The Innocence Project’s First Black Woman Executive Director Talks Transforming The Broken Criminal Legal System
BY SAFIRE R. SOSTRE via https://www.essence.com/
CHRISTINA SWARNS SPOKE WITH ESSENCE ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS AND HOW SHE PLANS TO EXPAND THE FOCUS OF THE ORGANIZATION.
Christina Swarns is a leading capital defense attorney, a nationally recognized criminal legal reform expert and the first Black woman executive director of the Innocence Project — a nonprofit legal organization that works to free innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted.
In her nearly 30-year-long career in criminal justice, she has worked as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society and as the president and attorney-in-charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender, Inc. In her previous role as the litigation director for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Swarns argued and won Buck v. Davis, becoming one of the few Black women to have ever argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Over the last 30 years, the Innocence Project has championed the use of DNA testing to help free more than 200 people who were wrongfully convicted. Of the organization’s 239 victories, 64 percent involved eyewitness misidentification; 52 percent contained unvalidated forensic…