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Julie Rea talks about her battle for exoneration



from left: Erica Nichols Cook, staff attorney for the Wrongful Conviction Grant, Illinois Innocence Project, Professor Bill Schroeder, and Julie Rea.

When Julie Rea spoke yesterday at the SIU School of Law, she commanded the full attention of our students (and everyone else) in the audience – something that is not easy to do in our technological age. In 2002, Rea was convicted by a jury of the 1997 murder of her 10-year-old son, Joel.  Shortly after her conviction, child serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells confessed to the crime.  She was acquitted at a second trial in 2006.  She has also been granted a Certificate of Innocence.  Read more about the case at the Illinois Innocence Project’s website here.

Associate Professor Chris Behan, who, along with Professor Bill Schroeder, supervises law students at SIU who work with the Illinois Innocence Project, posted about the program on his Advocacy Teaching Blog:

“I think it's important to keep these stories in mind as we go about our work of teaching advocates. In reality, we aren't just teaching them how to lay the foundation for a piece of evidence, to perform a scripted show at a trial competition, or to earn an A in an advocacy class.  We're teaching them the skills and ethical foundation they need to make our justice system function.”  Read full post here

We were pleased to have local media cover Julie’s presentation yesterday.  Check out
their stories:

Daily Egyptian
WPSD Local6