The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted
Now free, thanks to Rubin Hurricane Carter, New York Exoneree, David McCallum will be presenting the first annual Rubin Hurricane Carter Champion of Justice Award at the Reception.
The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) is hosting the second International Wrongful Conviction Day, October 2, 2015. The annual event will highlight the need to prevent and remedy wrongful convictions around the world.
The media is encouraged to cover Wrongful Conviction Day. The Association’s pro bono lawyers, board members and some of the people who have been wrongly convicted and participants are available for interviews before and on October 2.
Event in Toronto October 2nd, 2015:
Law Society of Upper Canada
Lecture in the Lamont Learning Centre 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Presenters: Jonathan Rudin – Program Director, Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto
& Professor Kent Roach – internationally recognized author and highly respected expert in Wrongful Convictions; Professor of Law and Prichard-Wilson Chair of Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
Reception at the Law Society of Ontario, Convocation Hall 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
LECTURE: AIDWYC will present a lecture titled Wrongful Convictions: Who is at Risk and Why? Professor Kent Roach offered the following explanation as to the importance of this particular topic,
“Wrongful convictions raise important and often disturbing questions of professional responsibility for all actors in the criminal justice system.”
RECEPTION: AIDWYC will be hosting a reception – with a full program titled Marginalized Communities and Wrongful Convictions. Former Canadian League Football (CFL) linebacker Orlando Bowen, who was a victim of police brutality and drug planting, will address the audience at the Second Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day Reception. Mr. Bowen knows only too well the devastation and horrifying consequences of a false accusation.
Mr. Bowen said: “I felt it imperative to be part of Wrongful Conviction Day, because I have a message to impart. I want to put my voice with others to ensure that no other person has to suffer as I and my family did because of a false accusation. A false accusation which could have all too easily lead to a wrongful conviction and even more devastating consequences to me and my family. I believe it is crucial that every member of the public and especially those involved in the criminal justice system should do everything they can to prevent innocent persons from being convicted of crimes they have not committed.
I am glad to take part in such an important and necessary day. It is vital for the public to realize how frail our criminal justice system is and to insist that all involved in the process do their jobs properly, honestly and openly to avoid future wrongful convictions. Let my story be a testament that wrongful convictions can happen to anyone!”
Also present at the Reception and available for media interviews are individuals who have suffered the terrible pain of wrongful convictions and who represent Canada, Australia and the United States. Amongst the special guests attending are Jimmy Coffin from Canada whose father, Wilbert Coffin, was hanged in Quebec in 1956, David McCallum from the United States, and Exoneree Gordon Wood, from Australia. All are available for interviews.
New York Exoneree, David McCallum will be presenting the first annual Rubin Hurricane Carter Champion of Justice Award to Dr. Carter posthumously; accepting the award will be Dr. Carter’s co-accused John Artis. Mr. McCallum wrote to Rubin Hurricane Carter in 2004, who for the next 10 years championed Mr. McCallum’s case until Dr. Carter’s death in 2014. Two months prior to his death, Dr. Carter wrote a letter calling for Mr. McCallum’s case to be re-investigated…his dying wish came true in October 2014. Mr. McCallum and his co-accused Willie Stuckey were both16- years- old when they were convicted of a homicide in Brooklyn, NY, that they did not commit. Tragically, Willie Stuckey died of a heart attack in prison in 2001. Mr. McCallum spent 29 years in prison before being exonerated. The film “David and Me” (2014) was produced by Canadians Ray Klonsky and Marc Lamy who also worked tirelessly to clear Mr. McCallum’s name.
Mr. McCallum feels that Rubin Hurricane Carter was the main reason he and his co-accused Willie Stuckey were exonerated. Mr. McCallum shared the following, “We need a Wrongful Conviction Day to remind us all of how badly flawed our criminal justice system continues to be and why the work to exonerate the wrongly convicted is necessary. Wrongful Conviction Day should be a time to remind everyone of the significant number of people languishing in prisons for crimes they did not commit. To present the Rubin Hurricane Carter Champion of Justice Award in honour of Rubin is significant and will always have a special meaning for me because I was the beneficiary of Rubin’s last work. The award is significant because it acknowledges Rubin’s selfless commitment of seeking justice for those who are wrongly convicted and I am very excited to know that Wrongful Conviction Day will acknowledge and highlight his work and many achievements.”
John Honderich, the Chair of Torstar Voting Trust, will be presenting the first annual Tracey Tyler Award. This award was created by AIDWYC to honour the late Toronto Star reporter, Tracey Tyler, who had a keen sense of justice and a passion for reporting on civil and criminal justice matters. Tracey Tyler covered many cases of wrongful conviction in her 25 year career. Tracey Tyler’s family will be present to accept the Award. Mr. Honderich said, “I am delighted to present the very first Tracey Tyler Award. Tracey always embodied the finest in court and judicial journalism and her passion for the rights of all, particularly the wrongfully accused, was without limit.”
AIDWYC is a Canadian non-profit organization that is the direct successor to the Justice for Guy Paul Morin Committee, a grassroots organization that came into existence in support of Guy Paul Morin immediately following his wrongful conviction for murder in the summer of 1992. This Committee reconstituted itself as AIDWYC in May 1993. The group’s volunteers have reviewed hundreds of cases, leading to the successful exoneration of 20 innocent individuals, who together have spent 190 years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. Please visit AIDWYC’s website at www.aidwyc.org for more detailed information about its important work and its clients.