Women's Project

UPDATE: San Antonio Four officially found innocent!

On November 23, 2016 the Criminal Appeals Court of Texas found Kristie Mayhugh, Elizabeth Rameriz, Cassandra Rivera, and Anna Vasquez innocent of all charges against them. The CWC Women's Project is thrilled for all four women and we wish them the very best. Congratulations to the Innocence Project of Texas! More details available here

Women's Project screens San Antonio Four documentary

On September 29, 2016, the Women's Project hosted a screening of Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four. The San Antonio Four are Kristie Mayhugh, Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez, four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted in 1997 sexually abusing two children. Their attorney, Mike Ware, began the program by discussing the recently passed Texas junk science law that helped free them. Following the film screening, these inspiring women discussed their experience and their continuing efforts to clear their names and answered questions from the audience. Event page Facebook photo album

CWC staff and San Antonio Four

Women's Project Featured in Mother Jones Magazine

Kristine Bunch

The attorneys of the Women’s Project, and Center on Wrongful Convictions client Kristine Bunch, are featured in an in-depth article by Molly Redden in the current issue of Mother Jones. The article discusses Kristine’s case, the reasons behind the formation of the Women’s Project, and some of the unique characteristics of Women’s Project cases. Andrea Lewis, Kristine Bunch, and Karen Daniel were interviewed on August 5, 2015, on HuffPost Live #FreeSpeechZone.

In Memoriam: Joyce Ann Brown

Our hearts are heavy; Joyce Ann Brown passed away on June 13, 2015. Wrongfully convicted in 1980, exonerated in 1990, she devoted her life to fighting for imprisoned women and victims of injustice everywhere. In 2012 she came to Chicago to help launch our Women's Project, and all who attended will never forget her powerful and passionate speaking presence. RIP Joyce; you will be greatly missed and long loved. 

Why Women's Cases Are Different

Innocent women accused of heinous crimes face extraordinary challenges. In many cases, they are suspected of harming their children or other loved ones.

67.1% of female exonerees were convicted in cases where no crime occurred.

As a result, when under investigation, they are coping with deep personal losses, rendering them especially vulnerable to high-pressure interrogation tactics that sometimes lead to false confessions or seemingly inculpatory statements.
When women—traditionally viewed as nurturers and protectors—are accused of murdering or sexually abusing children, they are particularly reviled by society, including, of course, by police, prosecutors, judges, jurors, and witnesses.

40% of female exonerees were convicted of killing or harming loved ones or children in their care.

In cases in which no crime has occurred—such as those arising from accidental or natural deaths that are mistaken for homicides—convictions are likely to ensue. Because the evidence in such cases is often entirely circumstantial, identifying wrongful convictions is difficult and rectifying them is complicated.
*Statistics cited on this webpage are from the National Registry of Exonerations as of June 26, 2016.