Griffith University Innocence Project is proud to join others in the international community in honouring Wrongful Conviction Day. We wish to congratulate the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) for initiating this important event.
Most of us cannot imagine what it would be like to be wrongly convicted, languishing in prison for a crime you did not commit. On this inaugural commemorative day, I wish to pay tribute to all those who have been wrongly convicted – this unique group of individuals who unfortunately know what this unfathomable ordeal is like.
Exonerees to date have collectively lost over thirteen thousand years of freedom between them – freedom taken from them by criminal justice systems that got it terribly wrong. While more than a thousand people have had their innocence proven, there are countless others who will remain wrongly incarcerated because evidence of their innocence remains hidden, has been lost or destroyed, or they have no one to assist them with their fight for what we commonly term ‘justice’.
It has become clear that exoneration itself does not end the trauma of a wrongful conviction. Exonorees continue to face on-going struggles in the reframing and reclaiming of their lives. Despite this, during my fourteen years undertaking this work, I have found the grace and forgiveness shown by the exonerees to be remarkable, inspiring and humbling.
One exoneree with whom the Griffith University Innocence Project had the good fortune and great honour to work, was the late Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter. Like so many other exonerees, Rubin exemplified the resilience of human dignity against all odds. As he once said:
“The miracle is the beauty of the human spirit…forgiveness and the will to fight on for what is right and just.”
The stories of the exonerees teach us many important lessons, including that those of us involved in the criminal justice system must continually strive to prevent and correct such injustices – and that none of us should take freedom for granted, because it can be taken away.
Director, Griffith University Innocence Project, Queensland, Australia.
 The National Registry of Exonerations (United States), Basic Patterns, available at: https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/learnmore.aspx
 Rubin Carter, comment on back cover of book by Joyce Milgaard and Peter Edwards, A Mother’s Story (1st ed,1999).
Griffith College/Irish Innocence Project
First Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day
2 OCTOBER 2014
5 – 6 p.m. Academic Facilities Auditorium
Hosted by the Irish Innocence Project
An Observance to Honor the Innocent Who Have Been Convicted and their Families
The Irish Innocence Project will be hosting a special event in observance of the First International Wrongful Conviction Day on 2 October from 5-6 p.m. in the Academic Facilities building auditorium. The public is invited to attend and the event is free.
Speakers for the event include family members of the Justice for Harry Gleeson group, who have been working with the Irish Innocence Project to clear the name of Harry Gleeson, believed to have been wrongly executed for the murder of his neighbor Moll McCarthy more than 70 years ago, although the legacy of his hanging impacts the family still. The Harry Gleeson case was featured on Prime Time on July 24, 2014. http://www.rte.ie/news/primetime/2014/0724/632805-prime-time-24-7-2014-click-here/
“This is an important event intended to call attention to the human rights issue of wrongful convictions. Every week, if not every day, a person who was wrongly convicted of a crime they didn’t commit is being exonerated somewhere in the world. It could – and does – happen to anyone,” says David Langwallner, founding director of the Irish Innocence Project at Griffith College Dublin.
The First Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day was initiated by the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted in Toronto, Canada to be commemorated annually and enlighten the public as to the consequences of wrongful convictions. The date – the second day of October – is not tied to any specific event, but is intended to provide an opportunity to unite with others and increase public awareness about the common cause of preventing and remedying wrongful convictions.
The first Innocence Project started in New York in 1992 and since then, a total of 68 projects have been launched around the world under the Innocence Network umbrella membership organization to investigate likely wrongful convictions and overturn these miscarriages of justice. The innocence movement is now recognized as one of the newest and most pressing human rights issue of growing concern around the globe. The Irish Innocence Project was founded in 2009 and has a team of more than a dozen law and journalism students from Griffith, Trinity, Dublin City University and University of Limerick working on about 20 likely wrongful convictions under the guidance of supervising attorneys.
There will be a wine reception and an opportunity for questions and answers following the talk.
CFCN Wrongful Conviction Day – October 2, 2014
Families affected by crime come from all situations. Canadian Families and Corrections Network would like to acknowledge those families who have been involved in the criminal justice system but were wrongly convicted.
