Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison recently announced the 16 members of the state’s new Conviction Review Unit, which will review legal cases for people believed to be innocent.
Five of the members are Mitchell Hamline alums:
- Tamara Cabán-Ramirez ’05
- John Choi ’95
- Nadine Graves ’17
- Caroline Palmer ’98
- Karin Sonneman ’89
Choi is also a member of the Mitchell Hamline Board of Trustees; Graves and Palmer are adjunct professors at Mitchell Hamline.
The project, funded through a federal grant, is a collaboration between the attorney general’s office and the Great North Innocence Project (formerly the Innocence Project of Minnesota). The Innocence Project of Minnesota was previously headquartered at Hamline University School of Law until the 2015 combination of William Mitchell and Hamline Law. It now is housed at the University of Minnesota Law School but continues to utilize Mitchell Hamline students in working on cases.
The organization has helped free several people from prison, most recently Myon Burrell. Burrell was released after spending 18 years in prison and after an independent panel of experts from across the nation recommended his release. He maintained his innocence after being sentenced to life in prison for killing an 11-year old girl, Tyesha Edwards. The Executive Director of the Innocence Project, Sara Jones, is a former gift planning officer and current adjunct faculty member at Mitchell Hamline.
“No justice system can be successful without the trust of the public,” said Attorney General Ellison, in a statement announcing the new panel. “By collaborating with community activists, national criminal-justice experts, and prosecutors, we are striving for a more perfect system.”