Events benefit projects in Mississippi and Chicago


Exonerees Dennis Fritz and Cedric Willis and authors John Grisham and Scott Turow were among speakers at an event held this week in Jackson, Mississippi, to raise money for the Mississippi Innocence Project, founded this year at the University of Mississippi Law School. Grisham and Turow were then in Chicago on Wednesday night, at a fundraiser for the

Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Law School


Grisham, whose book, “

The Innocent Man

,” considers the wrongful convictions of Fritz and his co-defendant Ron Williamson, told the audience in Mississippi that if states continue to carry out the death penalty, an innocent person will be executed.

"It's inevitable," he said. "We're going to wake up one day and know from clear DNA evidence that we killed the wrong guy."

Read the full story here

. (Clairon Ledger, 10/22/07)

Read about the Illinois event

. (Daily Northwestern, 10/25/07)

Mississippi is among the

eight states

nationwide that lack laws allowing defendants access to post-conviction DNA testing. Illinois has had

27 wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing

– including five in which the defendant had been sentenced to death.

A column by Donna Ladd in yesterday’s Jackson Free Press called for Mississippi residents to support the new project:

Now we have our own Innocence Project in Mississippi—the state that may well need it the most, with our historic bloodlust and collective apathy over how the accused are treated. It’s headquartered at Ole Miss, and has virtually no overhead. Nearly every dime goes to helping the innocent, and saving society’s soul.

We need to send the message with our dollars that we care about justice—the real kind, not some kind of political salivating that disregards humanity and the need for members of society to take care of, and honor, one another.

Read the full column here


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