Innocence Matters is clearly and passionately a second-look organization for people who are wrongfully convicted in Los Angeles County. I thank Innocence Matters and my attorney, Deirdre O’Connor, for the dedication and passion to my Freedom and for setting the “truth” of my wrongful prosecution to be corrected within our judicial system. Without the commitment and loyalty of Deirdre O’Connor, I would still be wrongfully imprisoned and living life without the possibility of parole. Ultimately for my own survival and edification, I had to stay focused on a Life with One Purpose which is to have faith in GOD and to help other innocent women within the judicial system to touch freedom. Now as a free individual, I am living my new adventure and being a voice for Innocence Matters. Life is not worth living unless you are helping someone else. My life has truly evolved to a world of “GOD-Sents”. After seventeen (17) years of wrongful imprisonment, Deirdre was GOD’s angel sent to me with an impassioned pledge to prove my innocence and to unshackled me to my new journey in the “Free World”. I’ve always said from the moment I met Deirdre “She is the Real Deal”. The first time we met, she cried real tears of compassion; seriously, what attorney does that? My new world is open-handed with blessings of my family reunification and love. Deirdre herself is instrumental in making my family complete. I ultimately thank David Winkler for convincing Deirdre O’Connor for taking my case. He, is truly the “key” that opened my door to Freedom. I also thank all the interns that are associated with Innocence Matter; without their continued visits and inspiring communications, my term within the LA County Jail system would have been deplorable.
This organization help my friends mom get out of prison after 17 years for a murder she didn't commit
Thanks for everything
They did such a great job with the Susan Mullen case, the State of California should hire them and fire the incompetent prosecutors they have...
Innocence Matters provides a much needed service to people who have been unjustly incarcerated. Unfortunately our systems is based on which attorney is the best, most persuasive speaker. The truth often gets lost in the process. The system has failed many people and Innocence Matters is performing a much needed service to people who are unjustly incarcerated. They were successful in getting our dear friend's mother released after serving 17 years for a crime she had nothing to do with. We are so happy that Susan Mellen is now a free woman and reunited with her family.
Deirdre O'Conner and her team at Innocence Matters were instrumental in bringing home my friend Jessica Besch's mom Susan Mellen!!! Her freedom was long overdue. Jessica is very close to my cousin and her family so this was kind of close to home. Thank you for what you did!!!!
Innocence Matters brought my friends family back together again. Without their hard work and dedication an innocent women would still be behind bars for the rest of her life. So grateful that there are organizations out there like this helping those in need.
It is good to know that there are people out in the world that really cares about the people and will help fight for what is right. Deirdre O'Connor you are a true blessing to the Mellen family.
Innocence Matters is a first-class organization that quietly saves lives. Deirdre O'Connor is a highly effective advocate for innocent inmates. She's not afraid to take tough cases others might shy away from, and she wins them.
I am very thankful that Innocence Matters is working to protect the rights of those who have been wrongly accused and convicted of a crime. The work that Innocence Matters did in order to free Susan Marie Mellen from 17 years of incarceration in a California state prison is nothing less than heroic.
Susan Mellen was falsely accused of a 1997 murder, that had occurred in Lawndale California. Her accuser's name was June Patti, a meth head and habitual liar. While all the evidence was pointing to three gang members as the perpetrators of the crime, the LAPD detective on the case, Marcella Winn, began to build a case against Mellen based on this one accusation from a lying meth head who was known to several local law enforcement agencies as an unreliable witness. Winn knew this about Patti, but kept the information out of official records, so neither the prosecuting attorney nor the defense attorney knew the truth about June Patti and her lying ways. To say that Winn was lazy and performed her sworn duty in a substandard way is an understatement. Her work in the case of Richard Daly was criminal, or at least should be. Because of her laziness neither Rick Daly nor Susan Mellen received justice, and Susan's family was ripped apart.
To heep injury upon injury, Mellen’s attorney, a divorce attorney with little trial experience, and who had been reprimanded by the bar association for providing his clients with sketchy legal representation, did next to no investigation work before the trial, and during trial provided Mellen with substandard representation. It looked as though no one was there for Susan, and the result was that she was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Innocence Matters took Susan’s case in November 2013, and within three months was able to apply for Habeas Corpus on behalf of Ms. Mellen. Finally after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office performed their own investigation into the case, they recommended that Susan Mellen be released from her hell. Susan Mellen was ordered released by a Torrance Superior Court judge, Mark Arnold, on October 9, 2014. Upon releasing her, Judge Arnold remarked that in Susan's case, "the criminal justice system failed".
