In July 1984, a man broke into Jennifer Thompson-Cannino’s North Carolina apartment and raped her. She identified Ronald Cotton in a lineup as the man who had attacked her, and he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. In 1994, DNA testing on evidence from that rape proved that Cotton had been misidentified and wrongfully convicted. He had served more than a decade in prison before he was exonerated.
Yesterday the Open Society Institute announced that Cotton, Thompson-Cannino and author Erin Torneo are recipients of a 2008 Soros Justice Fellowship, which will provide support for the group to continue their work to raise awareness about wrongful convictions and eyewitness identification reforms. For years, Cotton and Thompson-Cannino have traveled around the country speaking about the dangers of wrongful conviction and reforms needed to prevent the eyewitness misidentifications.
Jennifer Thompson-Cannino’s op-eds have been published in New York Times, the Durham-Herald Sun, and the Tallahassee Democrat.
Read her New York Times op-ed, “I was certain, but I was wrong,” here