Exoneration Project – Significant Accomplishments

November 1, 2013

The Exoneration Project had a busy 2012-13 year that saw significant advancements for several of the clients that the Project represents. After a 2011-12 academic year that saw the release of three Project clients from prison, the Project spent this year assisting those men in beginning their lives out of prison. In September of 2012 the Project obtained a Certificate of Innocence for client Harold Richardson, officially exonerating him and entitling him to statutory compensation and other state services to assist him in rebuilding his life after his wrongful conviction. The Project also filed and continues to litigate a Certificate of Innocence for James Kluppelberg, and hopes for a decision shortly.

Additionally, the Project has taken on additional clients and to move the cases of other clients toward successful outcomes. In November, the Project won an appeal for client John Galvan, who has been fighting for almost a decade to obtain an evidentiary hearing on his constitutional claims related to 1989 murder and arson convictions. Based on appellate briefing done by Project students, the Illinois Appellate Court remanded Mr. Galvan's case back for his long-awaited evidentiary hearing, which the Project is preparing to undertake in the coming school year.

Similarly, at the front end of the lengthy difficult process toward exoneration, the Project has had significant successes at the early stages of post-conviction litigation. In one case, for example, through briefing and advocacy done by Project students, the Project was able to obtain forensic testing of DNA evidence in Lake County, Illinois without any opposition by the State—a significant victory because Lake County has historically been notoriously resistant to DNA testing. The Project is eagerly awaiting the results of such testing, in the hopes of pursuing the client’s claim of innocence.