Without the help of Innocence Matters, Susan Mellen may have died in prison having never realized justice in her case. Innocence Matters got Susan some justice, and that makes them heroes in my book.
What words could possibly describe what an organization like Innocence Matters brings to innocent people and their families. Innocence Matters, and Deirdre O'Connor gave my friend Susan Mellen and her family and friends quite literally their lives back. The tears my friend Susan, her family and friends have cried...and the tears I shed while I write this are insurmountable.
Unfortunately, Susan Mellen is only one of countless innocent fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters; feeling the injustice of being accused of crimes they did not commit.
We need to do all we can, to support Innocence Matters. What better organization to donate time and money.
I submit to everyone out there, to donate all you can to this great organization of people, who have dedicated countless hours and money to exonerating the innocent. I sure plan on doing all I can do.
I think Innocence Matters is a much needed agency. There are many innocent men and women who are sitting in jail and prison because our legal system failed them. I know someone personally who has been in prison since 1989 for a crime he did not commit and even had the DA on his case personally tell me I know he was innocent but I had a job to do and I did my job and yet this person still sits in prison because his family didn't have the money to get him a lawyer and no one cares. Please help fund this non profit so they can help to release another innocent person to their family
Innocence Matters is an absolutely necessary non-profit these days. There is so much corruption and innefficiency in our justice system. I would NEVER want to be in a position where my innocence was questioned, without having a resource like "Innocence Matters" to help. There are just too many mistaken cases nowadays. Please consider supporting "Innocence Matters" to ensure justice for ALL.
I met Susan Marie Mellen during a Kairos Prison Ministry outreach 7 years ago, serving a life without parole sentence for First Degree Murder. The first weekend I met Suzy, she shared with me her story of innocence. My heart ached for her and under the circumstances could NOT believe she had been convicted of this crime. After visiting Suzy for 7 years, I started to loose hope for my friend (Suzy never lost hope). Then one day, Suzy's miracle came in the form of Innocence Matters. IM had the resources and volunteers to make Suzy's dream come true. After only a year and half, IM fought to have Suzy's LWOP sentenced overturned!! This is a dedicated, hardworking team that deserves all the help that is out there for them, so they can continue their quest in vindicating the Innocent!! Thank you Innocence Matters!!!
Innocence Matters is a non-profit organization that dedicates time and efforts in freeing the innocent who have been wrongfully convicted. My fiancé's mother has been in prison for 17 years for something she had nothing to do with. My fiancé and her family felt as though they hit a dead end and they were ready to give up. Soon after the Innocence Matters Organization got involved and immediately started investigating. This company is extraordinary in a way that is hard to explain. Innocence Matters spends day in and day out working hard to make a change. They have made an incredible impact in my fiancé's life and mine. It means so much when I witness passionate people taking a stand and doing what's right! I believe Innocence Matters Organization is an amazing non-profit that could really use some support. After all, If you were convicted of a crime you didn't commit wouldn't your innocence matter?
I found Susan through Friend-2-Friend at my church. That was 8 years ago. In those years I have come to believe in Susan's innocence. When Innocence Matters stepped in and Deirdre O'Connor took over things began to happen--positive, definitive, exciting and encouraging events. After serving 17 years in prison for a crime she did not commit, Susan felt renewed hope for the first time.
Deirdre O'Connor is an exemplary attorney committed to justice. Her due diligence is unmatched; her dedication tireless and impressive; her success rate is to be acknowledged and applauded; and her spirit of giving in fulfilling the Mission Statement of Innocence Matters is unequaled.
I was a legal intern for Innocence Matters this past summer. What an impact it has made made in my life! It was one of the best experiences I have had with a nonprofit. The work that this organization does is incredible. This organization changes people’s lives. The Innocence Matters’ team fights for what is right and fights for the truth. Deirdre O’Connor and her team help the people that everyone else has given up on. O’Connor and her team work nonstop, around the clock and produce amazing quality work! This organization is filled with an unbelievable amount of passion, determination, dedication, and heart. The way O’Connor and her team handle their client’s cases is truly inspiring. This organization works extremely hard for its clients. And do you know why they work so hard? Because they truly care about their clients and making a difference in the world, one case at a time!! I CANNOT wait to see what the future has in store for Innocence Matters. Thank you for inspiring me, Innocence Matters!!!
