future wrongful convictions.
The Virginia Law School Foundation also matched all the donations made Wednesday, so the Innocence Project is hoping that it can serve a lot more clients with that money.