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California Innocence Advocates and California Western’s Innocence Clinic Secure Client Resentencing and Release

Mar 29 2024
California Western School of Law and California Innocence Advocates logos
California Western School of Law and California Innocence Advocates logos

SAN DIEGO (April 4, 2024) -- On April 4, 2024, Wesner Charles, Jr., a client of California Innocence Advocates (Cal-IA) and California Western School of Law (CWSL)’s Innocence Clinic, was resentenced to time served after serving 22 years of a life sentence for a crime he did not commit. Mr. Wesner will be released from prison in the coming days, while Cal-IA and CWSL Innocence Clinic students continue to seek his exoneration and a finding of innocence.
The Cal-IA team led by Professor Megan D. Baca has been working on Mr. Charles’s case since last year. At only 19 years old, Mr. Charles was sentenced to life in prison for a 2002 attempted carjacking in which no one was seriously injured.  Mr. Charles has maintained his innocence from the very beginning.  Before this wrongful conviction, Mr. Charles was a successful child actor.  He continues to write scripts and screenplays from behind bars and looks forward to resuming his career in entertainment once he is released. 

“We are so grateful to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for recognizing that an injustice was done in Mr. Charles’s case. Cal-IA looks forward to continuing to work to prove Mr. Charles’s innocence,“ said Ms. Baca about today’s court hearing. 

In January of this year, California Western School of Law partnered with Professor Baca and Cal-IA in order to prove the innocence of wrongfully convicted California prisoners and provide volunteer opportunities for CWSL students to help free the unjustly incarcerated from prison, receiving hands-on experience in innocence work and with the criminal justice system. 

Regarding California Innocence Advocates’ collaboration with CWSL, Ms. Baca said, “With an estimated five per cent of prisoners being wrongfully convicted, this means there are approximately 5,000 people in our prisons in California who should not be there, so there is a huge need for lawyers who specialize in innocence work. We’re immensely grateful to the incredible team at CWSL for recognizing this need and collaborating to support the work we do. We’re proud to partner with them and are excited to work with their law students, who in many cases will become the innocence lawyers of tomorrow.  Their enthusiasm and dedication is contagious and we’re proud to play a part in the development of their skills.  They will help us move our cases along so justice can be done for as many of our clients as possible."

Starting this summer, CWSL students will be able to receive academic credit to participate in the Innocence Clinic, continuing to pursue justice for Wesner Charles Jr. and others like him.