March 22, 2016

Media Advisory – Innocence Project Discussion

A former Illinois prison inmate who received help from the Illinois Innocence Project to gain his release in January will share his experiences at Southern Illinois University School of Law. 

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover a discussion with Teshome Campbell, Illinois Innocence Project attorneys, and SIU School of Law students who are involved with the program. The discussion is at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, March 24, in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building courtroom at SIU Carbondale. 

Campbell was sentenced to 55 years in prison after a 1998 conviction for his purported involvement in the 1997 mob beating death of a 44-year-old Urbana man. Reports indicate that a federal appeals court, citing ineffective assistance of counsel, reversed the conviction and ordered Campbell be retried or released. Prosecutors in Champaign County opted to not pursue a second trial. A clemency petition is pending. Additional information on the case from the Illinois Innocence Project is available here

Campbell’s attorney, Erica Nichols Cook, will discuss the complicated legal process involved in securing his release. Current Illinois Innocence Project externs will be on hand to discuss their experiences with the program, which assists wrongfully convicted prisoners prove their innocence. SIU students have been involved since fall 2010. Cook, a pro bono attorney who is an SIU adjunct law professor, and John Hanlon, the project’s legal/executive director, will be available for interviews. Campbell will not be available for individual interviews. 

The discussion is open to students and the public. Lunch will be provided for law school students who attend. 

For more information, contact Alicia Ruiz, the law school’s director of communications and outreach, at 618/453-8700 or