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Wrongful conviction of women to be topic of Sept. 25 lecture at Gage Gallery

Posted: 09/06/2013

The causes of wrongful conviction of women will be the topic of a Sept. 25 lecture at Roosevelt University that will feature a look at the case of Chicago resident Nicole Harris, who was recently freed from prison and exonerated in the death of her four-year-old son.

Harris and attorney Karen Daniel, co-founder of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions of Women, will discuss the particular struggles that wrongfully convicted women face at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Roosevelt’s Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

A confession to police that was almost immediately recanted was a key piece of evidence in the case against Harris, who served seven years of a 30-year sentence before being released from prison late last year after the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed her conviction.

The appeals court found that Harris’ six-year-old son, who witnessed his younger brother’s death, should have been allowed to testify at his mother’s trial. The boy would have told a Cook County jury, as he had told police that his four-year-old brother had been pretending to be Spiderman when he accidently strangled himself with an elastic band from a fitted sheet in the bedroom the boys shared in the family apartment on the northwest side of Chicago.  Harris was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the death in June.

Daniel, who has successfully represented numerous wrongfully convicted clients in Illinois and Harris, will lecture on what went wrong in Harris’ case  and discuss specific hurdles that innocent women encounter in defending themselves once they are thrust into the legal system.
 
Sponsored by Roosevelt’s Joseph Loundy Center for Human Rights and the Department of Psychology, the lecture entitled “The X Factor: Causes of Wrongful Conviction of Women” is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Shari Berkowitz at sberkowitz@roosevelt.edu or 312-281-3286.