October 25, 2018 6PM - 8PM
BRIC House Lobby/Stoop 647 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Conversations with the Innocence Project is a new series of discussions that bring together today’s leading experts, those adversely affected by the criminal justice system, and advocates to discuss, debate, and take action on issues plaguing the system. This inaugural discussion will focus on the role and power of prosecutors in our system, reform efforts to ensure prosecutorial accountability in cases of misconduct, and a growing movement to enlist prosecutors in the fight to combat wrongful convictions. This event has reached capacity but you can watch live on Facebook.
Meet the speakers
(Moderator) Rebecca Brown, Innocence Project Director of Policy
Rebecca Brown joined the Innocence Project in 2005 and directs its federal and state policy agenda, which seeks to prevent & reveal wrongful convictions and assure compensation for the wrongfully convicted upon release from prison. She has also served as a Policy Analyst for the Mayor’s Office in New York City and a Senior Planner at Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), where she conducted research, evaluation and planning work around its alternative to incarceration programs. Rebecca began her career at the Civilian Complaint Review Board, where she investigated allegations of police misconduct for the City of New York.
Nina Morrison, Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney
As a Senior Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project, Nina Morrison litigates claims for access to post-conviction DNA evidence, under both federal civil rights laws and state DNA testing statutes. To date, Ms. Morrison has served as lead or co-counsel for more than twenty innocent prisoners who were freed from prison or death row based on DNA or other newly discovered evidence. She frequently consults with attorneys, judges, and the public at large about DNA evidence and the underlying causes of wrongful convictions. Ms. Morrison became a staff attorney at the Project in 2004. From 2002-05, she served as the Project’s Executive Director, supervising day-to-day management of the Project while assisting with litigation and policy reform initiatives.
Jabbar Collins, Exoneree & Advocate
Jabbar Collins spent more than 16 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He was freed in 2010 after it was revealed at a post-conviction hearing that the main witness at his trial had told the prosecutor that he was pressured by police to lie about Collins’ involvement in the murder.
The prosecutor from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office never divulged this information with Collins’ lawyer—a serious violation of the law, which requires the government to inform the defense of any exculpatory evidence. At the hearing, the judge who tossed out Collins’ conviction called the prosecutor’s conduct and the DA’s office “shameful” and a “tragedy.”
Cynthia Jones, Professor of Law, American University
Cynthia E. Jones has taught Evidence, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure at the American University Washington College of Law for the past fourteen years. Professor Jones was recognized by the University with the prestigious Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching, and received the “Teaching with Technology” Award from the Center for Teaching Excellence for her animated short film, “Fighting Evidence with Evidence.” Professor Jones’ areas of scholarship include wrongful convictions, criminal discovery, bail reform, and eliminating racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Professor Jones established the Pretrial Racial Justice Initiative in 2013 to address racial and ethnic disparities in bail, and she previously directed the ABA Racial Justice Improvement Project, a program to engage criminal justice officials in racial justice policy reform.
Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica
Since joining ProPublica in May 2008, reporter Joaquin Sapien has delved into criminal justice, military healthcare, and environmental issues. In 2010 he partnered with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to produce an award-winning series of stories about contaminated drywall. In 2009 he was part of a team whose work on natural gas drilling won the Society of Professional Journalists award for online non-deadline investigative reporting. From 2005 until 2008 he was a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, where he led a year-long investigative project, “Superfund’s Toxic Legacy,” which received the 2007 Society of Professional Journalists award for non-deadline online reporting. Before joining CPI, Sapien wrote for Environmental Media Services.