Tuesday 24 September 2013

Jason Baldwin - West Memphis Three - to speak at AIDWYC 20th Anniversary Gala

The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted
The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) will be hosting “BACK to the FUTURE” a day-long educational conference, gala dinner and an evening of festivities in recognition of its 20th Anniversary. 
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Hyatt Regency
370 King St W Toronto, ON M5V 1J9
JASON BALDWIN (West Memphis Three) to be Keynote Speaker at AIDWYC’s Gala Dinner.

Interviews can be scheduled for all participants as well as AIDWYC’s Co-Presidents Jonathan Freedman and Ralph Steinberg:
CONTACT:  Stephen Weir at 416-801-3101 or 416-489-5868. stephen@stephenweir.com,
Gala Keynote Speaker, Jason Baldwin (West Memphis Three)—one of three teenagers wrongly imprisoned for 18 years for the murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas.  Mr. Baldwin and his two co-accused were released in 2011.  Mr. Baldwin joins a long list of wrongly convicted Canadians and Americans who will be in Toronto to participate in this milestone event.
Conference –reflecting on past convictions through the lens of today’s developments in forensic sciences, research and evidence and working towards preventing and correcting wrongful convictions in the future.
Topics to be discussed by leading experts in their fields include: History of Innocence Work, Shaken Baby Syndrome, the Role of the Crown in Preventing Wrongful Convictions, the Role of Bias in the System, False Confessions/Plea Bargains, the relationship between Forensic Science and Miscarriages of Justice and the Long Way Home – the wrongly convicted and their families share their stories. 
The conference will include exoneree and AIDWYC Board member Ron Dalton who was incarcerated for 9 years for a non-murder before being exonerated.  Also participating  amongst many others will be the Wrongly Convicted and their Families, Toronto lawyer and AIDWYC co-founder James Lockyer, New York lawyers and co-founder’s of the Innocence Project Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, the godfather of innocence work and founder of Centurion Ministries, James McCloskey,  co-host of the Fifth Estate, Linden MacIntyre, Special advisor to the Commissioner of the Elliot Lake Inquiry and former Special Advisor on wrongful convictions to the Department of Justice, Stephen Bindman, retired Kingston, Ontario Chief of Police, William Closs, Judge Anne Derrick, QC of the Provincial and Family Court of Nova Scotia, Professor Tim Moore from the Department  of Psychology at Glendon College , who is a consultant and expert witness in criminal trials both in Canada and the United States, Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The media and public are welcome to attend “Back to the Future”.  Tickets can be purchased through AIDWYC’s website www.aidwyc.org.
Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley Jr. (West Memphis Three) were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys.  Mr. Echols was sentenced to death; Mr. Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin were sentenced to life imprisonment with two 20-year sentences added to Mr. Misskelley’s life sentence.
The West Memphis Three were released in part due to dedicated attorneys, a skilled private investigator, a series of documentary films produced by HBO, half a dozen books; hundreds of magazine, newspaper, and television features which drew international attention to their case.  Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan will be releasing a feature film, Devil’s Knot, the true story of the West Memphis Three case, starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth.
Atom Egoyan has dramatized for the screen the story of the West Memphis Three.  The film previewed to critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earlier this fall.  Critics see this as an important film that is as compelling and disturbing as the truth itself.  Egoyan is a master at telling tales about deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and their darkest fantasies.  In Devil’s Knot Egoyan details the small-town lives of ordinary people befuddled and angered by the senseless killing in their ostensibly safe town and the private investigator for whom the sum of the case’s parts doesn’t quite add up, and who is driven to get at the truth.
AIDWYC’s “Back to the Future” conference will educate the legal profession, the judiciary and law enforcement and compel them to respect society’s ethical obligation to reverse wrongful convictions when evidence proves a miscarriage of justice has occurred.
A number of high profile musicians and actors including Eddie Vedder, the Dixie Chicks and Johnnie Depp worked hard to secure their release based on flaws in their original trial and DNA evidence.
The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted is a national, non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and exonerating individuals convicted of a crime that they did not commit and to preventing such injustices in the future through education and reform.

For Further Information Please Contact:
Debbie Oakley at doakley@rogers.com or 416-648-4275 or Stephen Weir at 416-801-3101 or 416-489-5868. stephen@stephenweir.com