by Audrey Redmond
Santa Clara Law’s Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) and Center for Social Justice and Public Service (CSJ) hosted six employees from LinkedIn today, who volunteered as part of LinkedIn for Good (LIFG) Foundation’s inDay.
The LinkedIn team learned about wrongful conviction firsthand from former Santa Clara County prosecutor Karyn Sinunu-Towery, whose reinvestigation of Rick Walker’s murder conviction led to his exoneration. Sinunu-Towery is now a volunteer attorney at NCIP working to exonerate other wrongfully convicted prisoners.
In addition, the LinkedIn team worked alongside NCIP clinical faculty, attorneys, and law student interns to screen prisoner letters for potential innocence claims. Since its inception in 2001, NCIP receives approximately 900 new requests for assistance each year from California prisoners and has helped free 17 people. LinkedIn volunteers also participated in a focus group pertaining to one of NCIP’s ongoing cases and helped NCIP attorneys with pre-litigation research and case strategy.
NCIP is a non-profit clinical program whose mission is to promote a fair, effective, and compassionate criminal justice system and protect the rights of the innocent. The Project relies on donations and the assistance of pro bono law firms and volunteers to advance its work. In the 2013-2014 academic year, volunteer attorneys alone logged over 5,800 hours working in NCIP’s office.
Santa Clara Law has a strong pro bono program that helps students develop skills and serve community legal needs while studying law. The chance to work with outside attorneys who model life-long volunteering is invaluable. “We are thrilled to partner with LinkedIn to provide meaningful pro bono opportunities for LinkedIn employees,” said NCIP Executive Director David Onek. “Today’s participants provided valuable services that will help NCIP free more innocent prisoners, and NCIP in turn provided participants with an enriching, educational and enjoyable day.”