OIP Inaugural Breakfast A Success Thanks To Law Firm/Corporate Friends, Sponsors, and Supporters
The University of Cincinnati's Ohio Innocence Project would like to thank our Law Firm/Corporate Friends, Sponsors, and Supporters for a successful event!
On Tuesday, April 5, the Ohio Innocence Project Inaugural Breakfast saw more than 400 people in attendance. On behalf of the wrongfully convicted Ohio prisoners we have served and those we will continue to serve, we thank you! We are grateful to all of our sponsors. It is through their support that OIP can continue its meaningful work.
Law Firm/Corporate Friends of OIP
Cors & Bassett LLC
Cuni, Ferguson & LeVay Co., LPA
Freking Myers & Reul LLC
2L Sarah Ambach Finds Success through Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic
In the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, Cincinnati Law students represent local small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs on transactional legal issues critical to their success. Client services include assistance and counseling on entity selection and formation, regulatory compliance and licensing, advice on trademark and copyright protection, and lease and contract review, negotiation, and preparation.
Weaver Institute Celebrates Contributions of Founder, Dr. Glenn Weaver
The 2015-2016 Weaver Fellows; Jim Hunt and Valerie Hardcastle, co-directors of the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry; and Dean Jennifer S. Bard joined the Glenn M. Weaver Foundation Trustees, headed by Ellen Weaver, for their annual dinner on November 19th. Honoring the life and contributions of Dr. Glenn Weaver, the event also celebrated the on-going legacy of Dr. Weaver in the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry and the activities of the Weaver fellows, both in the community and on campus.
Conference on Predatory Lending Noted in National Newsletter
“Dodging the Debt Trap,” the conference hosted recently by the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice, was mentioned in a newsletter from Americans for Financial Reform, a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of 200+n civil rights, consumer, labor, business, investor, faith-based, and civic and community groups. AFR has been called “the leading voice for Wall Street accountability in Washington (Huffington Post).
OIP Attorney Jennifer Bergeron on WOSU Radio
On November 16, 2015, “All Sides with Ann Fisher” on WOSU, discussing the Plight of the Wrongfully Convicted, featured an interview of OIP staff attorney Jennifer Bergeron. You can listen to the podcast online.
OIP Celebrates the Launch of New OIP-u Program
The Ohio Innocence Project, borne out of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and a branch of the national Innocence Network, launched a new organization on Oct. 2, called OIP-u. This program provides a way for Ohio undergraduate and graduate students to get more involved, and to come together to fight for freedom of wrongly incarcerated men and women in the state.
The launch coincided with the 2nd Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day, which is dedicated to recognizing those whose lives have been adversely impacted by wrongful conviction as well as educating the public on its causes, consequences, and complications.
Four Ohio universities have newly formed OIP-u chapters: John Carroll University, Ohio University, University of Dayton, and The Ohio State University, and each had events that featured OIP exonerees.
The OIP has many upcoming events and opportunities, , such as the Oak Hills Girl Scout Troop earning their social justice badge by visiting the office to speak with attorneys on Oct. 19, and Jennifer Bergeron, an OIP attorney, presenting oral arguments at the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for OIP client Karl Willis on Oct. 21.
On Nov. 13, the OIP will be honored by receiving the Outstanding Program or Organization Award by the Ohio Bar Association.
OIP attorney Donald Caster and exoneree Dean Gillispie will be speaking to Kent State University students on Nov. 12, and on Nov. 17 OIP attorney Brian Howe, a UC Law graduate, will be presenting at a continuing legal education event in Cleveland, discussing prisoner reintegration and post-release measures.
Wrapping up the calendar year will be the 21st Annual Rescuers of Humanity Awards Dinner, taking place on Dec. 1, sponsored by Project Love in Cleveland, OH. The OIP will receive the Rescuer of Humanity Award.
Dynda Thomas '86 Quoted in New York Times
Dynda Thomas (’86), former Urban Morgan Institute fellow and expert on conflict minerals quoted in the New York Times article “Complex Law on Conflict Minerals". Thomas is a partner at Squire Patton Boggs and leads the firms conflict minerals practice group.
Private Violence Emmy
Featuring Un Kyong Ho (Cincinnati Law - '10) (left)
And the Emmy goes to…
Private Violence, premiered last fall by the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, just received an Emmy nomination and is one step closer to another award.
And more local Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice news: Community groups, originally formed at the Center’s premier, are moving forward on specific action items to improve the lives of survivors of intimate partner abuse in Cincinnati.
