News and Press - 2013
David Onek Named Executive Director of Northern California Innocence Project
SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 6, 2013 - The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) at Santa Clara University Law School announced that it has appointed long-time criminal justice reformer David Onek as Executive Director. Onek replaces NCIP founding Executive Director Kathleen "Cookie" Ridolfi, who will continue her role as a professor at Santa Clara University Law School.
"We are delighted to welcome David to the law school community. We look forward to his leadership of NCIP, which is one of Santa Clara Law's outstanding clinical education programs." said Santa Clara Law Dean Donald Polden.
NCIP Advisory Board Chairman Emeritus Frank Quattrone added, "I am thrilled that David was appointed and am extremely confident in his ability to lead the great work of NCIP and help take it to the next level."
"I am extremely excited to lead NCIP as we work to exonerate the innocent and partner with law enforcement to change policies and practices that lead to wrongful convictions," said Onek.
Onek served as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission, where he set policy for the Police Department and oversaw the police discipline process. Prior to that, Onek worked as Deputy Director of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's Office of Criminal Justice, where he led numerous criminal justice policy initiatives for the Mayor. Onek was a candidate for San Francisco District Attorney in 2011, running on a strong criminal justice reform platform and finishing second to the incumbent.
Onek was also the Founding Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice at UC Berkeley Law School (now part of the Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy), where he brought law enforcement and community together to build partnerships in support of innovative, research-based policy reforms. He created and hosted the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast, a co-production of the UC Berkeley Law School and the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, which features in-depth, thirty-minute interviews with a wide range of criminal justice leaders. Onek taught “Criminal Justice Reform in California” as a Lecturer at UC Berkeley Law School and as an Adjunct Professor at UC Hastings Law School.
Earlier in his career, Onek worked at the W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness and Equity, Legal Services for Children, the National Council in Crime and Delinquency, and Walden House. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Brown University.
Onek will lead NCIP's policy efforts on issues such as reforming eyewitness identification procedures that can lead to wrongful convictions and improving the compensation process for those exonerated.
California State Senator Mark Leno said, "I have worked with and admired both David and NCIP for many years. They are a dynamic match and I look forward to partnering with David on criminal justice reform measures in the legislature."
Onek's appointment to NCIP was welcomed by those in both the innocence and law enforcement communities.
Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project in New York and Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law said, "Having someone of David's stature and background join the innocence movement is a boon to all of us working to end wrongful convictions."
Bernard Melekian, former Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) under President Obama and former President of the California Police Chiefs Association said, "David is widely respected in law enforcement circles both in California and nationally. He is an ideal choice to build collaboration between the law enforcement and advocacy communities."
Johnny Williams Exoneration
3/13 - Opposing Views Finally Free: Johnny Williams Declared Innocent of Crime He Spent 14 Years in Prison For
3/13 - San Francisco Chronicle Exonerated prisoner rejoices in freedom
3/12 - KGO-ABC-Channel 7 Innocent man freed after 14 years not angry
3/12 - NBC Bay Area Wrongly Convicted Man "Truly Happy" After 14 Years in Prison
Ronald Ross Exoneration
2/28 - Oakland Tribune Editorial Innocence man walks free, but justice not yet served
2/25 CBS Bay Area Wrongly Convicted Oakland Man Not Bitter After 7 Years Behind Bars
2/25 - KGO-ABC-Channel 7 Man freed after wrongful conviction talks freedom
2/25 - San Jose Mercury News Wrongly convicted Oakland man harbors no ill will
2/22 NBC Bay Area Wrongly Accused Oakland Man Set Free
2/22 San Francisco Chronicle Innocent man ordered released after 7 years
2/22 KTVU-Channel 2 Wrongly convicted Oakland man ordered released from prison
News and Press - 2012
Our Weekly 11/15 Some of the Northern California Innocence Project's exonerees are featured in this article about wrongful conviction.
The Wrongful Convictions Blog 7/10 More on Northern California Innocence Project’s Souliotes Case
LA Times 7/7 Inmate was innocent in fatal arson case, judge rules
Take Part: Social Justice 6/6 The Death Penalty Is in the Sights of One Innocent Man
Mercury News 5/21 A story in the SJMN covered the release. NCIP was mentioned in that story, and it included a photo of Cookie with Ron Reno, one of NCIP's first exonerations.
MSNBC 5/20 Proud of NCIP exoneree Franky Carrillo, who was featured on MSNBC's PoliticsNation today
Wrongful Convictions Blog 5/16 EWID e-news and petition was picked up by the wrongful convictions blog.
CBS SF 5/8 CBS aired a piece last night about NCIP exoneree Maurice Caldwell and the need for law enforcement to use best practices in their eyewitness identification procedures. This could help reduce the number of wrongful convictions like Maurice's.
Bay Citizen 5/4 Prosecutors Failed to Disclose Coroner's 'Unreasonable' Findings. Cookie Ridolfi quoted.
Texas Tribune 3/29 The data for prosecutorial misconduct in Texas has been released. Researchers from NCIP’s Veritas Initiative found 91 cases of misconduct in Texas from 2004-2008 but no prosecutors were publicly disciplined.
Wrongful Convictions Blog 3/23 Innocence Project Model Highlighted at 2012 NCIP Event
NBC Los Angeles 3/8 Look what NCIP exoneree Franky Carrillo is up to, one year after his exoneration. We're so proud of you Franky! Shown in this video with Attorney Ellen Eggers, who was instrumental in his exoneration.
KALW 2/24 NPR's KALW interview of Linda Starr
LA Times 1/30 LA Times wrote about NCIP client George Souliotes