Freeing the innocent
Press release issued: 3 November 2009
An investigator who helps to vindicate and free innocent people convicted of crimes will give a talk about her work later this week.
Kate Germond, an investigator with Centurion Ministries, plays a key role in developing cases as well as selecting and investigating cases that Centurion Ministries, a non-profit organisation, decides to take.
Centurion Ministries (CM) work focuses on reinvestigating cases with the goal of vindicating people factually innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. The organisation also assists people, once they are freed, with reintegration into society on a self-reliant basis.
Last year, 2008, CM successfully freed three men from prison.
- Darryl Burton was freed after spending 24 years in a Missouri state prison for a 1984 St Louis murder he had nothing to do with.
- Marcus Washington was released after a 30-year false imprisonment from a New York state prison for a 1975 Far Rockaway, Queens, NY murder.
- CM was instrumental in freeing Willie Green, who had spent 24 years in California’s prison system (the last 16 years in San Quentin State Prison) for a 1983 Los Angeles murder he did not do.
Dr Michael Naughton, Director of the University of Bristol Innocence Project, said: “This is a unique opportunity for people to hear Kate Germond talk and to find out about the work of Centurion Ministries.
“Unfortunately, there is not a system in place designed to correct all wrongful convictions but there is a growing number of innocence projects internationally that aim to raise awareness of this global problem and overturn wrongful convictions.”
The University of Bristol’s Innocence Project (UoBIP), based within the University’s School of Law, is hosting the event. The Innocence Project involves students working on real cases concerning long-term prisoners who maintain their innocence, have exhausted the criminal appeals system and have no legal aid.
The talk will take place on Thursday 5 November from 6 pm in Room 3.30, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol. The talk is free but to book a place, email ‘Kate Germond YES’ in the subject line to email@example.com
Further informationDr Michael Naughton Dr Naughton teaches in the area of criminal justice in both the University of Bristol’s School of Law and Department of Sociology. He is the Founder and Chair of the Innocence Network UK (INUK), the umbrella organisation for approximately 25 member innocence projects in universities in England, Scotland and Wales. He is Founder and Director of the University of Bristol Innocence Project, through which he coordinates student reviews and investigations of alleged wrongful imprisonment of the innocent case. He is also the Founder and Steering Group member of Progressing Prisoners Maintaining Innocence, which is actively engaged with representatives from the Prison Service, the National Probation Directorate, the Parole Board, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and various other governmental and non-governmental organisations.
What is an Innocence Project? The aim of innocence projects is to supplement students’ education through working with ‘live-clients’ via a student-led specialist law clinic with a focus on the area of miscarriages of justice, whilst serving to meet the unmet legal needs of alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions whose cases fall outside the scope of legal aid. The defining feature of innocence projects is that they involve students in researching real criminal cases. This investigative work may be conducted by undergraduate and/or postgraduate students in conventional academic settings or by those enrolled on LPC/BVC programmes. The students’ work is supervised by academics in conjunction with practising solicitors who work on the cases pro bono.