Benefit for Innocence

The Innocence Project of Minnesota fights to free the wrongfully convicted at annual fundraiser

Fighting for Justice

photo by Matthew Jenkins

The Benefit For Innocence, held at the Depot in Minneapolis on November 10, is the Innocence Project’s largest annual fundraiser. The organization works to free the wrongfully convicted from prison, educate attorneys and  legal professionals, and reform the criminal justice system.

Terry Olson (2): I was in prison for close to 11 years and was released on September 13, 2016. The Innocence Project secured my release through documents they found within the prosecution’s files. Without the them, there would be no freedom for me. I owe my life to them. 

Julie Jonas (2): I’m the legal director for the Innocence Project of MN. We know there are men and women who are in prison for crimes they didn’t do. Once they’ve gone through their trial and appeals, the system is done with their case. If it weren’t for our organization and the attorneys who work for us pro bono, people’s cases would just languish, and they wouldn’t get out of prison.

David Schultz (3): I’ve volunteered with the Innocence Project for close to 15 years. I do this on top of my full-time job as a lawyer because I can’t sit idly by when somebody is wrongfully convicted. I’ve always been very passionate about the justice system and how it delivers justice and making sure that it does that. 

Ethan Scrivner (5): When I was in law school, I took a wrongful convictions class with Julie Jonas, the Innocence Project’s legal director. I’m a public defender now, and in my line of work, we see people who are charged with crimes they shouldn’t be charged with. The system frequently isn’t fair. It’s good to see that there are groups dedicated to righting those wrongs as best they can.

As told to Nancy Rosenbaum

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