More than 300 people gathered at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco on October 5, 2023, to celebrate the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) at the annual Justice for All (JFA) Gala. The event, moderated by NCIP client Kevin Harper, opened with a compelling video that follows NCIP from humble beginnings to a now-thriving organization and highlights the contributions of Co-Founder Linda Starr, who announced her phased retirement from NCIP in July 2023.
Also honored at this year’s JFA Gala was investigator Grant Fine, who received the Champion of Justice Award. Fine has worked on numerous NCIP cases and helped free eight clients. Among them was Bob Fenenbock, who, along with NCIP Co-Legal Director Paige Kaneb, presented Fine with his award. In his remarks accepting his award, Fine spoke about the importance of re-examining facts and closed his remarks by reminding those in the audience that many innocent people still remain incarcerated: “For every one innocent person we help free, there are thousands of innocent people languishing in prisons across
this country. We have to remember them, fight for their freedom, and continue to provide the support necessary to investigate and litigate their cases.”
Receiving this year’s Cookie Ridolfi Freedom Award was NCIP client and exoneree Jeremy Puckett. Puckett spent nearly two decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, yet never stopped fighting for his freedom so he could be reunited with his family. Retired Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu-Towery, who worked tirelessly on Puckett’s case as a volunteer for years, spoke of Puckett’s resilience before presenting him with his award.
We are so grateful to our sponsors and donors who continue to support our critical work.