News 12.23.15

2015: Celebrating Major Moments in Innocence and Criminal Justice Reform

With 2015 coming to a close, we want to celebrate major moments in exonerations and criminal justice reform this year. Take a look at the highlights:

  • Innocence Project client Angel Gonzalez was exonerated of rape charges after 19 years in prison on March 10, 2015. 

“[Illinois State Attorney Mike Nerheim’s] office readily consented to the DNA testing and moved quickly to reverse the conviction as soon as the testing proved Mr. Gonzalez’ innocence,” Innocence Project Co-founder and Co-director Barry Scheck said. “This is a much welcome change from his predecessor who stubbornly fought for years to deny justice for several wrongly convicted people in Lake County.”

Learn more


(Photo by Zoran Orlic)

  • Innocence Project client Lewis Fogle was exonerated on September 14, 2015 after spending 34 years in prison for a rape and murder conviction.

 “Thirty-four years is an extremely long time to serve for a crime he didn’t commit,” Innocence Project Staff Attorney, Karen Thompson said. “All people unjustly convicted of crimes should be compensated for the years lost, and Pennsylvania currently doesn’t have a mechanism for doing so.”  

Learn more

(Photo by Jeff Swensen/AP Images)

  •  Innocence Project client Steven Mark Chaney walked out of a Dallas courtroom on October 12, 2015 when the court reversed his 1987 murder conviction due to discredited bite mark testimony.

“By concluding that this conviction rested on improper forensic testimony and moving to restore justice to Mr. Chaney, District Attorney Hawk has demonstrated that Dallas continues to set the bar for conviction integrity units across the nation,” Barry Scheck said.

Learn more

(Photo by Lara Solt)

  • Innocence Project client 

    Everton Wagstaffe and Reginald Connor were fully exonerated rape and kidnapping charges

    on July 27, 2015

    . Wagstaffe served 23 years in prison and Connor served 15 years.

“It still hasn’t hit me yet. I’m still coming to terms with my transition,” Connor said.

Learn more


(Left to right: Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Olga Akselrod, Everton Wagstaffe, Wagstaffe’s wife Kimann, Innocence Project Social Worker Karen Wolff)

  • Innocence Project client Raymond Tempest freed on bail.


Friends, family and attorneys of Anthony Wright celebrate the dismissal of his conviction. – See more at:

(Wright’s friends, family, and attorney celebrate the dismissal of his conviction.)

  • Virginia Supreme Court rules that Joseph Buffey’s due process rights were violated, allowing him to withdraw a 2002 guilty plea in rape.

    Learn more.


  • Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys report that 96% of microscopic hair analysis cases have errors.



  • Texas court stayed the execution of death row inmate and Innocence Project client Rodney Reed on February 23, 2015.



  • Pres. Obama signed a law exempting exonerees from paying tax on compensation.

    Learn more. 

  • Massachusetts Supreme Court approved new model jury instructions on eyewitness identification.

    Learn more.


  • Georgia



     passed laws improving the way police conduct identification procedures.




Happy New Year!

Friends, family and attorneys of Anthony Wright celebrate the dismissal of his conviction. – See more at:


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