Making an exoneree

Making An Exoneree 2023 Full Event

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At the 2023 Making An Exoneree documentary showcase, students presented their short films that reveal the facts — and falsehoods — behind wrongful conviction cases from around the country.

The films were created by undergraduate students from Georgetown University and University of California, Santa Cruz, with support from Georgetown Law.

How the Police Get People to Confess | Police Interrogation Technique Documentary

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28 apr 2022

In America, nearly 30% of those exonerated by DNA tests had previously confessed. This method of slowly building pressure often made it seem that admitting guilt was the easiest way out. But now, a number of police forces are abandoning the Reid technique because of the risk of generating false confessions.

Why would someone confess to a crime they didn’t commit? The ‘Reid Technique’ has been the favoured way of interrogating suspects for the past 50 years, but the evidence is mounting that its extracted confessions are often false.

In the darkness of the interrogation room, cut off from the world and terrified by police officers, they finally said what the interrogators wanted to hear… the moment their lives changed forever.
We hear from the men and women who have spent more than 20 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

The phrase “Making an exoneree” refers to the process or factors involved in exonerating someone who has been wrongfully convicted of a crime. The key points of this process include:

  1. Wrongful Conviction: The person has been convicted of a crime they did not commit, and there is evidence or new information suggesting their innocence.

  2. New Evidence: The discovery of new evidence that was not presented during the original trial, which could potentially exonerate the individual.

  3. Reinvestigation: Authorities or organizations involved in the exoneration process reexamine the case, including all available evidence, witness testimonies, and the conduct of the original investigation.

  4. Legal Review: Legal experts and professionals review the case to identify potential flaws in the original trial or any constitutional violations that may have occurred.

  5. Public Awareness: Raising public awareness about the case is crucial in drawing attention to the potential wrongful conviction and garnering support for the exoneration effort.

  6. Advocacy and Legal Assistance: Exoneration often involves the efforts of dedicated advocates, legal teams, and organizations working on behalf of the individual to challenge the original conviction.

  7. Court Proceedings: If sufficient evidence is found to cast doubt on the conviction, legal proceedings may take place to present the new evidence and argue for the individual’s innocence.

  8. Vacating the Conviction: Once the court is satisfied with the new evidence, the original conviction may be vacated or overturned, officially declaring the person as an exoneree.

  9. Compensation and Reintegration: In some cases, exonerees may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful imprisonment they endured. Additionally, efforts are made to reintegrate them back into society after their release.

Overall, making an exoneree involves a comprehensive and often lengthy process aimed at correcting the miscarriage of justice and providing justice to those who have been wrongfully convicted.

Making an Exoneree 2021: The Story of Arlando “Tray” Jones III

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10 aug 2021

This documentary tells the story of Arlando “Tray” Jones III, who has been incarcerated for 36 years.

No physical evidence tied him to the crime, and his wrongful conviction relied on inconsistent witness statements. Tray was just 16 when he was arrested.

This film was created by Georgetown students Michelle Dubovitsky, Frances Trousdale, and Cynthia Garcia as part of the Making an Exoneree course, which uses student-led storytelling and online campaigns to advocate for the release of wrongfully convicted people.

To learn more about Tray’s case, follow @bringtrayhome on Instagram.

For more information on Making an Exoneree, visit

It appears that Tray Jones is associated with the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that works to exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals. Here are the key points based on the information you provided:

  1. Wrongful Conviction: Arlando “Tray” Jones III was wrongfully convicted at the age of 16 and subsequently imprisoned for a significant portion of his life.

  2. Lengthy Incarceration: He served an astonishing 37 years, two months, and one day in prison as a result of this wrongful conviction.

  3. Release: Tray Jones was finally released from prison in July 2022, suggesting that his conviction was overturned or new evidence emerged that led to his exoneration.

  4. Association with the Innocence Project: After his release, Tray Jones became a Program Associate at the Innocence Project, where he is involved in program administration, reentry support, and communications.

This information highlights the incredible journey of Tray Jones, who spent most of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit and is now actively engaged in supporting the work of the Innocence Project. His story is likely an inspiring one of resilience, justice, and the importance of organizations like the Innocence Project in helping wrongfully convicted individuals regain their freedom.

