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November 13, 2009

Freeing the Innocent: Tiffany Dowling and Mike Ware to speak on the successful fight to exonerate Claude Simmons and Christopher Scott, November 19, 2009

The University of Texas School of Law’s Criminal Law Association will present speakers Tiffany Dowling, clinical instructor at the Law School’s Actual Innocence Clinic, and Mike Ware, chief of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, on November 19, 2009, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Jeffers Courtroom.

Dowling and Ware will discuss their work on the recent exonerations of Claude Simmons and Christopher Scott in Dallas and what everyone should know about wrongful convictions in Texas. Dinner will be provided.

In 1997, Claude Simmons and Christopher Scott were convicted of capital murder in Dallas County and sentenced to life in prison. The students and faculty at the Actual Innocence Clinic and University of Texas-Arlington’s Innocence Network investigated Simmons’s innocence claim. Scott was represented by Michelle Moore of the Dallas County Public Defender’s Office. The advocates brought the case to the attention of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which launched a full-fledged joint investigation with the Dallas Police Department’s Cold Case Unit last summer.

The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office announced on October 21, 2009, that the joint investigation had resulted in an arrest and capital murder charge against one man, and charges against another man already in prison. The arrests cleared the way for Simmons and Scott to be exonerated, and they were freed on October 23, 2009.

This event is cosponsored by the Law School’s Actual Innocence Clinic, the American Journal of Criminal Law, and the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law.

Related links:

University of Texas School of Law news story, “Actual Innocence Clinic Helps Exonerate Wrongfully Convicted Men

University of Texas at Austin feature story, “Actual Innocence Clinic Helps Exonerate Wrongfully Convicted Men

Dallas Morning News article, “2 men wrongly convicted in 1997 Dallas murder to be exonerated

Contact:

Mary Crouter, William Wayne Justice Center, 512-232-7855, mcrouter@law.utexas.edu