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City Club of Eugene: Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Oregon Innocence Project

People standing around near table with "This is Innocence" sign
M.Martinez
/
Oregon Innocence Project

Program date: March 17, 2023

Air date: March 20, 2023

From the City Club of Eugene:

Nothing offends our sense of justice as much as an innocent person being incarcerated—or killed—for a crime that he or she did not commit. We want the justice system to be both rigorous and equitable, yet every year we read about people being released from jail, because new evidence conclusively proves their innocence.

The original Innocence Project, founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld, is a legal clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. It works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair and compassionate systems of justice for everyone. Innocence organizations have been formed in its mold throughout the county and are all coordinated through the international Innocence Network. The Oregon Innocence Project (OIP) of the Oregon Justice Resource Center is the only member organization of the Innocence Network in Oregon; it was founded in 2014.

In this program, attorneys from the Oregon Innocence Project describe the causes of wrongful convictions, the individuals who benefit from OIP’s work, the methods of proving innocence, how the cases are selected, and the work of the volunteers.

Speakers:

Lisa Christon joined the Oregon Innocence Project as a volunteer staff attorney in 2018. Since then, she has reviewed and investigated cases for OIP, as well as advocating for Oregon Justice Resource Center on juvenile issues, such as the reform of Oregon’s Measure 11 and its application to juvenile offenders. She graduated from the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law and moved to Chicago, where she became a trial specialist in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, handling both state appellate criminal cases and juvenile court trials. She also taught appellate advocacy at John Marshall School of Law. After moving west, Lisa worked as an assistant district attorney in Lane County Juvenile Court, and taught criminal law at Western Oregon University. She now serves as a senior civil rights investigator with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Kenneth Kreuscher is the Oregon Innocence Project’s managing attorney, litigating and coordinating OIP’s cases alongside staff and volunteer counsel, paralegals, investigators, and law students. He has been an Oregon criminal-defense and civil-rights attorney since 2006. He has represented criminal defendants and/or civil-rights plaintiffs in both state and federal court at trial, on direct appeal, on state post-conviction, and on habeas review. His cases have ranged from political-protest violations and misdemeanors to Measure 11 mandatory-prison-sentence cases to death-penalty and life-term murders. He graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School. His professional work has always focused on combating state and governmental overreach or neglect and using his skills and access as a lawyer to work for a more just and equitable world.

About the City Club of Eugene:

The mission of the City Club of Eugene is to build community vision through open inquiry. The Club explores a wide range of significant local, state, and national issues and helps to formulate new approaches and solutions to problems. Membership is open to all, and Club members have a direct influence on public policy by discussing issues of concern with elected officials and other policy makers. The City Club’s mailing address is PO Box 12084, Eugene, OR 97440, and its website is cityclubofeugene.org.

Video and Broadcast

This program will be live streamed, and the videotape will be made available on the City Club of Eugene’s Facebook page and You Tube Channel, in addition to our website. It will be broadcast on Monday, at 7:00 pm, on KLCC 89.7 FM.

Contact: For more information, contact City Club of Eugene at(541) 485-7433, administrator@cityclubofeugene.org

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