Making an Exoneree – The Story of Eric Riddick

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15 mei 2019

This documentary tells the haunting story of the wrongful conviction of Eric Riddick, who has spent over 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Eric remains in prison despite the fact that the only supposed eyewitness recanted his testimony 20 years ago (and once again this year), and the ballistics and forensics evidence completely contradict the prosecution’s argument.

The video was created and produced by a group of three Georgetown undergraduate students—Alexander Buffone, Kendell Long, and Taylor Riddick (no relation)—within the context of a Georgetown University course taught by Professor Marc Howard and Adjunct Professor and 2008 Exoneree Martin Tankleff.

Please join the 60,000 people who have already signed the petition to Exonerate Eric Riddick:…

Man Has Spent Over 26 Years In Prison For Crime He Says Didn’t Commit | NBC Nightly News

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In an exclusive interview with Lester Holt, Eric Riddick discusses how he continues to fight for his freedom after he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his childhood friend.

16 Making an Exoneree 2021: The Story of Raymond Allan Warren

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5 aug 2021

This documentary tells the story of Raymond Allan Warren, who was wrongfully convicted of murder as a teenager and has spent 26 years in prison. Testimony from a coerced 15-year-old and faulty physical evidence helped put Allan behind bars. A missed deadline has kept him from proving his innocence in court.

This film was created by Georgetown students Eleanor Haney, Kayla Wyatt, and Michael Yedibalian as part of the Making an Exoneree course, which uses student-led storytelling and online campaigns to advocate for the release of wrongfully convicted people.

17 Making an Exoneree – The Story of Nanon Williams

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14 jun 2019

This documentary exposes the injustice that resulted in the wrongful conviction of Nanon Williams, who was convicted and sent to death row in Texas at the age of 17. 27 years later, with his sentence commuted to life, Nanon is a published author and justice advocate who is still fighting to prove his innocence and reclaim his life.

This film was was created by three Georgetown undergraduates—Steffanny Acevedo, Abigail Adams-Spiers, and Fax Victor—within the context of a Georgetown University course taught by Professor Marc Howard and Adjunct Professor and 2008 Exoneree Martin Tankleff.

The key points of Raymond Allan Warren’s story would be:

  1. Wrongful Conviction: Raymond Allan Warren was wrongfully convicted of murder as a teenager, indicating that he was found guilty for a crime he did not commit.

  2. Lengthy Imprisonment: Allan has spent 26 years in prison for the crime he was wrongfully convicted of, highlighting the injustice and the significant impact on his life.

  3. Coerced Testimony: Testimony from a coerced 15-year-old played a role in Allan’s conviction, indicating that there may have been problems with the reliability of the evidence used against him.

  4. Faulty Physical Evidence: The documentary suggests that there were issues with the physical evidence used in the case, potentially pointing to errors or mishandling of evidence during the investigation and trial.

  5. Missed Deadline: Allan has been unable to prove his innocence in court due to a missed deadline, which may have prevented him from accessing new evidence or avenues to challenge his conviction.

  6. Advocacy through Documentary: The film was created by Georgetown students Eleanor Haney, Kayla Wyatt, and Michael Yedibalian as part of the Making an Exoneree course. The course utilizes student-led storytelling and online campaigns to advocate for the release of wrongfully convicted individuals like Raymond Allan Warren.

18 Pleading Innocence: The Story of Billy Pennington

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At 18, Billy Pennington pleaded guilty to a murder he did not commit. Through the Making An Exoneree course at Georgetown University, students reinvestigated Billy’s case and are advocating for his freedom. 

This film was created by Alexandra Baird, Maeve Foley, and Jordynn Jenkins from Georgetown University and Marcel Bell, Kahena Wilhite, and Jordan Wilson from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with support from Mark Tucker from Georgetown Law.

19 Man Who Served 32 Years In Prison Exonerated Of Murder

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Andrew Wilson, 62, was convicted in 1984 of stabbing a man to death. Jasmine Viel reports.

20 Making An Exoneree 2023 Event Preview

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Take a sneak peek at the 2023 Making an Exoneree documentaries, which tell the stories of five wrongful conviction cases from around the country. The students who reinvestigated these cases will present their short films at an event at Georgetown University on May 2.

