Author John Grisham and Slate Senior Editor Dahlia Lithwick will host and facilitate a discussion among five Virginians who were wrongfully convicted of serious crimes during an April 19 fundraiser at the University of Virginia School of Law.
"Speaking of Injustice" is a fundraiser for the Virginia Innocence Project Pro Bono Clinic at UVA Law. Lithwick will moderate the panel during the program, which will start with a reception and refreshments at 5:30 p.m. in the Law School's Caplin Pavilion. The panel begins at 6 p.m.
While the event is open to the public, attendees are encouraged to donate generously. Proceeds will be applied to cover the significant costs of investigating claims of innocence from Virginia convicts. The pro bono clinic is overseen by UVA Law professors Deirdre M. Enright and Jennifer L. Givens, the directors of the Innocence Project at UVA, and exists separately from the Law School's for-credit Innocence Project Clinic.
"The pro bono clinic is an important component of our overall innocence efforts, allowing law students to investigate potential cases of wrongful convictions in Virginia," Givens said. "It also provides students with experience in the drafting of legal pleadings and clemency documents on behalf of innocent clients."
Imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit, Robert Davis, Thomas Haynesworth, Michael Hash, Eric Weakley and Beverly Monroe will discuss their cases and the valuable role that innocence efforts played in winning their freedom. Hash and Weakley, two of the "Culpeper Three," were coerced as teenagers into false confessions for a 1996 murder they didn't commit, according to Enright and Givens.
In addition to the panel, the directors will be available to provide updates on their current efforts in both of the Innocence Project at UVA School of Law clinics.
The event will be catered by Baja Bean.
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.