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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 03:39 PM
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The Northwestern University Innocence Project and Professor Protess

Innocence Project and Professor Protess
By William H. Freivogel, Special to the Beacon
Posted 12:59 pm Mon., 4.25.11

In 2009, when a prosecutor went to court to force David Protess to release information compiled by journalism students working on his famous Innocence Project, Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism came to the defense of the popular, pugnacious professor. After all, Protess had made the school famous for having helped free 12 men who had been wrongfully convicted, including five from death row.

Two years later, the university and Protess are in an ugly fight. The university removed him from his classroom, claiming he made misleading statements to its lawyers. Protess responded by accusing the university of conducting a "smear campaign" in search of a fall guy.

One issue in the dispute is whether Protess' students are covered by Illinois' "Shield Law" permitting reporters to protect confidential sources and information. The university, which at first was ready to defend the reporters' privilege of the students, now says that Protess hid the fact that he had provided confidential student memos relating to a murder case to a defense lawyer. By providing the memos to the lawyer, Protess may have waived the privilege, the university says.

In explaining its decision to back away from Protess, the university said in a statement this month that it had "uncovered numerous examples of Protess knowingly making false and misleading statements to the dean, to University attorneys and to others. Such actions undermine the integrity of Medill, the University, the Innocence Project, students, alumni, faculty, the press, the public, the State and the Court."


In 2008 it looked as though the case of Anthony McKinney was the latest of Protess' triumphs. Based on evidence largely collected by Protess and his journalism students, lawyers went to court to seek a new trial for McKinney, who had been convicted of the 1978 murder of a security guard in Harvey, Ill. Protess' students found a witness who said McKinney was not present at the murder scene.

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  - kicking up from page 4  Bozita   Apr-25-11 10:46 PM   #1 
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:46 PM
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:07 PM
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