Changing the definition of abuse…
One action group is working to revise the definition of abuse under Ohio’s domestic violence statute to protect against more than physical abuse. The group is in the initial stages of making video featuring women who have been denied a civil protection order for lack of physical abuse, but who were experiencing intimidation, isolation and “coercive control,” and then later were physically abused. This happens all too often, and by broadening the language, the system will become much more proactively protective. The video should serve as a powerful advocacy tool to help bring about this important and much needed change in Ohio law.
Judicial Training, Preschoolers and Curricular Offerings…
Another action group is working to expand training for judges and magistrates in Ohio on intimate partner abuse. The group is researching training requirements in other states and exploring programming to address specific issues in Ohio courts that were identified at the Private Violence City Summit last October. Two other groups, one working on the development of programming for preschoolers impacted by domestic violence and the other on social work curricular offerings, have been formed and will be meeting regularly this fall.
Want to get involved? There is much important work to do! Send an email to email@example.com if you would like additional information about any of these working groups.
UC Law Hosts 50 Students for Law Leadership Program
Cincinnati Law hosts over fifty (50) high school students, ninth through twelfth grade, for the annual Law & Leadership Institute (LLI) summer session. LLI is a state-wide initiative in collaboration with the legal community that inspires and prepares high school students, primarily from urban public school districts, for post-secondary and professional success through a comprehensive four-year academic program in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills and professionalism. Students represent several area high schools - including Walnut Hills, Mason, Mother of Mercy, School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Western Hills, Dater, Cincinnati College Prep Academy, Withrow, Norwood, Clark Montessori, Winton Woods, and Princeton – and engage in a robust curriculum and ACT prep, and also participate in internships, mock trial and field trips for four to five weeks during the summer.
Caitlin Wells: My Experiences as an OIP Fellow
A few months ago, my Dad asked that I put together a few paragraphs about my experience as an Ohio Innocence Project for the Dayton Federal Bar Association’s newsletter. I didn’t want to. With work, school, and the hundred other things fighting for my attention, it felt like exactly the kind of task that I could let fall to the wayside.
After weeks of my dodging his requests, my Father called me up to check on the status of the article that I hadn’t started. “I’m busy,” I told him. “Make time,” he said. “You’re doing something exciting. Let other people be excited about it too.”
Not able to argue with the man who still pays a portion of my tuition, I sat down to throw together something about my first 9 to whenever the work got done legal job.
I thought about what I would put on a resume, but I couldn’t figure out how to reduce a whirlwind of a summer internship into a few bullet points.
Fellow with the Ohio Innocence Project: Responsibilities include:
- Tracking down witnesses to talk about cases they haven’t thought about since before I was old enough to drive.
- Begging underpaid public employees to “please just fish the dusty police reports from the bottom of unlabeled boxes and forward them to us.”
- Talking to an inmate’s crying mother.
- Talking to a crying inmate.
- Crying myself when I opened my first folder of crime scene photos
- Battling injustice.
- More research.
- Washing office dishes.
- Brief writing.
- Typo searching.
- Forsaking my long running opposition to anything resembling my tenth grade biology class to learn EXACTLY how mitochondrial DNA could free an innocent person.
I used the control A function to delete my draft and started over, this time trying to think about what I would tell if I had to turn my experience into one of those thirty second networking elevator speeches. “My name is Catlin, and I...” I couldn’t finish that one either.
Last week, I watched Ricky Jackson, a man who spent thirty nine years in prison for a crime that he did not commit, walk out of the jail doors and into life as a free man. Surrounded by a sea of microphones and questions, Ricky shrugged off questions about systematic injustice and the twelve year old whose testimony led to his incarceration. “I’m just glad to be out. I’m glad to be free.” At lunch a few hours later, Dean Gillispie, a Dayton exoneree, looked at Ricky and asked him if he’d used the bathroom yet. “Those sinks,” Dean said, “they just turn on by themselves.” When Ricky laughed, Dean gestured towards a line of exonerees and said, “It’s hard to get used to, but we’ll take care of you. You’re our brother now, you’re one of us. ”
Nothing follows the “I” of my elevator speech because what I am doing is not about me. My job is not about accumulating credentials, but about a man who, after almost four decades in jail had the compassion to forgive the kid who put him there. It’s about Dean, his line of brothers, and the other innocent men and women who still sit behind bars waiting until they too can throw their hands up and say, “I’m free.
*This article was first published in the Dayton Federal Bar Association Newsletter, Winter edition.