Keynote Conversation: Do We Need an Innocence Commission?

Date: April 13
Time: 4:30 pm
Price: FREE
Location: The Haven
Partner Website: Click Here

As examples of exoneration stories become more prevalent it raises questions about procedures in place throughout the criminal justice system. Is an Innocence commission needed; to either review data that informs policy, or as a body to expedite judicial reviews where exculpatory evidence has emerged?

A driving force of exonerations are technological advances in forensics and DNA testing. This panel will parse the science of exoneration with leaders in the field such as:

  • Brandon Garrett - U.Va. Law faculty whose recent book, Convicting The Innocent has gained national recognition through examining the first 250 confirmed DNA exonerations and the mis-steps that led to conviction.
  • J.E. Chip Harding - Sheriff of Albemarle County (Rep) and early proponent of expanding DNA databases in Virginia. Sheriff Harding was honored as one of the “top 10 Cops in America” by Parade Magazine/International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2007. Chip does pro-bono investigative work for the Innocence Project and he was the first sheriff in America to be featured on the Innocence Project National Web Site.
  • Deirdre Enright, Director of Investigation for the Innocence Project Clinic at U.Va. Law.
  • Stephen Braga, Director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic at U.Va. Law, has has been recognized as one of the "Best Lawyers In America" in numerous practice areas. He has received several awards for successful high-profile pro bono representations involving exoneration.
  • John Whitehead, Founder of the Rutherford Institute, is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law, human rights and popular culture and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most vocal and involved civil liberties attorneys. John's new book "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State," was named a 2013 finalist in the Foreword Review Book of the Year Awards.



  • John Whitehead, Founder, Rutherford Institute

  • Deirdre Enright, Director of Investigation, Innocence...

  • J.E. Chip Harding, Albemarle County Sheriff

  • Brandon Garrett, Professor of Law (U.Va.)

  • Stephen Braga, Professor of Law (U.Va.)