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UIS Innocence Project to host presentation on wrongful conviction

November 8, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois at Springfield will host a presentation by Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the National Innocence Project, beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28, in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Neufeld’s topic will be "The Crisis of Wrongful Conviction." 

Peter Neufeld

Neufeld co-founded and co-directs The Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, New York City, which has served as a model for similar programs across the country and led to an alliance of more than two dozen projects in law and journalism schools and defenders' offices nationally. 

Nancy Ford, interim director of UIS' Institute for Legal and Policy Studies, professor of Legal Studies, and co-director of the UIS Innocence Project, said, "The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project is proud to be a part of the National Innocence Network and we are working with Mr. Neufeld's organization to provide assistance to the wrongfully convicted and to educate Illinois lawmakers and judges on the need for further reforms in the criminal justice system."

Related site

Downstate Illinois Innocence Project
See a webcast of the presentation

Neufeld's innocence project currently represents hundreds of inmates seeking post-conviction release through DNA testing and, in its ten years of existence, has been responsible in whole or in part for exonerating more than two thirds of the 175 men who have been cleared through such tests to date.

Neufeld has litigated and taught extensively in both the "hard" and behavioral forensic sciences; has lectured before legal and scientific organizations and bar associations; and has taught continuing legal education programs, in 25 states and abroad, on the subjects of forensic science, expert witnesses, and cross examination.  He previously taught trial advocacy at Fordham University Law School and, since 1995, has served through gubernatorial appointment on the New York State Commission on Forensic Science, which has responsibility for regulating all crime laboratories in the state. A 1972 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Neufeld received his law degree in 1975 from New York University School of Law.

UIS sponsors of the event are the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies, the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project Club, the ACLU - UIS Student Chapter, and the UIS Speakers' Award Committee.

A private fundraising reception with Neufeld will precede his address, from 5:30 until 6:45 p.m. in UIS' Public Affairs Center restaurant. The cost is $25 per person; reservations are required and can be made by contacting Rebekah Lanphierd at (217) 206-6348 no later than November 20.

UIS' Downstate Illinois Innocence Project is housed within the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies. Under its auspices, students in Legal Studies and other degree programs provide research and investigative assistance to attorneys who are helping individuals who have been arrested, tried, found guilty, and imprisoned for crimes that the Project believes they did not commit.

For more information, contact Ford at (217) 206-6358.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.