I was a summer extern at Innocence Matters for the Summer of 2014. Not only did I gain valuable legal experience, but the organization also furthered my desire to focus my legal career in criminal law. I was inspired by Deirdre O'Connor's dedication and manner in which she handled her cases. As a third-year law student, I can truly say that my experience at Innocence Matters will help me tremendously in expanding my opportunities in this field. I am excited about the upcoming developments in the cases, which I had the opportunity to work on this summer, and will be keeping in touch with the organization throughout my legal career.
Innocence Matters Organization is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to bringing truth to the light, and freeing innocent people who have been wrongly convicted. My mother was arrested 17 years ago for a murder she did not commit. She was sentenced to life without parole. I was nine years old at the time of her conviction and it changed my life drastically. My hopes for ever seeing my mom as a civilian was nonexistent until meeting Deirdre O'Connor! This woman is the most hard working, dedicated, passionate person I have ever met. Deirdre accepted my mother's case, and is diligently working on bringing my mom home. My family and I can't thank her enough for the amount of work she has done in such a short amount of time. My family and I had forgotten what hope felt like until Deirdre blessed us with her presence. This organization deserves to be recognized for what they do. Bringing truth to the light is not an easy task, but they have done it before and will continue to do it. What if your family member was wrongly convicted? This organization is determined to free the innocent because Innocence Matters to them, the inmate, and the families who are affected by it!
Deirdre O'Connor has given our family hope!! My mom was arrested 17 years ago for a murder she didn't commit! Deirdre is a tough lady who is not afraid to go out in the field to get information. She has contacted so many different people who I would never have the courage to talk to. Because she has done this, Deirdre was able to unfold so many truths that my mother's lawyer couldn't do years ago. We finally see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Deirdre, along with the other volunteers are dedicated in finding the truth. They spend months, with so many long days working hard to free the innocent. We are truly blessed that she found my mom and saw the truth in my mother's eyes!
During my time at Innocence Matters I was overwhelmed by the level of dedication and grit organisation members showed. Day in and day out members worked tirelessly to see justice served for a number of people that the system has simply forgotten.
Working on tight budgets, the organisations' output to resource ratio was impressive and their dedication to work from early in the morning until well into the night was inspirational.
Travelling from Australia in order to take up my position, I did not know what to expect upon my arrival. However, after spending two months full-time with Deirdre and the team I would gladly dedicate my time again, to what is a truly worthy cause and a sincerely honourable organisation.
Innocence Matters 04/29/2014
Say the word, my Aussie friend, and we'll save you a seat! We miss you!
My passion to set free an innocent man from a sentence of life without the possibility of parole encouraged me to network by attending the reception for John Smith, Innocence Matters’ first client to be freed by their wonderful, expert and thorough work. Then I got a phone call from Deirdre about doing volunteer work for this outstanding and warm group of people who forget themselves and go full steam ahead doing the nitty-gritty work needed to reach their goal of justice. I said yes and then was able to help them secure a much needed grant. Since then I have had opportunities to work with the entire Innocence Matters team and what a great feeling it is to know that even the small things I do are going to help free innocent people from prison and prevent wrongful convictions. Join us and be a part of this great organization and see what you, too, can do to support us and our work!
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would make sure people knew that immediate funding would help Innocence Matters secure larger office space so they can serve more people more efficiently.
I've been following Innocence Matters for years and what better organization to donate to then this? The hard work, time and passion everyone gives is an amazing thing to witness! Keep up the great work! You're an inspiration to many!
Innocent until proven guilty? Not even close! I had always believed in our justice system, even though I never had any real dealings with it. When my son was arrested for a crime he didn't commit, I kept thinking that surely the detectives will realize they have made a terrible mistake. But that wasn't the case. My son was convicted of Life W/O Parole for a crime he didn't commit. It was devastating and for years we looked for someone who could help us. Deirdra O'Connor and her team of interns at Innocence Matters are working hard on my son's case. I can't thank them enough for all of their efforts and look forward to my son's future homecoming.
I've never experienced an organization like INNOCENCE MATTERS. The opportunity for learning, for working and actively participating in events that will bring about change are many. There are many ways to get involved depending on what your goals are. An intern might one day be working on an investigation and the next day speaking at a neighborhood school sharing our education and prevention programs. INNOCENCE MATTERS is not for wimps, it's serious people about serious things. And, make no mistake, you must have a really good sense of humor.
