November 14, 2013

Jenner & Block was strongly represented at a celebration of the 15th anniversary of Northwestern University Law School’s Bluhm Legal Clinic's Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC).  The benefit event featured success stories including that of Nicole Harris, a pro bono client of the firm and the CWC who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for allegedlymurdering her 4-year-old son. The firm and the CWC became involved after her 2005 conviction, filing several appeals that focused on the use of Ms. Harris’ false confession, extracted after a 27-hour interrogation, and the exclusion at trial of exculpatory testimony by thevictim’s 6-year-old brother, the sole eyewitness.  Finally last year,  the Seventh Circuit granted Ms. Harris’ petition for a federal writ of habeas corpus, ordering the state to retry or release her within 120 days.  She was released on bond in February 2013 and, in June, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges.  Current firm attorneys involved in this case included Partners Jeffrey S. Eberhard, Sarah Hardgrove-Koleno, Matthew S. Hellman and Robert R. Stauffer and Associates Kara L. Kapp, Andrew D. Kennedy and Elin I. Park

Also at the anniversary celebration, Partner Andrew W. Vail presented the 2013 Jenner & Block Award to Illinois State Representative Scott Drury, who worked with Andrew and Partner Thomas P. Sullivan to pass legislation in Illinois to expand the requirement to electronically record interrogations, which will greatly improve criminal justice.  The Jenner & Block Award is given annually to a public official who has made a significant contribution to the administration and advancement of criminal justice.  The event was held on November 14 at Salvage One in Chicago.