Exoneration Panel

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Pictured are (front, l-r) Katie Szymanski, vice president, Criminal Law Society; Valerie Newman and Christine Pagac, attorneys, State Appellate Defenders Office; and Alexandra Giuliani, president, Criminal Law Society; (back) Bill Proctor, founder, Proving Innocence; Marla Mitchell-Cichon, director, WMU-Cooley’s Innocence Project; Ken Wyniemko, wrongfully convicted; Gail Pamukov-Miller, attorney; Erika Breitfeld, faculty advisor, Criminal Law Society; and Adriana Gjokaj, secretary, Criminal Law Society.

WMU-Cooley Law School’s Criminal Law Society hosted a panel discussion, “Free to Speak: Guilty until Proven Innocent,” on March 10.  The event highlighted wrongful convictions as well as the work performed by WMU-Cooley Law School’s Innocence Project. More than 80 students gathered to hear Ken Wyniemko speak about his wrongful conviction. Wyniemko was convicted of rape and served nine years for the crime. He was the second person in the state of Michigan to be exonerated by DNA testing.

“I want to stress the importance of being ethical and always fighting for the truth,” explained Wyniemko. “I am not bitter about my experience. It has only inspired me to educate the public about the criminal justice system and its challenges.”

Panelists included Ken Wyniemko's attorney Gail Pamukov-Miller, attorneys from the State Appellate Defenders Office Valarie Newman and Christine Pagac, former WXYZ news reporter and founder of Proving Innocence Bill Proctor, and director of Cooley's Innocence Project Marla Mitchell-Cichon.