21- 17 Years in Prison: War Veteran Falsely Accused of Murder (Crime Documentary) | Real Stories

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15 mei 2021

In Brooklyn in 1988, a Vietnam veteran, Barry Gibbs, is convicted of murder after an eyewitness names him as a woman’s killer. The veteran does not understand the conviction or how he came to be involved in the case at all.

22 Ohio Innocence Project 2018

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19 apr. 2018

You can donate to the Ohio Innocence Project online here:…
This video is very emotional
  • Ricky Jackson, along with two other men, was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1975 in Cleveland, Ohio. Jackson was 18 years old at the time.

  • The case relied heavily on the testimony of a 12-year-old boy who claimed to have witnessed the murder. However, it was later discovered that the boy had been coerced by police into giving false testimony.

  • In 2014, the case was reopened after the witness recanted his testimony and admitted that he had lied. This led to the release of Jackson and the other two men, who had collectively spent 106 years in prison.

  • Jackson was exonerated in 2014 after spending 39 years in prison, making him one of the longest-serving prisoners to be exonerated in U.S. history.

  • The case received widespread attention and was seen as an example of the flaws in the U.S. criminal justice system, particularly with regards to wrongful convictions and coerced confessions.

  • After his release, Jackson became an advocate for criminal justice reform and worked to raise awareness about the issue of wrongful convictions.

  • In 2015, Jackson was awarded a $1 million settlement from the city of Cleveland for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

23 Missouri law prevents innocent inmates from going free | ABCNL


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ABC News’ Linsey Davis reports on the case of Christopher Dunn, who has remained behind bars for more than three decades for a crime all sides agree he should not have been convicted for.

24 – 34 Years in Prison: Wrongly Convicted of Murder And Assault (Crime Documentary) | Real Stories

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22 mei 2021

Having already served 34 years for murder and sexual assault convictions, a man has a chance at freedom with DNA testing.

Based on stories from the innocence network, a worldwide organisation dedicated to exonerating the wrongfully convicted, this four-part series explores the investigations and the human cost: the emotional impact experienced by those convicted and their families.


25 Henry Keogh: wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years | 7NEWS Spotlight

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It was the murder that never happened. Henry Keogh spent 20 years behind bars for killing his fiancée – yet he was an innocent man. Henry has spoke out for the first time to Sunday Night about his first taste of freedom.

26 Life After Being Wrongfully Imprisoned | SoCal Connected | KCET

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Season 7, Episode 18: “SoCal Connected” tells the moving stories of two innocent men who spent years behind bars for murders they did not commit, and their attempt to receive compensation for their time in prison.

Henry Keogh’s case is a notable example of a wrongful conviction in Australia. Here are the key points:

  1. The Incident: In 1994, Henry Vincent Keogh, an Australian man, was accused of murdering his fiancée, Anna-Jane Cheney, by drowning her in a bathtub at their home in Adelaide, South Australia.

  2. Conviction: In 1995, Keogh was found guilty of Cheney’s murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 25 years.

  3. Lack of Physical Evidence: Keogh’s conviction was largely based on circumstantial evidence, as there was no direct physical evidence linking him to the crime scene. The prosecution’s case relied heavily on expert testimony that later came under scrutiny.

  4. Expert Testimony: During the trial, forensic evidence presented by a forensic pathologist played a significant role in Keogh’s conviction. However, later investigations found serious flaws and errors in the pathologist’s conclusions.

  5. Inadequate Legal Representation: There were concerns about the quality of Keogh’s legal representation during the trial, which may have affected the outcome of the case.

  6. Appeals and Campaign for Justice: Over the years, Keogh’s case attracted public attention, and various legal appeals were made to challenge his conviction.

  7. Conviction Quashed: In December 2014, the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia quashed Keogh’s murder conviction. The court found that the forensic evidence presented during the trial was flawed and could not be relied upon.

  8. Exoneration: Following the quashing of his conviction, Henry Keogh was released from prison in December 2014, after spending nearly 20 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

  9. Official Apology and Compensation: In 2015, the South Australian Government issued an official apology to Keogh for his wrongful conviction. He was later awarded compensation for the years of wrongful imprisonment.

