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. Want to book a speaker? Please fill out our online form.

Book a Speaker
Speakers Bureau

Featured Speaker

Staff Alicia Cepeda Maule

Alicia is the Innocence Project’s first Digital Engagement Director.

Alicia has led the Innocence Project’s digital team, growing exponential audience growth, revenue, and advocacy since 2015. Her team has won over 10 awards for the Innocence Project including Webbys, Tellys, Shortys, and Comnet’s Clarence B. Jones Impact Award.

Alicia is passionate about ending the death penalty and led the digital strategy campaigns that supported the litigation and communications efforts of death row clients Rodney Reed, Pervis Payne, and Melissa Lucio.

Previously, she was a social media and community editor at msnbc.com and a digital organizer on President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Alicia graduated from Brown University in 2011 with a B.A. in Africana Studies.

Carlos Sanchez spent nearly 25 years—more than half of his life— in prison for a murder he and his attorneys maintain he did not commit before he was granted parole in January 2017 and released in May 2017.

Sanchez was only 17 when, after an eight-hour interrogation by police without a lawyer or guardian present, he signed a confession taking responsibility for the 1992 murder of his girlfriend. The confession was the only evidence linking him to the crime, and it was taken under circumstances now known to be associated with false confessions. The statement was also at odds with physical evidence collected in the case.

Staff Christina Swarns

Christina Swarns is the Executive Director of the Innocence Project.

She previously served as the president and attorney-in-charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender, Inc. , one of New York City’s oldest institutional providers of indigent appellate defense representation; as the litigation director of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice; as a supervising assistant federal defender in the capital habeas corpus unit of the Philadelphia Community Defender Office; and as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s criminal defense division in New York. Christina argued, and won, Buck v. Davis, a challenge to the introduction of explicitly racially biased evidence in a Texas death penalty case, in the United States Supreme Court. Christina was the only Black woman to argue in the 2016 Supreme Court term, and is one of the few Black women to have argued before the nation’s highest court. Christina earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.A. from Howard University.

In 1991, Huwe Burton was wrongfully convicted of murdering his mother and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. The wrongful conviction was based on a false confession, which was coerced by police, despite compelling evidence that the man who lived downstairs from the Burtons had committed the crime. 

Mr. Burton recanted his confession and spent more than 20 years wrongfully incarcerated until he was released on parole in 2009. All the while, he was working with his legal team to prove his innocence. In January 2019, after an intensive joint investigation between the Innocence Project and the Bronx Conviction Review Unit, the district attorney’s office submitted a recommendation for dismissal of charges against Mr. Burton, and he was finally exonerated. Today, Mr. Burton lectures around the country about false confessions and unreliable police interrogation techniques. He is an avid marathon runner and has been featured on HBO’s Real Sports

Staff Justin Chan

Justin Chan is the Assistant Director of Editorial Content for the Innocence Project.

Justin comes with more than a decade of experience in journalism, having written for Law.com, Mic, Forbes, HuffPost, Time Out New York, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo. Chan’s work has frequently touched on issues impacting marginalized communities, including racism, immigration, and economic disparities. He is a 2013 graduate of Columbia Journalism School and has volunteered at Reading Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping at-risk youth improve their literacy.

“They said if I was there and if I went along with it, that I could go home. And that’s all I wanted. That’s all I wanted, was to go home.”

On the night of April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old female jogger was brutally attacked and raped in New York’s Central Park. After prolonged periods of police interrogation, five teenagers—including Korey Wise—falsely confessed to being involved in the attack. Then 16 years old, Wisewas tried as an adult and wrongfully convicted of assault, sexual abuse, and riot. He was sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison. In early 2002, Matias Reyes,who had been convicted of murder and rape, admitted that he alone was responsible for the attack on the Central Park jogger. On December 19, 2002, based on new DNA evidence that proved Korey’s innocence and on the recommendation of the Manhattan District Attorney, Wise’s conviction was overturned. He spent  11.5 years of his life in prison for crimes he did not commit. The investigation has raised questions regarding police coercion and false confessions, as well as the vulnerability of juveniles during police interrogations.

“The biggest thing I want people to take from it is not only that our justice system is really screwed up, but so are the people running it. We don’t have a good checks and balance system to ensure that wrongful convictions aren’t taking place. That’s really the big picture scope.”

Kristine Bunch languished behind bars for more than 17 years after she was arrested and charged with setting a fire that claimed the life of her three-year-old son, Anthony, on June 30, 1995. On March 21, 2012, the court reversed the conviction based on evolving and more reliable fire science and because undisclosed ATF evidence contradicted trial testimony which argued that Bunch had started the fire. Bunch, who had earned undergraduate degrees in English and anthropology from Ball State University in prison, was freed 17 years, after her wrongful arrest. She walked out of the Decatur County Jail, where she had been sent to await retrial, and into the arms of her family, who had steadfastly supported her throughout her ordeal. Today, Bunch is an advocate for people exonerated of wrongful conviction. She co-founded and co-runs a non-profit organization called Justice4JustUs, which connects exonerated individuals to social and medical services to help them rebuild their lives.

Staff Ngozi Ndulue

Ngozi Ndulue is the Special Advisor on Race and Wrongful Conviction for the Innocence Project.

Ngozi provides leadership and expertise on racial justice, equity, bias and discrimination and their impact on the functioning of the criminal legal system and, particularly, wrongful conviction. Prior to joining the Innocence Project, Ngozi was the Deputy Director of the Death Penalty Information Center where she conducted original research, supervised data collection and analysis, and led organizational development initiatives. Throughout her legal career, Ngozi has focused on the intersection of racial justice and the criminal legal system, engaging in litigation, policy research, coalition building, and advocacy. From 2016 to 2018, Ngozi served as Senior Director of Criminal Justice Programs at the national NAACP. She also worked at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC) in Cincinnati and as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Arizona Capital Habeas Unit. Ngozi has a law degree from Yale Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Staff Simran Sohal

Simran Sohal is a Senior Case Analyst for the Innocence Project.

Simran returned to the organization after interning in the Intake Department the previous year. Graduating from Williams College in June 2020, she received a double B.A. in Psychology and English with a concentration in Justice and Law Studies. While at Williams, Simran conducted independent research on the relationship between procedural justice and jury nullification. Outside of the academic sphere, she volunteered as a responder to a hotline service for survivors of sexual violence and their allies and organized initiatives to prevent future instances of such harm.

Interested in booking a speaker?

Book a Speaker

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

We've helped free more than 240 innocent people from prison. Support our work to strengthen and advance the innocence movement.