Streaming documentaries and podcasts have brought public awareness to the fact that men and women are in prison for crimes they did not commit. However, the stories that are told often leave unanswered questions: Why did the mistake happen and what can we do to prevent similar mistakes in the future?
Join The Center for American and International Law on March 3 at our headquarters in Plano, TX for a three hour program discussing this topic of vital importance to our justice system. We’ll give you a chance to see this problem through the eyes of the people most affected – those who have been wrongfully convicted. An opening session will introduce the common causes of wrongful convictions. It will be presented by prosecutors who work to ensure the integrity of convictions in their offices, as well as defense attorneys who have successfully worked to free people who were wrongfully convicted. The session will be interactive and will address the lingering questions people may have regarding how innocent people can really be convicted.
The centerpiece of the program will be a round table discussion featuring three individuals who spent a total of over 50 years in prison for crimes they did not commit: Richard Miles, Michael Morton, and Anna Vasquez. You will hear their stories, and you will see what is being done to try and prevent future wrongful convictions, and to help those who are currently serving time for crimes they did not commit.
You will also hear from a member of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals who has been instrumental in supporting education about wrongful convictions and actual innocence.
This very special program is intended to help educate members of the public about wrongful convictions and actual innocence. It is funded by a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. Admission is free. Please register in advance to help us get an accurate headcount.
Welcome and Introduction
- Mark Smith, President, The Center for American and International Law, Plano, TX
- The Hon. Barbara Hervey, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Austin, TX
Common Causes of Wrongful Convictions and Recent Developments
- Patricia Cummings, Supervisor of the Conviction Integrity and Special Investigations Unit, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Philadelphia, PA
- Cynthia R. Garza, Chief of the Special Fields Bureau and Conviction Integrity Unity, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, Dallas, TX
- Gary Udashen, Udashen Anton, Dallas, TX and President, Innocence Project of Texas
- Bill Wirskye, First Assistant, Collin County District Attorney’s Office, McKinney, TX
Actually Innocent: Round Table Discussion with Exonerees Richard Miles, Michael Morton, and Anna Vasquez