The case of Henry Keogh highlights the importance of fair and reliable forensic evidence, the need for thorough investigations in criminal cases, and the potential risks of wrongful convictions. It also underscores the significant impact that wrongful convictions can have on the lives of innocent individuals and their families.

27 Wrongfully Convicted: Flawed Autopsies Send Two Innocent Men To Jail

2 feb. 2011

Two Mississippi men spent a combined 30 years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. They were separately charged with sexually assaulting and murdering two 3-year-old girls — in two separate crimes — two years apart. The pathologist who conducted both autopsies said he suspected the girls had been bitten. They were innocent.

28 Incarcerated man’s decades-long journey to freedom chronicled in NBC News podcast

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Jon-Adrian “JJ” Velazquez was serving a life sentence for murder when he wrote a letter to NBC News producer Dan Slepian. That led to a 20-year quest for freedom for Velazquez, who has always asserted his innocence. They sat down with Lester Holt to discuss their hit NBC News Studios podcast “Letters from Sing Sing.”

The wrongful conviction case of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer is a tragic example of how flawed forensic science and biased investigations can lead to devastating consequences. Here are the key points about Levon Brooks in this case:

  • Levon Brooks was convicted in 1992 for the murder and sexual assault of a three-year-old girl named Courtney Smith in Noxubee County, Mississippi. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • Brooks was implicated in the crime based on the testimony of Dr. Steven Hayne, a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on the victim. Hayne testified that the injuries on the victim’s body were consistent with sexual assault and that Brooks’ DNA matched the semen found on the victim’s body.
  • However, Hayne’s findings were later discredited as flawed and biased. Hayne was found to have a history of providing unreliable and unscientific testimony in numerous criminal cases, including the case of Kennedy Brewer, who was also wrongfully convicted of a similar crime in the same county.
  • In 2008, DNA testing proved that Brooks was innocent of the crime. The DNA evidence pointed to Justin Albert Johnson, a convicted sex offender who was already serving a life sentence for a similar crime.
  • Brooks was exonerated and released from prison in 2008, but he had already served 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
  • The case of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer prompted an overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system, including changes to the way forensic evidence is collected and analyzed. It also led to a deeper investigation into the misconduct of Dr. Hayne, who was later stripped of his medical license.

29 How a prisoner’s letter led to a 20-year search for the truth

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NBC News producer Dan Slepian hosts a new podcast called “Letters from Sing Sing” that follows a 20-year investigation into one man’s claims of innocence. He talks to TODAY about the story and gives an update on JJ Velazquez.

30 Joe Biden and JJ Velazquez Discuss Criminal Legal Reform

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28 okt 2022

Pres. Joe Biden sits down with Jon-Adrian ‘JJ’ Velazquez to discuss criminal legal reform as part of NowThis’ presidential forum. The son of a police officer, JJ Velazquez grew up believing in the criminal justice system. But when he was 22 years old, he was misidentified, arrested, and charged with the murder of a retired police officer. JJ maintained his innocence and was granted clemency in 2021 after more than 20 years in prison. Now he works to reform the system from the outside.

Watch the full presidential forum »

• Joe Biden Answers Burning Questions o…

As part of NowThis’ ‘Make Your Mark’ midterms coverage, we hosted an intimate conversation between President Joe Biden and young change-makers focused on finding solutions to some of the most critical issues facing their generation: gun legislation, abortion access, trans rights, economic instability, the climate crisis, and criminal legal reform.

There are almost 2 million people spread out across the U.S. prison system, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Of that 2 million, studies estimate that between 4-6% of incarcerated folks are innocent, and 1 in 20 criminal cases result in a wrongful conviction.

During his 2020 campaign, President Biden pledged to “strengthen America’s commitment to justice and reform our criminal justice system.” Since taking office, his admin’s actual results have drawn a “mixed report card” from criminal legal reform advocates. However, Biden did draw praise this month for his decision to pardon all cases of simple cannabis possession at the federal level.

Activist and reform advocate Jon-Adrian ‘JJ’ Velazquez is just one of the million BIPOC Americans who have been affected by failures of the criminal legal system. Velazquez himself spent 23 years in prison due to being wrongfully convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, in large part due to tampered evidence, bribed witnesses, and faulty detective work.

During NowThis’ Presidential Forum, Velazquez had a chance to ask Biden directly about the possibility of creating clear, uniform standards for clemency.

