The Vanguard Court Watch Fifth Annual Event this year will be “Preventing Wrongful Convictions,” on November 14 at 5 pm at the Galleria in West Sacramento. This streamlined event will feature three speakers and a panel discussion on Wrongful Convictions.
The keynote speaker will be Justin Brooks, Professor at California Western School of Law and Director and Co-Founder of the California Innocence Project. He has been recognized several times by the Los Angeles Daily Transcript as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California. In 2010 and 2012, California Lawyer recognized him with an “Attorneys of the Year” award.
Justin Brooks co-founded the California Innocence Project 16 years ago. He has exonerated several high profile clients, including football player Brian Banks.
Another client, Michael Ray Hanline, had served 36 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. He was freed from prison in November and the DA announced in April that he would not be retried.
The LA Times reported, “Prosecutors believed Hanline became jealous after learning that he and McGarry were romantically involved with the same woman. They alleged Hanline and an accomplice killed McGarry in 1978. Hanline was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Years later, officials discovered that DNA evidence collected at the crime scene did not match Hanline’s or that of his alleged accomplice, according to court documents. A key witness was also under the influence of drugs when she testified against him.”
The Times noted that when Justin Brooks started the California Innocence Project 16 years ago, Mr. Hanline’s letter was one of the first he received.
The program will also feature Rick Walker, an exonerated inmate and a board member of the Northern California Innocence Project. In 1991, Rick Walker was
convicted of murder in the grisly death of a young California woman. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
After 12 years in California’s toughest prisons, from San Quentin to Pelican Bay, Rick Walker was at last exonerated in 2003.
Finally, Advocates for Ajay Dev will do a presentation on the case of Ajay Dev who was convicted in 2009 in Yolo County for the rape of his adopted daughter. The case is currently on appeal, but the Vanguard and many supporters have come to believe that Mr. Dev is wrongly convicted.
The speeches will be followed by a panel discussion on the issue of wrongful convictions.
The event will feature dinner and drinks. Due to time considerations and by request, the Vanguard has omitted the awards portion of the evening.
The event will take place on Saturday, November 14, 2015, from 5 to 8 pm. It will be held at the West Sacramento Civic Center Galleria located at 1100 West Capitol Ave, West Sacramento, CA 95691.
This is the Vanguard Court Watch’s fifth annual dinner. This year we will be at the Galleria in West Sacramento. Our topic is Wrongful Convictions.
Justin Brooks, California Innocence Project
Rick Walker, Enonerated Inmate, Board Member NCIP
Advocates For Ajay, Advocates for Wrongfully Convicted Yolo County Man
Doors open at 5 pm. Speachers at 5:30. Panel discussion at 6:30. Question and answer to follow.
Tickets $50 in advance, $55 at the door.
Sponsorships start at $100. Tables for $350 (eight seats).