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Overturning Wrongful Convictions



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“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Julia hosts a fascinating and insightful hour about the wrongful convictions of young people. She begins by citing the incarceration of Kenneth Hovland, who faced four decades of wrongful conviction. She also highlights DNA testing. The emergence of DNA technology has not only enabled us to identify perpetrators with unprecedented accuracy but has also served as a beacon of hope for those who have been wrongfully convicted. Organizations like the Innocence Project have tirelessly championed the use of DNA testing to exonerate innocent individuals, offering them a second chance at freedom and redemption. Since 1989, a staggering 575 people in the United States alone have been exonerated based on DNA testing. These are individuals who were once deemed guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, yet whose innocence was revealed through the power of science and perseverance.

Julia then interviews teen Bijan Taheri, founder and director of Youth for Innocence, an organization dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions. Through volunteering, Youth for Innocence gives students first-hand experience with criminal law, aid lawyers in investigating the thousands of letters they receive from prisoners claiming innocence while taking the first step for prisoners to achieve their exoneration. They provide an initial training program to teach student volunteers to evaluate cases, examine new evidence, and assist pro bono attorneys with RT notes and summaries of cases. Volunteers then apply this knowledge to real-life cases, gaining first-hand experience with legal work and the administration of justice, and earning community service hours. Bijan personally conducted RT notes for defense attorney Ellen Eggers, as seen on Netflix’s Innocence Files Episode 5, on cases to reinvestigate and exonerate innocent prisoners.

The conversation is riveting and the topic is of critical importance. Tune in!

 

Bio:  Bijan Taheri is a high school senior at the Davidson Academy in Reno, NV. He is the founder and director of Youth for Innocence, an organization dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions. Originally becoming involved in exoneration work through his homeschool counselor, he has worked on many wrongful conviction cases, including the recent California exoneree Miguel Solorio with public defender Ellen Eggers, who was featured on Episode 5 of The Innocence Files. His ultimate goal is to expand the organization to worldwide scale and impact, drawing on cases and recruits across all parts of the globe. In his free time, he enjoys furthering his economics research at the University of Nevada Reno, playing the viola in various orchestras, and puzzle-hunting with friends. Website: https://www.youthforinnocence.org

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Listen at Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/149028/overturning-wrongful-convictions

 


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