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Wrongfully Convicted Man’s Speech Revives Innocence Project

The University of Notre Dame golden dome surrounded by other campus buildings.

Photo: Jennifer Weingart (WVPE)

The University of Notre Dame has revived its Innocence Project and plans to work on behalf of those who have been wrongfully accused.

A wrongfully convicted Indiana man whose case made national news during Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign has helped revive a Notre Dame law school group.

Five students struggled to revive the Innocence Project until Keith Cooper’s appearance in April packed a campus lecture hall.

The Elkhart man spent 10 years in prison for a 1996 robbery before DNA evidence suggested his innocence and witnesses recanted. His case gained prominence last year when then-Gov. Pence refused to pardon him. Gov. Eric Holcomb issued the pardon days after taking office.

Club president Tia Paulette and four others stepped forward in summer 2016 to jump-start the Innocence Project. Now there are more than 100 members and their goal is to work on cases of potential wrongful convictions.

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