Tag Archives: innocence project

WMU-Cooley’s Innocence Project Gains Freedom for Yet Another Wrongfully Convicted Man

Donya Davis and Professor Marla Mitchell-Cichon

Donya Davis and Professor Marla Mitchell-Cichon

WMU-Cooley’s Innocence Project seeks to exonerate people who have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes.  The exoneration of Donya Davis announced today is the project’s third exoneration. 

Congratulations to Professor Marla Mitchell-Cichon and her WMU-Cooley Innocence Project team of students and alumni on their great efforts to obtain freedom for Donya Davis, a young man who was convicted in Wayne County, Michigan Circuit Court and imprisoned for seven years for a crime he did not commit.

Not only did the team use DNA evidence to obtain an order setting aside the conviction earlier this year, they more recently convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the charges altogether.  The case is over.  Donya Davis is now free.

This exoneration, the third for the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project team, demonstrates how legal expertise and hard work can combine to provide liberty and justice for the oppressed, all while giving our students the clinical experience of a lifetime. The WMU-Cooley community is proud of Professor Mitchell-Cichon and her Innocent Project students and alumni for their outstanding efforts to free this innocent man.

You can read the full story here.
See the Law School’s website generally at wmich.edu/law.

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Filed under Faculty Scholarship, Latest News and Updates, The Value of a Legal Education, WMU-Cooley Innocence Project

When Science Fails Us and We Fail Justice

Thomas M. Cooley Law Review

Members of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review have been writing on a broad range of topics.  This post summarizes an article by Colin Maguire about junk science.

The legal system is far from perfect. Sometimes, the system can even create gross injustices.

That was the case with David Gavitt – a man who served over two decades in prison after he was wrongly convicted of killing his wife and young children. At the time of his conviction, the scientific consensus was that someone set a fire that engulfed David’s house, injured him, and killed his family. With no other suspects, a jury convicted David of setting the fatal fire.

Years later, it was revealed that the “science” used to convict David was junk science . . . and David was not the only person affected as a result of bad arson science. The Thomas M. Cooley Law Review’s Publicity Editor, Colin W. Maguire, visited Imran Syed, Staff Attorney at the University of Michigan Law School’s Innocence Clinic. Mr. Syed started working on David’s case as a law student and was there to accompany David out of prison after he was exonerated. You can read the interview on the Review‘s website in a piece entitled “When Science Fails Us & We Fail Justice: A Conversation About the Tragic Case of David Gavitt.” In this in-depth interview, Maguire and Syed explore the details of this injustice. The interview also looks at remedies that attorneys and lawmakers should consider when dealing with a clear case of bad science leading to bad convictions.

Read Mr. Maguire’s article in full.

See the Cooley Law Review on line

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