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 Celebrating with Teshome, Erica Nichols Cook, IIP former staff attorney (L) and Lauren Kaeseberg, IIP staff attorney (R).

IIP client Teshome Campbell walked out of Danville Correctional Center at 2:40 p.m. after spending 17 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit.

Federal Court recently issued an order granting Teshome a new trial as a result of federal habeas proceedings. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan decided not to appeal that order.  After considering whether a new case against Teshome would be justified after so many years, Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz decided not to go forward.

Teshome has always maintained his innocence for the 1998 murder for which he was wrongly convicted primarily due to the failure of his trial counsel to investigate and interview witnesses who would have testified to his innocence.

Teshome’s pro se habeas petition was originally denied by the district court, but thanks to the work of the Madison office of Perkins Coie (which accepted a pro bono appointment) the 7th Circuit remanded for an evidentiary hearing. After that evidentiary hearing, the district court ordered a new trial.

 Teshome speaks to the press with Erica Nichols Cook, former IIP staff attorney, and surrounded by family, including his brother Jerome, and IIP students.

“We are delighted that Teshome is free after so many years in prison for a crime he did not commit,” John Hanlon, executive and legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project, says. "We thank Perkins Coie, and former IIP attorney Erica Nichols Cook and the IIP students who worked diligently on this case under a federal Wrongful Convictions grant."