Read the full transcript »…

31 ‘Letters from Sing Sing’: New podcast investigates high-profile murder case

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NBC News investigative reporter Dan Slepian and Jon-Adrian “JJ” Velazquez, a man formerly imprisoned at Sing Sing for more than 23 years for a murder he says he did not commit, talk about “Letters from Sing Sing” a new podcast from NBC News Studios.

32 The Never-Ending Impact of Incarceration

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6 okt 2022

Jon-Adrian “JJ” Velazquez is a Program Director at The Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, a nonprofit running a multistate prison visitation program that provides opportunities for members of the public to meet and speak to those directly impacted by the criminal legal system in the U.S. The program’s conversations are structured to build empathy and grow understanding for all involved in order to drive meaningful personal and systemic changes.

JJ delivered a Stand at Stand Together Foundation’s August 2022 Catalyst Summit in Denver, Colorado to an audience of over 300 nonprofit leaders. JJ shares his own personal story of transformation, how he has overcome 23+ years of wrongful incarceration, and the incredible work that Frederick Douglass Project is doing to help harness humanity in prison.

Stand Together Foundation is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in America by driving change from within communities. We are building a community of social entrepreneurs who believe in people, work from the bottom up, and unite with anyone to do right. Since 2016, we have committed $120 million and counting to fuel the innovation of nonprofits throughout the country to build stronger, safer communities where all people can learn, contribute, and realize their full potential. Our goal is to help nonprofit leaders maximize their impact to transform more lives out of poverty.

The key points about JJ Velazquez:

  1. Background and Beliefs: JJ Velazquez, the son of a police officer, grew up with a belief in the criminal justice system due to his family background.

  2. Wrongful Arrest: At the age of 22, Velazquez was misidentified, arrested, and charged with the murder of a retired police officer.

  3. Maintaining Innocence: Throughout his ordeal, Velazquez consistently maintained his innocence, asserting that he was wrongfully accused of the crime.

  4. Clemency: After spending more than 20 years in prison for a crime he asserted he didn’t commit, Velazquez was granted clemency in 2021. This implies that his conviction was reevaluated, leading to his release.

  5. Reform Advocate: Following his release from prison, Velazquez has dedicated himself to working on criminal legal reform efforts. He is focused on improving the criminal justice system, presumably based on his personal experience and insights gained during his time behind bars.

  6. Presidential Forum: JJ Velazquez participated in a presidential forum hosted by NowThis, where he had a discussion with President Joe Biden about criminal legal reform. This forum likely provided a platform for Velazquez to share his story and ideas for improving the criminal justice system directly with the President.

  7. Impact of the Story: Velazquez’s story underscores the issues surrounding wrongful convictions, the need for criminal justice reform, and the challenges faced by individuals who have been unjustly imprisoned.

Man wrongly convicted released after 36 years

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Sullivan Walter 12 years in Angola and the rest of his time was spent in Elayn Hunt Correctional Center.

The key points about the wrongful conviction of Walter Sullivan are:

  1. Age at Arrest: Walter Sullivan was arrested at the age of 17 for a crime he was accused of committing.

  2. Prosecuted as an Adult: Despite being a juvenile, Walter was prosecuted as an adult for the alleged crime. This is significant because it reflects a legal and judicial decision to treat him as an adult offender rather than a minor.

  3. Serological Testing: Serological testing on seminal fluids from the victim was conducted as part of the evidence. This testing provided evidence that Walter Sullivan was not the perpetrator of the crime, suggesting his innocence.

  4. Wrongful Incarceration: Despite the exculpatory evidence from the serological testing, Walter Sullivan was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for a prolonged period of time.

  5. Longest Known Wrongful Incarceration of a Juvenile in Louisiana: Walter Sullivan’s case is notable for being the longest known wrongful incarceration of a juvenile in the history of Louisiana. This highlights the systemic failures in the criminal justice system that allowed a young individual to be imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.

  6. Implications: The case of Walter Sullivan underscores issues such as flaws in the justice system, inadequate legal representation, and the potential for juveniles to be treated unfairly within the legal process.

32 Mean Puppy Bites Off Finger

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This little puppy has got a big bite! You never know what a stranger’s dog is going to do to your fingers…