Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Cali Innocence Project Directors Justin Brooks and Jan Stiglitz Recieve Award for Freeing Their 5th Innocent Inmate
The California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law recently won two awards for freeing their fifth wrongfully convicted inmate, Timothy Atkins. The Criminal Defense Bar Association selected Professors Justin Brooks and Jan Stiglitz, co-directors of the project, Post-Conviction Lawyers of the Year. Additionally, the Federal Community Defender Organization's Special Board of Directors Award will be presented to the project for the result in the Atkins case, and so many other important cases, April 13 .
"California Western School of Law and San Diego are lucky to have such a dedicated and tenacious team of lawyers and law students seeking out and reversing injustices," said Mark Adams, president of the Criminal Defense Bar Association. "The volunteer work of the many students working in the California Innocence Project is truly an inspiration to those of us in San Diego's Criminal Defense Bar."
California Innocence Project presented new evidence, including a witness who recanted her trial testimony, proving Atkins' innocence. He was released from the L.A. County Jail Friday, Feb. 9, after spending more than two decades behind bars.
"This is a great honor in a city with so many outstanding attorneys," said Brooks, who started the California Innocence Project at California Western in 1999 . "I share these awards with my students. I truly stand on their shoulders when I am in court. They gather the evidence every day that leads to our successes."
The California Innocence Project has developed a national reputation for securing the release of innocent clients. Thanks to the work of the project's students, law professors, and staff, five men were released, after serving a combined 76 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
"Congratulations to my staff, Jeff Chinn, Kim Hernandez, and Alex Simpson and to all my students, especially Wendy Koen and Alissa Bjerkhoel whose hard work on the Timothy Atkins case was particularly important to the release of Timothy Atkins," said Brooks. "We couldn't have done it without you."