ADVISORS

Our advisers have particular skills and experience. They are important relationships to which we turn for advice and assistance. They are greatly appreciated.

Marla Mitchell-Cichon, Advisor

Marla Mitchell-Cichon is a professor at Western Michigan University and serves as the director of the Cooley Innocence Project, which works to release factually innocent Michigan prisoners through the use of DNA testing. The project, which includes faculty and students, have successfully exonerated three clients and in 2014 won the Outstanding Community Contribution award from the WMU-Cooley Student Bar Association. She also helped develop the Access to Justice Clinic at the Grand Rapids campus and continues to work closely with them today.

 

She includes among her litigation experience cases before the Michigan and Ohio Supreme Courts, and has practiced criminal and poverty law rigorously. Professor Mitchell-Cichon also works on legislative reform to improve the criminal justice system, and includes areas such as criminal law, elder law, ethics, and clinical teaching among her publications.

 

In 2006 was awarded the Justice for All Award from Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan and in 2016 she was the recipient of the State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice award.

David Moran, Advisor

David is a professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at his alma mater, University of Michigan, where he graduated magna cum laude. He has served as a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, an assistant defender at the State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit, and as an associate dean for academic affairs at Wayne State University Law School.

 

In 2009 he co-founded the Michigan Innocence Clinic, which litigates on behalf of innocent prisoners in cases without DNA evidence and has resulted in the exoneration of 18 people with more than 250 years of wrongful imprisonment. Additionally, he has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court a total of six times, and includes Halbert v. Michigan among his most important cases.

 

David was named the “Michigan Lawyer of the Year” in 2010 by Michigan Lawyer's Weekly and a “Michiganian of the Year” in 2016 by The Detroit News due to his role in exonerating a Michigan Innocence client.

Doug Bucher, Investigations

Doug Bucher has over 30 years of experience in corporate, criminal, and civil investigations, and is the Director of Corporate Consulting & Investigations for Recon Management Group, LLC, a Security Consulting and Investigations firm.

 

In addition to being an adviser, Doug has been involved in multiple PI funded investigations by providing guidance, subject experts, locating and interviewing witnesses, while objectively reviewing each case and evidence, as well as attempting to gather new evidence, and locating additional witnesses.

Doug studied Criminal Justice at Oakland University and began his career in law enforcement as a reserve officer, then pursued a career in corporate security.  During his career he’s managed cases at the local, state and federal levels, to include investigations of high ranking company officials, and organized criminal groups, for both prosecution and defense.  In addition to supporting PI, Doug continues to manage investigations locally, throughout the United States, and abroad.  

Greta Zalman, Board Counsel

Greta Zalman is an attorney who has generously contributed her time and effort in establishing Proving Innocence as a non-profit corporation. She assisted the Board of Directors in obtaining 501(c)(3) status and continues to advise us on matters of compliance with legal requirements.

Dr. Marvin Zalman, Criminal Justice

Professor Zalman came to Wayne State University in 1980 as chair of the then new Criminal Justice Department. He previously taught at the Criminal Justice Department at Michigan State University and in the law faculty at Ahmadu Bello University in northern Nigeria. His work in constitutional criminal procedure focuses on the limits of state power and individual liberty. His textbook/case book, Criminal Procedure: Constitution and Society, 6th edition (Prentice Hall 2011) integrates legal, social scientific, and criminal justice policy approaches. He currently serves on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals: Criminal Law Bulletin, Criminal Justice Review, Journal of Crime & Justice and Justice System Journal. He is listed in Who's Who in American Law (14th edition, 2005-2006) and Who's Who in America (60th edition, 2006).

 

Dr. Zalman has directed nine master’s thesis on wrongful convictions subject matter, published in more than twenty-five academic journals, participated or led in at least twenty-four funded research/scholarly projects and presented papers and led seminars both nationally and internationally. His most recent book is Wrongful Conviction and Criminal Justice Reform: Making Justice.

Herb Welser, Investigator

Herb was involved in Temujin Kensu's case and thoroughly believed in his innocence. He has been a regular advisor to PI, helping with investigations and helping us to secure other investigators.

Herb has been a licensed Michigan Professional Investigator since 2005.  He is retired from the Port Huron Police Department after 31 years of service.  His position at retirement was Detective Lieutenant.  Herb is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Staff & Command and is a member of the National Association of Legal Investigators & Michigan Council of Professional Investigators.

Ron Keine, Exoneree

Ron Keine has been an activist against the death penalty ever since he was 9 days away from being executed when the real murderer came forward and confessed. A biography can be found at Witness to Innocence. Ron is a sought-after speaker against the death penalty. He has been on the Larry King Show, various radio talk shows and a 2007 PBS documentary highlights a speech he gave at Bluffton University.

 

With no death penalty in Michigan, Ron is excited about investing time with Proving Innocence and feels especially called to investigative work.

 

Ron lives in the Detroit area with his wife.

Julia Baumer, Exoneree

Julie Baumer is a Michigan exoneree whose case centers on debunking the myths about Shaken Baby Syndrome. Julie was convicted in 2005 of child abuse stemming from injuries sustained by her infant nephew while he was under her care. Other possible causes of the injury to the infant were unexplored, and Julie was convicted. Julie's attorney failed to look into and present evidence that the child had sustained injuries from natural causes.

Julie's prior attorneys showed the baby's brain scans to some of the world's leading experts in pediatric head injuries, and those experts unanimously agreed that the baby had suffered a stroke and had not been abused. Faced with this new evidence, the judge overturned Julie's conviction, and she was released from prison in December 2009 after four years of wrongful incarceration. The Clinic defended the judge's decision against the prosecution's appeals to the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court, and both courts denied the prosecution's appeal.

Still refusing to give up, the prosecution elected to try Julie again. A lengthy re-trial was held in the fall of 2010, and the Innocence Clinic, along with Carl Marlinga, a defense attorney who was formerly the elected prosecutor of Macomb County, represented Julie. Experts from across the country were called in and left no doubt that the injuries to the child, while tragic, were certainly not caused by abuse. Julie was found not guilty and officially exonerated on October 15, 2010.

 

Metro Times: When Innocence is Pink

Innocence Blog: Michigan Woman Cleared in Shaken Baby Case

Ken Wyniemko, Exoneree

On June 17th, 2003, Ken was the second person in Michigan and the 129th person in the United States to be exonerated by DNA testing. Follow this link for an in-depth account of his case.

 

Since his release, he has been a tireless advocate for criminal justice reforms and has traveled across the country, speaking at law schools and anywhere he can get the public to listen to his message.

 

He has received many awards as a result of his efforts. In 2003, I was named to the Board of Commissioners of The Innocence Project at Thomas M.Cooley Law School in Lansing, which played a major part of his exoneration. He also serves on the board of PI and advises the Michigan Innocence Clinic whenever called upon. In 2005, he was named an honorary member of The Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan for his work on behalf of helping new exonerees get their lives back. In 2006, an Emmy was awarded for a documentary film that highlighted his case. In  2008, he was given the Allene and Martin Doctorff Liberty Bell Award from the Oakland County Bar Association for his continued efforts to educate the public about the serious problems in our justice system. He has been a special guest on the Mitch Albom radio program and has also been a featured guest in Richard Bernstein's  "Fighting for Justice" portion of the Angelo Henderson radio show. PI recorded these programs with commercials edited out and can be downloaded here.

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