WMU-Cooley Innocence Project case is featured on Netflix

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The WMU-Cooley Law School Innocence Project’s exoneration of Kenneth Wyniemko in 2003 is featured in a new Netflix series, The Innocence Files.

Wyniemko was convicted of a 1994 criminal sexual conduct, breaking and entering, and armed robbery, in Clinton Township. The victim had very little opportunity to view the assailant, but Wyniemko was still convicted based on the victim’s identification and a government informant.

None of the physical evidence linked Wyniemko to the crime scene. And Wyniemko’s attorney only had two days to prepare for trial.

The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project obtained post-conviction DNA testing in 2003. With assistance from Attorney Gail Pamukov, Wyniemko’s conviction was overturned and all charges were dismissed by Macomb County prosecutors on June 17, 2013. Five years later the actual perpetrator was identified through the DNA data bank.

“Learning more about the story behind Ken’s wrongful conviction will be shocking,” said Marla Mitchell-Cichon, director of WMU-Cooley’s Innocence Project.

Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, co-founders of the Innocence Project Network, are consulting executives and have worked with agents, lawyers, Netflix, and the directors for more than three years to produce the series. The nine-episode documentary shines a light on the personal stories behind eight wrongful convictions, including Wyniemko’s.

The Innocence Files is executive produced and directed by Academy Award nominee Liz Garbus, Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney, Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams; with episodes also directed by Academy Award nominee Jed Rothstein, Emmy Award winner Andy Grieve and Sarah Dowland.

In addition to Wyniemko, other exonerated individuals featured in the Netflix series include:

•  Chester Hollman III, a former client of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, exonerated through a co-operative re-investigation with District Attorney’s Larry Krasner’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) led by Patricia Cummings;

•  Alfred Dewayne Brown, a client of pro bono counsel Brian Stolarz who worked years on the case, was finally exonerated after John Raley, working as a “special prosecutor” for the Harris County District Attorney, submitted a report clearing Brown;

•  Thomas Haynesworth, a former client of the Mid-Atlantic IP and the IP;

•  Franky Carrillo, a former client of the Northern California IP;

•  Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, former clients of the George C. Cochran IP and the IP;

•  Keith Harward, a former client of the IP.

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