This is the easiest of the hard part. That is what I told an audience of hundreds of men and women who attended an event in Chicago last weekend to access legal help in getting their criminal and/or court records sealed and expunged.
Last Friday brought some much-needed and long-overdue news to Richard Beranek, whose case I worked on: All charges that led to his wrongful conviction would finally be dropped.
Richard served 23 years in a Wisconsin prison for a rape that he did not commit. His conviction was based largely on faulty eyewitness testimony and the debunked technique of microscopic hair analysis. DNA test results from hair and semen recovered from the crime scene did not match Richard’s, thus supporting what Richard has maintained for over two decades: he is an innocent man.
As I noted in a letter to the editor published in this weekend's Chicago Tribune, I believe that probation is unquestionably a form of imprisonment, as it can completely inhibit the freedom to study, work, and live a fulfilling life.
This week I had the privilege of speaking at Hillsborough Community College’s annual Black, Brown and College Bound Summit, in Tampa Bay. Each year, the event is held to highlight the importance of higher education, but also to address and discuss barriers that can prevent young people from going to college and getting a degree.
It's March Madness time, and I'm sure that if any of you are like me, you've been trying to get in as many games as is possible. It's hard to ignore, though, that, while people of color make up the vast majority of NCAA basketball and other sports teams, black and brown people are woefully underrepresented in the classrooms of colleges across the nation.
Last weekend, while in town for a court appearance and for a speaking engagement at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, I had the pleasure of talking with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell and being featured in her Sunday column. We had a wide-ranging conversation spanning the details of my wrongful conviction, how and why I decided to become an attorney, and the creation of my law firm.
Prosecutors hold the key to equitable charges against criminal defendants. They decide when to bring a case and when to drop charges, how and whether to prosecute, and what level of charges and sentences to pursue. And, in our current system of criminal injustice, they should be scrutinized for their choices.