Elon's Innocence Project presents research and hosts Dwayne Dail, exonerated after 18 years
On November 17, Elon Law students Daniel Harris, Leah Shellberg, Ashley Smith, Ben Synder, and Melissa Westmoreland presented research into potential wrongful convictions of individuals in North Carolina, before Christine Mumma, Executive Director of the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence. Elon's chapter of the Innocence Project also met Dwayne Allen Dail, exonerated after 18 years in prison for a rape he did not commit.
Law students presented findings on cases they have been researching over the semester and recommended whether or not the cases should be reviewed further. Mumma offered insights on their suggestions and advice for research on cases the students will receive next semester.
Mumma also introduced Dwayne Allen Dail, exonerated after 18 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. Dail spoke about his case and the issues he faced with eyewitness misidentification and unvalidated and improper forensic science. As a result of actions taken by the Center on Actual Innocence, DNA testing was done on evidence which had previously been presumed to be lost that proved Dail’s innocence and identified the rapist in the case.
Dail thanked students for the work they are doing with the Innocence Project, telling them that what they are doing for inmates across the state is important because, “they are people, people with families” and, for most, the Innocence Project is their last hope. Dail also offered his own experiences to help students in their review of Innocence Project cases.
Members of the Innocence Project receive cases each semester from inmates all over the state. They work in groups, reviewing cases to determine if there are any issues of innocence to pursue. At the end of the semester, they present memos to Mumma announcing their recommendations for the Center on Actual Innocence.
Members of the Elon Law chapter of the Innocence Project include:
A. Brennan Aberle, President
Danielle Appelman, Treasurer
Michael Sprague, Vice President (Training)
Ashley Thompson, Vice President (Case Manager)
By Ashley Smith, L'12