Center on Wrongful Convictions


CWC Client Raymond McCann II Exonerated!

On December 7, 2017, prosecutors dismissed perjury charges against Raymond McCann II, who had been wrongly suspected of murdering a young girl in Michigan in 2007, and then wrongly convicted of perjury in 2015 for statements he made during the murder investigation. McCann was represented in post-conviction proceedings by the Center on Wrongful Convictions and the Michigan Innocence Clinic. Read more about McCann's case here. Read our press release here.

Ray McCann and CWC attorney Greg Swygert


Pardon Randy Steidl


CWC Client Kerry Masterson Exonerated!

On November 2, 2017, Kerry Masterson was found not guilty after a second jury trial. Kerry was represented at her retrial by the Center on Wrongful Convictions and Neal Gerber Eisenberg. Read more about Kerry's case here. Read our press release here. Media coverage here and here.

Kerry and her CWC attorneys


How Dana Holland Became the Country's First Double Exoneree

Read the WTTW Chicago article

Dana Holland release

More about Dana Holland


The CWC weighs in: Is Chicago really the 'False Confession Capital'?

Read the WTTW Chicago article

Terrill Swift

More about Terrill Swift and the Englewood Four case


CWC Director Karen Daniel's podcast interview on eyewitness identification evidence


"Exonerated" film

"Exonerated" vividly captures six of our clients' experiences before and after their exonerations. We gratefully thank photographer Andy Goodwin for creating this film, and we congratulate him for winning Best In Show at The Midwest Independent Film Festival.


Brendan Dassey's case heard by full Seventh Circuit

Brendan Dassey's petition for a writ of habeas corpus was granted on August 12, 2016, on the ground that his confession was involuntary. Click here to read the opinion. A Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed on June 22, 2017. Click here to read the opinion. The Seventh Circuit granted en banc review, and on September 26, 2017, the full court heard oral arguments. Click here to listen to the arguments. Brendan is a client of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth and his case achieved national prominence after release of the Netflix series Making a Murderer.

Nirider-Dassey-Drizin


Circuit Court grants Gabriel Solache's post-conviction petition, orders former CPD Detective Reynaldo Guevara to testify under prosecution's immunity grant

On July 29, 2016, a Cook County Circuit Court judge granted Gabriel Solache's post-conviction petition, which was first filed by the Center on Wrongful Convictions in 2003. Judge James Michael Obbish found that Mr. Solache and his codefendant, Arturo Reyes, made a substantial showing that their confessions were obtained through abuse and coercion by former Chicago Police detective Reynaldo Guevara. Click here to read the opinion. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office has since granted Guevara immunity in an effort to induce him to testify, and Judge Obbish has ordered that Guevara must testify at the new suppression hearing scheduled to begin on October 17, 2017. See here and here for media coverage.

Gabriel Solache


Charles Johnson exonerated

CWC client Charles Johnson was granted a new trial on July 11, 2016, based on fingerprint evidence discovered after trial pointing to an alternative suspect. On February 15, 2017, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped all charges against Charles and his coodefendants Larod Styles, LaShawn Ezell, and Troshawn McCoy, all of whom were only teenagers when they falsely confessed to a 1995 double murder. More...

Charles Johnson


CWC Director Karen Daniel discusses wrongful convictions on the Undisclosed podcast


Steve Drizin and Laura Nirider discuss the Brendan Dassey false confession case


The friendship of two CWC clients is front-page news

Christopher Coleman and Dana Holland

Dana Holland and Christopher Coleman shared more than a cell in prison; they shared claims of innocence and dreams of freedom. Eventually, they also shared an attorney: Karen Daniel, now Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions. Chicago Tribune investigative reporter Steve Mills details their friendship and their eventual exonerations, a decade apart, in this incredible story: Innocent prisoners jailed in same cell forge friendship, and freedom.


Jane Beber Abramson Award

Thanks to the generosity of the family of the late Jane Beber Abramson, the Center on Wrongful Convictions is able to specially recognize one or more individuals every year "for extraordinary dedication to pursuing justice for the wrongly convicted." The award winners to date are:

  • 2008: Judy Royal and Ron Safer
  • 2009: Marian Tomlinson
  • 2010: Gary Elden and Phyllis Mandler
  • 2011: James Kaplan
  • 2012: Amy Kaplan
  • 2013: Amy Berg, Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, Peter Jackson, David McMahon, and Fran Walsh
  • 2014: Mararet Soffin and Susan Swanson
  • 2015: Michael Sklar
  • 2016: Esther Hernandez

In Memoriam: Our Beloved Jane Raley

Jane Raley

It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of Co-Director Jane Raley, a member of our legal staff since 2000 and truly the heart of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.  She died peacefully at home on Christmas morning 2014, surrounded by her loving family.

The cause of criminal justice lost one of our greatest and most compassionate warriors.  Jane was an incredible lawyer, a tenacious advocate for her clients, a revered mentor of law students and young lawyers, and an exceptionally loving and caring person.  All who knew her will miss her beyond measure.  Many innocent men and women are free from their convictions due to Jane’s work, and many young lawyers are out doing good in the world—and understand the good that attorneys can accomplish—due to Jane’s magnificent example during her 14 years as a law professor at Northwestern University School of Law.

A sampling of online tributes to Jane:

Rest in peace, our dear Jane.

(In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her memory to the Jane Raley Memorial Fund at Northwestern University School of Law. Please contact emily.mullin@law.northwestern.edu for more information.)