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NIU Law, Illinois Innocence Project join to host Oct. 2 panel disccusion on wrongful conviction

September 27, 2013

Logo of the Innocence ProjectBennie Starks is the featured guest from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, when the NIU College of Law and the Innocence Project of Illinois will host a panel discussion on wrongful conviction.

Starks was wrongly convicted in Lake County of a 1986 rape and battery that he did not commit. He spent the next 27 years fighting to clear his name, with 21 of those years spent in prison.

DNA testing established his innocence in 2001, but Starks remained in prison until 2006 and was not fully exonerated until 2013 when the newly elected Lake County state’s attorney took office and dismissed all of his charges.

His Certificate of Innocence, granted this week on Wednesday, Sept. 25, makes him eligible for compensation from the State of Illinois.

Starks spent over a decade fighting for his freedom after DNA proved his innocence: How could this happen in our own backyard?

To meet Starks, hear his story and learn more about the causes of wrongful conviction, come to the Riley Courtroom (Room 170 of Swen Parson Hall). Food and drinks will be provided.

The program is free and open to the public. Sponsors are the NIU College of Law, the Illinois Innocence Project, the NIU Criminal Law Society and the NIU American Constitution Society.

For more information, call (217) 206-8520 or email [email protected].