Director of WMU-Cooley Innocence Project to discuss how innocent inmates are released

ADRIAN — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Club will present the director of the Western Michigan University-Cooley Innocence Project, Professor Marla Mitchell-Cichon, at Adrian College on Friday, April 5, at noon in Valade Hall’s Knight Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Mitchell-Cichon joined WMU-Cooley Law School in July 1995. She’s been the director of the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project since 2002. The project works to secure the release of factually innocent Michigan prisoners through the use of post-conviction DNA testing.

According to its website, The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project is part of the Innocence Network, which has been credited with the release of over 350 wrongfully convicted prisoners, mainly through the use of DNA testing. The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project has worked to exonerate four individuals: Kenneth Wyniemko (2003) Nathaniel Hatchett (2008), Donya Davis (2014), and LeDura Watkins (2017). Watkins spent almost 42 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He is one of the longest serving exonerees in the country. In 2006, Professor Mitchell-Cichon received the Justice for All Award from the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM). In 2014, the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project received the Outstanding Community Contribution award from the WMU-Cooley Student Bar Association.

Her litigation experience includes cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Ohio Supreme Court, the Michigan Supreme Court and trial and appellate courts in both Ohio and Michigan. She also works on legislative reform to improve the criminal justice system.

This event was made possible by the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the Demeritt Speaker Fund. For more information, email Student Activities and Greek Life Coordinator Cynthia Schmucker at