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California Innocence Advocates and CWSL Students Continued Success

May 01 2024
California Western School of Law and California Innocence Advocates logos.
California Western School of Law and California Innocence Advocates logos.

SAN DIEGO (May 1, 2024) -- Since partnering with California Western School of Law (CWSL) in January, California Innocence Advocates (Cal-IA) and the CWSL students volunteering with them have been hard at work on behalf of their wrongfully incarcerated clients.

Last month, Cal-IA was successful in securing a resentencing and release for their client Wesner Charles, Jr. who had served 22 years of a life sentence for a crime he did not commit. Cal-IA and CWSL students are continuing to seek a full exoneration and a finding of innocence for Mr. Charles. Meanwhile, Mr. Charles who was a 19-year-old actor and musician when he was first imprisoned, has recently renewed his SAG-AFTRA membership and recorded his first single! 

On behalf of another client, the L.A. Superior Court issued an Order to Show Cause in Cal-IA’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, meaning that, after 30 years in prison, a full exoneration for that client is likely on the horizon.

Also in April, Cal-IA represented a 62-year-old client at her parole hearing and successfully secured her release after 12 years in prison. The client has severe heart failure and a life expectancy of only a few years, so it is a significant victory that she will be able to spend her last years free. 

Finally, this summer, Cal-IA and CWSL are working together to give students the opportunity to receive academic credit to work on innocence and post-conviction cases, gaining critical hands-on training and mentorship in the field of criminal justice. This is the first time that CWSL has offered an innocence clinic for students during the summer. It is a sign of more good things to come, as the school looks forward to welcoming Professor Amy Kimpel to campus on July 1, when she will join California Western as Associate Professor and Executive Director of California Western’s innocence clinic.