Center on Wrongful Convictions

Want to witness justice? Live-Streaming Now: CWC Client Huwe Burton Being Exonerated NOW of 1989 Murder of His Mother

RIGHT NOW, our client Huwe Burton’s exoneration is being live-streamed from a Bronx courtroom, starting at 11 AM Central/12 PM Eastern.  Watch by clicking here:

Wrongly convicted in 1989 of the murder of his own mother when he was just sixteen years old, Huwe is represented by a team of lawyers and law school faculty including the Center on Wrongful Convictions’ Steven Drizin, the Innocence Project’s Susan Friedman and Barry Scheck, and Laura Cohen of Rutgers Law School’s Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic.  Huwe is only one of hundreds around the country who falsely confessed during police interrogation to a heinous crime.  Watch him finally obtain justice after spending 19 years in prison, courtesy of the Innocence Project’s livestream technology. 


In 1989, sixteen-year-old Bronx resident Huwe Burton falsely confessed during a psychologically coercive police interrogation to the murder of his own mother.  CWC Director Steven Drizin accepted Huwe’s case in 2009 and initiated collaborations with Rutgers Law School and the Innocence Project shortly afterward.  Working together, this incredible team convinced the Bronx District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit to undertake a two-year joint reinvestigation of the case.  At the end of this reinvestigation, the CIU recommended that all charges should be dismissed, based on new scientific understandings of the way in which the psychological pressures of the interrogation room can yield false confessions.  Now more than 40 years old, Huwe wrongly served 19 years in prison for his own mother’s murder.


The court filings that led to Huwe’s exoneration are products not only of the advocacy of CWC faculty, students, and partners, but they also extensively on research and scholarship produced by Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s own Center on Wrongful Convictions about the ways in which standard police interrogation techniques can be so psychologically coercive that they can cause not only the guilty, but also the innocent, to falsely confess. 


We stand proudly with Huwe, his family, and our partners at Rutgers Law and the Innocence Project on this unspeakably poignant day.  Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts, Huwe.

CWC Client Eric Blackmon Exonerated!

On January 16, 2019, the Cook County State's Attorney dismissed first degree murder charges against CWC client Eric Blackmon, who had served almost 16 years in prison. Read more about Eric's case here.

Media: NBC Chicago storyChicago Tribune storyChicago Sun-Times story

 Eric with CWC team


CWC client Tommy Ward featured in The Innocent Man, premiering on Netflix December 14, 2018

The Innocent Man Netflix series includes the story of the Center on Wrongful Convictions’ client Tommy Ward. Tommy was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 because of a false confession and official misconduct. The CWC, along with Oklahoma licensed attorney Mark Barret, continue to fight for Tommy in his post-conviction proceedings before a district court in Oklahoma.

 Learn more about Tommy's case

CWC Client Marcel Brown Exonerated!

On July 18, 2018, Cook County prosecutors dismissed first-degree murder charges against CWC client Marcel Brown, who had served 10 years in prison, since the age of 18. Read more about Marcel's here.

Video clip of Marcel walking free from the courthouse with his CWC attorneys and family members: Marcel Brown release clip

 Marcel leaving court

Wrongful Conviction podcast featuring CWC exoneree Jason Strong

Corey Batchelor and codefendant Kevin Bailey Exonerated!

On January 30, 2018, murder charges were dismissed against Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth client Corey Batchelor and his codefendant Kevin Bailey, who maintained they were physically coerced into falsely confessing to a 1989 murder. Media coverage here and here.

CWC Client Gabriel Solache Exonerated!

On December 21, 2017, murder and kidnapping charges were dismissed against CWC client Gabriel Solache, a former death row inmate, and his codefendant Arturo Reyes - both of whom had been behind bars for nearly 20 years. The dismissals followed lengthy post-conviction proceedings during which a Cook County Circuit Court judge found credible evidence that former Chicago detective Reynaldo Guevara had engaged in a pattern and practice of misconduct, and further that Guevara lied in court and could not be considered credible in any proceeding. Read more about Gabriel's case here.

Media coverage here and here.

Gabriel Solache and Karen Daniel

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

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.

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

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
  • 2017: Laura Caldwell and Joey Mogul
  • 2018: Kristine Bunch and Juan Rivera

Thomas P. Sullivan Justice Award:

  • 2018: Stephen B. Bright

Center on Wrongful Convictions Lifetime Achievement Award:

  • 2018: Thomas F. Geraghty

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.