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

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.

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.

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.

Dewey Bozella served 26 years in New York prisons for a crime he didn’t commit before he was cleared and released in 2009.

Bozella was arrested for a 1977 burglary and murder of a 92-year-old woman, but the charges were dropped because there was no evidence linking him to the crime. He was rearrested for the crime six years later after two prison informants told prosecutors that Bozella committed the murder. Based solely on those informants’ testimonies, Bozella was wrongfully convicted. Attorneys at the Innocence Project  and WilmerHale uncovered exculpatory evidence that was never turned over to Bozella’s defense team. Based on this, he was exonerated and freed. Bozella now teaches boxing skills and discipline to young people. His dream is to one day open his own gym. For his triumph over adversity, he was given the 2011 ESPY Arthur Ashe Courage Award. He serves on the Innocence Project Exoneree Advisory Council.

After the Virginia Supreme Court granted a writ of actual innocence, Keith Allen Harward walked out of a Virginia prison on April 8, 2016, after spending more than 33 years of a life sentence for a rape and murder he did not commit.

Despite testifying in his own defense and presenting evidence he didn’t match the victim’s description, Harward was wrongfully convicted of capital murder but was spared the death penalty by the jury. Harward, was convicted primarily on the testimony of two forensic dentists who said that Harward’s teeth matched marks left on the rape victim. During the course of his prosecution six forensic dentists falsely claimed that Harward’s teeth matched a bite mark on one of the victims. New DNA evidence definitively proved Harward’s innocence and pointed to another man as the real assailant. Harward is one of eight people whose story is in the Innocence Project-inspired Netflix docuseries The Innocence Files now available for streaming.

Staff Laurie Roberts

Laurie Roberts is a State Policy Advocate for the Innocence Project.

She previously served as the legislative director for Texas State Representative Jessica González and oversaw a sweeping legislative agenda that focused on a range of criminal justice reform, including innocence reforms, indigent defense, bail reform, and human trafficking. She previously worked for State Representatives Justin Rodriguez and Rafael Anchia. Laurie began her career at Issue One, a Washington DC-based nonprofit dedicated to reducing the impact of money in American politics. She worked in multiple capacities, rising to senior associate — a role in which she managed all external communications efforts and developed high-level branding campaigns for more than 100 former members of Congress. Laurie also proudly served as a White House intern for President Obama in 2011. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in political science, and holds a Masters in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was the recipient of the JJ Pickle Public Service Scholarship.

Staff Nathaniel Erb

Nathaniel Erb is a State Policy Advocate at the Innocence Project.

Prior to joining the organization, Nathaniel operated a private consulting and lobbying practice, Erb & Associates, which specialized in domestic and international laws related to human trafficking and forced labor. He worked with elected officials, the private sector, and NGOs to implement legislation and policies spanning human trafficking and forced labor, protections for migrant workers, supply chain transparency, access to education, habitat destruction, immigration reform, and financial crime intelligence gathering. Nathaniel was inspired to work at the Innocence Project through his work addressing the wrongful incarceration of survivors of human trafficking and improving human trafficking criminal laws and policies. He co-authored and co-led the successful passage of “Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2017” in Washington, D.C. and the “True Freedom Act of 2020” in Maryland, which create pathways to relief for survivors of human trafficking convicted of crimes they were forced to commit. He is the chair emeritus of the Youth Working Group of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper community, and a regular lecturer on public policy and international institutions. He received his B.A. in Law & Society from Hood College, where he was a recipient of the Law & Society and the Virginia E. Lewis awards.

Staff Robyn Trent Jefferson

Robyn Trent Jefferson is a Paralegal in the Innocence Project’s Post Conviction Litigation Fellow program, advocate, and mentor.

Robyn enjoyed a diverse career as a litigation and real estate paralegal for more than 34 years before joining the Innocence Project. A born advocate, she has always been passionate about effecting change for those who are, and have been, wronged and, in the last 10 years, has had more opportunities to dedicate more of her time in pursuit of much-needed reform.

Staff Vanessa Meterko

Vanessa Meterko is the Research Manager at the Innocence Project.

She earned her M.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and has spent her career using data for good. She has conducted research on health care, microaggressions, and the criminal legal system, and has published dozens of influential articles in scholarly and popular outlets. Vanessa is an expert in wrongful convictions research and spearheaded the Innocence Project’s first social science convening on the subject in 2022. She has spoken about the role of research in the innocence movement as well as the science of cognitive bias to a wide range of audiences including NASA, University College London, and global investment management firm Bridgewater Associates. Vanessa also served as an advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault in New York City for over a decade.

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