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UK Law Students Meet with Innocence Project Exonoree

On Friday, February 22, 2013, UK law students participating in the Kentucky Innocence Project Studentship met with exoneree Edwin Chandler. Mr. Chandler was wrongfully convicted of manslaughter and robbery for the shooting death and robbery of a convenience store clerk in 1993. At trial, an eyewitness told the jury that Mr. Chandler was not the man he saw in the store on the night of the crime. However, Mr. Chandler provided a confession to police that was used against him at trial. Even though Edwin recanted that confession at trial, telling the jury that it was a coerced confession and that police had told him they would arrest Chandler’s sister and take her children away, the jury found him guilty of manslaughter. With the help of the Kentucky Innocence Project (KIP), Mr. Chandler was exonerated in 2009, after serving 9 years in prison for robbery and second degree manslaughter. In 2012, he was awarded an $8.5 million settlement from Louisville Metro Government.

The students at the event included Didier Destine, Daniela Erazo, Sam Jones, Piayon Lassanah, Jon Mueller, Andre Rickman, and Mary Speer. They heard Mr. Chandler describe the story leading up to and since his exoneration, and also had the chance to ask questions. Also in attendance were Linda Smith, the KIP Director, and Jimmer Dudley, the KIP investigator. Both are instructors for the KIP Studentship. UK Law Professor Melissa Henke, faculty supervisor, and April, Brooks, staff associate, also attended the event.

The UK College of Law and other universities in the Commonwealth participate in the Kentucky Innocence Project (KIP), administered by the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy – the state’s provider of criminal defense services for the indigent. Second and third year UK law students can enroll in the Innocence Project Externship. Students receive four graded credit hours for this academic year (fall and spring semesters) long course.

KIP combines resources from the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy with those from educational institutions to provide quality investigative and legal assistance to Kentucky prisoners with provable claims of actual innocence. KIP does not limit cases to those where DNA evidence exists.