Words cannot even describe the passion emanating from each and every person involved with or touched by Innocence Matters. Becoming a part of this organization helped me grow and as a person and expand my knowledge on the little steps people can take in helping to prevent wrongful conviction from occurring. Starting with the founders, to the Board members, to the staff, and the interns there is not one person within the organization that isn't soulfully passionate about the mission. My eyes have been opened and I have never felt so lucky to have this opportunity to be a part of something so life changing. I had never realized that the love I have for Innocence Matters would grow to such extremes, but I am overjoyed that it has. This organization has touched many lives with its positive goals, and I have no doubt that Innocence Matters will be a part of my life for a very long time.
InnocenceMatters.Org is a stellar organization whose main goal is to help exonerate those wrongrully convicted... the forgotten. There is nothing more precious than our freedom and the one thing that we all take for granted. I am finally a part of an organization where my support/work really matters and is significant. Along with my counterparts, we are saving lives in ways that most of us can only imagine. What better way to spend my time than to give selflessly for a worthy cause?!
A singular nonprofit with passionate volunteers that inspire great work and community. I am so honored to be involved with an organization that seeks to effect positive and impactful change within the justice system.
I came to this organization wanting to give back to the community and make a difference. To say I was pleasantly surprised to see and experience the passion, dedication and tenacity this group of Interns and Deirdre have toward their cause is humbling; they are driven by the susceptibility of our Justice system. Innocence Matters is an amazing group committed to the innocent, vulnerable and defenseless.
An amazing organization that aims to fight for and exonerate wrongly convicted inmates in jail. A team of wonderful, dedicated staff that want to make a difference and help change the lives of the innocent. A pleasure and honor to be able to work for the cause with such an exceptional group of people.
A unique nonprofit endeavor that seeks to exonerate the most vulnerable in our justice system. An unforgettable volunteer experience with some truly remarkable people.
I was incredibly touched by the story of John Smith, an innocent man, who spent many years on death row for a crime he did not do. It was work Ms. Deirdra O'Connor and the people behind Innocents Matters that ultimately saved his life. It is organizations like this that keep our most powerful institutions honest. These people are fighting to keep the innocent out of prison. You cannot put a price on that. You cannot put a price on justice. You cannot put a price on freedom. And, at the end of the day, Innocent Matters-and the noble people like them-are the shield between you and injustice. Show your support for them today.
I have been a supporter of Innocence Matters for 3 years now. My daughter introduced me to the organization when she began her internship there while she was still in law school. She came home each night thrilled and motivated to keep working. She knew early on the experience would change her life and when she talked about her time at Innocence Matters, her passion radiated from her and we in her family couldn't help but be proud of her and how she chose to expend her efforts. Under Deirdre O'Connor's mentorship, our daughter helped investigate and wrote sections of a habeas petition that successfully freed an innocent man. Her father and I were at the courthouse the day of the exoneration and our excitement and pride cannot be overstated. Innocence Matters addresses real, current problems in a unique way that gets results. Get involved if you can. I've seen firsthand: it's worth it.
I've followed Innocence Matters for the past three years and its goals, personnel and execution have never ceased to amaze me. They provide necessary services to a group of unserved, deserving people, when no other organization exists to do the job. They are the ideal, a nonprofit filling a gap where neither government nor the private sector can act effectively.
I was asked to join the Board after Deirdre O'Connor read a blog post I had written about my experience helping two wrongfully convicted men arrange their financial affairs stemming from civil lawsuits they pursued. I was unsure how much help I could be but soon was won over by Deirdre's passion and commitment to this cause. Once John Smith's exoneration was won, it all came together and I was glad I became part of this effort. When an individual publicly proclaims that "Innocence Matters saved (his) life" as John Smith has, you know you're part of something very important.
When I arrived at Innocence Matters in January 2013 I had no knowledge of the Californian judicial system.
Indeed I am French. As a lawyer in my country I know how tricky law can be, so even if I wanted to be involved in Innocence Matters I did not know what form my participation could take. What I just knew was that I wanted to be a part of it.
In fact, Innocence Matters has helped me at least as much as I have helped it.
