On November 29, the Utah Student Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at the S.J. Quinney College of Law will present a lunchtime presentation by exoneree Darryl Burton, convicted of murder in the early 1980s and exonerated in 2008. Burton's 24-year sentence was served in the now-shuttered Missouri State Penitentiary. Nicknamed "The Walls," the fortress‐like prison was opened in 1836, the same year that a young Abraham Lincoln was admitted to the Illinois State Bar. The 12:15 event, to be held in the Sutherland Moot Courtroom, is free and open to the public. A complimentary lunch will be served to attendees.
Burton is not alone. In October of this year, documented cases of DNA exonerations across the country reached 300. While technology takes the credit for putting the problem of wrongful convictions in the public attention during the last two decades, Burton reminds us as a non-DNA exoneree that the problem and the solution extend beyond technology to the fundamentals of our system of criminal justice.
Described as a modern “Count of Monte Cristo,” Burton will share his experiences overcoming the anger and bitterness of wrongful conviction, as well as finding the strength to fight after the state and our criminal justice system failed him. His compelling story of the human impact of incarceration and unique perspective on criminal justice is invaluable to legal practitioners and the general public.
The event is co-sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild @ SJQuinney. One hour of free CLE credit is available.