On October 2nd, the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) is launching their first “Wrongful Convictions Day” – an opportunity to unite with others to prevent and remedy wrongful convictions.
To give you some context around this event, we focus on AIDWYC’s work in the case of the Dalton family. Ron Dalton was in 1988 a husband, a father of three young children and a successful bank manager living in Gander, Newfoundland. On August 15, 1988 his wife, Brenda choked on a piece of cereal and Ron Dalton’s efforts to dislodge the piece of cereal were unsuccessful. He called an ambulance which rushed her to the hospital. In charge of the emergency room that evening was an inexperienced resident who slid a breathing tube into Brenda Dalton’s stomach instead of her lungs. She died. The local pathologist quickly determined that Brenda Dalton died from manual strangulation. Ron Dalton was charged with his wife’s murder and on December 15, 1989 was convicted of second degree murder. Fresh evidence was heard on December 5, 1997 and after years of delay, Mr. Dalton’s appeal was heard in January 1998, his conviction overturned and a new trial ordered. On June 24, 2000 Mr. Dalton was acquitted. He sits on the AIDWYC board to continue the fight on behalf of others wrongly convicted. We asked Alison Dalton, Ron’s daughter what it was like to be a family member of someone who was wrongly convicted:
I’m angry for the loss of my father for 12 years. It is devastating to be the only kid in your class that looks out and doesn’t see their father at the Christmas concert. But it was the situation that we had to live through. We didn’t know the difference. It was one of those things that you just got up every day and you could stay home and cry about it or get up and live your life. My mother died 2 weeks before I started Grade 1. My father made it to my high school graduation by about an hour. While I got to visit with my father in prison it was never the same as being together in the privacy of our family, prison visits were always artificial moments of being watched by guards in a controlled setting unable to interact naturally. Those visits started when I was seven years old and continued until I was sixteen so I really didn’t get to grow up around my Dad the way I wished it could have been. Although I was well cared for by other family members I was always aware of being different and knew the people raising me were not my parents, I never knew if my life would have been better or worse had I not lost my Mom one year and my Dad the next but I know it would have been different.”Alison Dalton, Daughter of wrongfully convicted Ron Dalton
Justice is a pillar of LFP, and October 2 is Wrongful Conviction Day. The Association in Defense of the WronglyConvicted (AIDWYC) is a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and exonerating individuals convicted of a crime that they did not commit. In honor of the work that AIDWYC is doing, artist Beto Janz created this image.
Join us October 2nd, 2014 to mark the first Wrongful Conviction Day
This fall, the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC), in partnership with wrongful conviction organizations and allies around the world, will recognize October 2nd as Wrongful Conviction Day.
On this day, concerned people will unite to increase public awareness of the causes of wrongful convictions. At AIDWYC, we hope this will inspire discussion of positive change in the criminal justice system, and help prevent future wrongful convictions.
We know from the Canadian cases of Donald Marshall Jr., Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, Steven Truscott, Tammy Marquardt, Romeo Phillion, Ron Dalton, and sadly many others that the loss of one’s freedom has far reaching effects on their quality of life, that of their families and society at large.
We invite you to join us at the following events
October 2, 2014, at the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC)130 Queen Street W., Toronto ON M5H 2N6
ADVOCATING INNOCENCE: Preventing and Rectifying Wrongful Convictions by Understanding Their Causes (CPD lecture)
- Presenters: James Lockyer & Professor Tim Moore
- Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Location: Barrister’s Lounge, LSUC
- Registration & Information: www.aidwyc.org/events/cpd-
advocating-innocence/ or contact Amanda Carling at 416-504-7500 x 226, ACarling@aidwyc.org
Reception in Honour of Wrongful Conviction Day
Law Society of Upper Canada,
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
To RSVP, or for more info:
Find AIDWYC online
- Hashtag for Wrongful Conviction Day: #IWCD2014
For more information about Wrongful Conviction Day
Please contact Win Wahrer: 1-800-249-1329 • 416-504-7500 x 227 • firstname.lastname@example.org