It has helped me as much as a lawyer than as a person. First, it enabled me to think and share my thoughts and ideas on what tracks could be followed in investigations concerning wrongful convictions. Deirdre O’Connor is an incredibly good criminal defense attorney and is totally dedicated to the cases she is dealing with. Working with her was a very intellectual, judicial but also personal enrichment. Then, as a lawyer, it contributed to my understanding of a part of the American judicial system and gave me a good opportunity to add a valuable line on my resume.
In return, at Innocence Matters I have dealt with Inmates requests in the “Ganging up on Innocence” project. No one can imagine how desperate and resourceless innocent people can be to fight against a wrongful conviction.
So, if you have time, motivation, the envy to invest yourself in investigations and to learn about you just as much as the Californian legal system, do not hesitate a sec! Just jump in, this is the right thing to do, because what could be a better cause than helping the innocent to find freedom again?
innocence Matters saved my life! Deirdre O'Connor picked my case up when noone else would;after years & years of searching. Her & her team of interns are thorough,professional & obviously effective! Innocence Matters cares because to them,YOUR INNOCENCE,really do matter. Great people-great TEAM!
I loved my experience with Innocence Matters. Working with Deirdre O'Connor as an intern was an invaluable experience. It sharpened my practical lawyering skills. In law school they teach you how to read cases and analyze law. At Innocence Matters I learned how to prepare a case, think through a trial, and investigate. As a lawyer I still use the investigation techniques I learned from Innocence Matters in every case that comes my way.
I cannot say enough how much I appreciate my internship at Innocence Matters. Not only did it teach me practical lawyering skills, but I was able to learn these skills while working on cases that posed significant consequences. I worked on cases and talked to clients that were in a position where the odds were stacked against them and I helped to advocate for them. Those who study and practice the law have an obligation to understand the impact it has on people's lives. Regardless of what type of law you wish to practice Innocence Matters will teach you the legal skills and conscientious mentality necessary to make a great attorney. Get involved, you won't regret it!
I am absolutely amazed at the work that Innocence Matters has done in the Smith case. The fight and dedication is really rare within a judicial system that is not timely.
I have been involved in criminal justice issues for over 10 years, and the work that Innocence Matters does is extremely important and needed to install a level of fairness that is unfortunately missing from the current system. All one has to do is look at the most recent exoneration in Texas, where a man sat wrongfully accused for 30 years, to comprehend the important work Innocence Matters undertakes. The legal representation, research and activism the organization does is not just on behalf of the wrongfully accused but for all of us. Innocence Matters aims to build a fair and just criminal justice system and it is a mission we all should fully support.
I am a law student who sought work last summer with Innocence Matters; I count this as one of the best decisions of my law school career.
During my time with Innocence Matters, I personally engaged in the substantive and practical aspects of criminal defense--from interviewing witnesses to writing a habeas petition. I learned the heartbreaking results of bad lawyering and resolved to avoid a busy lawyer's common pitfalls. Innocence Matters made me a more conscientious, careful student and will surely lead to my being a better lawyer.
The preventative aspect of Innocence Matters thrills me the most. Our criminal law classes spend ample time analyzing various Innocence Projects and innocence work and I've never encountered another organization that focuses on preventing wrongful incarcerations. The importance of Innocence Matters' preventative work was thrown into sharp relief when I worked personally with an innocent person who has been wrongly incarcerated for 18 years and realized how much Innocence Matters could have helped him 18 years ago.
I was lucky enough to secure a board membership out of my summer work and plan to have a life-long connection to this great organization.
Deirdre O'Connor, Executive Director, is the heart and soul of Innocence Matters. My association with Deirdre O'Connor is four years old now. She and I met in the Emory University Toastmasters Club where we discovered several common interests that included ending oppression, especially racism and class oppression. Since then we have both left Georgia for life in other states, yet our connection persists.
Deirdre's passion for keeping eye-witness testimony bounded by known research, thus clear in its use for determining guilt in trials, influences those who hear her speak on the topic. She knows how to guide learners (law students, friends, new acquaintances) through the clinical law arena, helping many feel competent in new skills. She is fearless in approaching the possibility for precision in legal judgments.
I am pleased to be a part of the volunteer board of Innocence Matters as it grows into a well-known non-profit organization. Not only have I been able to make contributions to the creation and growth of the organization, I have come to know several fine individuals whose paths I would not have crossed otherwise. The vision of working across state lines makes Innocence Matters’ cases important where I live in South Carolina as well as anywhere else people are wrongly charged or convicted.