Press Release 05.12.16

2016 Innocence Project Gala Honors Board Chair Rodney Ellis and Many Others

By Innocence Staff

Innocence Project Annual Gala Will Honor Innocence Project Board Chair Rodney Ellis and Vice Chair Stephen Schulte; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP;  and Audrey Strauss, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Alcoa Inc.  

v(New York – May 12, 2016)  At its annual gala tonight the Innocence Project will honor Innocence Project Board Chair Rodney Ellis and Vice Chair Stephen Schulte; the law firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; and Audrey Strauss, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Alcoa Inc.  Lava Records President and long time Innocence Project supporter and founding board member Jason Flom will serve as the benefit chairman for the event, which takes place at the Grand Hyatt New York.  The program will feature a musical performance by Lizz Wright and two dozen people who were exonerated for crimes which they didn’t commit will attend, including 6 helped by the Innocence Project over the past year. 

“I am deeply committed to the Innocence Project and its work to free the innocent,” said Flom.  “Having the opportunity to see in one place so many men and women who have been exonerated of crimes they didn’t commit is profoundly moving and a critical reminder of the need to support the Innocence Project in its important work.” 

The honorees will be recognized for their generous contributions to the work of the Innocence Project:

  •   Innocence Project Board Chair Rodney Ellis, who is also a Texas state senator and senior advisor to Dentons, and Vice Chair Stephen Schulte, a founding partner of Schulte, Roth and Zabel LLP, have served on the board since its inception in 2004, providing invaluable leadership and support critical to the success of the organization.
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is the Innocence Project’s general counsel, under the leadership of  Partner B.J. Rosen.  Rosen and other attorneys at the firm have provided hundreds of hours of pro bono legal support over many years on a range of important issues.
  • Audrey Strauss, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and current chief legal officer for Alcoa, has been instrumental in developing and recruiting members for the Innocence Project’s Lawyers Committee which provides critical advice on a range of issues affecting the Innocence Project’s work and mission.

“We are so grateful to this year’s honorees for the generous support, dedication and guidance they have provided over many years,” said Maddy deLone, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law.  “The Innocence Project is a stronger and more successful organization because of their unique contributions.” 

Proceeds from the Innocence Project’s annual gala support the organization’s work to exonerate people who have been wrongly convicted and reform the system to prevent future injustice.  The organization has been involved in 178 of the 341 DNA exonerations nationwide.  Its policy reform efforts have resulted in the passage of more than 100 laws across the nation that provide greater access to DNA testing, ensure that those who have been wrongly convicted are adequately compensated and prevent people

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