Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Illinois Innocence Project honors Wrongful Conviction Day

Thousands of flags could be seen on the University of Illinois Springfield campus Monday, one for each solved wrongful conviction case.

"There are 2,096 flags there, and that's a very interesting number because just last week, when we bought those flags that was the number. Now it's over 2,100 and that's just in a few days. Each one of those flags represents a person who has been wrongfully convicted but exonerated in the United States" said John Hanlon, Executive and Legal Director of the Illinois Innocence Project.

The Illinois Innocence Project used International Wrongful Conviction Day to highlight the number of wrongful conviction cases.

"I think the public is not aware of how many people are wrongfully convicted." said Christine Ferree, a former intern, who now works for the Illinois Innocence Project.

Since it's founding, the Illinois Innocence Project has helped exonerate ten people, all with help from undergraduate interns.

"They are the ones who tackle all of that and send out response letters and forms, and all the other things that we do. Without students, we are not here. The experience that they are getting in real legal cases is irreplaceable." said Hanlon.

"It felt like I would be making the most difference here. I could get experience in other internships and might even get paid, but here you can feel like you are actually doing something." said Jaclyn Fabing, an intern at the Illinois Innocence Project.

UIS is one of only two campuses who use undergraduate students to help in exoneration cases.

This story aired on WAND News on October 2, 2017.

Watch the story online.