We are pleased to report that the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project’s Sixth Annual Award Luncheon, which took place on July 11, 2013, was a success! At the luncheon, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont accepted an award for his work championing innocence programs as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The award was presented by Kirk Bloodsworth, the first death row exoneree.
In accepting the award, Senator Leahy called for the passage of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2013, which includes the Kirk Bloodsworth Post Conviction DNA Testing Grant Program. The initiative has helped achieve DNA testing for wrongfully convicted individuals and MAIP clients such as Thomas Haynesworth, a Virginia man who was exonerated after spending 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. In the process of exonerating Haynesworth, the real perpetrator – a serial rapist – was identified. Haynesworth, along with several other exonerees who benefited from federal funding, attended the luncheon honoring Senator Leahy for his work on behalf of the wrongfully convicted. Exonerees Kirk Bloodsworth (Death row exoneree, 8 years wrongfully imprisoned), David Boyce (23 years wrongfully imprisoned), Thomas Haynesworth (27 years wrongfully imprisoned), Aaron Michael Howard (18 years wrongfully imprisoned), Jerry Jenkins (7 years wrongfully imprisoned), Beverly Monroe (11 years wrongfully imprisoned) joined Senator Leahy in calling for the continued funding of federal innocence initiatives, which face a crucial vote the week of July 15th in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
MAIP also honored the legal team that helped achieved the freedom of David Boyce, a Virginia man released from prison in April of this year after spending 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Boyce’s legal team, headed by David Koropp, consisted of attorneys from Winston & Strawn LLP, Hunton & Williams LLP, and Howrey LLP.
MAIP works to prevent and correct the conviction of innocent people in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. We screen and investigate both DNA and non-DNA innocence claims, as well as provide pro bono legal assistance in the most compelling cases. We work to educate judges, legislators, and the public about the causes of wrongful convictions in the hope that this education will lead to changes in our laws and our society that will prevent wrongful convictions in the future. MAIP is a charitable organization funded by private donations; we are honored to have been included in the Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy for the last two years.