VERMILLION, S.D. -- What happens when the innocent are wrongfully convicted and subsequently incarcerated? Where do they go for help? Hear one man’s 12-year fight for justice as the Innocence Project of South Dakota (IPSD) presents Dennis Fritz on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in The University of South Dakota School of Law courtroom.
Fritz, author of "Journey Toward Justice," was leading an ordinary life when, on May 8, 1987, he was arrested on charges of rape and murder. An overzealous prosecutor intent on winning relied on flimsy circumstantial evidence and Fritz, though innocent, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. His co-defendant, Ronnie Williamson, was sentenced to death. After 12 years in prison, with the help of Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project and DNA testing, both men were exonerated and eventually walked away from prison as free men.
The IPSD at USD assists inmates convicted of crimes they did not commit who are serving prison sentences or awaiting execution for those crimes. Through the use of DNA evidence and additional forensic sciences, as well as independent research, the IPSD investigates all valid claims of innocence in order to exonerate South Dakota inmates who are wrongfully convicted and incarcerated. The Innocence Project of South Dakota (IPSD) is modeled after the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, created by Scheck and Peter Neufeld, at Yeshiva University.
For more information about Fritz’s presentation, which is free and open to the public, or the Innocence Project of South Dakota, please contact the USD School of Law at (605) 677-5443 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.