Publish Date

The following is an excerpt an opinion article published in The State Journal-Register on Sept. 25, 2022. It was written by Taryn Servaes, a recent UIS graduate who remains involved with the Illinois Innocence Project.

"When I was assigned my first case at the Illinois Innocence Project as a student at the University of Illinois Springfield, I had no idea I would see that client walk out of prison just a few years later.

Jennifer McMullan was 19 when she was wrongfully convicted of murder and attempted robbery in 2002 based on the “theory of accountability,” where a person can be found guilty of acts committed by others. I had just begun volunteering with IIP and was only 19 myself when we met. Jennifer had been wrongfully incarcerated for 17 years. I remember so vividly realizing she had been in prison for essentially my entire life.

It was a freezing day in central Illinois when I headed to Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln with two IIP attorneys. I was a sophomore and felt so fortunate to be included on a legal visit with a client. This was the type of experiential learning I had been searching for in my young career. IIP truly understands the value of bringing students on legal visits, introducing them to the legal and emotional complexities of wrongful conviction."

Read the full article online