Speakers Bureau

We connect wrongful conviction experts with schools, colleges, companies, and organizations around the world. Our team of inspiring speakers includes people who were incarcerated for crimes they did not commit and staff members each working to correct wrongful convictions and prevent future injustices. Book a speaker online or call 212.364.5384 for more information.

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Speakers Bureau

Featured Speaker

On March 10, 2015, Angel Gonzalez was exonerated after serving over 20 years in prison for a rape that he did not commit.

In 1994, Gonzalez was misidentified by a rape victim as the man who attacked her when police used a highly unreliable and suggestive identification procedure. After he was arrested, he was then misled by police into signing a false confession. Despite having four alibi witnesses testify in his defense in court, Gonzalez was wrongfully convicted of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Although Gonzalez maintained his innocence from the beginning, it wasn’t until 2013 that he was finally able to prove his innocence through DNA testing. Today he is a member of the Innocence Project Exoneree Advisory Group.

Staff Anton Robinson

Anton Robinson is a staff attorney at the Innocence Project’s Strategic Litigation Department and focuses on mistaken eyewitness identification.

Before joining the Innocence Project, Anton was a senior planner at the Vera Institute of Justice, where he launched and managed the New York City Bail Assessment Project to mitigate the harms of money bail and drive progressive bail reform in New York. Before his work at the Vera Institute, he worked as an assistant public defender at the New York County Defender Services, representing persons facing criminal charges in Manhattan Criminal and Supreme courts. At the start of his career, Anton served as an assistant public defender in the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orlando, Florida, . Anton is also an adjunct law professor and currently teaches a virtual seminar at Vermont Law School on restorative justice and ending racial disparities in the criminal legal system. He graduated from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law and Florida State University.

Exonerated and Freed People Cornelius Dupree

“While I will never be able to regain the many years I lost in prison, I hope that my experience will motivate our lawmakers to pass the eyewitness identification reform bill so that others don’t have to suffer like I did.”

On November 23, 1979, a woman was raped and robbed in Texas. Cornelius Dupree was arrested the following month because he resembled a suspect from a different sexual assault and robbery case. However, Dupree did not match the description of the person who committed the  e November carjacking. Nonetheless. Dupree was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 75 years in prison. After spending 30 years of his his life locked up for a crime he did not commit, Cornelius Dupree was released on parole on July 22, 2010. Less than two weeks after his release, initial DNA testing indicated that Dupree was innocent of the crime. Later tests confirmed these results, leading to the trial judge declaring him innocent on January 4, 2011. Post release, Dupree became a member of the Innocence Project’s Exoneree Advisory Council, where he works with both the Innocence Project staff and other exonerees to fight for criminal justice reform.

Exonerated and Freed People Fernando Bermudez

“As an exoneree, I believe I worked harder for my freedom than I did to enter this world.”

Fernando Bermudez, at age 21, was wrongly convicted of killing a teenager outside of a night club in New York City. Bermudez became a suspect based on an eyewitness who picked him out in a police photo lineup. In 1993 despite four alibi witnesses and no forensic evidence linking him to the crime, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 23 years to life in prison. The following year the witnesses recanted their testimony of seeing Bermudez commit the crime but it was not until 1999 that a judge overturned his conviction. He spent 18 years in prison yet still managed to start a family and have three children. Now a massive advocate for reform, Fernando has shared his experience and message with audiences around the world.

Exonerated and Freed People Malcolm Alexander

An ineffective trial lawyer and flawed eyewitness identification procedure destroyed the lives of Malcolm Alexander and his family for 38 years.

In February 1980, a white woman accused Alexander, who is black, of sexual assault in Louisiana. Alexander maintained his innocence. A review of the one-day trial transcript revealed that his attorney, who was subsequently disbarred, failed to make an opening statement, did not call any witnesses for the defense, failed to adequately cross-examine the state’s witnesses, and presented a closing argument that was a mere four pages of the 87-page transcript. Alexander was wrongfully convicted and received a life sentence. Alexander never gave up the fight to prove his innocence. In 2013, hair evidence recovered from the location where the rape took place was found at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab. Three crime scene hairs had the same DNA profile that did not match to Alexander or the victim. Alexander was exonerated in January of 2018. He is the Innocence Project’s longest-serving exonerated client. Today he is a member of the Innocence Project Exoneree Advisory Council.

Exonerated and Freed People Marvin Anderson

On July 17, 1982, a young woman was raped by a black man whom she said was a total stranger. At trial, the victim testified in detail regarding the assault and identified Anderson as her assailant. In 2001 DNA results excluded Anderson as the perpetrator and he was granted a full pardon.

On July 17, 1982, a young woman was raped by a black man whom she said was a total stranger. After she reported the crime, a police officer singled out Anderson as a suspect because the perpetrator had told the victim that he “had a white girl,” and Anderson was the only black man the officer knew who lived with a white woman. Because Anderson had no criminal record, the officer went to Anderson’s employer and obtained a color employment photo identification card. The victim was shown the color identification card, along with six black-and-white mug shots, and identified Anderson as her assailant. Within an hour of the photo spread, she was asked to identify the man who had attacked her from a lineup. Anderson was the only person in the lineup whose picture was in the original photo array shown to the victim and the victim identified him in the lineup as well. At trial, the victim testified in detail regarding the assault and identified Anderson as the man who attachked her. An all white jury convicted Anderson on all counts and he was sentenced to two hundred and 10 years in prison. In 2001, after requests for DNA testing were denied, the Innocence Project, in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, finally won access to DNA testing. The results excluded Anderson as the person who committed the crime, and when it was run through Virginia’s convicted offender DNA database, it matched two people who were incarcerated. On August 21, 2002, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner granted Anderson a full pardon. Following his release, Anderson served as chief of the Hanover, Virginia Fire Department, where he oversaw a team of 30 people. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project and has three children—two sons and a daughter.

“Life has a way of making lemons into lemonade. The challenges I have faced throughout my life have exposed me to similar situations our youth are facing today. Most people can’t identify with their pain; I can. As a survivor of gun violence and watching peers be bullied, I’ve made it my life mission to bring awareness to how important it is for individuals to S.T.E.P.U.P.!”

Termaine Hicks spent 19 years in prison after Philadelphia police shot him three times in the back while responding to a woman who had been attacked, deliberately planted a gun on him, and wrongly arrested him for the attack. The Innocence Project took on Termaine’s case in 2011 and pursued DNA testing. On December 16, 2020, Termaine’s conviction was overturned based on exculpatory DNA evidence and the finding that the officers had lied under oath at his trial. Termaine is now a national speaker against wrongful convictions, gun violence, and the challenges faced by our youth. He is also a volunteer at the Juvenile Justice Center.

Staff Vanessa Potkin

Vanessa Potkin is the director of special litigation at the Innocence Project. She joined the organization in 2000 as its first staff attorney and has helped pioneer the model of post-conviction DNA litigation used nationwide to exonerate wrongfully convicted persons.

Vanessa has represented and exonerated over 30 innocent individuals, from Louisiana to Nevada, who collectively served over 500 years of wrongful imprisonment, five of whom were originally prosecuted for capital murder. Vanessa maintains a post-conviction docket, crafting litigation strategy, writing motions, and litigating in trial and appellate courts nationwide to secure post-conviction DNA testing and to obtain relief based on DNA test results and other exculpatory evidence in cases involving false confessions, erroneous eyewitness identification, and informant testimony.

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Book a speaker online, or call 212.364.5384 for more information.