BENEFITING: NEW ENGLAND INNOCENCE PROJECT
ORGANIZER: NEW ENGLAND INNOCENCE PROJECT
EVENT DATE: May 31, 2016
Dear Potential Donors,
My name is Pamela Boykin. It was my personal pleasure to join the "Running For Innocence" team after the shocking release of Sean K. Ellis, my loved one on June 5, 2015. Sean served almost 22 years since the age of 19 for a crime he was wrongfully accused of; he was falsely charged and convicted with the terrible murder of Boston Police Officer/Detective, John J. Mulligan in September of 1993. Although Sean maintained his innocence, two trial juries were unable to reach a verdict but a 3rd trial jury subsequently found him guilty of murder primarily based on circumstantial evidence.
Over the course of several years, Sean and I developed a surprisingly extreme and intense relationship during his incarceration. I never knew that I would care so passionately for a man who could possibly die in prison due to a crime he did not commit. For many years, we both struggled immeasurably with the emotional and psychological trauma of this entire situation.
It hurt me immensely that Sean consistently proclaimed his innocence but the courts continued to deny him a fair and new trial. Most of all, it tore me down that people maliciously called me hurtful names such as insane, idiotic, and crazy for loving and supporting an individual who people, media, and some of the Boston Police Department depicted as a "cold blooded cop killer."
With the help of God and the persistent hard work of Rosemary Scapicchio, Sean's lawyer, along with her legal team, his case was finally overturned by Judge Carol Ball. Rosemary was successful in convincing the judge that there was in fact police misconduct, conflict of interest, flawed evidence, and other inconsistencies in Sean's case.
The New England Innocence Project (NEIP) was founded in 2000 with the objective of identifying and exonerating wrongly convicted men and women through the use of DNA evidence. In 2009, NEIP's goal was extended in order to consider cases in which other scientific testing or investigative evidence could establish an individual's claim of innocence. NEIP is an independent 501(c)(3) public charity organization that was modeled after the New York Innocence Project which was founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld at the Cardoza School of Law in New York in 1992.
NEIP played a significant role in providing the expensive funds for private and expert investigators to unravel documents and exculpatory evidence that Rosemary needed to help support Sean's innocence. This process took a very extensive and dedicated amount of ground work and time. One of the strongest findings was that a police officer accused another police officer of John J. Mulligan's murder. This crucial report could have likely been instrumental in supporting Sean's innocence during his first trial.
This is why joining the "Running For Innocence" team is dear to me. RFI was coordinated by Lisa Kavanaugh who is a public defender and innocence project litigator in New England. She is an avid runner who started the RFI campaign by running the 2014 New York City Marathon. Presently, RFI has about 50 team members who find different avenues to raise awareness and money to help support the dedicated work of NEIP.
It was a great experience to participate in my first Yankee Homecoming Ten Miler/5k race and first race ever in Newbury Port, MA on Sunday, July 28, 2015 along with Sean and some of our RFI team members. It actually felt surreal to be a part of a RFI campaign that not only supported Sean in a crucial way but also provided us an opportunity to participate and finish our first race together. This is an accomplishment that Sean and I will cherish and share for the rest of our lives.
It is sad to say that I lost a tremendous amount of confidence in the criminal justice system right after Sean's wrongful conviction in 1993. One of the primary issues is that people within my black community are prime targets of being wrongly accused of crimes. I never knew anything about the elements of wrongful convictions, the criminal justice system, or the prison culture until I experienced this traumatic situation. I am not an expert in these areas but I do not need to be a law specialist to know when a person has been wrongfully accused and denied a fair trial.
I am personally thankful to God for non-profit organizations such as NEIP and RFI who believe in striving for justice for the wrongfully convicted. In addition to promoting public awareness about the prevalence, causes, and costs of wrongful convictions, NEIP has been advocating for criminal justice reform that will and can help reduce the likelihood of innocent men and women being wrongfully charged and subsequently, convicted of crimes that they did not commit. NEIP and RFI provide families that window of hope that they seek and need regarding their claim of innocence.
I am beyond elated to launch this 2016 mission for my RFI team that will help support The New England Innocence Project's work that they are presently doing on about 40 claims of innocence cases. The money that I will raise will help NEIP with the costly funding that they need to hire private and expert investigators who review and find leads to support the innocence of those who have been wrongfully convicted. Many of these wrongly accused inmates have been seeking justice for decades. Presently, there are several exonorates that NEIP has helped who have served a combined total of 515 years for wrongful convictions. As of today, NEIP has been successful in overturning about 39 wrongful convictions in New England. Unfortunately, there are cases where evidence of innocence may never be found due to poor evidence preservation which leaves innocent men and women in prison for their rest of their lives.
I pray that this criminal justice system problem with wrongful convictions will be highly curved one day. It has and continues to destroy the lives of the wrongfully convicted and their families time and time again. For more information on NEIP, RFI, and Sean K. Ellis's case please visit the links below.
NEIP - email@example.com
RFI - www.runningforinnocence.com
Sean K. Ellis case - www.justiceforseanellis.com - Sean is due back in court soon so please continue to keep him and his defense team in your prayers. Lastly, please continue to pray for all of the wrongfully convicted. Peace & Blessings to all exconerees.
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NEW ENGLAND INNOCENCE PROJECT wrote -
Running for Innocence offers a unique way to support the New England Innocence Project's efforts to bring innocence claims to light by contributing directly to the costs of expert case review, private investigation and DNA consultation and testing. In May 2016, our growing team will be running in two exciting events, the Somerville M.O.M.'s run 5K on Sunday May 8 (Mother's Day!) and the Newburyport River Run Half Marathon & 5K on Sunday May 15. Together, we hope to raise $10,000 toward this important goal. The money raised in the campaign will go directly toward paying for the expert and investigator expenses needed to ensure that the many men and women whose wrongful convictions we are working to overturn have a fighting chance to achieve justice and freedom.