2019 has been a very busy year for the Oklahoma Innocence Project. Legal Administrator, Cheryl Burns just finished her first year of work with the Project. If you have not been in the Project for a while, I invite you to come in. Cheryl has spent the last year organizing and rearranging the office space to accommodate our students and numerous volunteers. She has also created more office space, as we have added a full-time Legal Director to the Project.
Andrea Miller, who has been the Project’s clinical professor for the past three years, joined OKIP full time in July as our Legal Director. Andrea had an impressive career with the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office and upon her retirement from the Public Defender’s office agreed to join OKIP. We are so happy to have her years of experience and analytical ability in reviewing cases for the Project’s clients.
We are also very excited to announce that an Advisory Board for OKIP has been formed. Bonnie and Cullen Thomas, Valerie Couch, John Hudson and Brent Stockwell have agreed to serve on OKIP’s Advisory Board. Their role will be to advise OKIP on fundraising and policy. The Advisory Board had its first meeting on August 2, 2019, where we discussed our caseload and resource needs. We are grateful to our Board members for their willingness to serve on the Board and look forward to their leadership and direction.
In August, the NY Innocence Project reached out to our Executive Director, Vicki Behenna to testify on September 10, 2019, at the Congressional House Science Committee hearing on progress in forensic science 10 years after the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report, "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward." The committee is interested in learning about progress made and considering work that still needs to be done. This is quite an honor to be asked among all other Innocence Projects across the country.