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11th Annual Defenders of the Innocent Event
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Springfield, IL

Featuring Attorney Jerry Buting, co-counsel for Steven Avery, as shown in the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer” and IIP’s 11th Exoneree Bill Amor

Announcing IIP’s 2018 Defender of the Innocent Awardees

IIP’s Defender Award honors individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated exemplary work on behalf of the innocent. This year, IIP recognizes:

Bill with his sister and trial team (from EP, Atzimba Parra, far left, and Tara Thompson, 3rd from left) 
Exoneration Project

The Exoneration Project (EP), a pro bono legal clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, provided critical work and countless resources toward the exoneration of IIP client Bill Amor. Attorney Tara Thompson, a founding member of EP, led the trial team that proved Bill’s innocence once and for all, after his 22 years of wrongful imprisonment. For more ...

Lt. Paul Echols

Lt. Paul Echols (retired), of the Carbondale, Ill., Police Department, exemplifies the ultimate quest for justice in his continuing effort to seek the posthumous exoneration of Grover Thompson, now 22 years after the innocent man died in prison. During his investigation into serial killer Tim Krajcir, Lt. Echols learned Grover had been wrongly convicted for a crime to which Krajcir later confessed. For more ...

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UIS Student Interns Represent a Variety of Academic Programs

IIP is the only university-based innocence organization that educates students about wrongful convictions and includes them in the heart of post-conviction and post-exoneration work. Here we introduce two IIP interns who will graduate from UIS in May.

Jaclyn Fabing, from St. Charles, Ill., is majoring in political science and minoring in psychology. Evaluating cases and presenting them to IIP attorneys gives her a full picture of the people asking for help and how easy it is “to get wrapped up with the law when you haven’t done anything,” she says. “The system that exists now needs an overhaul to protect innocent people.”

Jaclyn hopes to work in local politics after graduation and eventually pursue her passion for the history and cultures of other countries through a career in international relations.


Tommie Redmond, from Chicago, is majoring in social work and minoring in criminal justice. He is helping IIP vision an exoneree reentry plan by researching services needed upon release and how IIP can support those needs.

“Commitment and support are key,” Tommie says. “Whether that’s attending a client’s trial or working on a case, everything we do at IIP does really make the client happy and they are appreciative because they see we care and are committed to proving their innocence.”

Tommie has a deep interest in the well-being of others. After graduation, he plans to help troubled youth make positive choices and live healthy lifestyles, and eventually join the FBI Office for Victim Assistance to help abuse victims connect with resources to overcome the trauma they have suffered.